Urban Wabi Sabi Comes Home to the Country
At the beginning of June my little family left our country home and headed out to NYC to spend a couple of weeks with my city mouse sister and her family in their uptown (way uptown) Manhattan apartment. The spin of our country mouse life is quite different and it’s always fun to get a drink of the city life, zipping around on the subway, museuming, people watching and neighborhood hopping. This visit I had a little project in mind, I wanted to bring home a bit of the grit and grind, color and clash of the city back to my quiet county home. I decided that thoughout the visit I would take pictures of this urbanscape up close. I whipped out my phone camera at the subway station to take picture of torn posters and cracked tiles. I took pictures of manhole covers and metal grates, concrete edifices and rusted pipes. It was a fun side pursuit, and it kept me watchful and present looking for the beautiful, busted and broken – a kind of urban wabi sabi scavenger hunt.
When I got home I decided I wanted to make these photos into fabric. Earlier in the year I had started printing images of peeling bark on fabric to make a throw blanket. I had done this but spray gluing fabric to cardstock and running it through my printer. This process work well enough but the printer is kevetchy and needs a lot of babysitting and the cutting and mounting of fabric is tedious. That is a long-winded way of saying I didn’t want to print it that way for my urban wabi sabi photos.
I made a photomontage of my urban images in Adobe Photoshop then uploaded the image to Spoonflower.com and had them print my fabric. It costs about $18 a yard, which I think might even be cheaper than printing the same amount of square inches on my home printer and the colors are brighter and more vibrant. The photo above is about a ½ yard of fabric. Once I got my fabric what should I do with it? It seems a bit bold for clothing? A quilt maybe? Then I had a brainstorm, couch pillows! I liked the idea of the hard, gritty, urban images made into soft cozy pillows. So pillows it was. I wanted to add more texture and pop, so I quilted the fabric with thick red buttoning thread and a thin layer of batting to give it a little poof . I love how they came out! Now I’m thinking I might just have this printed on a knit fabric and sew a blouse after all…what would you use it for?
Here is a link to my Spoonflower shop where you can see the urban fabric as well as some bird and still life panels I did on my iPad . All the images can be printed several types of fabric from quilting cotton to silks. You can even have designs printed up a wrapping paper. I had the Urban image printed as paper too and I love it!