I started thinking about how to create art that was more affordable for everyone (think $20-30 versus several hundred or thousand), but still unique for the individuals purchasing the art. Printmaking allows me to produce images that are same or similar (depending on ink color) with hand painted watercolors that make each piece unique. I also wanted to create something that was functional. How do you make functional art that is durable? Could this even be done? My line of tote bags have come from many hours of trial and error.
It starts with a drawing that is transferred to a surface to be carved. This is relief print making. I test print to see how it looks, and if I need to carve more (see sunflower in the photos). I then roll the special fabric ink onto the carved surface and begin printing on canvas totes. The ink must cure - I'm lucky that Arizona has many sunny days, and the sunshine is perfect for this curing process. Then I get to paint the canvas with watercolors. I love this part of the process! Again, the surface must cure, and I use the sunshine again. Then I apply a fabric medium that makes the artwork permanent to the fabric - yes, even the watercolor paint! One more time curing in the sunshine and the bag is now done.
I am really proud of this new artistic endeavor. Drop me a line and let me know what you think!