Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Prayer flag of Hope

I thought I would do a short blog post about my second prayer flag for the month and explain a bit of the detail and thought process.

Several years ago I was in a Bible study with a group of women and we worked through several Joyce Meyer books. One of our favorite quotes was "Hope: the confident expectation that something good is going to happen to me". Of course when the January prayer prompt was "Hope" this was the first verse that came to mind.

I printed the verse on my laser printer on plain paper. Then I soaked it in coffee and baked it for 20 minutes or so (there are several Youtube videos detailing this technique). I'd never done this before and was uncertain if the stained papers would bleed or not so I sprayed it with a coat of Mod Podge sealer before continuing.

I tore out the verse and then inked up the rough edges and machine stitched it to the muslin.

Our inclusion this month was 'feather or wings'. I looked all over my art room for my "extra" tissue paper wings that I was so certain I had to no avail but then I spotted my Mona Lisa button fairy. She's been hanging around my art room for several years; time to up-cycle her a bit.

I had all my doilies, lace bits, and sari ribbon ready to go so they were all sewn on next. It was looking a little blah so I used a little acrylic paint and a plastic cover from something to stamp some circles on the flag to match the ribbon and sort of tie it all together. 

I was pretty happy with how this one turned out too. I will most likely try to do 2 flags again for February like this month with one more contemporary or painterly and then another with lace. They are fun and actually sort of meditative to make, a great way to get your head in a good mindset while working on them as well.

Stay tuned - next month's theme is "Faith" with an inclusion of "hands".

Sunday, January 3, 2016

New Year - New Challenges

Happy 2016 one and all. I hope that 2015 was good to you and that 2016 will be even better!

With the start of the new year I started a new challenge. There is a small group of us that will be making a prayer flag each month for the entire year.

We are taking turns choosing a theme and an inclusion but beyond that there are no rules. Our flags can be made out of any medium and any size or style.

I'm torn between styles so who knows, I may end up with more than one flag some months.

Our first month's theme was chosen by Terri. It was pretty much Terri's plan to do this on her own and she was kind enough to let the rest of us jump on her bandwagon, so a big Thank You, Terri. Our theme for January is Hope with an inclusion of wings or feather(s).

I decided that I wanted to make my flags out of fabric. I have only recently realized I can sort of sew and I didn't want to intimidate myself so I chose muslin as my base because I am familiar with it and know it's not hard to work on.

First I made the little rod pocket at the top (that may not be the right terminology but you get my meaning). Next I spread a coat of white gesso in the center leaving about 1/4" space from the edge untouched.

When the gessso was dry I covered it with green acrylic paint and set it aside to dry. While that was drying I took a small piece of muslin and gessoed it. When dry i went over the white gesso with black gesso (I used gesso instead of black paint because I like the grittier finish). When it was dry I used a white Sharpie paint pen to draw a feather and then machine stitched it onto the now dry flag.

I drilled holes in Scrabble tiles to make our theme word of Hope and hand sewed them onto the flag. It was looking a little blah at this point so I used acrylic metallic paint and added a few circles randomly for a bit of interest.  I outlined the circles and wrote a few lines of the Emily Dickinson classic around the feather with a fine tipped Sharpie marker.

I sewed the feather off-center to the right side of the flag because I have some beautiful sari ribbon that I wanted to use as well so I chose a few strips of that and sewed it on the left side. Once it was done it looked unfinished so I just stitched the little bird and glued it over the stitching.

I used another length of sari ribbon through the pocket and it is now hanging in our house! 

I believe traditionally these flags are hung outdoors so the wind and energy carries the prayer and blessing to those along its path. My flags will be hung in our house and, hopefully, bless those who pass through.