Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas ornaments -- the reveal

For decades I've been making Christmas ornaments for family and friends, and it's an integral part of my art calendar.  After so many years it's always a challenge to come up with an idea that's a bit different from what I've done in the past, and then actually making the ornaments occupies a fair chunk of time in the fall.  (Read about some of my past adventures here.)  The rules are simple: each ornament has the initial or full name of the recipient, plus the year.

This year I was inspired by a piece of fabric covered with text that my sister gave me a long time ago.  She used it for a while as a curtain, but after she moved it decided to come live with me.  I used it for a quilt (now traveling in the SAQA Text Messages show) and then I used some of the leftover bits for another quilt.

the first quilt:  Crazed 20: Print on the Dotted Line (detail)

the second quilt: Postage 7: Tower of Babble (detail)

In making that second quilt I enjoyed incorporating tiny, tiny bits of fabric -- sometimes only one letter -- into my compositions, working with a tweezer to place the bits under the needle as I sewed.  Although my objective in that piece was to fragment the text into illegibility, I realized that I could go the other way and piece the fragments into words, in fact, into the names I needed for my ornaments.

So I went back to my bits of text fabric, now getting quite small and obviously used, in search of individual letters.  I tried to change fonts in mid-name for that ransom-note look, although a couple of people got their whole name in the same type.  I ran out of some capital letters before I ran out of people, but otherwise had no trouble.

I constructed the ornaments exactly as I had constructed the second quilt, striped fabrics, raggedy thread ends and all.  The backs came from some fabric I found online with big numbers for the year.

I hope all the ornaments are happy on their respective trees today, and that all the recipients are even happier.  Same goes for all my readers.  Merry Christmas!


  1. Merry Christmas Kathleen
    Thanks for the entertainment.
    Cheers Jan

  2. Merry Christmas, Kathy. I used to needlepoint ornaments for my children but that gets to be a big project. I'm going to have to switch to your idea.

  3. Sandra Palmer CiolinoDecember 26, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    My ornament is very, very happy! Thanks, Kathy.

  4. cool stuff! Leave it to you...
    LeeAnna Paylor

  5. Hi, Kathleen. Very cool idea--I love the mixing of image and text. And may you have a very happy New Year!
    best, nadia