Handwoven postcards go Crafty!

crafty coverLife has been a bit hectic round these parts since September, largely as the result of being asked to write a tutorial for UK craft magazine, Crafty. Keeping the deadline meant various other projects had to be put on hold temporarily, and then (more recently) the catch-up period commenced…  I was very excited about the magazine project, and it was very hard for me not to mention in advance, but I received my contributor’s copy today & it will be in the shops tomorrow (Friday 8th), so I can finally share the news!

I was given carte blanche for a DIY weaving project, and was very happy when the go-ahead was given for my handwoven airmail envelope idea.  The observant amongst you may have noticed my sudden resurgence of interest in the Handwoven Postcard Project, and an unprecedented number of posts where I shared (unbeknownst to you!) my prototypes for the magazine tutorial.

crafty cropYou may or may not have also noticed that my blog posts are usually conspicuously free from pictures of myself (largely because there is no camera in my household), but now that a photo has been published in a national magazine, I decided to break with tradition and share the (actually quite old!) pic I shared with them.  There I am!!! >>>>
Far more interesting to me is the nice job they made of photographing the actual handwoven postcard – much more enticing than my usual flat scan…

By the way, the magazine people very kindly returned my handwoven postcard sample, so I have popped it into the TangleStore for somebody to snap up a little piece of TangleCrafts history!  (Sorry, someone was quick off the mark with this!  Look out instead for limited edition ‘custom’ handwoven postcards, available soon…)

airmail sample pageThe Crafty feature provides step-by-step instructions to weave your very own postcard-that-looks-like-a-letter.  To complement the project, I have also just added a new TangleClub* freebieprintable airmail stripes and/or background – to make the non-woven airmail border that little bit easier to achieve.  (Of course, you can also use the printable for non-woven mail art projects if you feel so inspired. 🙂 )

Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough space in the Crafty article for the extra steps I had prepared for adding the ‘address’ and ‘stamp’ to the weaving/postcard/letter, so I will be working on a new kit/instruction booklet which will include those little finishing touches as well as various other bits & bobs.  Watch this space for availability!

There are lots of other exceedingly cool projects in this month’s issue of Crafty (I especially can’t resist those Clanger-esque needle-felted mice on the front cover by illustrator Gretel Parker) and I notice there is currently a half price subscription offer on the Crafty website, which sounds like a bargain to me!  If you check out the magazine, please stop by and let me know what you think. 🙂

*TangleClub membership available here.

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Handwoven faux postage #2

handwoven letter postcard by Su MwambaIn a recent post, I claimed that the stamp woven in the corner of this ‘letter’ was my first handwoven faux postage.  Who knew?  Turns out I was wrong…!  I just re-discovered an old post of mine from 2010 in which I wove a postage stamp on a tiny matchbox loom!

I had completely forgotten about this, but really need to try it again – it would totally be possible to embroider a little detail onto the surface of this tiny weaving…  

Matchbox weaving loom

Ironically, this miniature weaving probably took as long to complete as the handwoven postcards I have talked about recently, due to the fine embroidery threads used instead of bulkier knitting wools.  It would be possible to weave a quicker stamp using a bulkier yarn or thread, though – it would just afford less opportunity for adding finer detail.

See the original post for further details.

Spot the difference!

postcard 1a before & after

postcard 1b before & afterCan you spot the difference?  The weaving of Handwoven Postcard #1 appears remarkably unscathed & not at all traumatised by its little jaunt through the Royal Mail.

The address side bears an unfranked stamp, and a couple of very minor scars – if not for the postal ‘barcode’ overlapping the address box, it could easily be believed it had never left my hands or home (but it did!).  I’m very impressed by its survival skills & can’t wait to see if Postcard #2 fares quite so well…!

The Handwoven Postcard Project

A handwoven letter

I’m hoping that my first handwoven postcard trial will arrive while I’m out today.  In the meantime, I’ve been making up for lost time & have completed Handwoven Postcard #2.  Yes, it’s all a bit meta this time – a weaving that looks like a letter, except that it’s a postcard… 😉

handwoven letter postcard by Su Mwamba

I initially wove it plain, just with the airmail border but it looked very boring.  The addition of embroidered ‘address’ and needle-woven ‘stamp’ (my first handwoven faux postage!) really finish it off.  I’m slightly concerned, though, that the extra detail is more likely to endanger the weaving while it’s on its travels (more little bits to get caught up in machinery)…but we shall soon see!

Find out more about the Handwoven Postcard Project...

A confession (& TangleClub freebie)

One of my most enduring projects, dating almost from the inception of TangleCrafts, is the Handwoven Postcard Project.  It started life in a now-retired zine, has been through various incarnations, and is currently available both as a part of the Postcard Recycling Kit, and the DIY Weaving Handbook.  Much as I love the idea of it, and despite a couple of (very welcome!) contributions, the Handwoven Postcard Project never caught the imagination of my followers in the same way as either Going Postal or Friends & Faux.  But I’ve kept the project open anyway, because I like it.

Okay, time for the confession…: I never actually wove and/or sent a handwoven postcard myself!  Yes, I hang my head in shame; but it’s true.  Shame on me!

Well, I can confess only because I am about to rectify the error of my ways.  Who wants to guess what I did with my day off today?  Anybody?  Yeah, not a tough one, really: I spent today weaving a postcard.  Handwoven Postcard by Su MwambaAnd here it is!  A very simple plain weave in pretty heathery colours (lovely Noro Kureyon).  Tomorrow, I will be adding a stamp to the reverse side (2nd class rather than 1st class only because the colour will match better; Corey rolls his eyes at me for this, which I think a little unfair…), and posting it to myself, so I can see first hand how it survives its journey through the postal system.  It won’t have far to travel – will that make any difference?  A woven postcard from Hawaii survived its journey far better than one from Manchester (see link above). so it’s definitely a tough one to predict.  I will of course update with the results once it arrives home.

Here’s something else you won’t be expecting, given my recent wanderings of attention.  I’ve added a brand new, step-by-step Handwoven Postcard Tutorial to the TangleClub Archive, so that my long-neglected TangleClub members need feel neglected no more.

However anybody, yes anybody is welcome to join the Handwoven Postcard Project, so if you are inspired, please get weaving and send your postcards my way.  All pics will be shared, and you will have taken part in one of the most exclusive mail art projects out there! 😉

Clubland updates

After more paper/printer/alignment issues than anticipated, yesterday the last ever TangleClub Deluxe edition of the Mulberry Digest was finally printed, enveloped & stamped.  The first batch will be posted today with the next to follow on Monday, so TangleClub Deluxe members will be receiving their final Mulberry Digest very shortly.  In the next week or so, I will be adding some new, completely different TangleClub options to the TangleStore.  I’m just finalising all the details, at the moment. 🙂

In the meantime, I have re-launched the DIY Weaving Club!  I added an old/new zine to the TangleStore yesterday – a reprint of the DIY Weaving Club Handbook, now condensed into an 8 page, A6 fold-out zine.  Although I have not done much weaving of late (DIY or otherwise) I decided it was a shame that my old projects were languishing unloved and out of print.  I’m really loving the simplicity of this fold-out format for framing single, focused ideas; so my plan is to use this format to re-issue selected features & projects from my very first zine series, Telaic Fantasy (which have not seen light of day for over a year!).  realistically, though, it is unlikely that any more in the series will be released until the New Year.

Although I have some new projects underway that will hopefully be completed in the near-ish future, I will otherwise be taking a break from ‘creation’, while I focus on fulfilling orders, preparing stock for craft fairs and generally trying to keep on top of everything between now and Christmas.    Wish me luck! 😉

Happy mailday to me!

I have been feeling a bit sorry for myself over the last few days – just recovering from a killer cold (definitely not swine flu, I hasten to add!) & single-handedly keeping the tissue industry afloat.  But happily, my post-lady has been going above and beyond the call of duty bringing me lovely things from the outside world to cheer me up. 🙂 (there will be lots of smile-y faces in this post)Arteth's woven postcardFirst and foremost, I have to say a HUGE thank you to Arteth Gray, one of my original D.I.Y. Weaving Club members, for the most awesome piece of mail art.  She actually wove one of the cards from the Postcard Recycling Kit, and dared to trust it to the postal service.  There’s a bit of a gap in the weaving, and I can feel dried glue there, so I do strongly suspect that perhaps an original part of this mini-masterpiece is missing, but still, I was so happy to receive it.  🙂  It’s one of the most exciting pieces of post I’ve ever received!  I’m so impressed that it made it through, relatively unscathed.  I haven’t been weaving much lately (although I have still been working on Telaic Fantasy #4, so do keep watching this space…!), but this has really motivated me to get weaving and mail some art out into the world :-).Another fun piece of unexpected mail art also came my way today – a mail art game from Misti Ko called ‘It Starts With a Pencil‘.  The game starts with an ATC blank, printed with a pencil, and the sender’s name and address on the reverse (I should really have scanned the blank ATC to show you, but I was so eager to start playing the game, I had already drawn on it, before that thought occurred to me…).  The first recipient (in this case, me) adds something to the design on the front of the ATC, adds their own name and address to the reverse, then forwards the ATC to a 3rd person.  The 3rd person adds a final element to the overall ATC design, adds their own name and address to the reverse, then returns the ATC to the first name on the card (in this case, Misti Ko).  Misti is compiling a mail art mini-zine showing off the completed cards, and each person who has filled their name & address on an ATC will receive a copy.  How cool is that?  You can check out the completed cards online here.

I was almost (but not quite) as excited about receiving this game as I was about the handwoven postcard!  I was just finishing off a zine about doodling (more on that to follow shortly) while the pencil game ATC was sitting on the arm of my chair, and in the end I just had to give in and play.  mail art gameI started of with an inkblot & a couple of stray inkspots (I know it’s a pencil, but I was using artistic license 😉 ), then doodled around the shape to fill an area of the card.  It was a completely random inkblot & doodling, but now it’s finished, don’t you think it looks kind of like a fish face, with a pencil-dinner in mind…?  But perhaps more importantly, what do you think it will look like once it’s finished?  And perhaps more relevant still, which of my correspondents will be the one to make the decision?  I’ll be sending it on this weekend, so watch your letterbox!

And as if that wasn’t enough (!) I have also just received the August Issue of Craft Leftovers.  I’m totally loving it!  The zine is themed all about drawing, and includes a pattern to sew your own ‘Pencils to Go’ pencil wrap.  My favourite part, though, is the complete kit to bind your own sketchbook, with boards, papers, binding thread, and the cutest mini-zine, ‘Stitch n’ Sketch – how to bind your own sketch book codex style’.  If you’ve ever thought about binding your own books but not known where to start, buying this issue of Craft Leftovers is definitely the first step you should take!  Honestly, subscribing to CLM is so much fun – every month just seems to get better and better! 🙂

Anyway, get thee hence & go and create some mail art of your own – it’s certainly cheered me up! 🙂