Sunday, September 13, 2015

Fiber Art Postcards Inspired by Tradition

Wishing you a healthy, happy, creative New Year! Jewish New Year, that is! Also known as Rosh Hashanah, it starts tonight.

This is the one time of the year that we dip apples in honey (Try it! You'll like it!). The challah bread is round for this occasion (like the year). We convey wishes to family and friends for a good year.

And one way we do this is with cards. A longstanding tradition, first in Europe, and then transplanted here, is to send pictorial Rosh Hashanah postcards to our loved ones. Here's one from Germany, dated 1908.
Here's one I found in my husband's family photo album, with a photograph  of unknown ancestors glued in the center: 
Here's an insanely great dozen more vintage cards. Warning: They're addictive and you can find plenty for sale on ebay

Several years back, I did a fabric postcard exchange with a Rosh Hashanah theme. Inspired by vintage postcards, I used rubber stamps for the lettering and lots of items cut from novelty fabric

First, Mr. Spock of blessed memory. I purchased the rubber stamp at a Star Trek convention in the 1990s. Sadly, this is my first Rosh Hashanah without Leonard Nimoy on Planet Earth.
I hope he's on an even better planet. He's about to blow the shofar (to the right of his head), the ram's horn whose intrusive blast shakes our deepest selves. The lettering reads "shanah tovah", a good new  year. On the left is a good luck hamsa hand; a metal hamsa charm is on the upper right. Spock's Vulcan salute is, of course, derived from Jewish tradition.

Like Leonard, Elvis Presley was technically Jewish. Really! Read this! And, like Leonard, Elvis was also a strong supporter of Jewish causes.
U.S. Presidents and Lady Liberty look worried about the future...Perhaps they were anticipating the 2016 Presidential election?
Two anonymous women convey best wishes for a year with more sewing and less cleaning:
The back: 
(I mailed it in an envelope so I didn't need room for an address). 
Fish is a traditional dish for Rosh Hashanah - this one was cut from an African fabric. (This tradition actually involves fish heads - or, if you don't have fish around, a nice juicy ram's head - oy vey!  Read all about Rosh Hashana food traditions here.)
Pure wackiness:
Also random, because mahjong is by now a Jewish (as well as Chinese) sport: 

Making and trading fabric postcards, for any occasion, is a blast! And very simple. And therapeutic. Here's a tutorial:

1. Cut a couple of pieces of stiff interfacing to postcard size, 4" x 6"  (Peltex, Peltex 72F, Inner Fuse, Fast-2-Fuse, in other words, stiff interfacing of any kind, ideally with fusible on both sides, but okay without.) 

You'll also need a couple of inches of paper-backed fusible web. 

2. Pick a background fabric for the featured side. Cut it to a little over 4" x 6".  Adhere it to one side of the stiff interfacing. Use fusible web if your interfacing doesn't have built-in fusible. Trim excess. Don't put fabric on the back yet.

3. Gather all the fabrics with images you want to include in the top. Cut them out from the fabric, with a half inch margin all the way around. Apply fusible web to the back of them, then cut out closely, and arrange them on the background fabric. 

4. Press, then stitch everything down. I often use invisible/clear nylon thread and a zig-zag stitch. 

5. Trim stray threads, especially from the back. Once everything is stitched to the front, turn to the back (the message side.)

6. Adhere a rectangle slightly larger than 4" x 6" to the back. It should be light-colored so writing will show.  Fuse it in place, and trim close around the edges. 

7. Zig zag all the way around the edges. For extra neatness, do a corded edging - my corded edging tutorial is at the bottom of this post.

 8. On the back (the message side), draw a vertical line 2/3rds of the way across toward the right. Write the address on one side, and your message on the other side of the line.  Take it to the post office to see how much postage they want you to pay (each post office is different!). Put a stamp on it and mail it to your loved ones. (Note: If it has 3D elements, like buttons or beads, you may have to send it in a padded envelope.) 

16 comments:

  1. Shana Tova
    You kept me smiling last year and I look forward to smiling with you next year
    Chaya

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    1. Thank you so much, Chaya! A happy, healthy, creative New Year to you!

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  2. Love to read about the inspiration behind your creativity. Shanah Tovah!

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    1. Vivian, thank you, wishing you a healthy, happy New Year!

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  3. What fun cards! I especially like the Spock one and the ones with domestic imagery. Shanah Tovah!

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    1. Thank you, Deborah, and a Shanah Tovah to you!
      Spock rocks!

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  4. Happy New Year! Made happier by your blog, of course! I adore the Spock card so much! Have a wonderful celebration!

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  5. Thank you, Jeri. I love my Spock rubber stamp. I call it My Precious. Although I'm pretty sure the maker didn't send royalties to Leonard Nimoy....

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    1. Eww. My Precious. Remember Gollum in the Hobbit.

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    2. Exactly! That's me with my Spock stamp.

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  6. Shana Tova Cathy...the cards are wonderful fun! Wishing you a wonderful New Year filled with health, joy, and creativity.

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    1. Debbie, I'm so glad you enjoyed them! Wishing you a wonderful New Year!

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  7. ha! Just goes to show humor and religion are not exclusive, I mean creativity comes from heaven right? LeeAnna loving your style girl, happy new year

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  8. I love your style too, LeeAnna! Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. The fish is my favorite, but all are fun.

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    1. Thanks for your vote, Ann! That African fabric was pretty dang wonderful. It also has figures in masks carrying interesting ritual items!

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