Besides painting, I've been digging into my stash of painted paper towels for inspiration lately. I've been playing with some ideas for journal covers and my thoughts naturally and eventually turn to patchwork and layering. The conversation in my head probably went something like this: quilted fabric patchwork like my bags? No, too soft and mushy. Painted fabric like earlier journals? No, that's not it either. I want to use my own designs (rather than pre-printed fabric), need something sturdy and sewable. Colorful. Intricate. Something I can spray paint on top of. Paper towels? Hmm, not sure how that would work. Why not try it out, you're not doing anything else?
I started off without any plan which is the way I usually work and sort of pieced and glued them together thinking I could go back after they dried and stitch over them for strength. Maybe even stitch them to a piece of fabric. I really was just interested in layering the nearly transparent towels at this point.
I pieced together several panels and let them dry overnight, but was surprised the next morning to find them a bit warped and stiffer than I imagined. They seemed even more fragile that they had before the glue was added so I knew I'd have to stitch them to a fabric backing before being able to use them as journal covers. The free form stitching is one of my favorite parts of the patchwork process so I got caught up in it for a while even after I realized stitching alone wasn't going to work. The towel was still able to tear away from the fabric. Then I remembered this really cool book, Stitching Alchemy, that focuses on combining fabric and paper into one medium for mixed media art and dug it out of the thousands of boxes in our basement. It's given me some ideas on how to proceed from here, but I'm still experimenting. Happily.
Too many projects is never a bad thing.