prayers for peace banner project

WolfeIsland09Steve-103A, originally uploaded by creativelenna.
I am participating in a cooperative project involving 18 artists from around the globe, hosted by Carol Murphy of Altered by The photo above shows me painting the fabric for my banners. Each artist in the collaboration is creating 18 flags/pennants to swap.

Here are the specs: Originals only. The size will be 9 inches at the top widest point and 12 inches long, with the top inch turned under, hemmed and ready to be hung by a rod or ribbon. Carol noted that fabric or paper could be used to create the banners and that adding dimension and texture would be welcome. We were also requested to write a short paragraph on how we chose our peace topic, colors, and what peace means to us at this moment in time. . . Carol said, "These peace flags are merely an artistic expression touching the lives of 20 different people from different backgrounds, with different calls to peace."

Above is one of my finished banners. The are all similar, yet different, which is a typical way that I work, especially when I have multiples to do. To make my flags for the prayers for peace project, I started with a large length of plain unbleached muslin. I wanted to hand paint the fabric for the banners myself, as it is the process of art making that very often brings me peace. I envisioned a colorful, multi-colored hand dyed piece of fabric for my flags, reminiscent of the days of tie dye, peace and love : ) wet fabric drying on the line!

I was vacationing on Wolfe Island in Ontario, Canada while I worked on this; planning for it in advance and bringing my supplies with me. While there, I decided the front lawn of the cottage in front of the huge St. Lawrence River would be the best place to do this, since this would be messy. I spread freezer paper (coated) on the grass and laid the length of muslin on top of it, using rocks to keep the fabric from blowing away. It was a very windy day! The first thing I did was wet the fabric with a water mister to help the paint to spread more easily. Then I used lighter colors of paint; also spraying them and dripping paints onto the damp fabric and then adding more water with a spray mister to blend. My paints were mostly Dye-na-flow by Jacquard, with a few acrylics including Lumiere added in for its shimmer. Sometimes I used a sponge filled with paint or my fingers to spread and blend the paint.

I was working with a large piece of fabric – about 3 or 4 yards, so I continued layering colors of paint on to get rid of all or most of the white space. At times, I even poured water directly on the fabric with a watering can! Steven took a video of me doing this which I hope we can convert to a mpeg file and share online sometime soon. The water I used helped to migrate and blend the paints on the fabric, at least I think so! After working for a couple of hours, I took a break for lunch (washing my really messy hands first!!). Then I came back and re-wet the fabric, adding more layers of paint colors by pouring, spritzing, and sponging more vibrant colors until I felt the whole piece of fabric was balanced. Even though I would be cutting this larger piece of fabric into many banners/flags, I wanted a good distribution of color throughout.
I hand lettered the words onto each banner after cutting them out, using a permanent marker. After much thought and months of keeping this project in the back of my mind, I decided “peace begins within you” describes what peace means to me. Creating outside in front of the river also had me thinking of (and singing!) a song from my many summers at Camp Woodstock in Woodstock Valley CT. . .

Peace Of The River

Peace, I ask of thee, old river
Peace, peace, peace
When I learn to live serenely
Cares will cease
From the hills I gather courage
Visions of a day to be
Strength to lead and faith to follow
All are given unto me
Peace, I ask of thee, old river. . .

Many thanks to Carol Murphy for organizing – I would have never taken on such a large project if not for this collaboration! If you would like to see ALL of the photos Steven & I took for this project, just click on this link for the banner set I have on my flickr account, and enjoy! lenna young andrews, July 30, 2009.