After a conversation, with Andrea, about the wealth of possibilities this theme presented, I began thinking of several methods of communication; but I kept focusing on one - feather tipped pens. Images came to mind of handwritten letters with the curved feathers of a pen superimposed on them. Hmmm, this could be interesting. I thought of my reading of the biography of John Adams, I was moved by the correspondence of Abigail and John during their many years of separation while she remained in
Massachusetts and he journeyed
to Philadelphia, Paris
Their love endured the many miles between them and was so evident in
their correspondence. Feather tipped pens were used to write those
letters!!!! Aha!! I knew this was what I wanted
to do. Screen printing seemed to be the best method for the images I
imagined , and so I went to my friend most skilled in this for a lesson,
I found the letter (from the Massachusetts Historical Society Archives) and the pictures via a Google search. In order to get the shape of the pen just as I wanted, I had to sketch it myself. Black and white copies of all were made and off to Andrea's I went. She patiently walked me through the process and we made the screens using a thermofax machine. I learned the toner in the photocopy “etches” the special plastic screen and thus allows you to screen print the images. Now at home on my own, I pulled the images of the letter and pictures with a black acrylic paint on gray cotton sateen. Although, I achieved the look I wanted, it seemed dull with only the black printed onto the gray background. I quickly realized that more contrast was needed. I purchased a black silk which I used to frame the pictures and a dark gray silk which formed the border and provided a nice frame for it all and the needed contrast.
I stitched the framed pictures onto the bordered letter. I then ironed a fusible to the back of the sateen with the screen printed feather and then carefully cut it out to avoid snipping off any of the feather sections. I fashioned the inkwell from black silk and ironed fusing to it and cut it out. I then placed those on top of the letter and when satisfied with placement, I fused those down. I covered the entire piece in a navy tulle and wrapped all to the back of the peltex batting and fused in place. I covered the back with a fabric piece the same size. Now for some quilting. I stitched in the ditch around the letter and pictures and carefully around the feather. Machine quilted feathers seemed appropriate so I stitched those using a pattern I drew on golden threads paper. For a finishing touch, a few black beads were stitched on the feather tips which you can see a little better in the picture below.