I am a jazz fan and a feminist. Since International Women’s Day falls in March I decided to focus on honouring women jazz singers. Some were easy to identify as I knew and loved their songs. Some songs I knew but didn’t know who they were most identified with. I also looked for some singers that were very new to the scene. I found one that I really liked and added her name and will look for her. I love the old songs the best however. On the back of each CDA is the name of the song the woman is best known for or I liked the best. It was an easy pick with Billie Holiday – “God Bless the Child” and much harder with Doris Day and Lena Horne. Perhaps Diana Krall will have more wonderful hits of note so that story is still in progress. I discovered some singers who actually were the voices for actresses and great songstresses in their own right but their names relatively unknown.
I expect that there are many great stories of their lives. Some years ago I did a fabric portrait of Billie Holiday and found her story of great interest. She was a woman worth of note for her trials and her accomplishments. It is amazing how life’s challenges develops character.
Speaking of challenges I feel like I developed some character in doing these CDA’s. I get an idea and then translating it is a learning journey. So here is the story. I am telling it because I tell my students that they can be confident in my help because I have made every mistake in the book and thus can come up with a solution for mostly any problem that they might encounter in their work.
My concept was to print some music fabric, add some silver glitter and stitch the names of the Jazz artists over top of that background with some metallic thread.
As my background I wanted to use the music from “All That Jazz”. That wasn’t to be. So the first design challenge was to find some jazz music that I could use for which I wouldn’t need copyright permission. A friend who plays the piano came up with a couple of books and I copied musical phrases and cut and pasted until I was fairly certain that no particular phrase would be recognizable. Next was how to get from paper to fabric. I chose to use a product called ExtravOrganza – inkjet printable semi-transparent silk sheets that I had on hand and had been waiting for just the right project.
Next step was to find a way to get the names to the printed fabric as a guide for machine stitching. I like to write with my sewing machine and decided that I needed a little more help than free hand. So input the names, choose a font and size that could be sewn. When this was doe I printed the names and copied over them with pencil onto parchment paper. Two reasons for this. It gives my mind a memory of what I want to write and I was preparing them for transfer to the fabric. Now I was ready for the first sandwich. I placed the carefully spaced tracings on parchment onto the ironing board, on top a layer of Mistyfuse, then a sheet of the printed music. When I pressed this sandwich (covered by an appliqué sheet) I fused to the ExtrvaOrganza and brought up a faint outline of the names. The parchment was removed. Next I took my base sandwich, backing fabric, Peltex, top white on white fabric and sprinkled a layer of fine glitter on it. (Note – next time use larger glitter or glitter glue.) I used a dry paint brush to spread the glitter. On top of this I layered the music/name sandwich, covered again with the appliqué sheet and pressed.
Now to the sewing machine to stitch the names. I started with a black Sulky Sliver which you can see on the Diana Krall, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald names. I first experimented with using the Sliver with another thread but my machine wouldn’t feed them both evenly. So I just tried the Sliver. Sometimes I can get metallic to work like a charm and sometimes not. This was a not time. I found that I had to go over them twice to have them dark enough to read. Other work was calling so I switched to plain black thread and also went over each name twice. (The grey spots you see on the slides is actually the glitter. ) Cut them apart and finish the edges and here are my March CDA”s.