Make It Work

These last two years have been stressful since the my layoff from my fashion industry job. There have plenty of ups, downs and two cross country moves. In 2017, I created “Make It Work” in my tiny basement studio. I thought I knew the meaning of that at the time. Honestly, I wanted to make something that was inspiring and can put on a Society6 iPhone case. I felt like a sellout, but I wanted to sell something. I sketched this geometric gridded piece without words. I created the layout by hand, scanned it into my computer, added the type and printed it out. The original was drawn with marker. 

My original sketch, which experienced some water damage in the midst of its sad life in my unfinished projects folder. © 2017 Alyson Toone All Rights Reserved

My original sketch, which experienced some water damage in the midst of its sad life in my unfinished projects folder. © 2017 Alyson Toone All Rights Reserved

And then the piece sat in my folder of unfinished projects for a month. Then two. Then more. I still loved it but iPhone cases seemed too basic for it. I used the shapes to create a textile repeat design which you can shop on Spoonflower. 

Then I decided it should be embroidered. Why? Well because I realized that embroidery was my weapon of choice/ wand of creation. I like painting in acrylic, oil, watercolor, watercolor pencil and gouache. I like drawing with all sorts of drawing utensils. But something about the motion of embroidery, seeing stitches on fabric and the optical mixing soothe my soul. In 2018, I learned that this is the best way to express myself. 

© 2018 Alyson Toone All Rights Reserved

© 2018 Alyson Toone All Rights Reserved

I started on the piece. I found small stretched aida cloth “canvases” to use for just this project. Then the project started going to shit. 

© 2018 Alyson Toone All Rights Reserved

© 2018 Alyson Toone All Rights Reserved

First, the graphite transfer paper smudged all over the white aida cloth. Figuring that I could clean it off or cover it over later, I had to go over my lines again with marker to make sure they stay bold throughout my project. Graphite tends to fade a little and you lose line work in the mix. Then I started embroidering. 

While my needle passed over the colored lines, I thought it would be cool if some of the areas were covered by ink or paint instead the whole piece being stitches. That’s when it hit me…block print! I had been playing with block printing my repeats designs. I also did a ton of a research recently into the process. I could create a block that would make a consistent print and embroider over that. I could make many of them but they would still be unique. 

© 2018 Alyson Toone All Rights Reserved

© 2018 Alyson Toone All Rights Reserved

Then the block printing process began. I transferred my drawing to battleship grey linoleum and carved it. It wasn’t until I printed did I notice my mistake. 

© 2018 Alyson Toone All Rights Reserved

© 2018 Alyson Toone All Rights Reserved

The whole DAMN thing was backwards. Fail!

I flipped my sketch on the computer and printed it out. I transferred my drawing again and carved again. This time the printing worked beautifully. I may have to carve some lines a little deeper though.

© 2018 Alyson Toone All Rights Reserved

© 2018 Alyson Toone All Rights Reserved

The first one feature a sunrise inspired color palette. I used rose quartz chips to promote love in whatever home (most likely mine) it belongs to. The red coral beads promote wealth and protect the home and increases fertility. Learn more about these minerals and gems in my gemstone guide. 

© 2018 Alyson Toone All Rights Reserved

© 2018 Alyson Toone All Rights Reserved

“Make It Work” piece is literally the embodiment of the phrase, “Make It Work.” That’s life. You just make that shit work. The ups, the downs, the sideways, the back-ways and whatever fucking direction life can turn for you. Just make it work. 

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