Yes, every family get-together starts with “May I still call you Motte?” – “Are you too old to be called Motte?” – “Is it ok if I…”
It never bugged me much (See what I did here? Oh wait, you can’t, I haven’t explained. Just stick with me!). It was only when my family moved to Germany that I realized that it was not the most favorable name.
I remember when my friend tried to call me at my house. My mom picked up the phone and my friend asked to speak to me. My mom then proceeded to holler MOTTE! down the hallway. I think my friend went into a bit of a nervous state of anticipatory incertitude. She wasn’t quite sure who or what was going to pick up the phone and nervous to find out, because she for sure didn’t call for a Motte!...
Because you see, Motte is in fact the German word for moth.
I would here like to take a moment to send a warm, although somewhat belated apology to my friend who for a few scary moments of her life lived in fear of a winged insect that could not only pick up telephone receivers, but also speak into them. I’m still waiting for her to become a famous screen writer and send me her first draft of Planet of the Moths.
However, I’m pleased to say that, although I can’t definitively say the same for my friend, I still feel warmly about my family nickname.
Moths belong to the family of the butterflies, are beautifully colorful and they can fly. Sounds pretty wonderful to me! I imagine them going on crazy adventures soaring up high above water lilies on moss-colored water or, you know, munching on your favorite sweater in the closet. What I’m saying is, I can relate, clearly. Minus the hairy legs. Definitely.
So in honor of my moth-ness, I created these beautiful throw-pillow covers. I’m really pleased about how they turned out!
I started by drawing simple geometric shapes onto a plain white pillow case with colored markers. Make sure to place a thick (!) sheet of cardboard in between the two layers of the case to keep the colors from bleeding through to the back of the pillow.
I then simply added a few drops of rubbing alcohol and watched the colors bleed into each other and spread across the fabric creating a watercolor effect.
Truthfully, I was slightly disappointed that the paints didn’t spread more. So for the second wing, I really layered on the colors which worked slightly better.
Generally, I found the lighter colors did not spread as well as the darker ones. But I love how the colors change slightly when bleeding into one another. The black bleeds into blue. The purple ends in pink tips. Mixing blue and yellow creates green, obviously. On my second pillow the purple and black created a tiny, beautiful auburn-gold strip where the two colors meet.
I wasn’t completely satisfied with the upper wings so after I let them dry I repeated the whole process to add some more blobs.
At this point I did think the painting looked a bit like a kindergarten project and was slightly disappointed not to be looking at a masterpiece (although I for one did create masterpieces in kindergarten, naturally!), but I tried not to mess with it anymore and let it dry completely. I then went ahead and ironed the whole thing to set the color.
I used a black fabric pen to draw on the outlines of my moth motif. It helps to place a drawing of the motif underneath the first layer of the case. This also makes it easier to figure out the placing of the motif. However, I find it looks best if you try not to overthink it and the two layers don’t line up perfectly.
What really makes the drawing come to life are the details, so I experimented a bit with those before ironing once more, adding a few lines here, a couple of swirls there until I was happy with the outcome. And I am definitely happy!
I went straight ahead to making another one.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
- pillow case
- colored markers
- fabric pen
- rubbing alcohol