This French market tea towel is inspired by a Steinlen lithograph and is hand printed, hand painted, and washable.
I recently adapted an 1890s lithograph poster by Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen advertising cocoa and tea sold by "Compagnie Francaise des Chocolats et des Thes," the French Chocolate and Tea Company, for a tea towel. My process for hand painting is below.
I decided I liked the design better with a colored table cloth.
I found the poster in a fantastic book called "Posters of Paris." I highly recommend.
I debuted this Moulin Rouge T-shirt at East Austin Studio Tour this month.
Since I wanted to the design to have crisp edges, I taped off the design space on the T-shirt before I started working. I sketched the image onto the shirt with pencil, using Toulouse-Lautrec's original Parisian ad poster as my inspiration. I painted the black lines onto the fabric with a brush using Golden High Flow Acrylic Paint and then spot colored the design it with acrylic paint mixed with textile medium. Textile medium makes the paint more part of the fabric, as opposed to sitting on top of the fabric; it also keeps it from cracking when washed. Before I was done, I turned random ink spot drips into an all-over subtle splatter paint. Who says "accidents" can't be fun? :)
I recently painted some Parisian poster-inspired flour sack tea towels for a gift. I used a fantastic 1890s lithograph by Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen called "La Rue," or "the street," which was created to showcase the talents of one of the leading poster printers of his day, Charles Vernau. Here is the complete original lithograph of the hustle and bustle of workers and business people on the busy Parisian street:
Here is me playing with a copy of the original, followed by the finished product:
My altered draft version, from working on top of a copy of the original lithograph. I cropped it and enhanced some colors and thickened up some lines.
Honestly, I think I like my "draft" version on paper better than the finished product on fabric, but it's still cool. And yes, acrylic paint with textile medium will stay on the fabric, even if you wash it in hot water and dry it in a hot dryer. So you can actually use your pretty towels. Or impress your friends with them at your next food gathering.
I got this material from a fantastic book called "Posters of Paris." I highly recommend.
Lately I've been a little obsessed with Parisian advertising posters from the 1890s., like this one: "Paris Alamanach," by Georges de Feure, which advertises a guide to Parisian attractions.
I love this woman striking a pose in her fur-lined cape with her tour guide, ready to take the Paris streets by storm, as men in top hats bustle behind her. It would be great fun to be transported in time and be her for a day. I love the composition and the strange color choices of fatigue green and pink.
I've started drawing on T-shirts with high-flow acrylic paint. Here's my wearable version of "Paris Almanach":
I would love to have seen the 1890s Paris streets covered in posters by artists like Feure and Talouse-Lautrec.
A printmaking process called lithography had just been invented. While printing presses could only product a dozen images a day, with lithography, they could produce thousands.
Lithography originally used an image drawn with oil, fat, or wax onto the surface of a smooth, level limestone "plate." The stone was treated with a mixture of acid and gum arabic, which would eat into, or etch, the portions of the stone not protected by the grease-based image. When the stone was subsequently moistened, these etched areas retained water; an oil-based ink could then be applied, which would be repelled by the water, and stick only to the original drawing. The ink would finally be transferred to a blank sheet of paper, and thus printed.
People loved the posters. Some would steal them for their own personal collections.
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