Postcard Swap

The postcard swap iHanna is running is in full swing! I got my postcard list today, and I’m ready to go. Here are the postcards I made, grouped by color or subject.

RedI made two predominantly red postcards. Red is way out of my comfort zone for me, I own no clothing or shoes in red. So I had to try it. Watercolor and pen.

PearsThen I made three pears, also in watercolor and when I got tired of pears, I resorted to a horned toad, because one of the names I got was in Switzerland and they probably haven’t seen one of those.

FeathersFinally, I did a words-and-image with feathers and, of course, to complete the group, a bird. All of them are watercolors–the Brusho dye colors I wrote about earlier. I’m loving this medium for its unpredictability. Hope they travel well!

diy-postcard-button-2014-5If you’ve counted, you’ll see there are nine and 10 are needed for the swap. I have another pear and another feather, but there was going to be too much of a good thing. Can’t wait to see the other postcards! (You can get a sneak peek here).

—Quinn McDonald loves a good postcard swap.


Postcard Play

The busy and focued iHanna is doing another postcard swap. Having missed the last one, I signed up for this one. You can sign up till April 28, 2014.

Not being able to decide on one direction, I chose two completely different types of cards, and made about half a dozen of each. The requirement was 10, but making two extra gives me some choices–or two extra postcards to send to someone else. If you’ve been reading this blog, you know how much I love making and sending postcards.

Here are some of the chicken series. All these cards still need to be pressed flat.

card1This one is made from a constellation atlas. The red parts are Monsoon papers.

card2Another chicken collaged from hand-printed papers and a bit of Monsoon paper (the grass.)

card3The chicken body is made of suminagashi-printed paper. The beak, comb and wattle are hand-printed papers from a Gelli Plate. The grass is a section of Monsoon paper.

The other series are ink drops on watercolor paper. When they dried, I printed quotes on them.

card4The quote: “It’s hard to have a life of creation if you have created a life of maintenance.” –Barbara Winter

card5Another quote that speaks to the work of creativity. “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” –Roald Dahl

Quinn McDonald believes in magic and chooses the rockier life of creativity over maintenance. She is easily bored but also easily amused. She is the author of The Inner Hero Creative Art Journal.

Perfectionist Makes a Postcard

postcard1Flipping through the completed postcards I’d made for iHanna’s international postcard swap, I decided two of them weren’t good enough. The Inner Critic agreed with me, so I sat down this afternoon to make a few more cards.

While I had fun, nothing turned out well enough to include in a postcard swap. The Splash ink explorations led to experiments, but nothing worth putting on a card. The new paper just in for my class in Sedona is colorful, but the card wasn’t special.

landscapeI know that any time in the studio is time well spent, and since tonight was trash take-out night, I cleaned up and picked up the paper towels to throw in the trash. There was a blue and purple one and a green and yellow one from the Splash Inks. And. . . the blue and purple one looked like sky, and the green and yellow one looked like a line of trees on one side.

I tore the paper towels into shapes, added a piece of handmade paper, and  made a postcard from them. The poured acrylic from last week, which was nicely dry, became the moon. I sewed over the edge and there was the last of the postcards, ready to send out. No time in the studio is wasted, ever.

Here are eight of the 12 postcards I made:

The brown/orange ones (mostly):


And the  blue-red ones:


Quinn McDonald is still arm-wrestling with her Inner Critic. He won’t like the new book, either.

Postcard Fabric

I was already on my way to the check-out counter when I saw the fabric. It was straight out of the 70s–polyester, shiny, with a gold gleam, and in colors that made my eyes water 10 feet away–red and orange. And I loved it.

Now, I have a streak of bad taste. Sometimes there is nothing like sequins, shiny fabric, and rhinestones to set the mood. Yes, this is odd for someone whose favorite colors in journaling are sepia and black. Payne’s Gray is way out there for me. But this one looked like a lava flow, a gleaming spill of heat, or, well, a Sonoran Desert sunset.

The fabric was not to wear, it caught my eye because I’m participating in iHanna’s postcard swap. (You have till March 24, 2013 to sign up). I’ve participated before and find it my duty as a Sonoran desert-dweller to make at least three of the cards with an image of a saguaro cactus standing in our red-orange sunsets.

Last year one of the recipients didn’t think it was possible to have a plant that looked like a saguaro, and another one thought I’d sent her a postcard of a pickle in tomato brine, but hey, it’s all good fun.

Here are four of the completed cards:

Polyester fabric, ink on paper.

Polyester fabric, ink on paper.

I still have to stitch around the edges to finish the fabric. The texture of the fabric, and the gold shimmer only shows at a different angle, but you get the idea.

Ink on paper (cactus), marbled paper, dark blue fabric with sparkles.

Ink on paper (cactus), marbled paper, dark blue fabric with sparkles.

This postcard is layered–marbled paper, the cactus, and sheer navy fabric with sparkles. This one needs to be edged, too.

Acrylic paint on watercolor, cut out type.

Acrylic paint on watercolor, cut out type.

All the postcards are abstracts, and I like the way the paint mixed.

paper collage on inked watercolor, poem.

paper collage on inked watercolor, poem.

Another favorite Lorna Crozier poem, “Twilight Angel.” I always wonder what people think when they get a postcard like this.

–Quinn McDonald is working on more than one project at a time.

Report on the Postcard Swap

When I signed up for iHanna’s postcard swap, (see the results of all the swaps)  I wanted to try a new swap idea: very few duplicates. I’ve also started to receive my swaps; you can see them on the bottom of this blog post.

When I saw my list of swappers, three of them were overseas. So I made three of these:

This saguaro cactus has a fruit set on it. The Tohono O’odoham Indians harvest these fruits as part of their ecology/economy. They make syrup and candy from the fruit. And then, as part of a gratitude ceremony, they ferment some of the juice for the annual rain-calling ceremony. To indicate the heat, I covered the image with a sheer red-and-orange fabric and sewed around the edges.

Monsoon paper had to appear on one of the cards. This one is a piece of Monsoon Paper that looks like a night sky. Around the edge it says, “The stars are always in the sky, but are visible only in the dark of night.” I love the idea that the bright twinkly stars are always there, but we can only see them when the light fails.

There is something about foreign language type I find mysterious. Here is a card divided into thirds—Japanese, Russian and Hebrew. The strips that separate them are Braille paper. I love the idea of different ways to communicate. The circle is mica.

I have some Braille paper, so I made two postcards with that wonderfully textured paper.

This one is woven with irregular pieces.

This one is more of an underwater fantasy. I added some glitter, but it doesn’t show up well on a scan.

I thought that someone may have use for a very small bulletin board, so this one is made of cork, edged in copper tape. There is room in the bottom right-hand corner to use as a coaster for your drink. Hope this one makes it through the mail.

I made two found-poetry cards. Only one is shown here–the one about secrets. I love making the inked background on these.

So far, I’ve received four cards:

This card with three button flowers and stitching arrived in an envelope to protect the buttons. I love the color combination; the flowers seem just right for Spring. Thanks, Amy!

This one is mysteriously meaningful in mixed media, mixed messages. Batman sneaks a peek out of a bright red poppy, sewn onto the card. A piece of heavy lace is attached to the right side. Does Batman have a sensitive side? What astonished me is that this card survived the trip from Sweden! Thanks, Charlotta!

This big card is a visual stunner. The background is squares cut out of text. The bright red lips are cut out of a magazine. And the rest of the woman is drawn in black marker. It took me a fraction of a second to see it all, and the shift as I understood the card made me smile. Thanks, Lena from Sweden!

This card arrived just in time to be included in this blog. At first I thought it was a pencil point at the bottom, but Gail explained that she often want kayaking, and gets the nose of her kayak in the photo. It made sense to include it in the card. The quote on the front is from Rick Bass, the American writer and environmentalist. It says:

“If it’s wild to your own heart, protect it. Preserve it. Love it. And fight for it, and dedicate yourself to it, whether it’s a mountain range, your wife, your husband, or even (god forbid) your job. It doesn’t matter if it’s wild to anyone else: if it’s what makes your heart sing, if it’s what makes your days soar like a hawk in the summertime, then focus on it. Because for sure, it’s wild, and if it’s wild, it’ll mean you’re still free. No matter where you are.”

Clever and a great card, Gail!

These swaps are a rewarding challenge. If you’ve never done one before, dive into the next one you find. They are a lot of fun!

—Quinn McDonald is a creativity coach and writer who loves art journaling in any form.

Postcards for a Swap

One of my must-read blogs is iHanna–and she is running a postcard swap again this year. Last year, the group made 2,800 cards, and this year, joining seemed to be loaded with potential, so I signed up. I’m making a lot of loose leaf pages for an art journal, so postcards are not that different.

First, I asked artist Bo Mackison if I could use Pottery Row, one of her Southwest photographs, to alter and work with. Lucky for me, Bo is generous and said yes.  The first thing I did was print out the photo on a piece of cotton fabric and ironed it on a piece of paper. To make sure it stayed, I zig-zag stitched around the edge. Thanks for art-pal Rosaland  Hannibal who taught me how to zig-zag to make a good-looking edge.

Bo Mackison's photo printed on cotton fabric, then stitched to watercolor paper.

The image looks soft because it’s printed on fabric. I like the sweep of color; it looks like a watercolor painting.

Next, I isolated one of the pots and printed it off in different sizes. I combined it with a disc of mica and placed it on top of an inked page.

Printed photographs, mica, ink-stained pages, stitching.

The curve of the pots seemed so interesting, I wanted to focus on them. For the next card, I printed out the single pot in a series of sizes and different papers and overstitched them, using an undulating stitch that mimics a paper cut-out I use frequently. (It appears on pgs. 63, 90-91 in my book, Raw Art Journaling.)

Photographic print, stitched onto watercolor paper.

The pot series may continue, but I wanted to try some other objects. Peacock feathers are a favorite object of mine. I bought one and took the dye out, and then bleached it. The effect is interesting on a wonderful subtle fabric that blends several browns and a hint of blue.

Peacock feather on fabric.

Now I needed some more color. Rosaland taught me to save all the clean-up paper towels and see what they look like dry. One was soaked in bright colors. I trimmed off a piece, attached it to watercolor paper, and stitched over it in bright colors. This technique will get a lot more exploration, but this first try is fun.

Dyed paper towel stitched on watercolor paper.

iHanna’s swap will require 10 postcards, and I may not use these, but it’s a great beginning. I also recently joined Postcrossing, and while I haven’t found someone who wants to exchange handmade postcards, I’m enjoying sending Arizona postcards to people around the world.

Quinn McDonald is deeply absorbed in mixed media art journal pages. She will be teaching these and other techniques at Valley Ridge Art Studio on May 5-6, 2012. There is still room in the class.

Postcard Swap

Lynn organized the postcard swap–a postcard in any medium, with a positive affirmation. How could I resist? So off I went to make five postcards. I’ve been fussing quite a bit with markers lately, and have decided that my medium of choice is collage. I love markers, and certainly use them–especially my Pitt pens and brushes. For versatility of expression, I prefer collage. I love finding words and colors that suit the card and playing around with the image. I’m sure the card would look tidier if I used rubber-stamp letters, but if I’m making a card, it’s going to have my hand-lettering on it, warts and all.

“The stars are always in the sky, but are visible only in the dark.” (left)   I like the red sky and towering dark canyons. We never feel lonelier than when our fear-closet opens at night, and this card shows the constellation of the hunter Orion. He’s been my companion and protector for a long time, so he was honored on this card. Acrylic paint, poster paint markers, ink on watercolor paper.

“Stand in your own light.” It’s the slogan of my coaching practice, because I see so many creative people standing in the shadows, or in the reflected light of people they think are more worthy. It’s time to come out of the shadow and stand in your own light. Ink, acrylic paint, Pitt pens and markers on watercolor paper.

“Celebrate Everything”  There are too many things to drag you down. Celebrate everything you can, whenever you can. The body of the candle says “Art as a second language.” I love that phrase, so it created the source of the candlelight. Ink, acrylic, paper, watercolor pencil, Pitt pen on watercolor paper.




“See the world with new ears.” (below, right) Life opens anew for us when we look, hear, feel, touch everyday with all our senses in different ways. There is so much to savor in a day. Page from music text, magazine paper, pencil, Pitt pen on watercolor paper.

“Woven life.” (below) I used a cantered piece of type as a background when I noticed the line of type that made a wonderful sentence–affirmative and strong.  “Trust that those who are unprotected have rights to basic sustenance.” It shows again that all our lives are interwoven. So I put a piece of weaving on the card as well. Paper, alcohol marker on watercolor paper.

–Quinn McDonald is a life- and certified creativity coach who also writes and creates art. © Quinn McDonald, 2010.