Birks and Skirts

I never know when inspiration will hit.

This time it was an image I saw on Pinterest. It reminded me of my sister in law, Lisa. She always picks wildflowers on her walks and then puts them around her house in pretty, little vases.

I knew I wanted to make a big piece with Birkenstocks and socks, so this photo was a great reminder. Part of me was already thinking about a specific art buyer of mine. She loves my work but really wants a piece that is not quite so colorful. So I pulled a bunch of muted fabric and really thought I could produce a piece with grays, tans, pale pink and white. But I just can't help myself. I am not a muted color artist. Needless to say, the end result was not earth tones.

I have been making fabric applique pieces for over ten years now so I have a fairly large collection of textiles.

The cloth used in this piece came from:

  • A flat sheet donated to me by a friend

  • The lining from a tote bag I bought 20 years ago (that was starting to fray)

  • A sari-like housecoat I found at Goodwill

  • Ugly fabric a friend didn't want that I dyed green a few years ago

  • Expensive "designer" fabric I found on Etsy (that I could only justify buying a 1/4 yard of)

  • A few items from the remnants bin at the local fabric store

Here's how I got from an inspiring photo, to a finished piece:

  1. I sketch out the entire piece onto paper the size of the finished canvas and this becomes the pattern

  2. I select all the fabric for each part of the design

  3. Using Wonder Under, I trace each part of the design and then iron onto the fabric

  4. I add textile paint and dye to the fabric

  5. I iron and sew all the parts together

  6. Add more textile paint

  7. Iron more

  8. paint more

  9. Iron again

  10. Stretch everything onto a canvas with a staple gun

Put on your Birkenstocks, socks and skirts and go for a walk. Pick some wildflowers, throw them in your socks, connect to mother earth and let her magic wash over you.

Made from an old bedsheet, a vintage tote bag, hand dyed fabric and cloth scraps that have been dyed, painted and stitched together with love.

Stay Groovy,


p.s. This image is available in all sorts of fun items like prints, mugs, stickers and more. More info here:

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Karen Payton Art      Ventura County, California