Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Fabric, What? The Visual English Alphabet.

Ok, so this fabric has been in the works forrrrrrrEVER. Gestation period of an elephant, folks. Back story, commence!
When I was a kid, I saved up for months to buy an ASL (American Sign Language) Dictionary. I had this idea that I would buy it, become fluent, and be super-awesome. I had a lot of these scenarios in my head when I was a kid, and I don't know where some of them came from. Weaving Kente-cloth! Making pottery out of mud! Learning Egyptian hieroglyphs! I was weird and dorky, and spent a lot of time alone in my room, none of which I regret.
But, back to the story- I learned to fingerspell, (or the ASL alphabet, or Visual English) and would do it when I got bored, secretly spelling the words  being spoken to me as fast as I could. I'm sure I was sloppy, and most likely wrong, but as it was never actually used as communication, it didn't make much of a difference.

As far as signing actual words, though, I didn't get very far. Firstly because I am INFINITELY better at starting things than following through with them, and secondly because I didn't actually know anyone who used ASL. Learning a language is difficult enough, but becomes exponentially more so when you only have yourself to "talk" to. Muscle memory (like they say, riding a bike), is powerful, though- so the alphabet stuck with me.
So over a year ago, I drew out this ASL alphabet, scanned it, and then abandoned it. I was working other more "pressing" designs, and so it sat. But when I decided to have some fabric screenprinted for the etsy shop, I knew that this was the design to start with. I love the many different hands, the subtlety and gracefulness of the gestures and how they play together. They communicate; they are a sign, they point to meaning. (But they don't spell anything. I checked: gotta be careful with random letter placement.

 So here it is, my first foray into the world of screenprinted textiles! I'm kinda partial to them, so I hope you dig them, too. Info, including size and care instructions is located on the etsy listings. Six colors are available, though the supply of some colors is fast dwindling. The prints were hand screenprinted right here in scenic Kansas City by Printosaurus, fine folks as well as fine printers. Check 'em out.
Red Orange
Orange
Yellow


Pea Green
Blue
Slate
And in other news, I am currently sitting at 999 etsy sales, which means it smells like giveaway time. The 1000th (non-calendar) customer will be getting a little something extra, and tomorrow (or thereabouts) I'll be giving away a cute little something I've whipped up here on ye olde blogge! (Yeah, that's how medieval villagers spelled blog. I dare you to find evidence to prove me wrong.)

18 comments:

teaginny said...

this has got to be some of your best work to date! amazing.

Kim said...

Love it! Just placed my order in your shop. My son is going to love this!

Nikki McDonald said...

Very cute! I love this.

Caitlin said...

ohmyjeez! I love it!! I've got the alphabet down, too, and maybe a handful of words. I actually did a craft show a the Kansas School for the Deaf a couple of years ago, and I was the only hearing vendor. It was *super* awkward at first, but the people there were happy to help me communicate with them. It was also really interesting to watch the signing all over the room and to realize that by the end of the day, I actually understood some of it!

Extra awesome stuff, Lauren. High 5's all around :)

rachel said...

Love it, love it, love it all. And I can finger spell too......

Shea said...

Lauren, I am with Alex. Your best work to date. I can't tell you how much I love this!!

ScrappyStuff said...

omg - YOU did become super awesome!
I love it - (
looking for the *like* button!)
... heading over to order! ...
Leave some for me!
- my kids are gonna love this, cuz we are all dorks too!
-- oh, and i confuse deaf ppl when i fingers pell! ... they have trouble with my creative phonetics!

ScrappyStuff said...

*finger Spell* ...
(i'm special)

craftytammie said...

that is so cool! i tried to learn ASL when our oldest was a baby - it is a bit strange signing to yourself. i'm sure my finger spelling would crack up a deaf person. and then they'd hand me a pen and sign please stop.

**nicke... said...

i need some of this!

Elizabeth said...

Fabulous fabric!! I used to know a lot of ASL because my mom taught it at K-State for awhile. But my mind doesn't save information long-term, so it is gone.

I can't wait to make my mom a bag with this, it's awesome!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

It's fascinating ! A young cousin decided to go to classes a few years ago , became quite fluent and met loads of interesting people , hearing and non-hearing . She'll love this .

Sandy a la Mode said...

love how colorful and whimsical these are! congrats on 1000 sales!

Jenny said...

This is really awesome! Can I get a swatch from you? Pretty please!

emedoodle said...

These are so fabulous!!! Off to check your etsy store!

JulzVP said...

That fabric is beyond amazing. Proud to know you in real life. or IRL as I always say.

Kari said...

What a strange coincidence . . . I, too, dreamed of learning ASL and I, too, learned the alphabet and no more and I, too, will randomly spell out the words I'm hearing (still do--at my side, under the table, etc.) especially when I'm nervous and fidgety. Wow. Thought I was the only one.

Chara Michele said...

These are awesome! But made even more so by the great story behind the fabric! :)