Thursday, July 26, 2018

Silvia Souza's Prayer Flags for a Friend

In Northern Virginia, there is a wealth of both thrift stores and consignment shops.  My favorite thrift stores near home are the Good Shepherd Alliance’s Hope’s Treasures and the Salvation Army.  But to really delve into thrift store shopping, I love doing the rounds in Fredericksburg with artist Leslie Brier, who is a seeker of treasures extraordinaire! Lastly, we are fortunate in this area to have Upcycle in Alexandria- not a thrift store exactly but a resource for artists, teachers and others who prefer recycling donated materials. You pay a yearly membership and can take as much as you want each visit.  But my treasure seeking for this project was further from home.

I was visiting my sister in North Carolina and I forced her to take me to Durham’s Scrap Exchange. WOW! Room upon room of goodies, including lots of medical and construction stuff with classroom space and a gallery! Upcycle/thrift on steroids! My sister would normally never step into a place like this but she had a great time making fun of how thrilled I was. I would walk down the aisles, see something cool, then turn around and get excited by the next ‘shiny’ thing.

Scrap Exchange- Durham, NC
Gallery in Scrap Exchange

I walked away with just one boxful, but on the next visit, I need to get pipettes and other lab stuff! Not that I need it! I returned to my studio, undergoing reorganization, and while my husband hung shelves and put wheels on carts I found one little corner of a table to start my commemorative project.
Shell fabric and lace purchased for project
I have an amazing friend, who late in the spring finally got a diagnosis for a persistent “cold and cough”.  It was the worst possible scenario, cancer with open heart surgery required. Unique cancer at that! This magnificent woman has faced this challenge with grit, courage, incredible humor, expansive grace, strength beyond compare and an indomitable spirit.  I would like to honor her with prayer flags that speak to how in awe of her I am.

I found some 7 Gypsies banner flags I had in the studio, a Sharpie Stained fabric marker in hot pink and three StencilGirl products, Terri Stegmiller’s Slices (L118) and Jane Dunnewold’s Lyrical Leaves and Moths (L519 and L520).

I used the stencils as templates and traced out the shapes.  I then colored in half of them.

I dug out some foam stamps I’ve had for eons and composed the words I wanted to use. I was missing some letters and tried to get creative with interpreting them- I made an error in the placement of a p- but I think I will be forgiven, besides she might be amused by sqirit! I taped the letters together for better stamping.  Using an ink pad I stamped the words on.

I placed one of the lace trims I had found in NC in a plastic bag with a few squirts of 2 alcohol ink colors and mushed.  This did not keep my hands inkless as hoped. Dyeing might have been better!
Once dried I sewed the flags into a garland with the lace.  Then applied a pink ribbon on top of that.

I took apart part of the shell fabric I had also found in NC and using embroidery floss and iridescent glass beads added the embellishments.

I hope she will like it!


  1. What a meaningful project! Love this.

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