Sheets for Tolu

Adinkra symbol printed sheets for Tolu

A friend of ours recently got married. She is a dear sweet girl we knew since she was a fresh-faced 18 yr old college freshman. I can’t really remember how we met her (I’m sure it had to do with  open mics and poetry).  Somehow we bonded and became sort of  her surrogate family-away-from-home and we had the privilege of watching her blossom into a lovely young lady. When she got married over this past summer, we unfortunately could not make it due to some extenuating circumstances.

I decided to print her a set of sheets as a wedding present. We share a love of Adinkra symbols so I figured I’d print her sheets with the adinkra symbol for “Love.” I also interpolated the design with typography to spell out the word ‘love’ but shaped to look like the symbol. Look closely to see what I mean.  I knew this would be the ultimate wedding present and it would also give me a chance to flex my printing skills. I had been dying to print sheets since I saw this done in one of my favorite books “Printing by Hand” by Lena Corwin. I even have dreams of offering this on my shop one day.

I found a great set of sheets I wanted to print on. They were white buttery soft Egyptian Cotton 310 count. I was excited and a little scared to print on them, since ANY mistake means I have to buy another set and start over (or so I thought). It all started out well enough.  I was printing in repeat, so of course this required a bit of planning…which is not my strong suit.  This is what I started with:

This is where it started...

I decided to kind of wing it, which is never advised for this kind of work. Everything went well till the second to last repeat…then disaster struck. I went to put down my squeegee and splattered the paint onto my nice white substrate! I did what you shouldn’t do in this situation, which is panic. I started trying to wipe up the the paint, which only made it worse. I was so busy trying to fix this mistake I didn’t get a chance to take a picture. Frustrated, I decided to finish the printing anyway and think of a fix later.

This is my attempt to scrub out the paint.

You can see how this might not make a good present. I racked my brain on how to salvage my project. I thought about buying a whole new set of sheets and starting over, but I knew there had to be a more inspired solution.  Doing a whole new set means throwing this one out (since it doesn’t fit my bed). You might not know this, but I detest waste. Two days later I hit on a genius idea. Dye.  Instead of white sheets, she would have sunny-yellow sheets. And that is what I did. I think it came out really well, and might even be better than the original white.

After much delay, she received her present, and her and beloved LOVED it.

sheets ready to go

3 thoughts on “Sheets for Tolu

    • AfroMartha says:

      thank you! It was a fun (if somewhat frustrating) project, but I guess we learn the most not from the easy projects, but the ones that challenge us.

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