Liz Plummer’s Train Ticket Art Project


Liz Plummer is a textile artist and surface pattern designer based in the UK, and has undertaken an wonderfully inspiring project that “illustrates the benefits of committing to do at least one piece of art each day, however small.” Read on to learn about Liz’s amazing train ticket project!


“About 6 months ago, in order to spark my creativity and inspiration, I started making art on used train tickets, challenging myself to complete one a day. At first I meant to continue just until the end of the year, but didn’t really think I’d keep it up that long! That was the only rule: I could doodle, print, paint, stitch or whatever I felt like doing each particular day; and I posted them on Instagram under the hashtag #trainticketart. I prepared by painting gesso over all the tickets I had collected over the last few years. As it was easy just to pick up a pen and a ticket and draw whatever came into my head in that particular minute, and due to the small size of the tickets (in the UK they are about 2″ by 3”) the ‘no rules’ decision prevented me from agonizing too much and thus procrastinating. Over the last few months the project has become a way to explore motifs which I could potentially include in my pattern designs and artwork. They are in effect my sketchbook. They have given me an indication of my style, the colours I like to use and the subject material (a lot of floral and nature themes!).


Quite often I start by painting several tickets at once with leftover paint from other projects, monoprinting or stamping with homemade stamps, then finish each ticket by looking to see what design is suggested by the shape of the paint, texture or print and drawing them out using black pens, parallel pens or a white gel pen, often while watching tv in the evening. I’ve discovered that this unpredictability is what I love about the process and is the way I work best and so intend to carry this over into my approach to pattern design. Sometimes I just get my Pilot parallel pens out and make repeated marks or I find inspiration from doodles drawn in the margins of shopping lists and notebooks.


I’m in a local arts group and we exhibited together in April; I decided to show my altered train tickets which gave me a further motivation to carry on making them. I stitched them together into rows, there were about 350 of them by that time (yes, more than one a day!), arranged roughly by colour or value and theme. Viewed from a distance they looked almost like a pieced fabric wallhanging. When the exhibition ended, I was hooked and joined the 100 day project on Instagram to continue my #trainticketart!


Here are a few links to my work: (posts specifically about my train ticket project) – by scanning the #trainticketart at a high resolution I have made some of them available for sale there, as well as a lot of my other patterns.


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