Monday, April 13, 2009

My View: Three techniques you'll want to try

If ever you want to be inspired to make your own art quilt or activist art quilt or just make a fun project – these DVDs from Quilting Arts Workshops are for you!

Where to begin!

Lesley Riley, a well known name among fabric and collage artists demonstrates three ways to transfer images onto fabric in her “Transfers Tried and True” DVD. In 45 minutes she gives watchers enough information to try and succeed at the use of transparency transfers using Golden Matte Medium and a foam brush plus burnisher (aka a serving spoon). Also how to make a water transfer using Printworks photo paper and everyday matte photo paper and a mist spray bottle. And last and perhaps the best option – permanent iron-on transfers using TAP (Transfer Artist Paper) and a hot iron. By performing the three methods, she shows watchers the differences in the techniques’ results.

Lesley provides an easy to understand demonstration of transfer techniques as well as tips and troubleshooting to guarantee success. She’s comfortable in front of the camera and clearly articulates the instructions. Lesley also is the author of several helpful books, her most recent is Fabulous Fabric Art with Lutradur.

Perhaps the more messy, hands on, fun kind of transfer begins with Thermofax Screen Printing as demonstrated in Demystifying Thermofax Screen Printing by Claire Fenton. This begins with how to make a thermofax image and ends with Fenton spontaneously printing a third scroll in her New Orleans series. It is fascinating to see how her mind works and to look through her artist’s eye. By the end of the piece I was pointing at the screen suggesting “Put it there, make an image there!”

I so wished I had the paint and cheap little plastic scrapers she buys at the hardware store and could get right in there with her. The scrapers may be the only inexpensive aspect o this process. A thermofax machine, which may not be easy to find, runs around $1000. Tattoo artists are snapping them up on EBay so the reconditioned models are not easy to find. Then the film runs about $175-$300 a roll and up. The Versitex ink starter kit -- $18 or the $255 Thermofax basic kit with · 40 thermal screens, ink, reusable plastic frames, etc.

I understand there are now thermal imagers available new. This technique gives quick results and instant success. Other than being messy, I can see this being a fun project to do with your kids. The Thermofax machine can get hot, but once the transfers are made, the process looks complete safe. And did I mention MESSY!

I suppose you can do this with the transfer techniques Lesley Riley demonstrated, but the thermofax screen prints are reusable. Claire Fenton creatively used parts of photos or manipulated photos on Photoshop before printing out an image to be thermofaxed. She also used headlines and newspaper articles, geometric shapes and images that will reinforce the story she tells with her art. Being creative with the thermofax can incorporate much in the way of found art.Another option would be to pay someone who owns a thermofax machine to make your stencils. Since they are reusable, it might be cost effective.

I did say three ways to be creative and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Judy Coates Perez and her Mixed-media Painted Fabric demonstration. Her technique, more free form, marries clip art and various images with transparent paints.

She adhered, using acrylic gel medium, the clip art and bits of paper – phone book pages and pieces of clothing patterns for example to PFD fabric. Then she began adding color and an overall design using transparent and metallic textile paints, black permanent pen or marker and then adding bits of decorative or handmade papers. She worked in layers as did Fenton working for balance and harmony and a melding of images.

It was spontaneous, yet with an underlying basic image that she had in mind. She will eventually add traditional quilting techniques and machine quilting to her artwork. Perez seems to talk to herself rather than clearly speaking to her watchers. But her actions are self explanatory and she emphasizes the necessary steps. Yet some may find her mumbling a bit disconcerting. The techniques and beautiful finished art speak for themselves.

Prices are reasonable, around $20 each.

1 comment:

lyric said...

It's much easier to just find the image you love and e-mail it to someone who runs a thermofax service. No big outlay of costs and someone else does all the work for you.

Might I humbly offer my own service? ;-)