Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Experiments with Embossing and Derwent Blocks

Lately I've been puttering with new materials: one is embossing powder, and the other, Derwent Inktense Blocks. They are both a lot of fun. the embossing powder is kind of messy, and I have tried it on both paper and fabric, and used both ordinary ink and slow drying ink to adhere it. I have more luck with the ordinary stamp pad ink even though it dries fast, mainly because I can see the image. The slow drying ink is not really is a clear liquid that is kind of oily, so it is hard to tell if the image is where you want it, and if it is fully covered.
The little energy symbol on the bottom left was screen printed, the beige were stamps on recycled teabags, and the top right has a stamp on a batik. The best image was the one done by screen printing an image on fabric using a thermofax screen, then sprinkling on the powder and zapping it with a heat gun. Over the weekend I didn't have my heat gun handy and substituted with a hair dryer--which did not work well at all.
I bought a few inktense pencils recently, and used them on my "Around the World" atcs. They were great--strong color that stayed strong after the pieces dried. So, I splurged and bought some blocks this weekend. They worked pretty well on fabric, and even better on paper. I tried them out on a recycled coffee filter and was pretty happy with the color.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Full Bloom: Painted Peltex SAQA Donation

Every year, SAQA [Studio Art Quilt Associates] has a fundraising auction. I have contributed for the past few years, but this year the deadline snuck up on me. Fortunately, I had an almost finished piece that I felt I could part with. I called it Full Bloom. When I began the piece, I looked at the roses in my garden that were in full bloom. They were so big, colorful and exquisitely scented that I wanted to try and capture their essence. Roses are a common theme in art, in crafts and in advertising. They are a magical flower--they come back year after year even though I do very little to encourage them. The smell of fresh roses is heavenly and enchanting. I am more a painter than a quilter, and began my art career as a fabric designer, so I am always trying to find ways to get my original work onto cloth, rather than using commercial fabric. Many times the paint on fabric comes out too stiff or too rubbery, or it runs and blurs when I don't want it to, and looks wishy-washy when dry. One method that works for me is painting on Peltex with Portfolio water soluble oil pastels. The Peltex, which is like a very heavy, stiff felt, absorbs a lot of the paint, and the piece gets pretty soggy, but when it dries the colors remain bright and the watercolor, painterly effects endure. Varying shades of pink and red thread were used to free motion quilt over the painted Peltex. However, it needed a little more interest, so I used some very delicate commercial silk leaves that were in my supply drawer, and scattered them around the piece. The finishing touches were tiny beads and sequin accents.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lean on Me

One of the members of the art group Roses on My Table sick, so group members are making her an art book of encouragement. The theme is "Lean on Me." I had no idea how to illustrate it, and wasn't feeling very poetic. I decided to represent the theme by using vintage images from In photoshop, I collaged some royalty free images of two women sharing a cup of tea and added vintage roses and, to symbolize the healing power of art, paintbrushes. The background is a scanned image of my faux lace, made from printing on recycled teabags. After I printed it and mounted it on heavy cardboard, I spritzed some gold on the piece, added modge podge for shine, and finished it with a little snippet of my favorite sheer lace from M&J Trim.

Discovering Heat Embossing Using Stamps

My "Around the World" ATCs, made by collaging vintage images from The Graphics Fairy maps and methods of travel in Photoshop, looked a little boring. I needed to do something to make them a little different. I remembered that I had purchased some white embossing powder about five years ago, and tried it once--unsuccessfully. I decided to give it another go, and tested it with a few different stamps on various scraps of paper.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the small white grains rise, melt, and turn into a shiny white image. I tested all kinds of stamps, and finally settled on some Chinese characters; I used the symbols for Joy and for Fortunate. Anyone who can travel around the world is certainly fortunate, and would probably be filled with joy, so it seemed appropriate. The directions [which I never bothered to read when I bought the embossing powder] said to use slow drying ink. I don't know what that is, so I used a commercial stamp in yellow and quickly covered it with powder before it could dry. I then zapped it with my heat gun. I got a nice shiny white raised surface, which completely covered the yellow stamp.
I added some watercolor pencils and splattered gold paint to age the ATCs, then finished them with a little modge podge for shine. The embossing powder is a great discovery--when I try overprinting with white on bright colors, it looks wishy-washy. Even using white screen printing ink over a dark color looks a little blah. My next step is to try the embossing powder on fabric, on painted tyvek, and to find the slow drying shop around for some more colors of the magical embossing powder.