Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dare to Be an Artist—Art Quilt and Tutorial

After making my first Zetti-inspired ATCs a few weeks ago, I felt the need to go bigger. The little ATCs (2.5” x 3.5”) seemed too small to show all the detail. I also felt, for the first time in a very long time, inspired to do a series from my Zetti ATCs. Fortunately, I had designed them in Photoshop at 5” x 7” with a pretty high dpi, so enlarging them was not a problem.   I wanted to translate them into fabric and combine them with my own fabric designs, which I printed at Spoonflower a couple years ago. This is the first piece I did. Another Zetti art quilt is finished, and two more are cut and pinned.  I haven’t decided if I will keep them as separate pieces or put them together into one big piece. Here is a little tutorial if anyone is wondering “Hmmmm…how the heck did she make that?”

 1-Find images you like, either of your own, or some royalty free clip art. I used two Graphics Fairy images http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/, the teacup and the bird, and combined them with some of my original artwork that I scanned—a small painting called Mystery Woman of the Flowers and a pink monoprint. I also used a b/w harlequin on the left, which is a pattern from adobe illustrator, and the b/w positive/negative “expanded square” on the right, also known as a notan, is my own design.

 2-Combine the designs in photoshop or similar program. I used a soft brush eraser to take out the background from the teacup and bird, arranged the bird on the edge of the cup, and arranged the cup on the head of the mystery woman. I put the pink monoprint in the background and the notan and harlequin on the sides.

 3-Add any words you choose in fonts that please your eye. I added the words in photoshop.

 4-I was working in photoshop and saving it as I went along as a TIFF, which allowed me to have different layers for each image that I could adjust as needed. When I was done, I saved the image as a jpeg.

 5-The artwork I made for the ATCs was 5” x 7”, and I wanted to make the art quilt larger, so I increased the size in photoshop so that it would fit on an 8.5” x 11” paper in my inkjet printer. My printer cuts off about ¼” on all sides, and about ½” on the bottom, so I sized to 8” x about 10.25” so that nothing would be wasted. [NOTE: You can also do a drawing or painting that is about 8.5” x 11”, scan it, and print it out of an inkjet printer.]

6-I flipped the enlarged jpeg image in photoshop, then printed the flipped design out on Avery t-shirt heat transfer sheets.

7-I trimmed the white edge, and ironed the design to 100% kona cotton—heat only, no steam.

8-After it cooled, I peeled away the backing. You can also use printable cotton or silk sheets, but you do not need to flip the image. With the t-shirt transfer sheets, the finished design feels thick and rubbery, but the colors are brighter than with printable cotton or silk. NOTE: Please do NOT iron the design once you have transferred it to cotton. It will melt and be ruined!

9-Next, I chose strips to edge the piece. I used 1.5” pieces of various cotton fabrics and puttered with them until I found an arrangement I liked, then pinned them together.

10-I used some felt-like batting behind the design and a piece of cotton to back the quilt and create the “quilt sandwich”. Next, I carefully pinned all the layers together.

11-I used a zigzag stitch to connect the middle to the fabric strips, a straight stitch to quilt the middle, and a random curvy stitch to add a little visual interest and give it loft.

12-I trimmed the piece and used a machine blanket stitch on the outside edges.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Making Zetti-Style ATCs Using Photoshop

At the end of 2011, when the list of ATC themes for my Roses On My Table ATC group were posted, the November theme was Zetti. Zetti? What? Never heard of it. Well, I Googled information and images and fell in love. I couldn't wait to give it a try. The Zetti style came from artist Teesha Moore. http://www.teeshamoore.com/ She has a unique style that combines black and white graphic elements like stripes and harlequin diamonds with punchy color and writing. The style really appealed to me...but it turned out to not be as easy as I thought. My first attempts were pretty clumsy--I didn't have the supplies I wanted handy, and couldn't find the right colors, my markers ran, my paper was lumpy. I was seriously disappointed after waiting months to give it a try. Then I hit on the idea of working in Photoshop, and mixing scanned jpegs of my own artwork with vintage clipart from The Graphics Fairy. http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com/ I added a photo of me as a 5-year old and a favorite photo of my dog Coco--also known as the "pink pup" http://lindaedkinswyatt.blogspot.com/2008/10/pink-pup.html from the day he "helped" me dye some soy batiks. It was a good chance to revisit some of my own favorite old images: Broken Chakra Girl http://lindaedkinswyatt.blogspot.com/2008/07/broken-chakra-girl-for-saqa.html and Panic Portrait, which I wrote about in my Cloth Paper Scissors http://www.clothpaperscissors.com/ article "Painting Out the Panic" a few year ago, as well as Mystery Woman of the Flowers, which I made a big quilt of and also make small quilted pieces for Art O Mat. http://www.artomat.org/ I found some good black and white patterns in Adobe Illustrator and puttered with combining all the elements into a Zetti piece. I have been in a bit of a funk artistically, but now feel inspired to try some larger pieces and incorporate fabrics and stitch...maybe not huge pieces, but certainly bigger than 2.5" x 3.5" ATCs.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Birthday Birds

September's theme for my Arts in the Cards ATC exchange group was pear. We have been working with only color prompts in 2012, and some of them, like rain and dew, have been rather abstract. Even pear can be many shades--red, golden, yellow, or green. It was tempting to do some pieces with little paintings of pears, but I stopped myself from being too literal and just went with pear as a color. These ATCs started with a discarded painting. About a year ago I made some “Balancing My Chakras in a Hurricane” ATCs. http://lindaedkinswyatt.blogspot.com/2011/08/balancing-my-chakras-in-hurricane.html On hurricane day, I also made another painting—of sort of undulating rainbow colors—but I didn’t really like it, and stuck it in a pile in my studio. One recent Sunday afternoon, I pulled it out thinking I could paint on the other side of the paper. With the pear color theme in mind, I decided to try out some new stamps using yellow printmaking ink. I tested a fleur de lis pattern on top of the rainbow watercolor: somewhat of an improvement, but not really special, but I went ahead and printed the yellow fleur de lis all over it since I had already squeezed out the paint and it wouldn’t go back in the tube. After the yellow stamp dried, I tried out (with black ink) another new stamp on top of it—a little bird with a party crown, the words Post Card, a 1909 postal cancellation and some antique looking penmanship. Somehow the crazy black stamp popped the watercolor and gave a very nice effect, enhancing the warm yellow/orange ripe pear colors. I also tried a few with a butterfly stamp, but since I recently made two different butterfly ATCs, I vetoed that idea. I have a September birthday, so a bird in a party crown seemed appropriate for this month, and made my inner child happy.