Saturday, April 25, 2015

"Thermofax 101: Screen Printing Made Easy". A review of Lyric Kinard's new dvd!

Lyric's wonderful dvd...

I was excited when my friend, Lyric Kinard, invited me to review her new instructional dvd about using Thermofax screens because they are one of my favorite design tools when working on cloth (and paper!).  
Below is the intro to her dvd:
Learn how easy it is to create your own screen printed cloth! Thermofax Screen Printing is easy, fun, and well within your reach. Let fun-loving artist, Lyric Kinard, guide you through the basics of what, exactly, a thermofax screen is, and how it’s made. Then she helps you begin your own creative journey as she shows you how to find and design your own imagery and send it off to have a custom screen made for you. Learn all about the basic supplies you will need and then get printing! Lyric will explain the properties of textile paints, how to prepare, care for, and use your screens, and finally how to design and create your own beautiful cloth.

Her workshop is just over an hour and covers the following points, divided into the following chapters:
-Getting Started: what is a thermofax screen
-Finding Images: find and design your own
-How to Print: printing techniques and tools
-Designing: creating cloth with layered imagery

Personally, I appreciate having any instructional dvd divided into chapters like this as it is easier to refer back to specific information.  Thanks, Lyric!

The information is well organized.  I like that Lyric takes the time to explain how the thermofax screens are actually made and what images will make the best screens.  From experience, I know that the less grayscale the image has, the better.  Highly detailed images are possible as long as they are very black and white before the screen is created.

Lyric sent me one of her own screens, an ammonite, and I wanted to create a piece of cloth using her image and my own hand-drawn ammonite, an old favorite image I've been using for years.  Let's see how they look together!
First I selected a piece of fabric and pressed it.
This particular piece had been dyed with a shibori resist.  

I taped the edges of the thermofax screen Lyric sent.

Here is my old crusty one (I guess you can tell which it is..)
I wonder how these shapes will play together.

Here are the first prints of both screens, Lyric's is on the bottom.

Here is my screen, done with both blue and white paint.

and a combo of both screens and colors.
I think this has some possibilities if I create another screen that has a larger scale of one (or both) of these images.  I'll get back to this one at a later time.

Her instruction about using the "scratchy" side of the screen rather than the shiny side, and also the point about how to clean and dry the screens is important to get the most life out of your screens.  

One point I would add to the creation of imagery for screens is to keep a file or a notebook of your designs. You may wish to separate them into basic subjects (animal/vegetable/mineral?  I don't know...).  This will come in handy should you damage a screen, lose one, or if you wish to burn another screen in a different size.  I have been very thankful that I have such a file!

Another point worth mentioning is to be very careful when using any product that discharges the dye from fabric:  I believe it is extremely important to use gloves, and work in an area that is VERY well ventilated.  Consider the idea of setting a box fan in the window to exhaust the area and pull any potential fumes away from your work area.  I encourage you to respect any contact with bleach or its fumes.  I figure if it is stinky I shouldn't be smelling it so I prefer working with these materials in the open air or a well-ventilated area whenever I can.

Lyric provides such good information about layering of imagery, focal point, & varying the scale but using imagery that is related:  such important points!  When I began using thermofax screen I was so excited I threw everything but the kitchen sink onto the cloth surface.  And it looked pretty wacky but I was having fun.  With time and practice I (hopefully) began to work with a subject or idea in mind and let the imagery tell my story.  Lyric's points about this are worth listening to several times.  Respecting the imagery (subtle and bold alike) as part of the story and making it cohesive takes practice (just like everything else, I guess!).  It is so rewarding when you see your vision come to fruition in a piece of cloth.
Here is another set of screens that I combined for a new design.  Note that I am working on another section of the same cloth:
First, I used a screen that I purchased some time ago online.  
With the last set of prints I found that I prefer the opaque white paint over the blue on this piece of cloth so I worked with it again.

Because I think this print could benefit from varying sizes of this shape
I used a thick sharpie and traced around the perimeter of two things:
an Altoid box and Lyric's dvd box (and then rounded the edges of the larger shape).  I cut screen for both shapes, leaving a bit of room around the edges.

Then I ran them through my thermofax machine.

Yay!  I am relieved to find that the machine burned the screen.
I just put a new ink cartridge in, replacing one of those refilled ones.
Apparently the old ink did not have any carbon in the toner.  I worried that something was wrong with the machine, but it was the toner!  Whew.

Once I taped the edges I pulled paint through the first (new) screen.
Note:  My friend Jane Dunnewold discovered that strapping tape does not
require time to cure.  This is great for those of us who are impatient to use our new screens!  Just sayin....

Here is the smaller screen.  My intent is to intersect the larger with the smaller shape.

I covered the surface (still a bit tacky) with my drop cloth, which is an old bed sheet, and used a dry iron to heat set the paint.

I wanted to accentuate some of the shapes by drawing in the openings
with my favorite permanent fabric pen, a Pentel Gel Roller Fabric pen.
I love this thing!

See how the fine line of the pen creates more depth?

I certainly could do all the openings but I think it is more 
interesting, visually, to only do a few.

I can't encourage you enough to try this wonderful technique.  There is nothing quite a satisfying as taking the journey toward personalized imagery.  Think of the possibilities for telling your own story!

Lyric's new dvd is a great refresher for anyone who has done a bit of printing with thermofax, and it is perfect for someone who is interested in trying it.

Thank you so much for stopping by.  Please leave a comment to be eligible for a drawing to win a copy of this wonderful dvd.  Truly, it is excellent! I'll use my "Randomizer" app to draw a number from the comments after midnight on 5/2/15.  Be sure to leave your comment prior to that time to be eligible. 

To purchase your own copy of this dvd please click this link.

And be sure to stop by the blogs of these contributing artists:

April 24 Cheryl Rezendez
April 25  Leslie Tucker Jenison  
April 28  Sue Bleiweiss
May 1  Susan Price and Elizabeth Gibson
May 2  Judy Coates Perez
May 4  Linda Stokes
May 6  Jane Davila
May 6 Melanie Testa
May 8  Carol Sloan
May 11  Susan Brubaker Knapp
May 12  Desiree Habicht
May 14  Deborah Boschert
May 15  Sarah Ann Smith

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Adventures In Arting!

Please stop by my friend Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's podcast and listen to our conversation!  I had such a great visit with both Julie and her mother, Eileen.  Check it out!
Here is the link.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Spring Fling with Sizzix

Welcome to the Sizzix Spring Fling blog hop!  I love my Sizzix die cutters:  I own the Big Shot Pro and the Fabi.  The Big Shot allows me to use the really BIG dies and, while it works for all the dies, the Fabi is more portable and I use it when I travel to teach.  "Mr. Big", as I call mine, stays home for those trips!
For this project I used quite a few different dies.  You don't really need to do that, but I guess I used dies like I cook:  if I have it, I might as well add some.
The main dies used are these:
and these:  (L) Flowers and Leaves Die #658480, and (R) 3D Wrapped Flowers #657116.
I also used these:
Big Shot Pro Circle and the "D" piece from the Double Wedding Ring die!

I was interested in creating appliqué pieces from felt that would subsequently be used to adorn a throw pillow.
Here are a few wool blend sheet of felt I am considering...

as well as this crazy piece of woven end-pieces off a loom that I previously dry-felted.
They are all going to make a trip through the Sizzix machines!

First, using the large flower die, I cut the woven piece.

I love it!

Then I cut small sections of the wool felt to go through the other machine.

Here are a few of the results!  They are so gorgeous!

I wanted a larger leaf shape so I opted for this portion of the Double Wedding Ring die.  It works!

I love the blanket stitch (mirror image reversed) by my Bernina 750 QE.

I overlaid the die-cut weaving on the gray felt.

I love the way these beautiful die-cut leaves look over the weaving.

To create a dimensional look I stitched the edges slightly raised from the surface.

The combination of the 3-D flower and these open-cuts:  awesome!
So much yumminess.

I "modified" the base of my too-long zipper by cutting it, then applying some embroidery thread on the base.

Love the way my Bernina handles the uneven levels of the zipper to pillow.

Hand embroidery on the edges makes this even more special.

For the pillow background I selected these pieces.  Note that the open flower shape
on the left is actually cut from the leftover gray of the flower base.
Note my green "leaf petal" that is folded with the black leaves on top?  
There are many uses for each shape in a Sizzix die.  Think outside the box!

Pinned, then straight-stitched to the surface of a piece of yarn-dyed Kaufman Essex.

Then the main appliqué is stitched onto the surface.

The zipper installed....

And the finished pillow!  
I really love these spectacular Sizzix dies.  
They are just so darn much fun to play with.  I hope you try them!

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Be sure to visit all the artists participating in this hop:
Mon, April 6 - Jamie Fingal
Wed, April 8 -YOU ARE HERE!
Thurs, April 9 - Cindy Cooksey
Fri, April 10 - Victoria Findlay Wolfe
Sat, April 11 - Sue Bleiweiss
Sun, April 12 - Jessee Maloney
Mon, April 13 -Karin Jordan