Etsy Craft Party: Fabulous Fabric Fun

On June 20th people around the world will meet and mingle to create, collaborate, and just have fun at countless Etsy Craft Parties organized by Etsy artists and crafters in their own hometowns. This year’s theme is “Craft for Community.”

etsy craft party logo

Michele Battise, of Battise Fashions, generously included me in her vision of the ideal Craft Party. Michele is a clothing and accessory designer whose mission is to help women look and feel their most uniquely fabulous.

Animal Print Jacket, by Michele Battise

Animal Print Jacket, by Michele Battise

I met her several years ago through the SF Etsy group, when she contacted me about her idea to use some of my nature-design fabric in her clothing line.We really connected, and bonded over our love of fabric and original design, and the value of collaboration and supporting other artisans. Having Michele include my fabric in one of her dresses has been a high point in my artistic career.  That backstory explains how this Craft Party came to be, and also our philosophy behind it. So, on to the details!

We have planned for you a fun-fest of creativity and inspiration, a chance to learn many different unique and easy techniques for DIY projects. It’s Thursday, June 20th from 7 to 10 pm at the Gateview Clubhouse, 555 Pierce Street, Albany CA. Proceeds from the $10 ticket sale and raffle will cover supplies and your donation to La Clinica de La Raza, a healthcare organization serving low and moderate income families in the East Bay area.

We’ve got projects for everyone! You can learn to print your own artwork and photos directly on fabric with an inkjet printer.  I’ll do hands-on demos all night using your images (see below for details*), taking you step-by-step through the whole process. I’ll let you know what equipment works best, show you how to prepare your files, give you all of my secret tips to get fabric successfully through your printer, and much much more.

Pillow made with inkjet print fabric

Pillow made with inkjet print fabric

Expert photographer and printer kayla garelick, of daydreaming arts, will demonstrate printing lengths of fabric (think scarves). She’ll show you the great potential in using a large-format inkjet printer, but also scale down her advice so you can get similar results from the smaller inkjet printers that most people use at home.

kayla garelick printing fabric

kayla’s large-format printer setup

The most exciting thing about teaching printing on fabric is watching people get their first print! kayla and I will have time for at least 15 (hopefully more) people to print their own images at the Party. To be fair, it’s first-come, first-served, so if you want to get your own photo or artwork printed, register for the Party and then email me (at HeidiRand@gmail.com) a jpg of your work. The file should be 8 x 10 inches, at around 300 dpi. Email me any questions as well.

What else? You can learn to print on fabric using stamps and stencils with Grace Taormina, author of “The Complete Guide to Rubber Stamping” and “The Complete Guide to Decorative Stamping.” Grace will bring a huge variety of stamps, stencils, paints and other supplies and equipment for you to create and experiment with. She’ll have 12 inch muslin squares as well as other fun fabrics for you to use in your projects.

Grace Taormina

And the marvelous Michele will teach you several quick-sew or no-sew projects using felt for ponchos, scarfs, and more! She’ll have sewing machines for you to use so you can complete your project at the Party. And since one of her specialties is designing and sewing clothing, purses, and accessories with leather, she’ll have recycled leather pieces that you can use in your designs and projects.

Michele Battise leather purse

Michele Battise leather purse

Do you have a fabulous fabric technique you’d like to share?  Let us know so we can include it.

We’ll provide all the crafting supplies and equipment needed, but feel free to bring your own favorite supplies, fabric, stamps, paint, paper, etc! Oh, and last but not least – plenty of refreshments to keep our creative fires stoked!

You can register by clicking on this link. See you there!

Handmade Fabric Postcards

I love postcards! I’ve been collecting vintage postcards for many years, and when I started printing on fabric, I quickly realized that using my fabric designs and images to make postcards was just going to be way too much fun. This is one of my favorites, a self-portrait with text incorporated into the design, some stitching, and a bit of gauzy fabric.

Fabric Postcard

Here’s another, just a photo of our cat Lars that I stitched around.

Fabric Postcard: Lars Sleeping

I’m in the middle of writing and recording a new online class for CraftArtEdu, to teach you how to make your own unique fabric postcards. I just got to the part where I show different options to make the back of the card, and I thought I’d give you a preview. There are so many options to design the back of your card, but one of my favorite techniques is to scan the back of a vintage postcard. Remember if you’re going to sell the cards to use the copyright-free ones. Here’s a photo of two that I picked to use as examples in the class:

Vintage postcard backsI scanned them:

Postcard backs scannedThen I cleaned them up in Photoshop Elements.

Postcard back postcard backs scan 02b smallI’ll work on them some more, might take the color out of the bottom one, depending on how it prints on my fabric.

Have you made fabric postcards? Interested in giving it a try? Let me know! Well, back to making the class now — I’ll let you know when it’s ready. Click here for the link to the online class, check out the preview if you’re interested!

Workshop — The Personalized Pet!

Handmade dog collars

Pamper your pets with handmade, personalized collars and leashes, catnip toys and mini-quilts! Learn to make fun and useful products for your pups or cats from fabric that you design and print yourself, using your own images and designs, on your home inkjet printer.  They also make great gifts for friends and family pets, or as donations for shelters.

Lars in his new handmade collar

I will have the hardware for safety-release cat collars, for buckle dog collars (small, medium and large), and for dog leashes, and catnip for handmade toys and catnip mats.

Hardware for safety-release cat collars

Using the same instructions, you can also make repurposed collars, leashes and other pet supplies using old garments or cloth.

Repurposed cat collar

This is a hands-on workshop. We’ll go step-by-step through the entire process of designing and printing the fabric, and sewing and assembling the pieces.  I will give you clear, complete written instructions, so if we don’t finish each piece you can finish it easily at home. To make these at home you can hand-sew, but it is faster to make them with a sewing machine.

Sunday August 21, 2011, noon to 3:00 p.m., $40 plus materials.  At the El Cerrito Canyon Trail Park Art Center.

Pre-registration is required, so I know what hardware and supplies to bring. If you have questions, or to register, please email me at heidirand@gmail.com

ONLINE CLASSES
Can’t make the workshops?  Prefer to learn at your own pace at home?

I have several classes you can take online at CraftEdu.

These are direct links for my classes:

Free basic Introduction to Inkjet Inks

Free basic Introduction to Lutradur

Inkjet Printing on Fabric

Inkjet Printing on Lutradur

Click here for the complete list of other classes I offer in Pinole and El Cerrito.

NATURE + ART workshop

Join me in this hands-on workshop to inspire and teach you basic and advanced techniques to enrich your artwork with natural objects and images, including flowers and plants, and animals and wildlife.

I’m limiting enrollment in this workshop, and molding it to the interests of the participants. We can cover topics such as improving your nature photography, using nature in mixed media art, how to find natural subjects or attract them to your garden, and much more.

Masdevallia orchid box

Masdevallia orchid box

No equipment is required, but if you have them, bring along your digital camera and/or laptop computer (including iphone or tablet).  Or bring your favorite paints, pencils, pastels, etc.

Sunday June 19, 2011, noon to 4:00 p.m., $60 plus materials. At the El Cerrito Canyon Trail Park Art Center.  Pre-registration is required. If you have questions, or to register, please email me at heidirand@gmail.com

And click here for the complete list of my upcoming classes.

Vanilla orchids by George

Did you know that vanilla (the real kind, not imitation) comes from an orchid flower?

Vanilla orchid flower

Vanilla orchid flower

My amazing husband George grows vanilla orchids, cultivates vanilla beans from the flowers, and makes extract from the beans! I’m going to track the steps, beginning with the orchid flowering, through pollination and cultivation of the beans.  I’ll add photos along the way, since the entire process takes more than a year (and you wondered why real vanilla costs so much) …

The vanilla orchid grows on a vine.  It helps to have a lot of space, but George set up a trellis, so the vine winds up and down and around.  Here’s a photo of George’s helper, Lars, watching the vanilla grow..

The first step of the process: the flower.

This is one of the flower buds, as yet unopened. You can see a drop of nectar – so sweet! I’m not sure what the purpose of the nectar is, some think it may be there to attract ants, which would protect the flower.

This is one of the flower spikes on the vanilla plant. There are five separate flower buds, unopened, on this one spike. There are at least four other flower spikes on the plant.  Finally, one of the flowers opened!

Unlike many other orchids which have flowers that can last for a month or more, each vanilla flower only blooms for one day.  If you want to cultivate the vanilla, you have to pollinate the flower before it fades.  The natural pollinator isn’t present in most places, so it’s usually necessary to hand-pollinate vanilla.  It’s not easy to do, but George has a really good success rate.  He takes a wooden stick and transfers pollen from one part of the flower to another (the anther to the stigma).

Hand pollinating the vanilla flower

Hand pollinating the vanilla flower

This is the flower, immediately after pollination.  You can see the other unopened flower buds on the spike.

After a short time, the flower collapses.

Stay tuned for more … next, the flowers that were successfully pollinated will develop into beans ..  If you want to learn more, there’s a great wikipedia entry on vanilla.

Wingspread Mixed-Media Art Doll

Wingspread Art Doll

Wingspread Art Doll

Meet “Wingspread,” a mixed-media art doll that I created, using several different techniques to transfer or attach my original photographs and designs to the soft stuffed cotton doll. Most of Wings’ body is decorated with fragments of my Golden Butterfly” photo collage. I used Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) to transfer the Golden Butterfly design to the doll.

Wingspread Art Doll - back

Wingspread Art Doll - back

Here’s Wingspread’s back.  The back of her (his?) head is a TAP transfer of my mandala design that I made from my photos of a monarch butterfly wing and a peacock feather.   This is the image:

And here’s a closeup of the wings on the back:

Anise swallowtail butterfly wing on lutradur

For the large wing on the right side I printed my photo of an anise swallowtail butterfly’s spread wing on lutradur coated with Golden’s Digital Ground. I stitched the wing to the center of the back. I also added a small metal wing, and a dangle of pearl, metal and glass beads.

Wingspread’s headdress is made from beautiful black and white striped hen feathers from Barred Rock hens. They are affixed to the head through another piece of lutradur, which I printed using my photo collage of the open wing of a Barred Rock hen.

Wings wears a colorful bowtie, which I made from my original design fabric.

Wingspread is a bit over 20 inches tall, including the feather headdress.  I love art dolls, and it was so fun to make this one, incorporating my butterfly photos and designs, and using so many different techniques and products.   You can see more pictures at my Artfire gallery.  Have you ever made an art doll?  What materials did you use?

Photo Art : Altered Imagery Workshop

Do you have folders-full of photographs on your computer that are okay, but you want to transform them into art that you’re really proud of, that you can print and frame — for yourself, for gifts, or to sell?

Cattleya orchid

Cattleya orchid

Ready to take the next steps with your photos, to stretch your creativity and artistic imagination?   If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve got just the workshop for you!  Sunday April 10, 2011 from noon to 3:30 p.m., at the Canyon Trail Park & Art Center, 6757 Gatto Ave., El Cerrito, I’ll be teaching you the magic that you can find within your own photographs.

Egret allium blended collage

Egret allium blended collage

We’ll explore how to enhance your original photos to achieve unique and artistic effects using Adobe Photoshop Elements. Elements is a very powerful, but affordable, image processing program.  The techniques that I teach you, though, can be accomplished with other programs, and we’ll discuss those other programs, including GIMP, a free image processing software that you can download from the internet.

Making a kaleidoscope

Making a kaleidoscope

Space is limited, and we’ll work on your images at the workshop, so pre-registration is required.  For more information, or to pre-register, email me at heidirand@gmail.com.  The cost is $50. If you can’t make the workshop, email me for other options, including private classes and ebooks.  And here’s a list of my other art and craft workshops.

Dorian and Lars

Dorian and Lars