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?

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Beyond paper : inkjet printing on alternative surfaces

In this one-day workshop, you’ll learn to make creative and unique artwork by printing on surfaces other than paper.  I’ll introduce you to several different products and techniques to print directly on fabric, vellum, transparency film, and more.
Butterfly altar

Butterfly altar

You will learn how to coat surfaces for inkjet printing with Golden Paint’s Digital Grounds and inkAID.
Golden's digital grounds

Golden's digital grounds

We’ll also print directly on metal and wood veneer — since a printer with a straight path is required for these surfaces you may not be able to do this with your current home printer).
We will complete at least one printing project per person at the workshop.
The workshop will be held on Sunday September 19, 2010 from noon to 4:00 p.m. at the Canyon Trail Park Art Center in El Cerrito, and the cost is $60 plus materials. Class size is limited and pre-registration is required, if you’re interested, please email me at heidirand@gmail.com

Handmade gifts with your inkjet printer : one-day workshop November 15th

This is going to be a really fun workshop.  I’ll show you how to make personalized gifts (for friends and family or for yourself!) using your own photographs, designs, or other material and your home printer.
Fabric on tote bag

Fabric on tote bag

 We’ll explore a  variety of different techniques to create unique gifts, like printing on fabric and other special surfaces ideal for making presents.  Each person will complete at least one project at the workshop, and you’ll go home with many ideas and new things to try on your own printer.  There’s plenty of time before the holidays to create gifts for everyone on your list!

Lavender sachet

Lavender sachet

When you make a personalized gift you can save money and show that you care to take the time to create something special for your loved ones.

Fabric covered light switch plate

Fabric covered light switch plate

You can use photographs and the originals or scanned memorabilia of things in your lives together for gifts that people will treasure and keep. 

Treasure bags with fabric iron-ons

Treasure bags with fabric iron-ons

The workshop will be Sunday November 15, 2009, noon to 3:30.  Cost is $35 plus materials. It will be held at the Canyon Trail Art Center in El Cerrito California.  Please pre-register by emailing me at heidirand@gmail.com, or you can pre-register at the El Cerrito Recreation Department, 7007 Moeser Lane El Cerrito, (510) 559-7000.

If you want to see the gifts that I make from my photographs and designs, please visit my ETSY shop.

Inkjet Fabric Printing – step by step instructional ebook

I just finished my very first ebook, on my most favorite subject: inkjet printing on fabric.  After writing an extensive booklet for the workshops I’ve been teaching, I decided to put it into ebook form so people who can’t come to my workshops could get the same information.

Inkjet fabric printing ebook

I take you through the entire process to quickly and successfully begin printing fabric on your inkjet printer. You will learn about types of inks, differences between treating fabric yourself or printing on pre-treated fabric, how to prepare fabric for printing, printing the fabric, post-printing treatments, and more.

The information and tips I’ve learned over years of printing on fabric will save you hours of time and much wasted ink and fabric. I have included many illustrations, questions and answers, and trouble-shooting tips.

Illustration: peeling off backing

Illustration: peeling off backing

There’s even a gallery of my original fabric creations to spark your imagination and creativity.

Gallery: butterfly art hanging

Gallery: butterfly art hanging

There are many books on the market about printing on fabric, but because the technology is moving so quickly, a lot of them are outdated. My guide is up to date, and I will revise it as often as needed to reflect changes in the field of inkjet fabric printing. Also, most of the books give general information that might not apply to your personal printer/ink setup. I tell you how to figure out what kind of inks your printer uses, and I can also answer by email personalized questions about your setup, or other problems you run in to when you print fabric. I also discuss the pretreated fabrics that are available commercially, and share the results of my extensive experimentation with printing using the different inks.  In the second edition of the ebook, now available, I added information about using two great products with fabric, inkAID and Golden Paints Digital Grounds (both coatings that make any surface inkjet printable.)  I’ve written a lot in this blog about Digital Grounds, and I wanted to expand the book to include these coatings – most appropriate for art fabric uses.  I also deemphasized the use of Bubble Jet Set 2000, a liquid solution that is the most common product used by people who want to treat fabric themselves for inkjet printing.  BJS contains formaldehyde, and I know a lot of people are concerned about any potential danger.  If you’re interested in the subject, the manufacturer addresses the issue in an article (read it by clicking here).

My ebook is in the format of a PDF file, which you can open and print using Adobe Reader.  I’m offering it through my etsy shop or lulu.com for $10.  Click here for the link to my ebooks section on etsy. If they are sold out and you would like one, please let me know and I will post more copies.  Or click here to see a preview and get it through my lulu shop.

Golden Paint’s Digital Grounds products, part 1

Once again to my love of printing on unusual surfaces.  I haven’t filled in a lot of my background on that, it’s coming, but I want to jump ahead a bit to something new on the market.  Golden Paints, a wonderful company, has just come out with their Digital Grounds line of products, three different substances that, when applied to surfaces, make them receptive to inkjet printing.  There’s so much information on their website, I won’t repeat it all here, just the basics and then my experience.  I know that there’s a similar product that has been on the market for quite awhile, inkAID.  I never tried inkAID although I have read a lot of great things about it.

The three Digital Grounds products they’re offering are white matte for porous surfaces, clear gloss, and gloss for non-porous surfaces.  I first tried the white matte.  I had some lutradur (a non-woven polyester material) that I had tried printing on directly last year.  The results with direct printing (no surface preparation) were so-so, the images were not sharp and the colors were muted.  That’s okay if you want that effect, but I was after images that looked more like what I could get on injket paper.  Well, I sure got that with the matte digital ground.

I got a small bottle to try out.  You tap the bottle on a surface to free a mixing ball inside, then rock it back and forth for a minute.  Apply the ground with a foam brush.  I cut the lutradur and taped it to some newspaper, then brushed in one direction.  I had a fan blowing away the fumes.  It doesn’t smell too bad but it’s not good to inhale, so work with good ventilation.  I also used gloves to protect my hands.  It took quite a few applications to cover the lutradur.  I then taped it up and directed a fan to dry it.  After drying (maybe half an hour with the fan), I taped it back to the newspaper and brushed on another layer in the opposite direction.  You can wash the brush out with soap and water.

I let it totally dry over night and printed it the next day.  I nearly always use the setting for enhanced matte on my Epson 2400, so I tried that setting with the coated lutradur.  I’m printing with the black matte ink these days and have no idea how the glossy black would work.   The lutradur went into the printer beautifully.  I didn’t need to even tape the leading edge, but that’s always an option when you’re having trouble getting something to feed into the printer.  I used the normal paper feed, there was no problem at all with the lutradur getting around the curve — the digital ground was completely flexible.

I thought the results were just beautiful.  I know I’m repeating myself, but the sharpness and saturation were like what I get from good inkjet paper.  There were some tiny random holes where the digital ground hadn’t adhered, but that’s just part of printing on something that’s not paper or a solid surface, it’s part of the effect that I wanted.

This is my photograph of a swallowtail butterfly printed on lutradur.

Swallowtail butterfly photograph printed on lutradur coated with Golden Digital Ground

Swallowtail butterfly photograph printed on lutradur coated with Golden Digital Ground

I wasn’t sure how to finish it, so I decided to just hang it from a dried branch of a curly willow tree from our garden.  I attached it to the branch with baling wire that I curled in random patterns.  I also attached some curled baling wire to 3 holes in the bottom of the print.  Not sure if I mentioned before, but one of the qualities I love about lutradur is that you can cut it but it won’t rip or tear, so whereas with fabric you’d have to reinforce the holes, with lutradur you can poke or cut a hole and know that it won’t rip through.

By the way, if you’re interested in butterflies, this is an anise swallowtail butterfly that we hatched.  We gather the eggs (the size of a large pinhead) from fennel plants in our garden or around town, keep them in a small bottle until they hatch into tiny caterpillars, then transfer them to a larger bottle where we feed them the fennel or yampah (sp?) if we can find it – that’s their native food source but it’s hard to find these days around here.  They change into the chrysalis, and we keep them until they emerge, at which point we release them after a few hours.

If  you want to learn how to print on lutradur using inkAID or Digital Grounds, I have an online class on craftedu. There’s a free preview at the beginning, check it out!