Garden Delights Arts and Crafts Open Studio!

I’ve been happily scrambling to get my messy workroom presentable for my holiday Open Studio and Gift Sale.  And amazingly, it was pretty much all in place by the time the first visitor showed up!  My friend Pam always comes on my first day, and gets her pick of the calendars that I print using my images.  She took most of the calendars I had made, I’ll need to do some printing tonight.  There was a lull after she left, so I kept busy taking photographs of the spruced-up studio.

This is the view when you come in the door:

The card rack is to the right.  You can see some of my framed mandala prints hanging to the left above.  The table to the left is in the middle of the room.  This is what’s on that table:

My mixed-media doll “Wings” is in the center.  Pet collars to the left (kitty collars hanging from the Lars stuffed animal).  My fabric-covered light switch plates are displayed in front of the doll.  This is a closeup of the pet collars display:

Just to your left inside the door is a shelving rack:

The top shelf has a night light, a transparency print in a frame and one of my fabric vases.  The second shelf down has a display of ornaments, including glass balls with mandalas and other designs printed on backlight film or transparencies, along with a dusting of glitter, some mandala sachet ornaments with pearl hangers, and my stuffed animal ornaments – some with squeaky toys inside!

In the photo above you can see what’s past the center table along the back wall — a hanging display with several of my purses, t-shirts, scarves, and baby onesies.  To the left, a rack with a fabric vase, my bowties, mixed-media handmade books, my Kaleidoscopes book, some coffee mugs I ordered from my Zazzle store, and a tile box.

Above is a closeup of that rack.  The piece at the bottom is an accordian of watercolor paper, with four of my abstract collages printed on lutradur and mounted.  I strung pearls across the top and bottom.  The bowties are jauntily hung just above that piece, on a jewelry bust.

The table above is to the right just past the card rack.  From left to right: purses, wooden postcards, fabric bowl, buttons, fabric vases, fabric postcards, and some night lights.  I love to use vintage pieces as displays.  On this table I’m using two old silverware boxes, sturdy wooden boxes lined with velvet.

To the back wall again, above is a display of the different kinds of boxes that I make.  First, the blue – I printed my mandala of a blue girl rose onto fabric,  quilted it and placed it into the recessed top of a wooden box.  The box to the left of that is one of my favorite tiles.  It’s a kaleidoscope design in rich deep browns, very craftsman style.  I make most of my own work, but some things I do have printed professionally.  This is one of the tiles that I have Tony at Changeyourart make to use as the tops of wooden boxes that I get at Aftosa.  The two small tiles in front of the blue girl rose box are ones that I made myself using lazertran on tumbled marble tile.  It’s a hard technique to master, and I often end up scrapping my creations, but I love how these mandalas turned out.  To the left of those tiles are some glass slide pins I made using my photos printed on velvet fine art paper or canvas, and encased in microscope slides that I outlined with copper tape.  Behind the brown tile box are two more boxes I made using lazertran.  The front one is a kaleidoscoped photo of a calla lily, and behind that is my kaleidoscope design of a fern arching.  For that box, I encased the top edges with copper metal.  To the left  is another tile box of my Lisianthus Flower design. Finally, the box at the far left is one of my favorite pieces.  I used the double exposure photograph that I took of myself and adhered it to the box using a heat transfer.  I embossed some copper and used the strips at the top and bottom edges.  I also made a dangle from pearls and glass beads, and with metal brads on mesh spelled out “treasure”.  Inside the box, I printed the same double exposure image onto silk and used batting to make it a soft pad on the inside top.

Past the boxes is more jewelry.  I have some hanging displays for earrings and bracelets.  Before I began my photo arts work, I used to make jewelry from pearls and beads, and I still love to do that.  The vintage jewelry box at the front right holds my lutradur butterfly earrings.  I take the photos of butterflies that my husband and I raise and release, and print my designs from the photos onto lutradur that I’ve coated with Digital Grounds.

Next a view of the other side of the middle table.  At left, a pile of my tote bags, which I make by printing my images onto fabric and sewing them onto the totes.  I used to make them with iron-ons, but I much prefer the fabric.  Most of them I back with batting and then do some free-motion quilting.  To the right is another vintage jewelry box that I’ve piled with my original design fabric jewelry.  There are fabric bracelets with snaps and buttons, sachet-lets, and my sculptural braided fabric bracelets.

Turn around to see a plush pile of my pillows:

Next, a view of my barely disguised supply shelves.  I don’t really try to turn it into a display, I usually just put some of my work in front of the supplies:

And finally, I covered our washing machine with a delightful vintage fabric, and used it to show off a variety of things:

The soaps that my husband George makes are displayed in front and in the basket at the top left.  He makes the most wonderful soap from natural ingredients using an assortment of molds.  His most popular is the mold of a curled-up sleeping kitty, and close favorites are a butterfly and hummingbird.   He makes a variety of soaps, both cold process and melted.  To the right is a basket of sachets that I make from my fabric, which I fill with heavenly lavender flower buds (and some with rose buds).  The backs of the sachets are gauze, so you can see the flowers.  Behind the sachets is a  basket with catnip bags.  I use the strongest catnip I’ve found, Cosmic brand, and put various fun animals photos printed onto fabric on the front.  When I do Open Studio the cats are forbidden from coming down here, because they’d make a beeline for the catnip bag display and wreck the merchandise (yes, I know this from experience).

Tomorrow if I get a lull I’ll take you on a tour of the art that’s hanging on the walls … Come on by to see it yourself if you’re in the Bay Area!

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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

Egret in flight lutradur art quilt

I took a photograph of a gorgeous Great White Egret flying at the Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline in Point Richmond.  I blended it with my photograph of an allium flower in bloom, ending up with this collage:

Egret in flight

Egret in flight

I printed the blended collage onto lutradur that I coated with matte-for-porous-surfaces Digital Ground (for more on that process, see my prior detailed posts about printing on lutradur with Digital Ground).  I thought the print turned out very well – the detail in the egret’s wings is nearly as good as a print on inkjet paper, and the color is accurate and saturated.

I decided to use the piece in an art quilt. I backed the lutradur print with soft batting and did some free motion stitching around the abstract lines, using a few different colored threads.  Here are two closeups of some of the stitching:

Egret in flight closeup

Egret in flight closeup

Closeup of stitching

Closeup of stitching

For the frame, I chose an elegant dark gold silky fabric. The lutradur print is about 7.5 x 11 inches, and I added about 2 inches to each side for the frame.  I added another layer of batting to the back of the gold fabric, and did more free motion stitching to adhere the backing to the lutradur print.

I decided to use a simple pillow-type technique to finish the piece.  I chose a patterned sturdy off-white fabric for the backing, and sewed them face to face, leaving an opening to turn the piece right side out and small openings on both sides near the top for my hanging apparatus.  This is the finished piece:

Egret in flight art quilt

Egret in flight art quilt

To hang it, I painted a wood dowel with dark gold paint, and slid it through the openings at the top.  I wrapped a length of wire link chain around each side. Here’s a closeup:

The hanger

The hanger

This is the finished piece as it hangs from the chain:

Egret in flight art quilt

Egret in flight art quilt

A word about inspiration and motivation! I printed this piece months ago, but it had been lying in my “to make into something” pile since then. I’ll be teaching a workshop on using lutradur at the New Pieces Quilt Store on January 23rd, and I wanted a piece to show their customers how lutradur can be used in their quilts. This was the result ….

Exploring Lutradur : One-day Workshop

Workshop taught by Heidi Rand

Canyon Trail Park & Art Center, El Cerrito
Sunday September 13th – noon to 3:30 p.m.
$35 + materials

Butterfly window collage on lutradur

Butterfly window collage on lutradur

Learn ways to create personal art with this exciting new product that combines the best qualities of fabric and paper.  Lutradur looks, feels and folds like translucent paper and doesn’t tear or fray. It’s the perfect medium for a wide variety of mixed media art, crafting, and sewing.

I will give an overview and demonstrate many ways to use lutradur: sewing, inkjet prints, transfers, heat gun, soldering iron, stamps, and more…
You will have time to explore a variety of effects to create a mixed media art project.

I will provide paints and other basic supplies.  Bring your favorite art materials to try on lutradur, as well as any photos, beads, etc. for your personal project.

Email me at HeidiRand@gmail.com or call 510.919-4652

The schedule of my upcoming workshops, all in Canyon Trail Art Center, El Cerrito CA

Sunday September 13, 2009, noon to 3:30. Exploring Lutradur

Sunday October 25, 2009, noon to 4. Inkjet transfer techniques

Sunday November 15, 2009, noon to 3:30. Handmade gifts with your inkjet printer

Saturday January 16, 2010, noon to 3:30. Handmade jewelry with your inkjet printer

Sunday February 21, 2010, noon to 4. Inkjet heat transfer techniques

Interested in any? Please email me

Printing with Golden’s Digital Grounds on Lutradur

I made a blended photo collage from my photographs of a hen’s feather and a white phalaenopsis orchid. The end design is abstract, although you can see the feather shape repeated three times in the center of the piece. I shifted the colors to get subtle golds and shades of blue.

Phalaenopsis and feather collage

Phalaenopsis and feather collage

I prepared a piece of lutradur for inkjet printing by coating it with Golden’s Digital Ground matte (see my posts about lutradur and digital ground), and printed the collage. I backed the print with thick Pellon interfacing, and sewed along some of the lines of the image.

This is the printed/quilted piece (it’s 5 by 7 inches):

Phalaenopsis and feather collage

Phal/feather collage on lutradur

This is a closeup of part of the lutradur print, to show the quilting:

Phal/feather collage printed on lutradur and quilted

Phal/feather collage printed on lutradur and quilted

I decided to finish the lutradur print by mounting it to a 9 by 12 inch canvas board.  To enlarge the phal/feather image so it would fill the blank portions of the board, I printed segments of the image on Transfer Artist Paper (see my posts about TAP).  I transferred the segments to the canvas board with my iron set on the cotton setting.

Phalaenopsis and feather collage

Phal/feather collage, TAP on canvas board

This is a closeup of one of the corners.  The TAP transfer to the cotton board resulted in a pleasing texture, and the abstract nature of the design worked well with the transfer, I think.

Phalaenopsis and feather collage

Phal/feather collage - TAP on canvas

When the weather permits, I will spray the piece with fixative (probably Golden’s new archival varnish because that was designed for use with digital grounds prints).

The end piece, with the lutradur adhered to the center of the canvas board, will look like this:

Phal/feather collage, lutradur and TAP on canvas

Phal/feather collage, lutradur and TAP on canvas

To hang, I will probably drill two small holes near the top of the piece and string with metal chain.  Alternatively, I might put the piece into a frame.    I finally decided how to hang the piece!  I  drilled two small holes near the top.  I wanted to reinforce the holes, but normal eyelets aren’t long enough to go through the canvas board and grab onto the other side.  The only grommets I could find were much too large for the effect I wanted.  I finally found some slightly longer eyelets and set them.  I debated stringing decorative chain or wire, but dug out some raw leather cord I have, and decided it worked well with the tone of the piece.  I’m very happy with it now, see what you think.

Upper corner of piece with leather cord as hanger

Upper corner of piece with leather cord as hanger

Completed piece, with leather cord as hanger

Completed piece, with leather cord as hanger

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!