Get Organized with Digital Art Techniques

digital art recipe photo collage book
Digital art techniques can help you preserve
memories in a beautiful, functional way.

cate pratoWe've been reorganizing in our kitchen to prepare for some renovations, and the issue of how to handle the cookbooks has come to the forefront.

Like most households where cooking and baking (and eating) are a priority, we have a lot of cookbooks. There are some we use all the time, some that only contain a couple of go-to recipes. We also have print-outs of recipes I find online or that friends send to me, plus tear-outs from magazines and newspapers.

And then there is my file of recipes written down on cards and lined paper. These I treasure not just for their epicurean formulas, but because they are written by hand: by my mother, my grandmother, their friends, and my friends. They are not just recipes, they're family history.

However, it seems I use the same recipes over and over again, and fishing them out of the file folder or finding them in the books (some of which are starting to fall apart) has become cumbersome. I've been toying with the idea of putting them on the computer. That way, I could organize the hodgepodge of recipes into categories and instantly find what I'm looking for.

But what about my "historic" recipes? Well, these are going digital, too, but in a different way. I'll scan them into the computer for use in two ways: as a ready resource for cooking and as an artistic (and also useful) historical record for me and my daughters, using digital art techniques.

For the latter, I'm going to adapt a "recipe" for marrying digital technology with old-fashioned stitching and vintage images put forth in last year's Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts. The article includes directions for printing on fabric using Golden Artist Colors® Digital Ground to prepare the fabric (in this case, muslin). You could also use TAP Transfer Artist Paper or packaged, prepared fabric printing sheets to transfer the recipes to fabric. 

Printing on fabric

1. Cover your table with plastic.

2. Cut the muslin into 7 1/2" x 9" pieces, 1 piece for each page.

3. Using a foam brush,  paint the digital ground onto the muslin in 1 direction, let it dry, and then paint it in the opposite direction, perpendicular to the first application,  to make sure the fabric is fully covered. Let it dry.

4. Tape the muslin to a piece of printer paper to create a carrier sheet. This will help your paper feed correctly through the printer. Make sure the tape is securely attached to the paper to help prevent jamming during printing. Print your recipe(s) onto the muslin.

NOTE: If possible, try changing the printer set up to allow for thick paper, or change to the direct-feed- through option. Most standard inkjet printers can handle the fabric without making these changes, but if the paper jams, remove it from your carrier sheet and carefully re-tape it to a new sheet of paper.

5. Repeat the printing for each recipe pocket.

I think making a digital vintage recipe book/photo collage and putting my recipes on computer is a great way of having my cake and baking it too, so to speak.

The same is true of my mixed-media and art "recipes." Going right to my computer to find instructions for making a tape transfer or carving a stamp from an eBook or a downloaded video is so easy and it takes up so much less space than print versions and DVD cases.

So many of our magazine issues, WorkshopTM videos, and books are now available as digital downloads, even the 2010/11 Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts special issue referred to above. Digitial editions are time and space savers for your studio, kitchen, or wherever you whip up your creations.

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