The other day I was searching for an image transfer technique, and consulted one of my favorite books: Image Transfer Workshop by Darlene Olivia McElroy and Sandra Duran Wilson. Both of these artists have been featured in Cloth Paper Scissors magazine and our Art Lessons series; I often think of them as the scientists of the mixed-media art world because they love discovering new techniques and new ways of doing things. This book does not disappoint.
Image Transfer Workshop has been part of my library for a while, but the information is still completely relevant, useful, and inspirational. If this book isn’t part of your library, I highly recommend you add it. Not only does it feature a ton of incredible transfer processes, but the authors also include troubleshooting tips and helpful information about materials and methods. Their experiments are your ticket to success!
For my piece I decided to go with an image transfer technique that uses ExtravOrganza, inkjet printable silk organza sheets from Jacquard Products. These sheets are semi-transparent, making them perfect for layering. I printed out my photo, making it 6″ x 6″. One great tip offered in the book is that since the sheets are so sheer, it’s best to use images with a lot of contrast and saturation.
I peeled the image off the backing paper and sprayed it with workable fixative, another great tip from the book. This keeps the image from smearing when you apply any wet medium to it. The image was adhered to a vintage children’s book page using matte gel medium. I’ve seen printed organza attached with stitching, and I’ve always loved the look. But in this step, I realized the cleverness behind this technique: By gluing this sheer layer to a patterned substrate the two meld together, giving the organza the true look of an image transfer.
I wanted to keep the transfer the focal point of the piece, so I added just a few other elements. I used torn corrugated cardboard as a substrate and layered gauze over it, tacking it in place in a few spots with white glue.
Leaves were stitched on the book page and transfer, using 3 strands of dark green embroidery thread. I sketched the design first with pencil to make sure I knew where I was going.
Since the book page was very fragile, before I started stitching I glued lightweight paper to the back, using glue stick. This gave me a much stronger foundation to work on.
The page was glued to the trimmed substrate, and leaf and flower motifs were stenciled on the book page with white acrylic paint and a sponge. I dabbed a bit of the paint on the cardboard as well.
And finally, I attached a dried leaf to the bottom with waxed linen thread.
This image transfer technique was such a success, and you can bet I’m using this book as a reference again. I’ve already earmarked polymer clay transfers, a reverse monoprint technique, and a method for creating gel skins. Returning to Image Transfer Workshop reminded me that older books are fantastic resources for all aspects of mixed media. They’re like old friends, always there for you and ready to be your support!
I was inspired by another book, Amplified Art by Kass Hall, to create a fun art journal page that can be used in mixed-media artwork in so many different ways. Read about it in this blog post!
Are these books part of your mixed-media library? They’re packed with techniques and projects that you won’t want to miss!