See Your Art in a New Way with Print Making

25 Apr 2011

screen printing teapotcate pratoWant to see your artwork in a totally different way? Try altering it with a different technique or medium.

That's what I did with my husband's art last week. Close readers of this blog may recall I mentioned his photo-quality drawings in my post about drawing with Jane LaFazio.

I admire my hubby's style immensely, I truly do. But being the mixed-media, alter-it-if-you-can maven that I am, I am always trying to do something with his artwork besides selling it as is. Add color. Print them on fabric. Something.

He doesn't get it.

Enter Thermofax screen printing. I've wanted to try this for a long time, but there's the matter of getting a Thermofax screen made. While working with mixed-media fiber artist Lynn Krawczyk on a project she was doing with Quilting Arts, I noticed that she has a screen-making service. So I sent her some images of my husband's work and asked her if she thought they would make decent screens.

screen printing spoonAfter many emails back and forth, we decided on three, including the teapot and spoon pictured here. These drawings lent themselves the most to being turned into high-contrast images in Photoshop, making them graphically appropriate for screen printing. I ordered the screens from her Etsy site with great anticipation.

While I waited for the screens to arrive, I boned up on screen-printing techniques by watching Lynn's Quilting Arts WorkshopTM video, "Print, Design, Compose: From Surface Design to Fabric Art." I loved this video because it has everything I look for: surface design, fabric, and hand stitching. And everything in it is easy to do.

screen print teapotThe screens arrived and over the weekend I set up a little printing station in the kitchen. I did a lot of what-iffing: What if I printed using two colors at once? What I printed on a subtle design? How about a high-contrast design or color? I noticed that the fabric choices (the pattern, color, and weave) affected the look of the printed results. I also printed some teapots on watercolor paper to cut up and use as tags later.

Within an hour, I had a heap of screen-printed textiles and paper. And I was mighty pleased with myself. But what would hubby think?

When he came home I directed him to the dining room table where I had laid out my afternoon's work. He immediately "got it."

screen print fabric collage"We could make cards and t-shirts. We could do kitchen towels. I could draw simpler objects with less shading and go directly to screen prints," he said as the light bulb glowed over his head.

Seeing some of his drawings as screen prints not only gave him ideas what to do with his drawings, but also made him look for new kinds of objects to draw.

As for me, I headed to the studio with my screened fabrics to consider how to compose them into a fabric collage. Again, I am relying on Lynn's tutorial and tips from "Print, Design, Compose" to help me do something with the fabrics. I can't wait to make more screens from my husband's new drawings and print like crazy. Maybe together!

Anyone who likes to create mixed-media fabric art, or who has a lot of surface-designed fabric but doesn't know what to do with it next, would benefit from "Print, Design, Compose."

Because I like variety, I'm always looking for new ways to reinterpret techniques and materials.Have you ever been prompted to look at your art in a new way through a different technique or medium? Were you going along just fine until you tried a new process and it suddenly opened up a new area of creativity for you? Please share in the comments section below.

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Print, Design, Compose: From Surface Design to Fabric Art with Lynn Krawczyk (Video Download)

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Learn how to create gorgeous hand-printed fabricsand learn how to successfully showcase these fabrics in your finished artwork, with surface design artist Lynn Krawczyk.


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on 25 Apr 2011 11:08 AM

I just recently had a chance to try out thermofax screens and I loved it! Unfortunately, it's so difficult/expensive to get a thermofax machine. I'd say it's good to find someone who has one and become their best friend. I've been so inspired by the new issue of Quilting Arts to try all sorts of new things. Thanks for sharing this!

on 25 Apr 2011 1:07 PM

Your prints turned out great and I so wish I had one of those machines, but in these days of tight budgets, (and as CraftyGirls said) thermofax is expensive.  It would be nice to see some tips on good fabric transfers that are in my budget, for example using Citron (is that the name?) or gel transfers.  What would also be helpful is an evaluation of each process including positives and negatives of each.   For example, does the image hold up after laundering?

Just asking!!

CarolineA wrote
on 28 Apr 2011 6:49 PM

I have to back up what the others have said about using thermofax. Apart from being beyond my budget, its not easy to get a screen made locally so I have not ever gone there. The alternative techniques DO interest me.

I'm good at substituting local products for many things - I find the chemical makeup of a product, then use a Google search to find a similar product that way, so I can experiment with the techniques. But pushing a particular brand name is also going to put off a lot of people from trying projects if they do not know there are cheaper and just as efficient products available. Golden and Citrasolve are prime examples where there are cheap supermarket alternatives, as in PVA glue diluted, or another brand of acrylic medium, and eucalyptus oil substitutes for Citrasolve, as does citrus turps and a host of citrus cleaners

It would be great to see Interweave pass on this sort of information to readers through these forums, blog posts and the magazines. I realise the videos are often sponsored, but its easy enough to describe a product as a polymer gel or binder so the viewer can hunt up an alternative if they choose and without annoying the sponsor. In the end, sponsorship and product promotion can actually turn people off, so works against itself. Thermofax is just another case in point.

rocceemt wrote
on 1 May 2011 8:14 AM

I like what CarolineA wrote. I never thought aabout doing that. I wish I had her brain!

on 12 Jun 2012 7:22 PM

My first foray into printmaking techniques without a printing press began with the drawings of the teapot and spoon you see here. I sent them off to mixed-media fiber artist Lynn Krawczyk who first turned them into high-contrast images in Photoshop and

on 26 Jul 2013 5:55 PM

How do you sign your art? With a Sharpie® and your signature? With a little cartouche-like monogram? Maybe you have a stylized signature you use just for artwork (as opposed to writing checks.) There are many ways to sign your artwork creatively,