Want 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.
After 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.
The 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."
"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.