Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Playing with Prints

Winter is always a slow time for my art business with holiday shows over and summer festivals a long way off, but it marks an exciting time for me to mess around and play with new mediums. I'm a little burnt-out on jewelry making at this point, so I've been letting myself try new things this month and it's been a lot of fun! I've been wanting to learn more about printmaking for a while- I love the idea of taking one of my original drawings and then making that image into a stamp or stencil that can be used over and over again and applied to a variety of materials to create usable and wearable items. I bought some rubber blocks at the art store in town, made some pencil sketches of designs I'd like to put on cards and then transferred the pencil drawing to the rubber block by placing it face down on the block and rubbing the back of the paper. I use a Speedball carving tool and an Xacto knife to cut out my design and then Color Box ink pads to ink the stamp and transfer the image to paper. I'm working on some winter and Valentine-themed cards that I'm going to put up on Etsy soon.

This card was made from three different stamps I carved.

Love Birds- I made this one today- on the right you can see the carved stamp and on the left, the finished card. This one is a draft--when I use the stamp the first few times I can see some places that still need to be scraped away to create cleaner lines.

After I started doing the carved stamps, I decided to try printing on fabrics. I bought some onesies for Lulu and t-shirts for Rowan along with some fabric paints and stencil brushes. I did some research and found out that you can use freezer paper to trace over your designs in your sketchbook, and then after cutting them away from the freezer paper with an Xacto knife, you can iron the freezer paper directly onto the fabric without harming the shirt in any way. It temporarily fuses to the shirt and makes a great stencil with no paint leaking in around the edges. Here are my first shirts, hopefully more to come, with some for sale on Etsy soon. I am washing them as we speak to test out this type of fabric paint and making sure it holds up well to everyday wear and tear.

Onesies for the baby!

A t-shirt for Rowan--of course, the flowers are purple.

Love Bunnies! A good Valentines Day or Easter Shirt...

If you are interested in playing around with stamping, stenciling, or learning how to do screen-printing (hopefully my next endeavor) I highly recommend the book Printing by Hand, by Lena Corwin, which laid everything out in a very clear, easy to follow way. It has lots of great ideas for projects. I got a sewing machine for Christmas and am especially excited to print some of my artwork on fabrics that I can then sew with-- printed curtains, dish towels, baby blankets, pillow covers, tote bags...the list goes on and on!

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