Sunday, 4 December 2016

Iron-On Transfers

There's another sewing product that I've used to do image transfers in some collage and book projects.  The process is simple -- you purchase a packet of iron-on (heat) transfer sheets, which you can find at a fabric or craft store, then you use your copier to print an image onto the transfer sheet, and then you simply iron it onto the paper or book at a fairly low setting.  It adheres nicely and the images are somewhat transparent, letting the underlying text or pattern show through.  You can use b&w or colored images, and the finished page has an interesting, slightly rough texture.  Here's a sample page spread with two different iron-on transfers (underneath a hand-cut page):

Saturday, 3 December 2016

contained chaotic curves

Except for the background, all images snipped from postcards of the fabric collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Tools used: brush-tip and chisel-tip markers. The images are thick, from postcard stock. When you work w/ thick elements, the recipient of your postcard can see the white insides of the cardboard pieces. So I hit on the idea, a few years ago, of using markers to color those white edges, before I glue them down. That way the images do a better job of "melting" into the collage. For the blue-&-white Morris pieces in the middle, I used an indigo blue marker. For all the others, I used a black marker. Usually I also color the outside edge of my collage postcard, but it doesn't seem necessary for that light background. The black marks you see in the brown areas surrounding the women, etc., are part of the fabric pattern.

You can see how especially on the blue-&-white pieces, the marker bled a little bit, giving them outlines of blue, more obvious in some places than in others. I don't consider that a problem. =smile=

Tip: When you're coloring the edges, hold the collage piece so that the white or other color of the opposite side is facing you. Why? Because if the marker slips a bit while you're moving it along the edge, it will tend to slip toward you, onto the back side of the image. That way, you don't accidentally make a stray mark on the image itself.

Stamps in all sizes

I am a big fan of making and using my own stamps in collages.
The second image shows a tiny bit of my collection, most of them are usable on both sides. On the left corner you see some of the materials I use, such as speedball, cork, linoleum but most of all I use erasers, whatever and wherever I find them.
The green stamp is the same kind of stamp like the yellow eraser and was made by my granddaughter about a year ago ..... it runs in the family;))

Friday, 2 December 2016

Needle & Thread

I like to sew on paper, and frequently use NEEDLES and THREAD in making my collages and artist's books.  If the paper is thin, you can just stab on through the layers, but sometimes you'll need to use a heavier needle or a skinny AWL (there, we now have 3 tools!) to punch your sewing holes prior to sewing.  I usually don't back the paper with anything, just carefully stab the needle and pull the thread, but every once in a while I'll stick a piece of thin tape on the back if the paper wants to tear.  Sometimes the sewing is used to actually attach one piece to the background; other times I'll just sew on one piece and then stick it down the usual way with some kind of glue.  The needles are regular sewing and embroidery needles, but sometimes you'll find a more exotic needle will do the trick--I've used some weird curved needles that are intended for making stuffed animals, and also some loooooong needles that apparently are intended for doll-making.  The thread is usually regular sewing thread or embroidery floss (separated into one, two or three strands).   Here are two pages from a recent collaged artist's book (one page with a lot of sewing, and one in which I used the threads to simply dangle across the page spread).

Page spreads from "A Blue Thread Runs Through It"

Thursday, 1 December 2016

return of the birds

From my 2010 archives. It's pretty crude, 'cause I'd only been making collages for a couple of months. Created for a challenge to make a postcard illustrating the "return of the birds" in the spring. I glued a large photo of a robin's nest to a piece of cereal-box cardboard, then cut it out all the way around to make a bizarrely shaped postcard. (You can mail almost anything in the U.S., if it has the right postage on it.) It's not so great, artistically, but it took many hours to make because (a) I checked to be sure the birds are all indigenous to the Washington, D.C., area, where I live, and (b) they are all exactly to scale, from the big red-tailed hawk down to the tiniest wren. I had to do some serious math! =laugh=

Tool used: Two tools, in fact--the Xyron sticker maker in 2.5 inch (6.4 cm) and 9 inch (22.9 cm) widths. You can read all about it, even watch videos of it in action, at those two Amazon links. You just insert the paper & crank the handle--no electricity required.

Let me tell you its advantages and disadvantages...

--strong permanent adhesive that sticks extremely fast & well, even without burnishing
--no bubbles & no wrinkles in the paper you put down
--terrific for mail art: this bizarrely-shaped postcard traveled 3000 miles west, and its Californian recipient said when she got it, nothing had been damaged, including every tiny outside projection; on a separate occasion, I sent postcards in the shapes of fish with lots of fins: they arrived intact as well
--not messy: the adhesive is solid, so hardly any glue gets on your hands or anywhere else
--machine itself is reasonably priced
--the big one is great for making all-over backgrounds in anything up to A4 size
--you can work with really flimsy paper, like that found in today's magazines and catalogs; you can also feed fabric, ribbons, whatever, into the Xyron
Not so good:
--once your element hits your collage-in-progress, it's stuck down for good: no moving it around as you can with other glues
--not kind to Mother Earth, because the empty refills are not recyclable
--the refills are expensive! just as with having to buy expensive ink for cheap printers, the refills are where the company sticks it to you... BUT you can shop around, on the Net and in craft supply stores for coupons, deals, quantity discounts, etc.

Bottom line: I can't live without my Xyrons.

THEME: Tools for Making Collage Art

This month, except for the week of Christmas, we'll be sharing with each other the "Tools, Tips, & Techniques" we use in making collages.

This first week in the series, you will look around your work space and ask yourself, "What tool do I use that my fellow posters on the KK may not know about?" It should be a physical object, not a source for fun paper. Then you will use that tool in making a collage in whatever theme you like. Underneath the collage, you will tell us what tool you used, plus how and why. Add a link, if possible, to a picture of the tool, with or without purchasing info.

As the series moves along, I may pick up one or more of the tools, tips, & techniques that get posted, and make them the theme for a future week.

Remember: we live in different countries, with different cultures, different availability of products. If you think it would help us understand, post a photo or drawing of your tool, preferably in use. It's OK, and in fact would be humorous, if your tool is very weird. Be quirky! =laugh=

Questions, comments, absurd remarks?

EDIT: If you only use "old school" items (scissors, knife, glue) in your work, no problem. Just consider this an "open theme" week, and go for it. If you feel inspired to do so, tell us about how you went about making your collage(s). But only if you have time, only if you feel like writing down a few words about what you did. Also, I omitted the line about each collage using a different tool. What was I thinking? =laugh=