Archive for the ‘Art Supplies’ Category

Photoshop–Finding the Stamp Tool, Thermofax screens

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

WAHOOOO!   I’ve discovered something almost as cool as the holy grail!  At least if you want to make thermofax screens…..and yes, you may liberally share the link to this blogpost so that others may learn and play with paint.

If you want to find out how to do this the easy way, keep reading!

So I was on a quest for my next project:  creating thermofax screens using my new (to me) thermofax machine.  I remembered a tool I loved in Photoshop Elements (PSE), but it wasn’t in Photoshop (PS–full thing).  How could that be?  So I opened up my 2010 PSE software and discovered the tools I liked were called Stamp and Photocopy, in Sketches under Filters.   So I googled around to find out how to create actions in full PS to do what those tools did.  Turned out I didn’t need to–Adobe included those tools but then HID THEM.   So here is how to find and use these awesome tools.

Note:  I realize this will sound like gibberish unless you are into PSE or PS….if you aren’t, just skip!  But this is SO AWESOMELY COOL AND USEFUL for those of us who want to make Thermofax screens and use Photoshop! So if you are interested, read on!

First, you need to install all of the Filters in the Filter Gallery.  Yeah right.  Not as hard as it sounds.  Under Photoshop, find and click on Preferences.

First you need to find Plug-Ins and load the Sketching filters.

That will cause a pop-out to appear; look for and click on Plug-Ins:

The flip-out widow reveals Plug-Ins. Click on it.

When you click on Plug Ins this window opens up.  Check the box to show ALL Filter Gallery Groups and names.  Sheesh….why was this not the default?????

This window will pop up. The box at the bottom of the arrow will be blank. WHY Adobe? WHY? Check it and the wonder and joy of more filters will appear in your PS workspace.

Here’s a colorful photo I use in my Quilting the Garden workshops.  NOTICE the COLORS in the Foreground and Background boxes on the bottom left corner.

Let’s pretend I want to convert this image to black and white to create a Thermofax screen.  Take note of the little Foreground/Background boxes at the bottom left.  They are important.

Boxes are important!   The next step is to USE the Stamp tool.  Look across the top of your PS window.  Click on Filter, then Sketch, then Stamp.

To use the Stamp tool, go to Filters (on the menu across the top), select Sketch, Then Stamp (see arrow).

When you click on Stamp, the following window opens.  But I ended up with Grey and Black.  WHY?  It used to be black and WHITE, right?  So what was I messing up?

This was not what I had in mind. Then I had a lightbulb moment (who me? I know, rare, but it does happen sometimes). Remember those BOXES?

YEP…..the Foreground color, due to something I’d done not so long ago, was dark grey, not white.  Aha!  A glimmer of light (pun totally intended).  Groan.  Remember, Boxes are Important!  I switched the foreground color from dark gray (above) to WHITE.  And lookit what I got!

Drum roll……stamp is once again black and white!  Notice the arrows on the right:  use the sliders or the number boxes to adjust the level of black/white and the degree of detail.  Now isn’t it a whole lot easier to get to this point in a hurry, THEN fine tune with the eraser tool to clear out extraneous yuck?

Those arrows on the right point to fun things to play with to adjust the amount of black, white, detail, etc.  But the realization that the foreground/background colors could make a mess make me think….hmmmm……COLOR!  What would happen if….

BUT, one more tidbit about what you see in the window.  The one below looks like a lot of nothin’, right?  That’s because is it at 100 percent, which doesn’t fit.

Then I realized I could play with COLOR. When you open this window, however, it opens at 100 percent. I prefer the “Fit In View” option, so check out the arrow once again.

If you click on the little down arrow to the right of 100%, you can switch it to Fit In View or whatever you like to use.  For my pea-brain, it’s a whole lot easier to figure out what I’m doing when I can see the entire picture, like this:

Then you can create a really bizarre two-tone hot pink and green image. Just what you always wanted, right? Not! But you can see the potential, right?

Let’s just say I am ridiculously happy.   I asked for help on FB today and got it…THANK YOU Lynn Krawczyk, Lyric Kinard and Leslie Tucker Jenison among others.   Then I — having learned this lesson before — googled around for online information, including the forum at Adobe, which is where I found the clue that the Sketch filters WERE in full PS.   But I didn’t know the terminology (like where to find the Line tool to create an arrow to illustrate these screen shots), so YouTube search box to the rescue.

SQUEEEEE!     I don’t need to use my antique PSE, I can use full PS and not have to move between the two, AND (best of all) I have my easy-peasy Stamp tool back!   Time to CELEBRATE!  Lynn, I may just have to fling some paint!  And now that I have written this up to share ASAP in thanks, I am going to celebrate, perhaps with chocolate! Or maybe Talenti.  Or some culinary Venn diagram that involves the intersection of Talenti, banana and chocolate.  SQUEEE!

And a PS, thanks Whiskers for asking the questions:  Hi Whiskers!  Yes, I will do a blogpost eventually on thermofax screens.   Not sure when, so the quick response is the Thermofax machine is the predecessor to today’s photocopier.  They were used in the 50s/60s in the office to copy stuff.  They are no longer made (consequently they cost a fortune, it has taken me a decade to save up and make the purchase, $1350! If you buy one be sure you get one that works with the mesh, not just the purple ditto masters!)…but folks have figured out if you use an image with carbon in the ink (laser printer, some inkjet printers, carbon ink, lead pencil) and you run it through the machine with a plastic-backed mesh, the plastic melts where there is carbon.  When you separate the two sheets (paper and plastic mesh) you end up with a screen.  Tape up the edges, then push the paint through.  I actually just taped a segment for Quilting Arts TV on this!

 

The Nest: a new approach to surface design

Saturday, July 30th, 2016

For most folks who are in to surface design, the surface design is the goal.  For me, the surface design is to create cloth to use in my collaged artwork.  Rather than hunt (and hunt and hunt) for fabric that works, I make my own, using both my own hand-dyed fabrics and commercial fabrics, especially batiks.  In my new class, The Nest, I teach this project as a way to learn several surface design techniques and get you started.  I’ll be teaching this class for the first time (officially) at International Quilt Festival, Houston (class link here) on Thursday afternoon, Class 496.

The main class project for my class The Nest:  a new approach to surface design.

The main class project for my class The Nest: a new approach to surface design.  Right click photo to view a bit larger.

I provide a kit (with a fee) with paint, brush; hand-dyed floss, perle cotton and cheesecloth; Sarah’s custom thermofax screen (yours to keep) and more.  You provide the fabric and willingness to play!  The class can be either half or full day; in Houston, it is a half day class.
Since Houston is THE big quilting event in the world, it pays to prepare, so thanks to my local peeps, I did a “test run” on the class to work out timing and make sure everything was clear.   THANK YOU to my Coastal Quilters for helping me out…you were great, and the class helped me immensely (like I can only fit two projects, not 3, in a 3-hour class!).

aside

A detail of the project, and some intermediate steps

Step one in the class is to get your paint!

Step one in the class is to get your paint!  You can see a thermofax screen soaking in the basin.

Step one is to print your plain cloth with my custom Queen Anne's Lace screen.

Step one is to print your plain cloth with my custom Queen Anne’s Lace screen.

You can go wild and make this project totally your own

You can go wild and make this project totally your own

Or you can follow the project.  This student is on her second layer, starting to create her nest.

Or you can follow the project. This student is on her second layer, starting to create her nest.

While the paint dries on the Nest, you work on a “free play” exercise, then switch back and forth as the layers dry.  You can make your own stamps (supplies provided), use materials I bring to share, or bring your own from home.

Student stamps.  I think I need to make a flying geese stamp!

Student stamps. I think I need to make a flying geese stamp!

I LOVE this student piece.  It would work perfectly as a background or cut and used in a naturescape.

I LOVE this student piece. It would work perfectly as a background or cut and used in a naturescape.

And another layer.  You can go as simple or as busy as you like.

And another layer. You can go as simple or as busy as you like.

Jim Vander Noot is an experienced art quilter and I LOVE this layered piece.  He began with writing, then added the thermofax screen of keys (from Lyric Kinard, LyricKinard.com, she also makes custom screens)

Jim Vander Noot is an experienced art quilter and I LOVE this layered piece. He began with writing, then added the thermofax screen of keys (from Lyric Kinard, LyricKinard.com, she also makes custom screens)

Jim added more layering, and here's the last time I saw this.  LOVE IT.

Jim added more layering, and 

here's the last time I saw this. LOVE IT.

here’s the last time I saw this. LOVE IT.

My thermofax screen designs are available at Fiber on a Whim, I’ll have some for sale in class, and Jan Girod and Kristin Rodriguez (who are Fiber on a Whim) will be vending in a booth on the show floor at Houston.  Artists have my complete permission to use my screens in their artwork, including works that will be sold or exhibited (but of course you can’t copy my designs and sell them…you know how it works!).

Student 1

Student 1, work in progress–if any of my CQ peeps remember whose work this is, please let me know so I can attribute it!

Student 2, work in progress

Student 2, work in progress

Student 3, Linda Satkowski finished her nest!

Student 3, Linda Satkowski finished her nest!I love the fluffy white wool bits that totally look like feathers.  One student even suggested you can BUY feathers–they are readily available at stores that supply fly fishermen.  COOL idea!  Thank you so much Linda for finishing this and letting me share it.  GREAT job!

So I hope you’ll be inspired by my local quilty friends–I sure am!   And I hope you’ll be able to join me in Houston (or have your guild hire me to come to teach YOU at home!).  See you in November!

 

 

 

 

Visiting Franklin & Marshall–dream studio inspiration

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Well, I took remarkably few photos during this visit, because I figured I’ll have other chances, and this weekend was really for Eli.  As part of his AP Biology class this year, his teacher assigned them a major research paper in Fall for which they had to find a published article by a professor at the college they hoped to attend.  Eli contacted Professor Blair, who did a paper on a biology topic that was a subject that some might find dry but Eli really enjoyed.  She offered to give him a tour if he made it down to the college, so we took her up on the offer.  She took us around the science building before the official “visit day” activities became–really wonderful.

So what do I do…spot furniture and stuff in the science labs that I think would be AWESOME studio furniture and additions!

This drying rack is PERFECT for where I dye my fabrics!   So I'm going to go troll companies that supply stuff to science labs.  I could make something easily using wooden dowels, but I want something that has plastic since it won't absorb the dye.  And the white bits will show if any residual dye  is on them so they can be easily cleaned.  But isn't this perfect?

This drying rack is PERFECT for where I dye my fabrics! So I’m going to go troll companies that supply stuff to science labs. I could make something easily using wooden dowels, but I want something that has plastic since it won’t absorb the dye. And the white bits will show if any residual dye is on them so they can be easily cleaned. But isn’t this perfect?

And lookit this lab table...with the outlets on the end.  Wouldn't you love a STUDIO (as well as kitchen) island with outlets on it?

And lookit this lab table…with the outlets on the end. Wouldn’t you love a STUDIO (as well as kitchen) island with outlets on it? With one of these chairs, too….

or…..

Here's the teacher's table.  Good quality.  Attractive.  Nearly indestructible top.  On casters.   Furniture lust!  Stand up, sit down....sigh....

Here’s the teacher’s table. Good quality. Attractive. Nearly indestructible top. On casters. Furniture lust! Stand up, sit down….sigh….

I’ve got a table I love, an old IKEA kitchen table with a drop leaf, for which I made a platform of plywood with casters, so I don’t need the above.  I love the history of my table (has scratches on it from my first beloved cat, Cassie), but this is a mighty fine looking piece.   So hope the ideas might help some of you, dear readers! But I really, Really, REALLY want that drip-dry for containers thingy!

 

Milkweed No. 2, Part 2

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

A few days ago, I shared with you the happy news that Milkweed No. 2 is heading to Australia and New Zealand to be a part of “A Matter of Time,” and exhibit curated by Brenda Gael Smith.  Brenda is blogging sneak peeks on the blog.

Milkweed pod, seeds and silks detail

Milkweed pod, seeds and silks detail

SASmith.MilkweedNo2.Detail2_DSC3256 I thought I’d share a few more bits of my process, especially because I will be demoing and teaching a class at Houston that incorporate these techniques.

In an effort to reduce the labor-intensive process of quilting the surface of my works at 1/8" apart over nearly the entire surface, I've started adding some surface design.

In an effort to reduce the labor-intensive process of quilting the surface of my works at 1/8″ apart over nearly the entire surface, I’ve started adding some surface design.

A couple years ago, I designed some Thermofax screens and had them made by Jan and Kristen at Fiber on a Whim.  They asked if I would be interested in selling the designs, and I quickly said Yes!   Here are three of my favorites:

On the photo above, I have used textile paint and my "celery" screen to help blend the collaged batiks and hand-dyes

On the photo above, I have used textile paint and my “celery” screen to help blend the collaged batiks and hand-dyes.

My alphabet screen was used on some rather plain brown hand-dyed (by me) fabric then cut into bits to use in the quilt in addition to using batiks.

My alphabet screen was used on some rather plain brown hand-dyed (by me) fabric then cut into bits to use in the quilt in addition to using batiks.

I mixed up some transparent textile paints--I use both Jacquard and ProFab--to screen print over the already collaged/fused background pieces.

I mixed up some transparent textile paints–I use Versatex, Jacquard and ProFab–to screen print over the already collaged/fused background pieces.

Next came the second round of screen printing, using my Squiggles screen, putting a darker green over the yellow-green I used for the celery.

I simply adore this screen. Add this to the top of any fabric--a plain tone on tone, hand-dye or batik and you've got great texture that can be blend or contrasty as you need.

I simply adore this screen. Add this to the top of any fabric–a plain tone on tone, hand-dye or batik and you’ve got great texture that can be blend or contrasty as you need.

I’ll be teaching some of this process in the Saturday Sampler where I will demonstrate working on your own personalized cloth as well as in my “Nest” class (you can see a bit about that here).

I also did a bit of stenciling using freezer paper and two colors of white.

I also did a bit of stenciling using freezer paper and two colors of white.

If you’d like to order those screens, visit Fiber on a Whim! Better yet, if you can come play with me in my classes at Quilt Festival in Houston this coming autumn!

JAM-SASmith

 

Thermofax 101: Lyric Kinard’s new DVD Workshop

Friday, May 15th, 2015
Don't know that I've ever seen #1 come up before! Well done!

Don’t know that I’ve ever seen #1 come up before! Well done!

Update:  comments are now closed.  I used a random number generator and astonishingly, No. 1 came up!  So I will be contacting Susan to let her know.  Lyric will send the DVD out directly, as will I.

Well, you aren’t going to want to watch this once–you’ll want to watch it several times, at least!   I can’t believe how much Lyric has managed to pack into about 65 minutes of instruction on her new video workshop Thermofax 101:  screen printing made easy, from Lyric Art Publishing.  You can order it here, http://lyrickinard.com/2015/02/thermofax-101-instructional-dvd/ .  OR you can enter the giveaway–for both this DVD and my own Art Quilt Design: From Photo to Threadwork (here).  Read to the end to find out how.

Thermofax 101, Lyric Kinard's new DVD workshop, is totally worth getting.  I can't believe how much she packed in.  Plus, how can anyone not want to spend time with someone with enthusiam and a cute smile?

Thermofax 101, Lyric Kinard’s new DVD workshop, is totally worth getting. I can’t believe how much she packed in. Plus, how can anyone not want to spend time with someone with enthusiam and a cute smile?

I was thrilled when Lyric asked if I would like to be part of her bloghop.  Not only do I have fun running into her at various fun places like teaching at quilt shows around the country, in Houston, at Quilting Arts TV taping in Ohio, and admire her art (made while being an uber-busy mom) and teaching, I’m also getting more and more into my own surface design.  I tend to use surface design differently than many—-for most who are really “in” to it, the cloth is the end product.  For me, it is something that goes into my artwork as a supporting player, not the star of the show.  So I was curious to see the “hows” and how what she teaches would fit in with my somewhat different approach.   The answer is it’s a fabulous DVD!

I watched the video as soon as I got home from about 3 weeks of being on the road, and learned a lot on the first run-through.  But I was pretty obliterated by all that travel, so I figured I’d better watch it again:  my goodness gracious but there are more and more gems salted in throughout.

There are four segments:

1.  What’s a Thermofax, which tells you just that, explains how the machine works and how you prepare the screen for use, including advantages and disadvantages of both ways.

2.  Creating Imagery:  the key here is to play.  Only YOU can figure out what makes you happy, what makes you itch to get to the studio and create.  The best way to do that is to mess around.   And then Lyric gives you about a bazillion ideas.  For those really itching to get deep into how to create your imagery, this section may be frustratingly brief.  Honestly, that’s because you could have 100 hours of video, from 33 different instructors, and you’d barely scratch the surface (ahem….pun intended).

3.  Printing Techniques.  For the FIRST TIME I’ve seen someone explain WHY you want canvas/cloth on the top of a print surface, not plastic.  Makes total sense—-why has no one in all the books I have on printing EVER explained that simple, logical (once you’ve heard the explanation) fact?  It’s at about 21:20 in the video.  And I recommend chocolate pudding, re-purpose the dishwasher detergent.  You’ll get it if you see the video LOL!  Lyric also shows how to hold your squeegee (as well as explaining what kind of squeegee or stand-in object) to get the best print, including demo-ing to you can see from various angles.  Helpful!

Lyric talks about the kind of paint you want, and mentions her favorites, but wasn’t fond of Speedball or Versatex.  I agree on the Speedball, but quite like the Versatex.  To Lyric, she doesn’t care for the hand of the cloth.  However, I have liked it on the small pieces I have done.  It’s one of those “try it all (before buying a bunch of any one product) and see what you prefer” things!

 

For the nest piece, I took some pale beige batik, my Queen Anne's Lace stencil and paint to create this cloth, which I love so much I can see making yardage of this to use!

For the nest piece, I took some pale beige batik, my Queen Anne’s Lace thermofax screen and paint to create this cloth, which I love so much I can see making yardage of this to use!  You can buy  Sarah’s Thermofax Screens at Fiber on a Whim at Fiber on a Whim.  To read more about my “nest” please see this blogpost.

4.  Designing Cloth.  Throughout the DVD Lyric salts in bits of wisdom about various elements and principles (E&P) of design.  I was SO clueless when I began art quilting.  I then got lucky and took a class at a local community college/extension service while living in Friday Harbor.  Since then I’ve looked hard at things, studied them, to internalize the “E&P” of design.  As you work with them, you get better so you don’t need to look so hard, but Lyric brings them up in an integrated manner that will help you have better results, sooner.  And she shares a tip I discovered the long way around:  if you have a yucky piece of cloth, or don’t like what you did, just add more layers.  After all, is it going to get worse?  No.  And it might well get better.

You also get a PDF on the disc with

  • a list of supplies,
  • where to get screens made in the US, Canada, Australia, England and Germany
  • info on suppliers of machines, screens, frames, textile paints and surface design supplies
  • footnotes for each chapter with internet links
  • plus Lyric has some helpful free tutorials on her website that will supplement the information on the DVD

I wish I had had this video when I started out.  Some videos about printing are Graduate Student level, and overwhelm you.  Some are so basic you could have gleaned all the good stuff from a four-page (with lots of large photos) article.   Lyric’s is correctly titled Thermofax 101 (so Lyric, will you do a 301 or 401 for us too?); it’s aimed at the newbie.  But those of us who have been doing this a bit can still learn plenty.  So I’m going to go play, then in a month or two view my copy again.

To win a copy of this DVD AND a copy of MY DVD,

my video workshop that takes you from your photo to a finished art quilt

my video workshop that takes you from your photo to a finished art quilt

leave a comment by 7 a.m. May 21st East Coast Time.  I’ll use a random number generator and whoever left that comment (please keep it to one comment per person, please) will win both copies.  Lyric will mail hers out directly, as will I.  International entries are OK!

Check out the other reviews on this bloghop:

 

May 14   Deborah Boschert    http://deborahsjournal.blogspot.com
May 13   Jamie Fingal http://JamieFingalDesigns.blogspot.com/  
May 12   Desiree Habicht  http://myclothesline.blogspot.com

May 11   Susan Brubaker Knapp  http://wwwbluemoonriver.blogspot.com
May 9    kathy york  http://aquamoonartquilts.blogspot.com
May 8    Carol Sloan  http://carolbsloan.blogspot.com

May 7    Liz Kettle  http://www.textileevolution.com/index.php/our-journey
May 6    Jane Davila  http://janedavila.blogspot.com
May 4    Linda Stokes  www.lindastokes-textileartist.com

May 2    Judy Coates Perez  http://www.judycoatesperez.com
May 1    Susan Price & Elizabeth Gibson  http://pgfiber2art.blogspot.com/
April 30  Judy Gula http://www.artisticartifacts.com/blog/

April 28   Sue Bleiweiss  http://www.suebleiweiss.com/blog/
April 27   Melanie Testa  http://melanietesta.com/blog/
April 25   Leslie Tucker Jennison  http://leslietuckerjenison.blogspot.com
April 24   Cheryl Rezendez  http://www.cherylrezendes.com