Technique of the Week – Week 25 – Mask Ease Screenprinting

yr4week25Here’s this week’s video!

Skill Level:Confident Beginner
Time Commitment: Afternoon +
Cost: About $10 for Mask Ease and either a home made screen or store-bought screen and frame.

Here’s the complete tutorial on how to use Mask Ease!!
Project Hours: 4 hours
Design and Materials: 1 hour
Execution: 3 hours
The product for this technique is called Mask Ease by Scratch-Art.  This stuff is a vinyl mask that you apply to a prepared screen for screenprinting, and it acts as your resist so you can screen through it.  I have some pictures of the process this time, to explain better.

I did not have a screen around, so I used some sheer cotton fabric and a wood embroidery hoop that cost me 99 cents.  I wrapped the inner hoop with floral tape to make it sticky and pulled my fabric tight and put glue around the edges once I was sure it was taut.  I then used the circle of the hoop to make my pattern.

I drew my cuttlefish onto the yellow vinyl surface.  He’s going to be reversed in print, so keep that in mind.
Then you cut the vinyl with an X-Acto knife to expose your lines.  I followed the Mask Ease Instructions from here, adhering it to my screen and printing as usual.

One other note is that this needs to be used with good thick print paste or ink, as the large open surfaces can get runny onto fabric.  I’m still not a good screenprinter and I had several runny attempts before I thickened up my print paste.

I do like this little guy. I wanted him to be a little bigger to fill the space of the quilt a little better, so I think next time I will add borders or get an actual screen for screenprinting or a bigger embroidery hoop.  (It is a cheap alternative)

Don’t Ignore Flashing Lights in Your Eyes

This past week, I have been dealing with a semi age-related issue, but it’s important, so I thought I would share.

On Tuesday, I started seeing flashes in the periphery of my vision.  I thought they were the onset of a migraine, which I have had happen before, but by evening the flashes were near constant, and I called an eye specialist and spoke with an after hours ophthalmologist.

Turns out I was having a Posterior Vitreous Detachment, where the goo in your eye separates from the back of the eye.  This is Very Common and is age related.  But they suggested I get my vision checked and my retina scanned for any problems. JUST IN CASE.

The next day, I woke up with a new “Floater” in my vision.  I have always had them.  This one was different.  It was HUGE.  As I drove to the eye doctor,  little black spots started to appear.  Once in the chair, the Dr tells me my retina has been torn during the detachment, and I need laser surgery to seal the hole.  If I had ignored the signs, it would have led to a retina detachment, which is much more involved surgery!

I had the laser surgery the next day, and it was as quick and totally painless!  In fact, nothing in the whole thing ever hurt, I never had any pain at all.  The floater is annoying, but doesn’t hurt.

They tell me the floater will eventually dissipate, which I am glad, because this is what my vision looks like right now:

My eye floater copy

Please don’t ignore the warning signs!

Technique of the Week – Week 23 – Faux Screenprinting


Here’s this week’s video!

Skill Level: Intermediate
Time Commitment: Afternoon
Cost: Fun foam with a sticky back, from the craft store

Ok everyone, sorry for the late post, but my webhost has been playing tricks all week.  This technique was introduced to me by Melanie Testa, but it’s actually her friend Patricia Gaignat who wrote a really wonderful article about how to do it for Cloth, Paper, Scissors.  The cool thing is that this article is now available for FREE!  You can get a copy here in exchange for your email address.   There’s even more surface design fun in that ebook, so go get your copy!

I hope you try this one out and let me know what you think!!


Resolve to Start that Art Business in 2015!!!

2014 was great for me, and every year I start out making new resolutions that will further me as an artist.  I have really accomplished a lot with a good New Year’s Resolution.  My weekly series, which basically launched my art career, started with a New Year’s resolution in 2007.

I have been asked by many people lately if I could tell you how I started my business, how to make it grow, how to market it like I do, etc.  Well, I finally have an answer for that!

EP11725My friend, Lynn Krawczyk, and I are launching a one hour webinar on January 22nd that will get you started to launching your own Art related business in 2015!  I partnered with Lynn because she’s incredibly successful in her own right and does types of art that’s different from mine.  We have our own styles and our own ideas of what we want our businesses to do.  We went to this past International Quilt Market and learned so much from each other that we thought we had lots to share with all of you.

Are you ready to launch a business, no matter how big or small, and get it to grow? Let us help you get in the right frame of mind!

You can register for the webinar HERE!

Technique of the Week -Week 22- Thread Painting


Skill Level: Intermediate
Time Commitment: Weekend +
Cost: An embroidery hoop, about 8 inches across.

My friend Elin Waterston teaches a great class on thread painting, and I was a lucky student of hers many years ago.  Her big eye-opening change on thread painting for me was the use of an embroidery hoop instead of stabilizer to do the threadwork. (Another great lesson on this is available from my friend Susan Brubaker Knapp, whose DVDs on Mastering Machine Quilting 1 and Mastering Machine Quilting 2  that cover thread sketching are super fabulous to learn from too!!!)

You can see in the piece above that the quilt doesn’t pucker at all around the octopus figure that’s thread painted.  Pretty cool, huh?

The other awesome thing is that you can do this on any machine that can free motion quilt. Because really, that’s what you are doing.  You are putting so much thread down that you are creating many layers.  You do need a very sharp needle for this technique, and I used standard threads that I normally use to sew with in the machine.  (We will cover decorative thread painting later in the series!)

Have you tried this before?  Give it a shot and let me know what you think, and be sure to share your work too!