This week's blog is brought to you by visual artist Lea K. Tawd.
Have you wanted to try your hand at some mixed media art but aren’t sure where to start? This is a fun and easy project that has endless applications.
For the purpose of this tutorial, I’ll be doing a transfer to use in my journal. But you can use this with almost any substrate—canvas, wood, paper, or any other sturdy surface.
Step 1: Prepare your image for printing.
The transferred image will be reversed, so if you are using text or anything else that you don’t want reversed, you will first need to flip it in the photo editing software of your choice. You’ll also need to re-size it so that it will print at the size you want. You may want to consider applying a filter if you want to change the photo to black and white, sepia, or another hue. I used an old print of my artwork, but you could use a photo or anything you can think of. Just be sure to avoid images that you don’t have the copyright to, especially if you are going to sell the finished piece. Once your image is ready, print it out!
Step 2: Prepare for transfer.
Carefully cut your image out or tear around it so that you will get more organic edges. Lay it face up on a piece of paper, an old phone book or magazine to protect your work surface. Using your brush, paint a layer of gel medium over the image. Let it dry completely! This may be overnight depending on how thick it is. If it’s a pretty thin layer, then paint another layer until the dry medium it is 1-2mm thick.
Step 3: Prepare your substrate.
If you want to, you can begin your work of art while you wait for the medium to dry. If I’m working on paper or canvas, I will add some paint and collage to get started.
Step 4: Transfer!
Decide where on your surface you want the image to be. Use the gel medium to glue your image face DOWN on the substrate. Use a bone folder or finger to push out all the bubbles and make sure it sticks down. Wait for it to dry completely.
Once dry, use a spray bottle or a little bit of water on your finger to lightly wet the paper that is stuck to the back of the image. Use your finger to gently rub in a circular motion to remove the paper. Continue this until all of the paper is gone. Sometimes I have a hard time telling if it is all gone—if this happens, let it dry and you should be able to see if there are still some remnants of the paper there. It takes some work but keep going!
Step 5: Play!
Add permanent ink, paint, collage, or anything else you can think of to finish your work of art. I haven’t finished mine yet, but you can see that so far I’ve added some paint and white ink. Have fun!
On occasion, I receive requests for custom-made mosaic art jewelry. Since I love making custom pieces, I delight when someone contacts me for a custom order. Oftentimes, the request comes with a story about why a custom piece is required instead of selecting a piece from existing inventory. This blog post is predominantly visual; a pictorial if you will of requests for custom pieces and their accompanying stories.
The home page of my website is essentially a gallery of some of the mosaic art jewelry pieces I have created over the years. Many of my custom orders emanate from people who see something they like on the home or shop pages of my website but they would like the piece to have a different color scheme or perhaps be set into a different metal. Usually, I am able to accommodate custom requests.
A mother and daughter participated in one of my mosaic art jewelry workshops. They loved the workshop and the pieces they made. Later, the mother asked me to create these earrings for her daughter as a gift.
These very large pendants were requested by a customer who saw one of my pendants at a show. She requested two pendants with brighter colors than the original pendant and she wanted the pendants to be similar to one another but not identical. I believe one pendant was for herself and the other for her sister. These particular pendants are challenging to create as some of the circles have to be hand carved using a pumice stone. The black circles are a hand-cut Italian glass called Filati. I really love this pendant, and though challenging, loved making them for the customer.
The above photo on the left is the original pendant and the photo on the right was the result of a custom order request. The customer asked for two pendants similar to the original but in a muted palette. The pendants were for himself and a close friend. He wanted the pendants to be similar to one another but to also have slight differences. He had expressed to me that these pendants would be symbolic and important to him and his friend so I took great care to listen to what he wanted. He was very happy with the end result.
The heart pendant on the right is a piece that was on my website but was no longer available as it was sold. The photo below is a custom order based on the original pendant. The client really liked the glass heart and wanted one similar to give to his girlfriend. A few months later he and his girlfriend came to a show I was participating in. She expressed that she loved the pendant. It was nice to meet them in person.
These hearts were custom-made for a customer who wanted heart pendants for herself and her sister. The photo on the left was the photo the customer referenced. She wanted the custom hearts to be a little brighter and wanted them to be the same color scheme and as identical as possible. She also requested sterling silver chain rather than cord.
Occasionally I receive requests for sets. This customer wanted a bracelet/earring set that was bright and vibrant. The bracelet is not a bracelet style that I usually make. She wanted a slim bar style bracelet to match the earrings so I was happy that I was able to accommodate her request.
A while back a customer purchased a glass and tile pendant from me at a show. About a year later, she reached out to me and asked if I could create matching earrings. I was pleased to create earrings to match. She didn’t want them to be “matchy matchy” but she definitely wanted the earrings to reference the pendant. Below is a photo of the matching earrings.
If you’d like a custom-made mosaic art jewelry piece, you can either go to my website at www.mothandtwig.com to peruse existing designs that you might want modified, or you can visit Artistic Portland and view the pieces on display in the store. You can then contact me directly at email@example.com and let me know what you would like to have created. The piece will then be available for purchase at Artistic Portland.