Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Citrasolv Photo Transfer Tutorial

The work I do as a mother involves a lot of delayed gratification. When I escape to the studio and put on my artist's hat it can be nice to see some instant results. Solvent photocopy transfer is one of my favorites. You need only a photocopy, fabric,  Citra-Solve®, and a few seconds of elbow grease and viola!

The good people who produce this environmentally friendly cleaning product have included an ARTISTS' PAGE on their website. I'm honored to have been included among other textile artists I admire such as Jane Davila and Jane Dunnewold.

I encourage you to take a peek over there - lots of interesting things being done. It makes me think that I have some experimenting to do. Dissolving pages from National Geographic magazine? Hmmm. Wonder how I can do that on fabric.

Want to join me in a little playtime? Here are the instructions for moving the ink from a photocopy onto paper or fabric. Wear gloves and work in a well ventilated area. The stuff is much more pleasant than the paint stripper I used to use but it IS still a solvent.


  • Citra-Solve®  (find where to buy it here)
  • Cotton ball
  • Metal spoon
  • Non-porous smooth surface
  • Masking tape
  • Fabric or paper of your choice
  • Photocopy

1. Find a copyright free black and white image. I love to use vintage family photos.
2. Make a photocopy of the photo, sizing it no larger than 5" x 7".
3. Cut away the background if it detracts from or competes with your image.
4. Draw in any lines that need emphasis or add in some fun scribbles. Maybe Grandma always wanted a tiara or your puppy looks great in polka dots! You can digitally manipulate the photo as well.
5. Make a final photocopy. (Note: Inkjet prints DO NOT work with this method.)
6. Tightly tape a piece of fabric or paper to your glass or non-porous surface.
7. Tape the photocopy face-down on your paper or fabric. Don't let the tape cover the image.
8. Dampen the cotton with Citra-Solve® and squeeze it out. Rub it on the paper until you see the ink show through. It should be barely damp - too juicy and your image will bleed and blur.
9. With the back of the metal spoon, rub, rub, rub hard and like crazy in all directions. You are moving the ink from the paper to the fabric.
10. Pick up one corner of the paper and peek. Look for spots that haven't transferred yet then put the paper back down and rub some more in that spot.
11. Toss the paper in the trash and let the solvent evaporate.
12. Feel free to play around with the image. Color it in with colored pencils, ink, paint or whatever you have on hand. Be creative! Have fun!

The only tricky part is finding a photocopier that works. If you are using Citra-Solve® (the other orange solvents I've tried have not worked) and you are rubbing and nothing is happening it is most likely the copy that is at fault. I test any copy I make right at the copy center. Dampen a cotton ball with the Citra-Solve® and stick it in a little zip-loc bag in your pocket. Make one photocopy then place it face down on another piece of paper on the counter, dampen with the Citra-Solve® then rub it a bit with the scissor handles on the counter, the back of your thumbnail, whatever you have there. If it's going to work it will work right away. If not, no amount of rubbing will work. Find another copy center. Don't leave the bag in your pocket too long. The solvent will eventually dissolve through the bag although it won't really hurt your clothes. (Ask me how I know!)

If you'd like to see it instead of just read about it I demonstrate the technique along with a lot of other fun techniques in the Quilting Arts DVD Workshop "Surface Design Sampler Platter."

Here is a link to the first of several Tutorials on how to Photoshop your images.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Art+Quilt: Quilter Beth - actual texture

Is it acceptable to call someone that is working through my book a "student" even if I haven't had the privilege of meeting her in the classroom? I sincerely hope so because Quilter Beth is doing some absolutely beautiful work and I'm so glad she's sharing her it with the world.

These are her ACTUAL TEXTURE exercises from chapter two in Art + Quilt in which one creates a composition with neutral colored fabrics with as many different textures as possible. It is an exploration in moving outside of the box - getting away from our comfortable quilter's cottons. Seeing new possibilities in our materials as well as in our own artistic sensibilities. 

Beth says, "Since I come from a traditional quilting background, I have seldom used fabrics other than smooth cottons in my pieces. I found myself really enjoying the feel of these various textures. I also liked "pushing" myself to come up with ways to add texture through embellishments. I think the multiple textures (and the play of light off these textures) make the pieces much more interesting."

Please click on these pictures to take a closer look at the fascinating materials she's used. There are rubber drawer liners and straw hat brims. Her compositions are well balanced and thoughtfully done. She's given each of her materials thought and care. What beautiful pieces.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

And the Winners Are....

You are a lovely and creative readership. You are both talented and clever. The people I admire the most are generous and open and sharing. I truly believe that whatever you put out into the world will surely come back to you and often magnified beyond what you hoped for. I wish for many wonderful things to come your way. I wish for you to be full of ideas and creativity and joy. Thank you so much to everyone who commented and contributed. 
Now - 
Drumroll please....

The winner of a set of cards - well. Actually. I decided not to choose just one. 

From the two posts with comments I used a random number generator and am awarding a set of cards to Rosemary of and one to Lori (comment number three on "Name That Newsletter." Again, thank you so much for all of your wonderful ideas.

And the name of my newsletter? I had SUCH a hard time choosing. 

Congratulations and many thanks to KATHY ANGEL LEE!

There were so many wonderful choices. As is often the case with me - I make lists, analyze, try to thing rationally, then end up going with the only thing that manages not to slip out through the sieve of my ever-leaking memory. After poring over the list for a couple of days, I keep waking up with the word LYRICISMS on the brain. So I looked it up and well, the definition says it all.

lyr·i·cism  (lr-szm)
1.a. The character or quality of subjectivity and sensuality of expression, especially in the arts.
   b. The quality or state of being melodious; melodiousness.
2. An intense outpouring of exuberant emotion.

Of course, now - there is now the pressure to be melodious and intensely exuberant. I have those moments but need to be a better editor for my writing to be continually melodious and it gets tiring to be intense all the time. Ah well. Who can help but wax melodic when sharing the joy of creativity and who can help but to be exuberant when the sharing of art is so much fun!?

Could each of you contact me with your mailing address?
lyric ( at )

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Name That Newsletter - Whadyathink?

I absolutely LOVE hearing from you all. I knew you were smart and clever and would come up with some wonderful ideas. Thank you so much for your comments and keep them coming!

One friend suggested that it would be good for me to develop a consistent "brand." In other words my website, blog, etsy shop, and newsletter should all be recognizable as being from the same person. That makes sense to me. My official business name is "Lyric Art" so if you have anything that incorporates that I'd love to hear it!

Here are your suggestions thus far in no particular order. I've starred the ones I'm leaning towards but I'd love to hear more before I make a decision. Since you all have been so wonderful I'm going to add a second prize, a boxed set of six note cards. I'll have one of the kids pull a random number from a hat for that one. So keep the suggestions coming! If you have another idea go ahead and let me know! Winners will be posted Friday morning!

Lyrical Letters*
Lyrical Notes
Lyric's Lyrics
Waxing Lyrical
Lines from Lyric
Lyrically Speaking*
Lyric says enter here
Lyric's Headlines and Deadlines
Notes From Below the Surface
The Stitching on the Wall
Poetry in Motion
Lyric's Playground
Lessons from Lyric
Notes and News from Lyric
Noteworthy Lyrics*
Words by Lyric
Lyrical Moments*
Learn with Lyric

Monday, February 15, 2010

Name That Newsletter - Whadyathink?

(but first)

Soar III has been juried in to ARTQUILTSillumiations, the 11th international art quilt show presented by the Professional Art Quilters Alliance - South. The show opens at the Durham Performing Arts Center March 26th and runs through the end of May, 2010.

All right now. I know you are all talented people. I need your help. I'm trying to be better about sending out my newsletter on a more regular basis. As in... more than twice per year. Ideally, every month. Yes, I am eternally optimistic. The newsletter includes notes on when and where I'm teaching, and updated lists of shows for quilt artists to enter. Feel free to send me an Email if you wish to receive the newsletter.

I'm the worst ever at naming things (my artwork would all just be numbered if I thought I could get away with it) and I know you all are very clever. Leave a comment with your idea for a name for the newsletter.

The creator of the winning name will receive a copy of my DVD, "Surface Design Sampler Platter." I'll post the finalists on Wednesday and the winner on Friday. Don't forget to leave me some way to contact you.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


We all have insecurities. Not all of us have been blessed with encouraging parents and teachers and mentors. I've been blessed with all three and still struggle with self-doubt now and then.

I can't help but compare myself with artists I admire and wonder if I'll ever achieve the success they enjoy. I have to stop, turn around, step up on my soapbox and give myself the very lecture I give to everyone else. (Yes, I am an oldest child and have no trouble being bossy. I've worked very hard to develop a very gentle and encouraging manner - but it still comes out bossy.)

I say to myself, "Lyric, you can't compare yourself to anyone else. Sure, you haven't made more than a handful of pieces in the past umpteen years but you HAVE accomplished other things. You wrote a book for goodness sakes! That's something. None of your children are in jail! That's something too. (Of course, they have quite a way to go yet so you still need to keep your eye on the kids.) The book's done now so if you would just get off the computer you could get some artwork done. Not as much as (insert name here) but a few pieces would be nice. Those amazing artists who produce a painting a day or a quilt every week are not driving back and forth to preschool and hockey and lessons and rehearsals and scouts and meetings and school and ...... Well. You get the idea. There is a time and a season for everything. Be happy with now. Run any faster and you'll fall over and that wouldn't be a pretty sight!!!" That's what I says to myself says I!

I believe that there is a time for everything. Seasons and all that lovely poetic stuff. It's really true.

If your struggle is that you think it's not good enough maybe your little lecture should be about giving yourself time and permission to learn. It's the old Carnegie Hall schtick. Practice, practice, practice. Too many of us (especially coming from the traditional quilt world) think that if we aren't close to perfect right away then we are no good at a thing. It takes time to learn and grow.

If your struggle is that it might not turn out the way you wanted it to, perhaps your lecture should be about how every "failure" brings you one step closer to success. I don't have failures any more. I have many, many "learning opportunities" and quite a few "happy accidents." Each is valuable. Figure out how to let go some of the control and let things be.

This is where my kids would roll their eyes and say, "mom, you're lecturing again." It's O.K. I'll stop. But just one more thing. Tell yourself something often enough and you'll believe it. Doesn't matter whether the something is negative or positive. So take a deep breath, and choose to BELIEVE that you can do it. You will succeed.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Student Spotlight and Inner Critics

I love my students. They are why I teach. They inspire me and invigorate me and remind me why I spend so much time ordering supplies and schlepping them around. I've said it before and I'll say it again - you can't pay me enough for all the packing and schlepping. But once the students show up I have to pinch myself because I can't believe I'm getting paid to have this much fun!

LauraLea has taken both of my on-line classes through and always blows my mind with both her productivity and the beauty of her work. The piece above is a heliographic print. Sun, fabric, ferns, paint - recipe for fun!

LauraLea has used both a torn freezer paper stencil and a meticulously cut plastic stencil for this beauty. She painted it over a spray bottle piece that didn't turn out to her satisfaction. That's one of the things I like so much about surface design. If you don't like what happens the first time you play with the cloth, just do something else to it.

Here is another look at her stencil - a goddess tree. I think the repeated swirls are a stamp she carved.

And finally, some Shiva paint stick rubbings. Aren't they exquisite? Such beautiful textures she found around her home. Way to go LauraLea!

Why don't you all leave a comment and tell her what amazing work she does? Especially because she always seemed to have just a little bit of fear holding her back. She would worry, worry, worry - and then show up with these beauties. I know she's not the only one who has a little inner critic that needs to be shut away in a closet somewhere. She struggled and managed to lock that nasty critter away for a while. Good for her!!!

All of these examples are from Playing With Paint, which begins again next Friday the 19th.

How do you silence your inner critic? How does fear hold you back and how can you overcome it? I'll ramble a bit more about overcoming our fears in the next post. Until then, enjoy these beauties.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Over there - and over here

There is a wonderful little group of artists who maintain a site titled "3 Creative Studios". Sue Bleiweiss, Terri Stegmiller, and Vicki Welsch - three lovely and very talented ladies. Their site is full of free projects, on-line classes, shopping, and a block of the month.

In conjunction with their block of the month for January they are giving away a package that includes my book, hand dyed fabrics, mistyfuse, a hand knit clutch, and art print, and several other textile related goodies. We're talking serious yumminess here people!!!

Pop on over there, put together their block, and enter their challenge!
You have until the 15th.

Over here I'm gearing up to open my next on-line class "Playing With Paint" through Quilt University. Here's a little snippet of what is in store there. This is a clip from my Surface design Sampler Platter DVD. Same technique but we'll get more in depth during the on-line class. That and you have weeks to interact with the other students and I. Class starts Feb 19th although I think you can register for it up through the 24th. There is extra time after all four lessons open to catch up if you need to.

Monday, February 8, 2010

You make it all worthwhile!

It was a rough year writing the book and I certainly didn't do it for the money. I did it because I'm on a crusade. Too many women look at me with those sad, sad eyes and say "I'm not creative."

Sorry. Not True. Big Lie!!!!
Everyone is creative in some way. Usually they are wishing they were an artist but have never been taught - or allowed themselves the time and mental space to learn the skills an artist needs. That's what the book is for. Nobody picks up a pencil and draws like Picasso the first time - it takes time and work and lots of effort.

So - here are a few links to people who are working through the book and doing some beautiful things. First a picture from a fabulous group working together up in the frozen north. I believe this one is Carol's line study.

Kay from Indiana has made a lovely texture study (actual texture)

Quilter Beth's visual texture exercises are beautiful!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Coming Right Up!

What do each of these things have in common?

You might end up using all of them in my upcoming on-line class through

begins on February 19th
four lessons
five weeks of time with the instructor (me)
for only $36.00
waaaaay too much fun

registration is open now - hope to see you there!