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Ask the Artist

Our Artist in Residence, Dina Kowal, answers your questions

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  • December 31, 2014
    Q: Sue wants to know: "Can you heat emboss on fabric?"

    A: It can be done. From my experimenting I found that pigment ink helped the powder stick the best (I used Memento Luxe). Ranger's Perfect Medium also worked well. Smoother fabrics will give the clearest image. Bolder designs work better than fine outline images... on smooth cardstock, the grains of embossing powder melt into each other, but on the rougher surface of the fabric, they seemed to just melt in place, pulling away from each other. Finer powders yielded a cleaner outline than the more coarse ones I used, but were harder to brush away around the image. Experiment on scraps of fabric to determine what will work best for you. Pieces are washable but should be dried flat.

    December 17, 2014
    Q: Ramona wants to know: "I see mixed media artists using drywall tape on their projects and I like the look. What are some different ways it can be used?"

    A: Drywall tape is a gridded mesh strip with a light adhesive on the back; it can be found at any hardware store. You can use a cut piece as a stencil - stipple paint or watercolor through the openings or rub in texture paste with your finger. You can layer the tape onto a mixed media project to add texture, then paint or add other mediums over the top. I sometimes will roll the whole roll of tape through wet paint and use it like a stamp. I also have tape wrapped around a large soup can that I use as a roller to pull off paint when I'm gel printing.

    December 10, 2014
    Q: Melody wants to know: "How can I clean acrylic paint buildup off of my stencils? I admit to not being diligent about cleaning everything right away when I've used it, and some of my stencils are getting pretty thick!"

    A: I am terrible about cleaning things off too... I do take care of my brushes but let layers of paint build up on my brayers. A good spritz over with rubbing alcohol will loosen acrylic paint from stencils and brayers so they can be rubbed or brushed off under hot running water. You might need to reapply the alcohol between brushings if the paint is thick or old.

    December 3, 2014
    Q: Sharyn wants to know: "What's an inchie?"

    A: Inchies are tiny pieces of art on a 1" square! They can be paper, chipboard, cardstock, canvas, matboard, or other textiles. Inchies are often collected or traded. We have a special section in our gallery for Inchies - click HERE to take a peek!

    November 26, 2014
    Q: Dolores asks: "Which is the best card to use with cutting dies? I use a 150gsm and find that the die cuts are not crisp."

    A: My favorite paper for cutting dies is actually watercolor paper. The ones with around 25% cotton content have a little more give and really show the embossing well. Heavier cardstock (110# or 200gsm) works well too.

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