I don’t want to keep you in suspense, so I’ll say right now this is the last installment of my mixed media book reviews. I saved techniques books written by Jane Davies and Sherrill Kahn for last. Why? Mostly because I’ve been dipping into their techniques and needed the time for paint to dry.
Though her book Adventures in Mixed Media (2011) focuses on small scale and 3D work, most of the work Davies shows on her website is larger and painted. I concentrated on the fabric chapters – fusion fabric and fiber and paper quilts and cloth collage, and skipped chapters on making books and boxes, ornaments and shrines, and even dolls.
Given the sincerely earnest messages of some mixed media pieces, I appreciated the lightheartedness of the projects shown below. I hope you can read the text on these pages.
But let me feature the technique I’ve been trying out – fabric paper. I’ll show you my attempts in a future post.
Sherrill Kahn spent many years teaching art in schools, and the techniques she presents in Mixed-Media Master Class (2013) reflect that. Most are easy to master and use low cost, often creatively reused materials. Here are some of the items I’ve used to print on fabric based on Kahn’s suggestions.
Like Davies, Kahn works on paper as well as fabric, and some of her techniques wouldn’t work well with fabric. She presents lots of ideas, so if you don’t like one, flip forward a few pages and you’re likely to find another that suits. After all, the book’s subtitle is “50+ Surface-Design Techniques for Fabric & Paper.” Be aware that she uses paint washes a lot to tie together her printing, so you shouldn’t be surprised if your efforts need that touch to make them look good.
Unlike Davies’ book, Kahn’s is organized by types of techniques: resists, textures, rubbings and printmaking. The descriptions of materials you can use to create surfaces is better than the usual and the most expensive material is probably matte gel medium.
Here’s a sample set of pages.
I’ve tried the following techniques: making fabric cord, Inktense pencils on fabric, crayon resist, masking tape resist, stenciling with oil pastels, wet into wet paint on pole wrapped fabric, rubbings with assorted objects, fun foam prints, rubber band prints, styrofoam plate prints, and hair gel thickened paint. Some of my experiments were better than others, but I may have to buy a copy of this book.
One footnote. I have no idea why the term “mixed media” is hyphenated in one book and not the other. I assume it’s due to the editorial practices of different publishers.