Wednesday, April 9, 2014
The Transfer Process (TAP and creativity)
I've been working on a project with a friend that is multi-layered and will end up as a kind of workshop. It involves concept design, project development, and personal reflection. It also involves material preparation, so I've been playing around with Lesley Riley's TAP (Transfer Artist Paper), a paper you can (inkjet) print, draw, or paint on, and then iron onto a variety of surfaces. I've been using it to print text and images and then iron them onto fabric, which is probably its most common use. It really is good stuff, but then again, I've never tried any other brand.
If you've never used TAP, then here are my top two tips:
1) Cut your image from the transfer sheet as close to the edge of the image as possible, shaving the edges as close as you dare. This prevents a clear polymer 'outline' of your image from adhering to your final surface.
2) You can't over-iron TAP, so when in doubt, just keep on ironing. Just don't scorch your surface in the meantime! That word 'joy' up there took me less than 30 seconds, FYI.
But prepping fabric with TAP images has only helped create part of the project materials. A second transfer process will be needed in order to finish the project, and still another to use/share the project. The second transfer process is all about tangibly expressing a personal experience in a collage format using the supplies on hand. I think the physical expression of an abstract concept is the hardest transfer to make, especially for those who may have limited experience with collage. In fact, I think this is the hardest part about creating anything...getting to the point where your creation matches your vision, and/or knowing when to let the creating process eclipse the vision you initially had.
The final transfer process isn't so much about the creator as it is about the person who may ultimately look at the creation. What is their experience like? Or even, how important is the viewer's experience to the creator? Perhaps that should be answered first! Sometimes I look at artwork and see a very clear message, other times I'm totally flabbergasted. I think my favorite experiences are where I see multiple possibilities; even better are the times when I get to talk to the creators about their creation. Many deliberately choose to only partially transfer their ideas into clear messages so as to create an opportunity for dialogue. And dialogue is actually a goal for these finished projects, so perhaps if that idea-to-project transfer isn't as complete as it could be, dialogue could still be inspired.
So yes, the wheels have been turning lately! I have a million ideas on other ways to use this TAP stuff, but those will have to wait until this workshop is behind me!
I'm curious, have you ever used TAP? If so, how have you used it? And if you create things, what's your idea-to-project transfer process like? I definitely like clear messages when it comes to my work, but my art...not so much. Are you more of a 'give a clear message' kind of creator, or something else?