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Intentional Printing: An Interview with Lynn Krawczyk

Intentional Printing - jacket art-2

Intentional Printing by Lynn Krawczyk is a must addition to your surface design library. I’ve always admired Lynn for both her can-do attitude and her energizer bunny approach to her art. Lynn produces like a full-time artist yet works full times an engineer. Talk about switching gears!

While I have been doing a variety of surface design on fabric for years, I do not consider myself to be a “serious” surface designer. And guess what, neither does Lynn! Her approach, as described in her book and below, allows for a relaxed and serendipitous approach to surface design. But don’t be fooled. Lynn creates some serious art and she’s someone who should be seriously held in high esteem for her talent. The bottom line is – “Hey, you can do this too!”

I had the chance to interview Lynn in between her bouts of paint flicking and pattern printing. I wanted to know more about the woman behind the paint book.

Lynn, When I first heard about your book, I was struck by the idea of intentional printing. For those who have not yet read your book, what do you mean by intentional and how does that differ from, um, unintentional printing or art-making?

LynnKrawczyk

Great question! Intentional Printing is about working in cooperation with serendipity. It’s about leaving enough room in your work process for happy accidents or to change directions but having an end goal in mind and working to guide your piece toward it.

It’s about striking a good balance between control and creative flow. Relying on just one or the other can often make it difficult to create work that you really love. So working with intent can help you get to that happy place in your art.

Those who know you know that you are crazy about fabric and surface design (and coffee). You have mentioned many times on your blog and in conversation that you also love to write. Percentage wise, what’s the passion ratio for each and what’s the actual percentage of creative time you spend on each?

I’ve never really thought about this one before! I’d have to say that is probably about 50/50. When I’m working on printing fabric, I need to be in my studio. But writing? I can do that anywhere. All I need is somewhere to park the words so in a lot of ways, it’s more accessible during the busy work week.

Your book, Intentional Printing read more like a conversation than a how-to book. What I particularly liked was that you included things that I often question, but that aren’t covered in many how-to books. For example – drying painted fabric. You should see my in the studio when I’m in a surface design mode – plastic and fabric covered surfaces everywhere. So naturally, I always wonder, “How do the pros do it?” Thanks to you, now I know that the method I devised out of necessity is how you, the pro do it. It’s those little assurances that made this a joy to read. So my question is, Lynn, how do you know what we are thinking?

I installed a nanny cam in your studio.  Just kidding! You should see my studio when I’m in a printing marathon. There is fabric hanging from those pants hanger things (the ones with clips on each end) and those are hung from the ceiling fan and closet door and shower curtain rod. And there is fabric trailing all the way down the hallway and on the ironing board. Every surface is a potential drying area.

I think if we all sat down and had a chat, we’d find that we all work similarly in the studio. And it doesn’t really matter if your studio is a lovely 1200 sq ft building or your sofa. There are things that we all do that are the same. It’s one of the unifying elements of artists.

I think it’s really important to take down the idea that professional artists have some magic way of doing things. It’s just not true. And it was important to me when I was writing the book to cover how to accomplish even the mundane things – it all needs doing!

Do you think your engineering background is a help, a hinder or a non-issue when it comes to creating art?

I think it’s helpful for me. I say that because I can often visualize the end product before I even begin working. And then I construct it backwards. It’s a little bizarre sometimes but it works for me.

It also helps me compartmentalize. So I really break down how to get from point A to point B in decisive steps. Oh. And post-it-notes. Life is not complete without post-it-notes.

Art Quilt by Lynn Krawczyk

Art Quilt by Lynn Krawczyk


Of the eight fabric printing techniques in your book, what’s your favorite and why
?

I really love Drop Cloth Printing. It’s got an energy that is I think reflects the atmosphere of art making. At least how I feel when I’m working in the studio. It’s kind of boisterous and restrained at the same time. Like it’s excited but it also knows it has a job to do. I like the push and pull it produces.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever used to print fabric with?

I read a lot about surface design and I continue to be fascinated with the idea of natural printing. One day I got the idea in my head that the berries the little tree outside my back door would be awesome to print with. I gathered up a bunch of them, hauled them up to my studio and laid them out on some white fabric.

They were lovely, all orange and red and brown and I knew they wouldn’t produce the same color when squashed but I figured they’d make something interesting.

So I folded over the fabric and whacked away with a hammer for a while (worked the dog into an absolute barking frenzy) and didn’t realize that while I was doing this, the little buggers were shooting out the open sides of the fabric like ping pong balls.

I spent weeks finding all of them in my studio. The resulting fabric was less than exciting (their juice was pretty much clear) but hey, you just never know until you give it a shot, right? From now on I just admire their little berry selves outside.


What would you tell someone who is drawn to doing something creative, like designing their own fabric, but, in her mind, has never been a creative person?

I’d say this: everyone struggles with self-doubt. I still do, too. It’s one of the cons that come with being an artist. Can’t have the good without the bad.

But every time I hit one of those periods in my art life, the first thing I do is sit back and consider this: what would I be doing if I wasn’t making art? The alternatives never satisfy, they are always lacking.

So that leaves me with having to face my fear or my angst or just simply my bad mood and push it out of the way. Being creative is not for sissies. It’s a lifestyle that requires a lot of self-examination and introspection and a willingness to constantly question yourself. But you always come out stronger in the end.

Banish the idea that you will excel at something the first time you do it. Give yourself the chance to make friends with it and trust me, you’ll find that comfortable place.

~~~~~~~

Lynn is also one of the founders of The Printed Fabric Bee, an invitational group of 10 surface design artists that I consider myself  lucky  to be a member of. We share the wealth with monthly fabric swatch giveaways so check it out.

Find Lynn on Facebook, Instagram and on her beautiful new website/blog Smudged Texiles Studio.

Want to continue along on this blog hop? Here’s the places to hop on over to~ (PS, there might even be an Intentional Printing book giveaway on some of them!)

·         SueBleiweiss.com 4/1

·         Virginia Spiegel.com 4/2

·         Twisted Sister 4/2

·         Muppin.com 4/3

·         Lesley Riley 4/3 (You are here!)

·         KristinLaFlamme.com 4/3

·         Bloom Bake Create 4/4

·         LyricKinard.com 4/4

·         JaneLaFazio.com 4/8

·         CraftyPod 4/8

·         My Clothes Line 4/9

·         MelanieTesta.com 4/9

·         LeslieTuckerJenison.com 4/11

·         Tracy Bunkers.com 4/11

·         Smudged Textiles Studios 4/14

·         Sew Mama Sew 4/20

·         Lisa Call.com Date TK

Comments

  1. Enjoyed the interview. The projects look like a lot of fun. I’d love to win the book.

  2. Thanks and God bless!

  3. Robin B. says:

    Wonderful interview with very insightful questions! Sounds like a terrific book.

  4. Denise Spillane says:

    Love your interview. This book is wonderful and I want to try out everything!

  5. Great interview. I love Lynn’s work, and I love your work, as well!

  6. Great interview and Lynn’s book sounds so inspiring! Thank you for mentioning The Printed Fabric Bee although the link did not take me there, I did find it through a google search. Looks great, thanks!

  7. This looks like a book I will have to own. Love the art quilt above.

  8. upstatelisa says:

    I am glad you asked Lynn about the title of her book! Great interview!

  9. Thanks for the interview.
    Loved the berries story.
    I’m intrigued by drop cloth printing and can’t imagine what it is.
    Thanks for the opportunity to win this book.
    Best!