I have a love-hate relationship with image transfers. I love incorporating family photos into my claywork, but I hate the process of transferring. Mainly, the problem is that I have tried so many different methods, and so much time goes by between tries, that I can never remember what worked. I go through plenty of trial-and-error for each piece that way and it can be aggravating. But the results… the results make the aggravation less onerous to a point.
The method that works the most for me these days has got to be the old t-shirt transfer paper method. If you’re struggling with other methods, then I would suggest giving it a try. Transfer method seems to be as individual a choice as clay brand is, and what works for one person may not work for others. You need to play around until you find your success. And then, unlike me, try to remember what you did that worked
A few years ago, I collected wedding pictures of all of the parents, grandparents & siblings in our family. For unmarried adults I took college/high school graduation shots, and for children I used christening images. I wanted them all to be of a formal variety, and timeless. I converted everything to black & white, and now I use them in various crafty ways, including the family tree magnets pictured here, another set of family tree magnets I made for my brother-in-law and new sister-in-law when they got married, and a wedding bracelet that I wore to my cousin’s wedding. I also took some less formal current photos and used them in another set of magnets I gave the boys to play with a few years ago. It was a great idea at the time because it helped them learn the faces and names of relatives we didn’t see on a regular basis.
I love having all of these old photos available digitally, and the ability to transfer them to a hard, durable medium like polymer clay is a great bonus. They make great pendants, pins, tile bracelets, and I’d imagine you could even put your grandmother’s face on a button and sew it to your baby’s handmade sweater! (Wish I’d thought of that when I had babies around…) Keychains are good too. I’ve got a double-sided key chain with Son #1 on one side and Son #2 on the other. As you can see, the possibilities are endless, and it’s a lot of fun to carry your photos around with you in an unusual and artistic way.
I added some of my clayworks and other crafty things from the last few years to flickr today. Have a look, if you’re interested!