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124 Reviews
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153 of 155 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Home Run for McElroy & Wilson
I have been a fan of Ms McElroy & Ms Wilson since I first got my artsy little hands on Image Transfer Workshop: Mixed Media Techniques for Successful Transfers. I value that book tremendously and was more than a little stoked when I heard they had another compilation on the way. As much as I adore Image Transfer Workshop, this new book is equally fantastic (just on...
Published on April 10, 2011 by K. Babcock

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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great
I found the instructions to be somewhat confusing at times and somewhat unprecise at times. Perhaps this is because I am new to many of the techniques presented, As just one example of confusing and unprecise, under the Gels section, the reader is told to apply a thin layer of gel in the first sentence but in the very next sentence tells the reader the gel, both matte and...
Published on December 13, 2011 by Louis Gedo


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153 of 155 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Home Run for McElroy & Wilson, April 10, 2011
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This review is from: Interweave Press Surface Treatment Workshop: Explore 45 Mixed-Media Techniques (Paperback)
I have been a fan of Ms McElroy & Ms Wilson since I first got my artsy little hands on Image Transfer Workshop: Mixed Media Techniques for Successful Transfers. I value that book tremendously and was more than a little stoked when I heard they had another compilation on the way. As much as I adore Image Transfer Workshop, this new book is equally fantastic (just on different subject matter)!

I cannot agree with the other reviewer about the illustrations, though. At all. I LOVE the photos and work used as examples. I don't care if it came from class students or so-called "professionals" - I thoroughly enjoyed all of it and in my opinion, each piece pictured serves as inspirational reiteration of the projects/ideas/techniques presented. Beyond the Introduction and a short instructional on How to Use This Book, there are two major sections: Techniques and Inspirational Projects. The Technique section in broken into three sub-categories: Additives (Aluminum Foil, Drawing Grounds, Ventilation Tape, Faux Encaustics, just to name a few), Resists (Rubbing Alcohol, Petroleum Jelly, Salt, White Craft Glue, etc), and Subtractive or Combination (Painted Leaf, Rust, Sanding, Tyvek, etc). With the Inspirational Projects section containing 4 additional projects spanning ten pages, resources, and an index, this book is as thorough as it is fun to read and look at.

The photos clearly show how to use the suggested materials, as well as finished samples. Samples provide adequate examples of a technique, in my opinion. With all the parts I love about this book, advanced and experienced artists beware - I doubt you'll learn many (if any) new techniques. It's a great compilation of techniques, don't get me wrong. There just aren't any new-to-me techniques - although I always enjoy seeing new ways each technique can be presented and used. I like Surface Treatment Workshop because of the vast array of techniques it covers all in one place.

On a final note, it's been my experience that if there is something in the book you have questions about or don't understand, emailing Ms McElroy will produce a thorough response, quickly. I'm really glad I got this book - as much for the cool techniques as for the wonderful photographs.
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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Hit From This This Author Team!, April 17, 2011
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MusingCrow "ZQuilts" (Friday Harbor, WA, United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Interweave Press Surface Treatment Workshop: Explore 45 Mixed-Media Techniques (Paperback)
I love this book! I was hesitant about it because the author's previous book "Image Transfer Workshop" is, in my humble opinion, one of the best books I've invested in (and I invest a lot in books!) and I wasn't sure that a new book could live up to that opinion. I am SO happy to report that this book is another home run, totally out-of-the-ball park winner of a book.

The lay out is very well considered and the instructions are superlative - perfectly illustrated with photos that relate directly to the image. I couldn't wait to begin experimenting! One of the things that intrigued me as I read through the book was a description of Venetian Plaster - something I had never heard of before - "...Venetian Plaster gives you a unique finish that cannot be replicated with any other medium....". A tall order in my opinion. I got some of this miraculous stuff though and experimented and now have a new favorite mixed media tool. You can see my experiment from using the instructions on my other blog - [...].

I can't wait to try more surface treatments from this book. It's a must have for the bookshelf of artists of all sorts - especially for fine arts, mixed media artists and visual journalers. You just can't go wrong by buying this book!
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great, December 13, 2011
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This review is from: Interweave Press Surface Treatment Workshop: Explore 45 Mixed-Media Techniques (Paperback)
I found the instructions to be somewhat confusing at times and somewhat unprecise at times. Perhaps this is because I am new to many of the techniques presented, As just one example of confusing and unprecise, under the Gels section, the reader is told to apply a thin layer of gel in the first sentence but in the very next sentence tells the reader the gel, both matte and gloss, needs to be dragged. But the reader isn't told why and where one would use both a gloss and a matte gel. Unless you know already, that type of instruction is a little too vague for artists like me. A subject like this would best be handled by a video instruction DVD because one cannot possibly convey in writing what can be conveyed through a video presentation. Next time I will wait for a DVD.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow. Gorgeous. But way over my head!, August 19, 2011
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This review is from: Interweave Press Surface Treatment Workshop: Explore 45 Mixed-Media Techniques (Paperback)
First off, I bought this hoping it would help me with mixed media surfaces in jewelry making: decoupage, patinas, heat coloring, etc. So, my bad for not paying more attention.

It IS helpful in some ways in giving me ideas I can incorporate in some jewelry designs. But for the most part, this is designed for canvas based paint designs, using a range of techniques familiar mainly to someone who paints...someone who knows a gesso from resist.

The pictures are amazing. The artists create collages and prints that are indescribably beautiful. I'd love to learn some of the techniques if I branch out from jewelry. They also are reasonable about materials: they often incorporate household items like bleach pens, salt, aluminum foil, and even dishwasher rinse aids. If you're into creating depth and variety in a paint based style, this IS it. I loved browsing the pages, especially the ones of finished projects.

However, the artists are assuming some general knowledge of paint terms, mediums, etc. In the step by step instructions, it seems like the last few steps are missing from some...they get you started going but not to the completion of the project (assuming you know, I guess). But, in their favor, they give many variations on each technique. I think if you had the materials and the time, you could figure it out.

In all, for a paint artist wanting to experiment, this book would be perfect. I'm giving it four stars because it did knock me out and did inspire ideas, even though it's not exactly what I wanted. I hope you find this review helpful!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Vague and messy., December 6, 2011
This review is from: Interweave Press Surface Treatment Workshop: Explore 45 Mixed-Media Techniques (Paperback)
This purchase was a bit disappointing. For most, I would suggest borrowing a copy from your local library instead of buying it sight unseen.

It does have 45 surface techniques though I found them a bit redundant. For example, rubbing alcohol can be splattered on a painting to create resistance... As can dishwashing soap, as can bleach, as can salt... Basically the same technique, very similar end effect, but using different substances. In the book, each one of these substances is presented as a different technique.

Another issue for me was the vague instruction. The descriptions of the techniques are way too brief and the pictures that accompany the instruction are thumbnail size, making it hard to see the work as its progressing... And worse yet: It never shows the final product of the steps involving in producing the effect! It shows the tiny images of the work at each step but doesnt show the finished piece!

Lastly, I think an instructional book should use visuals that are geared to both beginners and advanced students, showing the beautiful possibilities of the technique a beginner couldn't have imagined and showing work of the highest caliber to challenge advanced students. In this book, I found most of the artwork to be very muddled, messy, and very amateur looking. I wasn't inspired by many of the art examples and I had experiment a lot to figure out the technique, and use my imagination to picture how the techniques can be used with a more polished work.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Challenging Book, May 9, 2011
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This review is from: Interweave Press Surface Treatment Workshop: Explore 45 Mixed-Media Techniques (Paperback)
I found this book to be very interesting and challenging. The format of 45 different texturing techniques made me want to try them all. Many I had known of and tried before but there many that I never knew existed. I recommend this book to those who like to experiment and especially new painters.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly tested; theoretical techniques, March 11, 2013
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This review is from: Interweave Press Surface Treatment Workshop: Explore 45 Mixed-Media Techniques (Paperback)
I was really looking forward to this book. It has all the trappings of success, 45 MMTs! C'mon how could it fail? Well it did and it does because while it has a lot of techniques much like Bea Shay's Collage Lab, it suffers from the same problem -- not enough actual testing of these formulae to see if they actually worked. It as though the two authors read a bunch of tecniques and said, Yes that should work, and then plopped it into their book and gave some variations. Problem is most of them, at least the 10 I tried do not work as claimed and while I only tested about 35% of the techniques, I neither have the time, money (many of them are expensive) or inclination to pursue this book further. The best summary of all is, Sounded good on paper.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not disapointed, not excited, October 21, 2011
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This review is from: Interweave Press Surface Treatment Workshop: Explore 45 Mixed-Media Techniques (Paperback)
Although this book had lots of techniques to go by, the instructions were very limited. Some of us just need more info than others. I would say, with some certainty that I have seen several of these techniques in other books. I wasn't totally disappointed, but not excited about the book either.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, March 29, 2013
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Not enough information and detail for someone without a lot of experience. It is more just lists of possible materials for each project than it is instruction.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surface techniques, July 5, 2011
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This review is from: Interweave Press Surface Treatment Workshop: Explore 45 Mixed-Media Techniques (Paperback)
I picked up quite a few tips for ways to liven up the backgrounds for my artwork, and I also used some of the techniques to decorate wood frames for mirrors. Very useful!
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