FAQs for Designing your Own Fabric at the Touchstone Center for Craft

Laptop.

Students must bring a laptop to class with them in good working order.

  • You can use any format (Mac, PC or Surface).
  • You will not be able to do this class on an iPad or other tablet. The software is just not yet compatible.
  • Please bring your power cord.
  • Make sure you know any passwords or logins you need to get on to the computer.
  • I strongly recommend you bring a mouse to use for class and not try to do the whole class using the track pad or touch screen. There are gestures/tools that are easier to learn with a mouse and require complicated multi finger gestures to do on a track pad. It is your option, but I do recommend it.
  • Mac users (especially with newer iMacs), if you only have USB-C ports, you may want to get or bring a USB adapter so that you are able to get photos from your camera, use a mouse or thumb drive. This is the one I have and it has ports for basically everything I need and it’s only $16.
  • We won’t be using tablets (like Wacom, iPad, Cintiq) in this class.

Software.

You must have a current version of Photoshop CC for this class. You may not use a version of Photoshop that is older than CC (ie CS6). The older versions of the software are very different and do not have some of the features/tools we will need for class.

It is absolutely ok to use a 30 day free trial or to only subscribe to the software for 1 month during the class time. You can see details about how to download and subscribe to Photoshop at Adobe’s website. A one month subscription is approximately $25. Please please please subscribe and install the software before you come to class. We will not have class time to download and install software. If you need help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me before class and I am happy to help.

We will use a web browser for several class activities. If you are a Mac user, we occasionally have a few issues with Safari. If you are able to download and install Firefox or Chrome so that that you have that available on your computer, that may be helpful. Otherwise, Chrome is usually the web browser I recommend.

Computer skills you need.

I do not expect you to have any skills with Photoshop at all when you come to class. If you have never used it, that is perfectly ok. We are going to start with the basics and build skills as we go.

You should be comfortable with the following concepts or ideas:

  • You should be able to find a file on your hard drive and open it.
  • You should be familiar with functions like copy/paste, click-and-drag, opening a new tab in your web browser, uploading a file.
  • You should be familiar with using a thumb drive or jump drive.

We will need to move some files around in class. For example, we will be scanning some paper artwork and then each student will need to get that file back to their computer. I will provide blank thumb drives to use for this, but occasionally if those are problematic, I am able to email files to you. If you are able to access your email, that can be helpful. I prefer that you don’t bring your own thumbdrives to class just because of the potential to spread viruses from computer to computer. I have a classroom set that I erase and reformat before every class and I will give you a new one with all of the class handouts, sample files and slides on it that is yours to keep.

Camera.

In class we will do some project with photos. Each student should have a camera with them to use for taking photos. Your smart phone is perfect for this. You can also bring a small point-and-shoot if you would rather use that. Make sure you know how to get photos from your phone or camera and save them to your computer. I am pretty good at figuring out technology but I don’t know every phone/combination, so it it super helpful to me if you can try to figure out that part before you come. Again, if you have questions before class, send me an email and I am happy to help!

About my classes.

Sitting in front of your computer for an entire day is exhausting for most of us, so I try to break up class time with blocks of time in front of the computer learning the digital tools and blocks of time away from the computer making art, taking photos and doing more hands-on tasks. Over the course of the class, we will be making many many samples. Some of them will just be practice pieces for learning a particular technique and some of them will be “finished” digital files that are print ready.

We won’t be printing any of your digital samples during class. The printers that Spoonflower uses to print your designs are about the size of a small schoolbus and we can’t replicate anything like that in a portable size printer that we could have in our classroom. Throughout the week, you will choose a collection of files to upload for printing and I will ship those samples to you after class. You will learn all of the steps to upload and print any future samples or yardage on your own after class. I will bring many many printed samples of fabrics with me to class so you can see the fabrics, colors, saturation etc all hands-on.

Me and Spoonflower.

I am not employed by Spoonflower, but Spoonflower and I are really good friends. I co-wrote a book with them and I often teach at their request at conferences and art centers like this. But I don’t officially represent them, I can’t access your account or look up your order, and I don’t get a commission or kickback from them for teaching this class. They are super supportive and often send additional materials to class as a bonus for students. I work closely with them on a lot of different projects and I am happy to be a “Spoonbassador”.