One of the most gratifying things as a teacher is that moment when your students’ eyes light up and you can see their creative juices churning.
Well that was a moment repeated many times over the past few weeks as a group of eager sewers and quilters attended our Art Quilt Intro Series.
This was an introductory series of 3 sessions at Baron’s Sewing Center in Woodland Hills. A fourth informal class is planned this week so that the participants can put the final touches on their creations with the instructors on hand for assistance.
Art quilting encompasses a vast number and variety of techniques that are both fun to learn and valuable tools to have when planning a new piece. With limited time available it was a daunting task to select only a few of them. We did so with emphasis on straightforward versatile techniques. We also presented methods that were fun to do and that used products that wouldn’t be too difficult to find. The focus was on technique but each participant was encouraged to put together a piece that would incorporate these newly learned skills.
We focused on preparing backgrounds; either as a first layer for additional embellishments or to serve as the composition itself.
We introduced a variety of ways to get paint onto your quilt: using fluid acrylic paints and solid oil sticks, the group practiced applications using rubbings, stencils and stamps.
We also discussed and demonstrated Discharge Techniques- various ways of removing color from fabric. These included household bleach and discharge pastes – plain and with color added.
When we got to the “hands on” part of the class, they all took off like a shot – full of enthusiasm and creative ideas It’s unusual to see an entire group just take off and run with their new knowledge the way these women did. We all had a blast.
We turned our attention to preparing the quilts for quilting. A very important part occurs before your first stitch and we introduced the topic of thread selection, determining function and style and so on. During this session we also started our discussion of embellishment techniques. We focused on fusible appliqué and methods of securing these design elements. The students also learned how to use foil as a highlighting embellishment – using glue, fusible sheets or a powdered fusible called BoNash to transfer the foil to the fabric surface.
A lot of additional designing went on during the week 2 workshop and both Betsy and I worked closely one on one with the students to help them through their design decisions and implementation.
Time to add a little glitz and glamor to our art quilts. We discussed beautiful sparkly Angelina – how to use it, stamp it, apply it to the quilt surface and much more. Wow, exciting stuff to stir up your imagination!
We also talked about and demo’d the use of glitter in your quilt. Talk about your sparkle opportunity.
The little art quilts, well under way, needed to eventually be finished. So we went over various ways to finish the ‘edges’ of the quilts and various methods of applying the ‘false’ back to the quilt.
During these classes the quilting and embellishments were done with the following quilt layers in place: top, stabilizer, batting, muslin. Then, later a more pleasing/interesting fabric backing was added.
We will be putting the final touches on the quilts this next Wednesday morning.
**And we are all looking forward to diving further into the art quilting world this summer. The highly anticipated Art Quilt Camp for Quilters will be held from July 16 through July 20 from 10 AM until 5 PM each day. Sign up now to reserve your spot!