When the Rains Came Back to California

Note:  For the past year I have been part of the 2016 Journal Project.  In alternate months we have been given a theme and made a 12 inch by 12 inch quilt that was inspired by the theme.

Today was “REVEAL” day for the first quilt of 2017.  This month’s theme is Fantasy.  Here is my take….

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Almost every year for the past 5 decades we have driven up the Pacific Coast Highway en route to a favorite vacation spot in Marin County.

What we quickly realized is that the drive is a vacation in itself; an opportunity to unwind, kick back and to enjoy all the natural beauty that this state is famous for.

Rolling green hills to the east as we drive up the coast…and the boisterous Pacific in all its magnificence to the west.

In recent years, that beauty has been hampered by lack of rain.  This drought, of course, has had serious consequences for the state – not the least is the agricultural fallout.   Anyone and everyone who loves to garden or has a lawn to care for has been affected severely with restrictions and penalties.

For that matter, anyone who loves to shower or to brush their teeth has had disruptions of their morning routines.  (not to worry – we still shower – it’s just shorter.  And the most disciplined take pains to recycle the shower water).

So here is my fantasy of the California hills, after the rains come back and wash away the  memories of drought.

The Value of Value

Late last year I was VERY fortunate to notice that an online class was scheduled to begin in January that seemed perfect and timely for my resolution to improve my work in 2016.

One of my most admired art quilters is teaching it (Elizabeth Barton) and the Class Title:  A Master Class in Design for Art Quilters – speaks directly to my own need to ‘polish’ my design skills and to explore alternatives.  

We are delving into a different design concept each month and in January, Elizabeth had us take a fresh look at our use of value.   After presenting a couple of possible designs to work with I settled on the following sketch – a sketch that I based on a photograph that I took after a snowfall in Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis.

JAN GG Sketch 2

My next step was to gather fabric for possible use in this quilt.  The instruction was to use a range of at least 5  values of the same color – preferably a color that included an intense dark value such as black or brown or even navy blue.   I selected black, various grays and white.  I also wanted there to be added interest with texture.  Linen helped with that as did some thread work added later.

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Some of the fabrics that I made available for this quilt are shown above.  I used dark to light gray cotton threads for stitching plus one variegated thread to thread paint a tree trunk and add texture.  I included several of my hand dyed fabrics to the mix.

I ‘cleaned up’ my sketch, enlarged it to actual size, printed it out and created my templates.

In choosing my values for color placement I had to pay attention to how the color value would affect perception of depth and distance.  I also wanted to maintain the lonely, slightly haunted mood of the original photo.   AND to keep the overall image simple and uncomplicated.

JAN GG FIN

My teacher’s critique immediately pointed out my wobbly bench and I plan to correct that. I also plan to add more fine branches to the background and am going to include some hand stitched branches to the mix.

I think this has turned out to be a great example of how color both interprets and projects mood so vividly!   I am tempted to do this same scene, at some point, outfitted in its mid summer finery.

Prayer Flags Flying High (and mini tutorial)

I thought for sure that I had posted about making prayer flags but not so!  Prayer flags have a long tradition and they can be seen in many different configurations.   There is no right or wrong way.  There is a blog devoted to Prayer Flags at :  ThePrayerFlagProject.blogspot.com      There you will find tutorials and many examples of how various artists have interpreted and created their own Prayer Flags.  (mine are posted in March this year 2015)

I had thought about making and hanging some flags for well over a year and was waiting to be inspired it seems 🙂   A few months ago I was walking down the aisle of a local craft shop and found a package of burlap banner shaped pieces in the clearance section.  The first thing that I thought of was that they would be perfect for Prayer Flags.  And if I messed up, then the investment was minimal.

There were four of these burlap shapes in front of me looking like this:

burlap for flagseach measured 5 1/2 ” by 7 1/2 “

The first thing that I did before anything else was to stay stitch inside all the edges of all the flags to minimize fraying.  Burlap frays. I didn’t mind that,  It enhanced the rustic look that I was trying to achieve.  But I did want to contain the amount.    I used black thread and a zig zag stitch and stitched each flag on every side about 1/4 inch in from the edge.IMG_3498

        I figured there was no hiding of the stay stitching so I incorporated it into the overall design

You are goiing to need to attach a narrow muslin muslin hanging sleeve attachedsleeve to the top.  Do that now by machine UNLESS you are going to use that top space for your hand stitching later.  In which case you will attach the sleeve as the last step with each flag.

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Gather your fabrics and threads and design your flags.  I used muslin for the inspirational words, and a variety of fabrics: cheesecloth, bits of organza, felt, burlap.  Use whatever your design calls for!

hope_loveI also added a few beads, some ribbon and buttons and hand stitched with embroidery cotton of various sizes.      

The final step was to string the four finished flags together by running a length of hemp through the sleeves.

Details of the Four Flags Belowdetail_hope

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detail_inspire

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Beach Buddies – featured on the Superior Threads Blog

I was so excited to see that Superior Threads has featured my art quilt “Beach Buddies” on their blog.

http://www.superiorthreads.com/blog/2014/8/superior-spotlight-guila-g/

Years ago I took a photo of my husband and oldest granddaughter walking on the beach. I always loved that photo and knew that someday I would do something special with it.  After learning more about making pictorial quilts, including a workshop with Wendy Butler Berns, I made this quilt.

I enjoyed the process of making it immensely – and loved quilting it with silk thread.  I used Superior’s Kimono #100, a very fine thread.

detail 1 I did the quilting with #100 Kimono Silk

Detail 1

 

Beach_Buddies_detail

Detail 2

 

detail 3

detail 3

detail 2 The little girl is my oldest granddaughte

Detail 4

 

And this is the photo that I took when my granddaughter was only 2 years old.  She is now a senior in high school !

This is the photo of John and Marley that I based

Original Photo

 

 

Work (still) in Progress

There are lots of reasons we don’t finish our projects right away.  And one of them is that we’re not quite sure how we WANT to complete the piece.

So this has been hanging around for awhile now on my design wall.

tree on aura_edited-1

This started as a plain piece of Lutradur.  I took a photo of a tree on my street and worked with it using Photoshop Elements.  I took out everything that I didn’t want in my finished piece including all the leaves on the tree.  This step also included removing all the color.

In the meantime I painted the Lutradur with acrylic paints.  I used some from Golden paint and some Lumiere in various coppery hues.

Then the moment of truth as I printed my tree onto the Lutradur.

Then lots of fun to thread paint the tree itself.  I used a variegated 40 weight cotton from King Tut – (In the meantime I had layered the piece with cotton batting.

and that’s when I stopped.

The biggest question in my mind is whether or not to add quilting.

So now it’s time to finish and I’ve given myself 2 weeks to do that.  I hope by posting the process to date I’ll have more accountability to do that – to keep it as a priority.

What’s your opinion on adding more quilting to the piece?

SO EXCITED !!! We’re Going To Do a Teapot Class !!!

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Betsy and I designed and created these cute little art quilts last year in preparation for art quilt technique classes at Baron’s Sewing Center in Woodland Hills.

Now I am excited to announce that a series of Teapot workshops are scheduled in the Simi Valley at Quilty Pleasures starting this coming April.  Most of the construction of these adorable quilts is using fusibles and machine appliqué.  You will also learn how to apply fancy yarn fibers using couching techniques.  And it’s a chance to dig into your button box and gather up those bits of fancy lace and trim to embellish your creations.

There are 4 Wednesday sessions:  April 30, May 7, 14 and 28th – all 5:30 to 8:30 PM

Call Quilty Pleasures (805) 581-1577 today to sign up.  This will be a fun class.

 

Fish Out of Water

When I posted here several months ago I mentioned that I was working on a piece that needed some hand embroidery to be added.  This was a fun project – something different and incorporating several different techniques.

Here is a photo of  my Fish Out Of Water

And here is an overview of how I made him.

I collaged several fabrics onto a mottled yellow background.  I made a stencil from a fish drawing and when I cut it out I was careful to keep the remaining stencil material intact so that I could use it too.
Then I painted the fish image onto the quilt using the stencil and acrylic paint.  When it was dry I thought that more contrast was needed around the fish so I used the “fish” part of the stencil and painted around the outline.

I outlined the collage pieces with perle cotton and added embroidery to the fish.  Then I added some beads and a button eye to accent the fish.

Outline Stitching and Button Eye

Beaded Tail

Finally I stitched and beaded a spray of coral.

Beaded Spray of Coral

I used a pillowcase type of backing and accented the edges with a perle cotton running stitch.

Art Quilting Takes the Spotlight in Woodland Hills

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.

Guila Discussing Use of Discharge Paste

Betsy Demo-ing Use of Rubbing Plate with Shiva Paintstiks

Session one

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.

Practicing with paint and stencils, stamps

Peggy Making Art

Session Two

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.

Busy at Work on Their Quilts

Session Three 

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!

Hey, Look What I Just Made!

Angelina Wings

We also talked about and demo’d the use of glitter in your quilt. Talk about your sparkle opportunity.

Suzanne’s Sparkly Key

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!

Whimsy with a Stamp

Lola’s Quilt Well Under Way

A Blossoming of New Quilt Artists

Monday evening arrived and we gathered around the classroom tables at Baron’s Sewing Center in Woodland Hills. We were all there for an eagerly awaited kickoff to a series of workshops in Art Quilting. (The next workshops – a series of 3 – begins Wednesday April 25th 10 AM until 1 PM for 3 weeks)

My co-conspirator (Betsy Farwell) and I had all our props lined up and plenty of information to share with this budding group of quilt artists.

Several of the assembled had never been involved in art quilting at all. Our goal was to introduce them to some of the basic concepts and techniques of art quilting. Traditional quilting is filled with ‘rules’ and exact measurements. Art quilting is all about creativity and throwing away the rulebook.

Several participants were a little anxious because they didn’t consider themselves to be “artists”. We aimed to get across the idea that there are many ways to be an artist – that being able to draw well is a great skill to have but it is only one of many. The first prerequisite to being an art quilter is a willingness to experiment and to let your creative mode loose. It is not even necessary to have quilting experience. Many art quilters came to the field from general art backgrounds; some jumped immediately to art quilting after just a brief intro to quilting.

Our major task was to decide which of the many techniques of dozens and dozens to highlight and to demonstrate. We ended up with a smattering of surface design techniques such as fabric painting with Shiva paintstiks and Acrylic paint and use of rubbing plates, stencils and stamps. We also introduced the group to various methods of fabric discharge.

To add a little glitz and glamor we demonstrated use of foil and Angelina embellishment. We had available a potpourri of fun tidbits that they could use as they wished on their creations.

There was limited time for the group to play and try out all these techniques. But we turned them loose and play they did! To save time we provided some of our own teapot patterns. It was so much fun to see the group go off in their own directions to create their unique quilts. And here is some of their work in progress.