Art Quilting Techniques Workshops for 2013

2013 Workshop Schedule

Topics in Art Quilting Techniques will continue into the New Year.  For those who missed them the first time around we are repeating key topics such as Painting on Fabric, Putting on the Glitz and so on.

For those of you who are eager to delve further into Art Quilting Techniques we will be scheduling additional classes such as Using Alternative Materials in Your Art Quilts,   Orphan Blocks as an Inspiration for Art Quilting and more!

I CAN tell you that the first scheduled workshop of 2013 will be Tuesday January 15 from 6 PM until 9 PM.  It will be Painting on Fabric.  You will learn how to select and prepare your fabric; how to select appropriate paint for your project and how to apply the paint.  You will learn techniques for stenciling and stamping with paint as well as how to apply paint with a brush to achieve the effect you are looking for.
  Make sure you wear clothes that won’t suffer if they receive some paint splashes or bring a coverup.  It’s going to be a fun and creative evening.

I expect to have the rest of the dates for the first quarter firmed up later this week so keep your eye on this space.

And enjoy your Thanksgiving Day with lots of good food and surrounded by family and friends!

Latest Series of Workshops – a Highlight of the Summer

I can say two things for sure: Teaching teenagers art quilting fundamentals is FUN !!! and… Teaching teenagers art quilting techniques is EXHAUSTING !!!

I just finished up 3 days of workshops at Baron’s Sewing Center in Woodland Hills with a group of bright and talented young women.  They were eager to learn and to put their new skills into action.

Day One:

We started off with a lesson in Sun printing using Dynaflow Paint from Jacquard.  The plan was that the pieces would dry in the sun while we went on to the next topic. Well, Betsy and I knew they’d enjoy the process but hadn’t realized that this technique would be the hit of the day!  All they wanted to do was to Sun Print!!!  And I must say some amazing work was produced by these budding artists.  (I will be putting a Sun Printing Tutorial on my Blog shortly for all to enjoy).

Prepared Panels Drying In the Sun

The girls used all kinds of things to create their patterns – plumbing washers, nuts, bolts, coins of all sized, keys, decorative flashings from keyholes – sequin waste and decorative cutouts of their own design.

The session on painting techniques continued with stencilling paint on fabric and using rubber stamps to apply acrylic paint as well as pigment or dye ink from stamp pads.

Day Two started with a unanimous request for MORE SUN PRINTING !!

We were glad to oblige but made sure we got to the new stuff as well.  Our students learned the use of Fusible web to apply designs to their quilt tops and how to assemble the layers that would give them a foundation for quilting their pieces.

It was exciting and gratifying to see how quickly these girls caught on to the concept of free motion quilting. And although mastery of this technique takes many hours we saw some commendable first timer results here.

Day Three commenced with yet more requests for painting.  I promised they could do that after we talked about a couple of other things.  I reminded them how excited they had been with the idea of applying glitter to their quilts and took a few minutes to demonstrate how easy it is to do that.

We also went over the many uses of angelina fibers (one teen asked, “What about Brad?” and my response was “huh?”)

They had all decided that they wanted to turn their quilted panels into pillows.  So I proceeded to show them how to assemble a removable pillow cover using the pieces they had just created.  Here they are digging into the scrap bag looking for suitable pillow back fabric.

looking for that perfect piece to back their pillow with

Here is some of the work produced by this talented bunch.

Original drawing from one of our talented teens

And More Creativity on Display

D is For Do-Over

There aren’t too many things in this life that we can ‘do over.’  It’s not like a computer game where we can push the restart button and proceed; this time, of course, knowing the pitfalls and the previous mistakes that we made

In this case my Do-Over is of something of relative inconsequence.

This past January I made a small art quilt to go along with our Haiku prompt “Exhilaration”.  I was pleased with some aspects of my quilt.  For instance, I thought the quilting was terrific (even if I do say so myself, lol), there was considerable texture (I had experimented with light molding paste) and the colors were bold and beautiful.

But the composition was awful to my critical eye and I wasn’t happy with it.

Here’s the original:

Original Exhilaration Quilt

See what I mean?

So here’s what I did.

I needed to break up the huge expanse of yellow and somehow integrate the various elements.  So I painted some fusible web, cut it out, burned the edges with my multi heat tool and applied some of it to the quilt.

Then I printed the Haiku on Extravorganza, fringed the edges and painted them. Then affixed the Haiku to the quilt with BoNash.

Here’s my do-over.  Please let me know what you think?  How would you have proceeded?  I’m really interested in your comments.

Exhilaration The Re-Do

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

Demystifying Stamp Pads

 I’ve been using Ink Stamp Pads forever. Remember as kids when you’d get hold of an old stamp and stamp pad and brand everything in sight including the back of your hands?

Many years later I tackled scrap-booking then journaling – again making use of those tempting rubber stamps and lovely inky pads. In those days it was pretty straightforward. If the color called my name I used the pad and didn’t care if it was Dye Ink, Pigment Ink, Solvent, Archival, or whatever.

Now with art quilting there’s more to the selection and more risk in selecting the wrong type of pad. It’s got to transfer cleanly to a very porous surface. And of course you don’t want fading.

You may also be concerned about the image staying put AND crisp and clear after washing or if you’re planning to use wet media over the image. I have NOT included the effects of washing on these samples and will do something on that another time.

Oh I got so confused!!!  Everywhere you look – known and trusted online sites/blogs, manufacturers’ sites or craft shop advice sites you get someone else’s opinion. And often these opinions are at odds with one another.

So I decided to take matters into my own hands and go back into my mad scientist mode. I lined up ALL the different types of ink stamp pads that I had on hand, chose a rubber stamp that would print well (not too much detail and deeply carved stamp ridges) on fabric and went to work.

1. I washed, dried and pressed the fabric first: some bleached muslin. (you’ll get a slightly different color cast using the unbleached.)

2. One by one I inked up the stamps, stamped the fabric, and recorded what was used.

3. In a couple of instances I also documented the Surface that I stamped on to see if that made a significant difference. For instance whether it was a hard surface or a cushiony one – including batting.

4. After making sure all impressions were completely dry I pressed with a hot iron.

NOTE: Because I’m going to be using these in Art Quilts I did not wash the fabric again after stamping it. So this is NOT a test for washability, simply a comparison of how well the inks did visually on the fabric. I was looking for vibrancy, clarity and crisp edges.

Here are the photos of my first go-round.

       

 

 

                  In my opinion the best performers were the dye inks from the Recollections and Memento (Tsukineko) lines. I stamped with Recollections with and without batting under the muslin and definitely got a crisper edge without the batting.

I also was pleased with the Dye Ink in the Distress Ink Line from Ranger. (That’s the one in the group to the LEFT in the upper left hand corner.)

The solvent ink from Staz-on and Archival Dye Ink from Ranger were both excellent. The downside with both is that they are limited in color choice and are quite pricey.

The pigment ink from Colorbox left a smudgy outline. I tried it on a lightly padded surface, over batting and on a hard surface. The hard surface was best but still not as distinct as the Dye Inks.

The pigment ink from Versacraft was acceptable but not as crisp as Memento.

*A note about Versacraft: it is widely accepted as a good choice for fabric stamping as it has proven to stay put after washing. So if that’s your need it’s definitely a consideration.

Further test:

I further tested the Dye Ink from Recollections with a larger stamp to see if I could repeat the good outcome. I am partial to this particular pad because of availability and lower cost. However I haven’t seen it in a wide array of colors.

I retested the Memento as well. Both were excellent. Memento has a broad choice of colors available. It’s a little pricey in the larger stamp pad but is available in a smaller more economical Dew Drop size.

And here is the Dye Ink from Ranger (Distress Ink) This comes in a wonderful array of colors.

Next I will be testing my collection of brush markers with stamps to see how they perform on fabric so stay tuned.

Please pretty please leave me a comment – especially if you have had experience with any of these and would like to add your observations. That would be grand and thank you!!

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.


 

An SOS to My Art Quilting Readers – Need Ideas

Please excuse if you see this more than once.  I’ve cross posted it to the Quilt Art list and on my Facebook page as well.

I have a logistics/design issue that I’ve been working on and am not happy with my solutions so far.
I’m SURE there must be one or more of you out there who has happily solved this.

I have more than a dozen small quilts that vary in size with the largest about 12 x 12.
They do not have a cohesive theme of any kind.
I would like to put them all into book form for viewing – but want it to be fairly easy to remove them and of course not damage them in any way.  I do not want to put them into ‘jackets’.

I have looked at several tutorials and patterns and everything I see is related to making a cover for an existing journal or sewing/quilting a journal.  Some of these are extraordinarily beautiful but not what I need.
Ideas???

Thank you!!

Challenge for January: Exhilaration – Haiku and Art

The Haiku Art  prompt word for January was Exhilaration.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines “Exhilaration” as    “The state of being stimulated, refreshed, or elated.”
Sometimes all it takes to experience these feelings is to step outside on a sunny day.
The Haiku
scent of new mown grass
sunbeam caresses my cheek
living…feeling…aaaaah…
For the art work that I was preparing to go with this haiku – I didn’t want to be too structured.  I wanted to indicate an almost childlike feeling of exhilaration with my composition and color choices.
At the same time, as a developing art quilter, I wanted to incorporate a couple of new techniques and see “what if”?
First off I used a “blah” pastel print in lieu of plain muslin as my base. I didn’t mind that it partly “showed through” – just felt it added some interest.
I felt that color was of first importance in this piece – so before doing anything else I painted my background using acrylic paint.  In order to add some texture to the piece I used some Golden Light Molding Paste to parts of the grassy area.    
I quilted the piece extensively with heavy thread. 

My Sweet Little Gardener

I finally took a photo of this quilt – completed.  It’s one of my earliest art quilts – 2007 – and it is from a pattern by Wendy Butler Berns.  I started this quilt in Wendy’s workshop at the Glendale Quilt Show.  She was teaching a technique for turning your favorite photos into art quilts.  It was an excellent workshop.

This particular design reminds me, of course, of my granddaughters.  The little girl in the picture could be either one of them. 

I enjoyed making this – especially selecting the fabrics – and later doing the quilting.  It’s a somewhat tedious process but well worth the effort.  If you get a chance to take Wendy’s class I recommend it highly.

My Sweet Little Gardener

detail coneflower

Thanks for visiting !  I’d love to hear your comments.