2014 Fall Wholesale Market in Houston Texas

November 19th, 2014

In the quilting/fiber industry there are two events dedicated to wholesales/retailers per year. One in the spring, which moves around the country at different venues, and one in the fall. The fall Quilt Market is always held in Houston, Texas and precedes the International Quilt Festival,, the exhibit and shopping event open to the public. During Quilt Market we shared our new exclusive batik and Combanasi fabrics with stores and other businesses who were searching for new lines, then we rearranged our booth to welcome the public there for the Festival.

I wanted to try and find the time to share photos and details about the two shows, but it was crazy-busy (not complaining!) and I didn’t end up having the opportunity. But now that I’m home, I wanted to share some of my impressions. The photo gallery below are of products and displays that caught my eye, quilt samples by fabric and design companies, or people we know. I hope it gives those of you who weren’t able to attend a bit of the flavor of Quilt Market.

The Printed Fabric Bee

November 5th, 2014

Updated 11-12-2014

The Printed Fabric Bee

As noted last week, I’m now a member of the Printed Fabric Bee, a collaboration of professional textiles artists printing fabric collections for each other. Each month a member of the “Hive” chooses a theme, making her the “Queen Bee,” and we all create a piece of fabric based on her choices. While the Queen Bee receives a collection of custom-made fabric, anyone has the opportunity to win a 6 × 6 swatch collection of the monthly themed fabrics simply by leaving a comment (you have until November 17 to do so, don’t miss out!) on the Printed Fabric Bee blog,

As promised, I am updating this posting with details on how I created my fabric for the October theme of Science, which was chosen by Jackie Lam. The full list of participant links is at the bottom of this post, so please visit to learn about how they made their beautiful fabrics.

I still had a couple of days warm enough to dye with my Indigo Vat. As a new member of the Printed Fabric Bee, I did not want to be late with my first sample! So I was aiming for fabric that was quick and easy, and decided that I would do some shibori. (Little did I know that I only had to create ONE 12" x 12" square and ONE 6" x 6" square for the give away!)

Rubber bands and beans for indigo shibori dyeing

First I acquired my tools: the largest dried bean in the grocery store and the smallest rubber bands, pictured here. I think that is a lima bean, my white fabric, and the tiny rubber bands I found in the hair care aisle. (I remember these rubber bands from braces, way back when!)

I manipulated the fabric to create a small pouch that could hold the bean, and “tied it off” with using the tiny rubber band, wrapping the rubber bands closely to the bean. I did this repeatedly, in a random fashion, across all of my fabric. Pictured below is my fabric before immersion in the indigo.

Shibori tied fabric ready for the indigo vat

I then placed the fabric in my vat of indigo dye for 20 minutes. Part of the fun with indigo dyeing is that when you pull your fabric out of the vat, it is initially a bright lime-green color. Once the fabric hits the air, the oxidation process turns the indigo the traditional blue. It happens quickly, and watching it is always fun. For a deeper color blue, you can leave your fabric in the dye longer, or you can also place in the vat repeated times. My fabric sample was “dipped” twice.

Judy Gula's indigo shibori fabric after untying

Above is the fabric after dyeing and with the beans and bands removed. I had some difficulty removing the tiny rubber bands, and so resorted to a small pair of scissors. I held my breath doing so, so that I did not cut into the fabric! The difference in the patterns you see side by side was due to the size of the bean, and how the fabric was folded for the rubber band. I really did not pay attention to this, so the difference was a surprise to me.

Once the fabric was dried, I washed it twice in hot water, using a bit of Synthrapol, which can be used before (will remove sizing from fabric), during (can be used in certain dye bath for even color) and after (will remove excess dye), the dyeing process.

Now my cosmic starburst fabric was ready for a bit of sparkle. I used Bo-Nash Fuse It Powder (a granular fusible) that I sprinkled around the shibori star burst patterns, and then ironed foil to the fabric. The result was a wonderful twinkling effect of tiny points of reflection. (Click the photo for a larger view.)

Click for a larger view of July Gula's finished fabric for the October Printed Fabric Bee
So, not only did I use science to create the fabric (the chemical process of dyeing with indigo) the look of the fabric was inspired by a field of science, astronomy.

Jackie Lam on her theme: “I have been fascinated with the design of anything at a microscopic level. Different objects, plants, chemicals, you name it, all have unique and beautiful designs when you look at them through a microscope. Check out my Pinterest board to see what I mean. So I figured that would be a fun challenge for the gang in the Printed Fabric Bee to translate that into a surface design idea. My only conditions were no pastels and 12×12. And wow, I have been getting very cool fabric in the mail every few days and it has been awesome. There have been a lot of ‘oohs and ahhs and cool!’ from the kids in the house as well since it’s a subject they really enjoy too.”

Remember, leave comment at Printed Fabric Bee blog before November 17th for your chance to win the fabric swatches. Visit these websites to learn how each member made her fabric:

Click the below image for a larger view of these scientific beauties!

Printed Fabric Bee October Science theme swatches

Busy Times in Houston!

October 29th, 2014

Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal is the exclusive North American distributor of Combanasi batik fabric

Above is one view of the Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal booth for Quilt Market (this is a trade show that is not open to the public, but instead for buyers shopping for retail quilting shops), which took place October 25-27. Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal is the exclusive North American distributor of Combanasi batik fabric, some of which you see on display here. As mentioned last week I also exhibited wonderful new batik that we are anxious to begin selling. (But they are not quite yet ready for unveiling!)

It’s a quick turnaround to get set up and ready for the International Quilt Festival, which begins tomorrow (Thursday October 30) and runs through Sunday, November 2. The huge George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston will be jammed full of attendees enjoying the premier quilt show in the world. If you are visiting, please stop by to me in Booth 1963.

As promised last week, I do want to try and find the time to share photos and details about the show. Keep checking the Artistic Artifacts Facebook page and this space for any updates.

Off to Texas for the Best in Quilts!

October 22nd, 2014

As you read this, I will be on the road driving to Texas, with a packed-to-the gills trailer following along! I’m on my way, first to Quilt Market (which is THE show for retailers shopping for quilting supplies, fabrics and fiber art materials), then to the International Quilt Festival, which takes place October 30-November 2 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

At Quilt Market I’m going to be exhibiting new batik that we designed that will be handcrafted in Indonesia. We’re not ready for selling to customers just yet, but wait until you see these! Absolutely spectacular color and pattern…I feel confident in saying there’s no other batik on the market quite like it.

And of course International Quilt Festival is the premier quilt show in the entire world! If you are lucky enough to be attending the Festival, I hope you’ll stop by to visit me in Booth 1963.

Look for the yellow submarine tags worn by Beatles art quilt challenge participants! One of the highlights of the Festival this year is the premier of the Inspired by the Beatles Quilt Challenge exhibit! The entire group of quilts will be on display in a special exhibit sponsored by FreeSpirit/Coats.

The beautiful book Inspired by the Beatles: An Art Quilt Challenge by Donna Marcinkowski DeSoto will be on sale in my booth. Each quilt is shown off by wonderfully detailed photography and includes lots of fun anecdotes about each artist and their love of quilting, music/The Beatles and more. (Not attending? You can order it online from our website.)

Many of the quilt artists who participated in this challenge will be attending Houston. Look for the yellow submarines (designed by Donna’s daughter Aimee) as seen here on attendees’s nametags and congratulate these talented artists on their accomplishment!

I’ll try to share some photos and info about these travels soon. Check the Artistic Artifacts Facebook page and this space for updates.

P.S. We have posted the rescheduled dates for Seth Apter’s classes…he will now be visiting us January 24-25. We have a few spaces left in each class, so if your October schedule previously prevented you from registering, join us in the new year!

Quilt Guild Lecture & Trunk Show

October 15th, 2014

Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal speaking to the Friendship Quilters’ Guild of Hagerstown, MD

Yesterday afternoon I journeyed to Hagerstown, Maryland so that I could present my From Vintage to Contemporary lecture to the Friendship Quilters’ Guild.  I was warned that the majority of the members where traditional quilters and I was there to shake them up a bit.  I certainly did shake them up!  

I prefer to move while I discuss how I created my Art Quilts,  so while I roamed, there were several people who carried the art quilts around so the audience could get a close up look. We had a wonderful conversation about vintage hankies, trims, buttons and use in fiber arts, and questions about how I dye my trims, doliies and fabrics.

Judy Gula art quilts and Artistic Artifacts products at the Friendship Quilters’ Guild of Hagerstown, MD

In addition to my finished art quilts, I bought along a selection of items I use when creating them: my hand-dyed linens, vintage buttons, products to transfer images, and more. There was a lot of interest in the use of photos in fiber art, and questions about the difference between Transfer Artist Paper and EQ Printables Premium Cotton Lawn Inkjet Fabric.

They were a wonderful group and it was a pleasure meeting so many welcoming quilters.

I have recently begun increasing my lecture/trunk show and custom workshop activity. Visit the Artistic Artifacts website for details…I’d love to meet with your quilt guild or art group!

Members of the Friendship Quilters’ Guild of Hagerstown, MD

Artful & Practical Gifts

October 8th, 2014

My dear friend Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution was one of the teachers at Art & Soul, and is always a huge help to me setting up and staffing the onsite store. Yesterday I dropped her off at the airport for her journey home to Colorado, and couldn’t help but notice her artful luggage tags.

Liz Kettle luggage tag
Liz Kettle luggage tag, reverse
Liz Kettle luggage tag

It’s always nice to find ways to use our art in practical ways that we can enjoy everyday, and I think it’s one of the best ways to gift others with our art. After all, anyone who travels has to have a luggage tag. Why not make them something beautiful? Not to mention something that will be one of a kind as it rotates by on the luggage carousel!

Liz used Roc-lon Multi Purpose Cloth for her tags, which is comparable to canvas, but doesn’t fray or ravel when cut, and is flexible, soft (but durable) and already prepared for painting and collaging. Liz also used Multi Purpose Cloth in her travel charger/cord organizer tutorial (another gift idea!) It’s great stuff!

Other practical, everyday items that can be made artful for gift giving include coffee cup or travel mug sleeves, tissue pack covers, photo frames, smartphone cozies, and more. I’ve previously posted about creating journals….visit the Artistic Artifacts website for a collection of tutorials and product technique info.

Quilting Arts Holiday 2014

If you are looking for more patterns and ideas, Quilting Arts magazine creates a special edition each year that focuses on projects for gift giving. This year’s edition, Quilting Arts Holiday 2014-15, was first released in August! Okay, when it arrived, the date caused quite a bit of grumbling that they are rushing things…but then again, if your recipient list is long, it doesn’t hurt to start early, does it? This popular issue includes 35 projects: decorations, greeting cards, fabric jewelry, and gifts for everyone on your list.

Paper Holiday from Cloth Paper Scissors

Just added to our website, a new special issue from Cloth Paper Scissors magazine: Paper Holiday, filled with ideas for gift giving and holiday décor! The editors of Cloth Paper Scissors have combed through past issues of Cloth Paper Scissors, Cloth Paper Scissors Gifts, I Heart Paper, and PAGES, and hand picked a varied selection of easy projects for gift giving, decorating, and wrapping. This magazine includes 31 project ideas for a fun, handmade holiday, including mixed media ornaments to make; garlands to decorate with; gift tags made from artwork scraps and much more.

Artistic Artifacts at Art & Soul in Virginia Beach!

October 1st, 2014

Virginia Beach, Virginia, site of Art & Soul

Virginia Beach, Virginia -- Art & Soul founder Glenny Moir took this beautiful photo upon her arrival!

Each year I set up as a “satellite” on-site store for the Art & Soul events that take place in Portland, Oregon and Virginia Beach, VA. While it is a lot of prep work and packing, being around so many excited attendees who are treating themselves to a creative retreat is always fun and invigorating. Many attendees come year after year, many are coming for the first time…seeing old friends and meeting new is always something to look forward to!

The Virginia Beach edition began on Sunday through Sunday October 5 at the Virginia Beach Resort Hotel in Virginia Beach, VA. The above photo gives you a taste of the amazing venue —attendees are able to walk the beach before and after their classes…a wonderful way to relax and recharge. More than one comes back with a shell, or piece of driftwood, or some other treasure to incorporate in their work!

Remember that you can visit the hotel to shop even if you are not attending the retreat! I met a wonderful new friend yesterday who wasn’t able to attend any classes but still stopped by the hotel to do a some shopping. Plus, every Art & Soul event features a Vendor Night, where a wide variety of creative individuals and stores travel in with with wares. These evenings are free for attendees, but the public is welcome with a $10 admission, and it is well worth the cost to have access to finished artwork, jewelry, ephemera, thermofax screens and more. Art & Soul Vendor Night Virginia Beach is this Saturday, October 4 from 6:00-9:00 pm — if you are anywhere within a reasonable drive, I highly recommend you stopping by.

Some of the classes that will finish out the week still have space available, so if your schedule has freed up at the last minute, email Glenny directly at glenny@artandsoulretreat.com and she will be happy to get you registered.

Stencils and ink pads for sale at Art & Soul Virginia Beach

Exploring the Vast Array of Artist Pens

September 24th, 2014

Our most recent “How Do I Use This?” topic was Choosing the Right Pen. I knew there were customers just like me who were curious about which pen is best for which surface, or wondered how to choose among the wealth of options there are out there.

Experimenting with a wide variety of pens

So as I explored pens to prepare for our demonstration, I was blown away anew by the amazing choices! The Artistic Artifacts shop carries PITT Artist Pens and Stamper’s Big Brush Pens by Faber-Castell, Krylon Metallic Leafing Pens, a variety of pens by Sakura, and German Glitter Pens and Pearl Pens from Viva —all of which I had never used.

Why would I? I have never been very confident in my drawing and journaling abilities. But with the explosion of stencil patterns, paint and now pens, I’m finding that it is getting much easier to fake my way through drawing and journaling, and the new products mean I am enjoying it so much more!

So, as I see it the challenges of pens are how does the “ink” flow? What surfaces can it cover? How does the pen work on a plain surface versus a painted one? Plus the most important, challenge of finding the perfect white pen.

For my White Pen Challenge (pictured below) I used a black tag and a selection of white pens you can see my test section below.

Comparing opaque white pens

The Uni-ball Signo Broad Gel Pen will be my go-to white pen, followed by the Gelly Roll Soufflé Opaque Puffy Ink Pen, Stamper’s Big White Pen by Faber-Castell and then Sharpie fine. (The sharpie white pen will write on an olive oil-soaked wooden printing block!)

Adding pen doodles and Gelatos color to a stenciled design

For the above page in my art journal, I used a stencil from The Crafters Workshop with Stewart Gill Purple paint. The left side is as-is; on the right side I used many Gelly Roll Metallic and Soufflé pens to create additional patterns within the painted stencil pattern. The overal background color consists of several colors of Gelatos with a bit of water to blend. Because the Gelatos are diluted with water, the ink of the pens acted as a resist.

Journal print of free-hand plate

Above is a print from last week’s blog using the round Gelli Arts™ Gel Printing Plate and water based paint. It definitely needed more! Below is after I added VIVA glitter pen, yellow Soufflé and white Uni-ball.

Stenciled monoprint embellished with pens and glitter

When I first began using the Soufflé I did not realize that you had to wait a bit until the color showed up. (It very clearly states that fact on the packaging if you read…I’m not known for reading directions first!) So at first I was disappointed… but I love them now! They were a big hit with the attendees last Thursday!

Using a Pitt Big Brush pen to color a rubber stamp

Above, I wanted to experiment with applying the Pitt Big BrushPens (which contains India ink) to a rubber stamp, replacing the need for a stamp pad…it worked great!

Then I had to try experimenting with some of the pens on fabric:

left, pens on fabric before washing, right the results after washing

Left side is the unwashed sample and the right side the washed. I ironed the samples before tossing them in water and a bit of detergent. The S in Sharpie ran a bit, but everything else was unaffected by the water.

Pen samples on black tag

Here are some documentation samples that were created by one of our students in last Thursday’s “How Do I Use This?” session. It’s always a good idea to make notes to yourself so that you remember what pen (or other product) left what mark or effect.

I’m off to finishing packing for Art & Soul, which takes place September 29 – October 5 at the Virginia Beach Resort Hotel in Virginia Beach, VA. I hope many of you are planning to attend…Glenny Moir created this event, one of the first ever creative retreats, in 1999, and they are an amazing experience.

Artistic Artifacts serves as the on-site store….if you are attending, please stop by to say hi!
pen samples on white

And if you were not able to attend this year, but live anywhere in the vicinity, you can visit the hotel to shop at the Artistic Artifacts “pop-up” satellite store even if you are not registered for Art & Soul!

P.S. Remember, the Artistic Artifacts store at 4750 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304 will be closed to customers from Thursday, September 25 through Monday, September 29 due to parking lot resurfacing. The shop reopens on Tuesday, September 30.

Why Do I Need a Round Gelli Plate?

September 17th, 2014

As I watch the different sizes of Gelli Arts™ Gel Printing Plate arrive in the shop, I wonder why we need different shapes and sizes. Do I really need one of each size?

Well, after experimenting, I must say yes. Especially to the 8" x 8" Round plate! Why? Because!

Gathering my supplies:

p style=”text-align: left;”>On my Gel Printing Plate I have placed three different colors of paint. After dabbing them on, I use a brayer to even out the coat of paint on the plate.

blobs of paint applied to gel printing plate

When brayering, sometimes you will see the colors stay somewhat distinctive; other times they blend together to create a completely new color, as in the below example.

brayered paint blended together and evenly distributed on the plate

Cedar Canyon Rubbing Plates are sold in sets of six and are created from a lightweight black plastic that is deeply embossed with patterns. They are available in a number of designs; pictured below is Op Art.

Op Art Rubbing Plates sold by Artistic Artifacts

Select a rubbing plate, and lightly press it onto the paint-covered gel printing plate surface, then and lift straight up. Below is the plate with paint “removed” from one of the rubbing plates from the Doodles set.

paint removed by impressing gel printing plate with a Doodles Rubbing Plate

Pick up your printing plate and place it face down atop one of your journal pages. Notice below how I have offset it so it “bleeds” off the edge of the page.

paint-loaded Gel Printing Plate placed on journal page

Press lightly across the plate, then lift it gently off your journal. (You could also leave the plate in place and press your journal, paper or fabric down onto it.)

offset Gel Printing Plate print on journal page

Below, I added another circle to the same page.

Another circular print layered atop the first

Another rubbing plate print, this one of the plates from the Floral Fantasy set… does it look like it is twirling to you?

Loaded plate and journal print

Below, the gel printing plate coated with paint and my free-handing a design.

paint-covered plate with free-hand design

I think I need additional practice with free-hand pattern making.

Journal print of free-hand plate

Another great tool to use with gelli plates are stencils. In this example I used a large 12" x 12", which allows me to continue the pattern right up to and over the edge.

Using a stencil on the gel printing plate
Stenciled monoprint

Here are three green monoprints, all using the same stencil. Of the two that are pictured below, I think the one on the left had too much paint applied to the Gel Printing Plate.

It does take some trial and error time and practice to get the application of paint onto the plate correct. But it’s not exactly torture to spend time playing!

Two versions of a stenciled monoprint

Up to this point I haven’t written about the paint I am using. Silks Acrylic Glazes have a high mica formulation and give you a nice finish shine …not too much, but just right. They are translucent and designed to blend over any other Silks shade without going muddy.

Silks Acrylic Glazes used to monoprint

The other cool thing about these paints is that once dry, they act as a resist to combining with Twinkling H20’s, which are a watercolor. Again, the colors stay true and jewel-like. Below is the above print with the addition of additional Silks and Twinkling H20’s.

monoprint journal page accented with Twinkling H20's

I began thinking that the leaf print from the stencil was blending in a bit too much (but not muddy, right?) and wanted to bring it back to the surface. So I pulled out a new favorite white pen, the Gelly Roll Soufflé Opaque Puffy Ink Pen, to hand-trace the pattern. (This is one of the pens we will be experimenting with tomorrow night (Thursday, September 18) during our monthly “How Do I Use This?” demonstrations and play-time.)

So, I have I talked you into “needing” a round Gel Printing Plate too? If you’re interested in exploring monoprinting, I heartily recommend our upcoming class, Gelli Printing on Paper with Susan Gantz. Susan is an amazing teacher who loves to share her enthusiasm for this amazing art form. Plates, paints and more are provided, and we have heard nothing but raves about this class…every student walks out with a sheaf of amazing monoprints we all oooh and ahhh over!

Stenciled monoprints on sheet music

Finishing Mr. Buck’s Quilt

September 10th, 2014

I’ve just put together a vintage hankie art quilt class! Join me on Sunday, November 23 to create your own wonderful piece! Learn more and register »

Last week I promised you more about the additional work on Mr. Buck’s 80th birthday quilt. I actually forgot to take pictures of the re-embellished quilt myself! His daugter took some for me and emailed me.

As I wrote last week, my vintage hankie covered in anchors was perfect this proud Navy man. Below is the first edition of his quilt.

Vintage Hankie Quilt for Mr. Buck's 80th Birthday

Nice on its own, but I knew I wanted to add more embellishments and personalize it. Those white corners were calling to me… Mr. Buck was kind enough to understand and give it back to me for these additions.

With the top right corner already embellished, I worked around the quilt. A heart shaped lace trim appliqué that I hand-dyed red was the perfect accompaniment to a treasured family photo for the lower right corner (below).This detail photo also shows off the cute cream-colored sailboat buttons I added to the bottom border.

A family photo adorns the corner of Mr. Buck's quilt

Next, the lower left corner. I added another family photo above the United States Naval Academy patch to commemorate his happy days in Annapolis.

Vintage photo from Mr. Buck's Annapolis days

Mr. Buck is the handsome #21 on the championship intramural horseshoe team!

Detail, vintage photo from Mr. Buck's Annapolis days

Finally, the top left corner seems to be the perfect resting place for a vintage paper sailor. I love how he fit the theme and added creamy warm tones to balance the gold and yelllows that accent the quilt.

Paper sailor ephemera

Here is the finished quilt. I do apologize that has had borders being cut off, but it’s the only complete photoI have. (You can click on the photo for a larger view.)

Mr. Buck's quilt, really finishe this time!

I’m much happier with this final outcome, as it is so much more personal to Mr. Buck…plus I’m of the mind that if a little embellishing and ephemera is good, then a lot is better!

More to come on vintage hankie quilts in future postings. I hope to see some of you at my new vintage hankie art quilt class on November 23rd. As you can see these quilts make wonderful gifts (if you can bear to part with them), and the winter holidays will be here before we know it!