December Fabric, Printed Fabric Bee

January 14th, 2015

The December theme for the Printed Fabric Bee was Old World Maps, which was selected by Lisa Chin. What a cool idea!

While I came up with a few visions of my Old World Map, at first I just could not get them executed.

Intentional Printing by Lynn KrawczykGenerally in my art I am not a planner…and for sure I don’t usually overthink things. But with Lynn Krawczyk, the author of Intentional Printing, as a member of the group, I should think about it a little, right?

When I looked at maps for inspiration and thought, the elements that kept drawing my eye and intriquing me were the lines that indicated the flow of the oceans.

And when I looked at the World Map 5 paper by Cavallini & Co. carried in the shop, those lines again caught my attention. So, it was official. I had thought, and I was going to go with my inspiration: create fabric with the feel of the ocean current lines that are part of vintage maps.

I actually did a test on white muslin to test my idea out:

Judy Gula map fabric test on white muslin

The fabric speaks to me, currents and water… You see that, right?

Then I think, what if I create the pattern on a color…maybe one that looks like really old parchment paper, as a vintage map would be printed on?

Judy Gula supplies for creating map-inspired fabricSo here we go! My tools:

My first Layer is using the Geologic stamp, which I wanted to show. I turn the stamp pad upside down and apply the ink selectively over the stamp, trying not to cover it completely (below).

Judy Gula first stamped layer, creating map-inspired fabric

Below, I have added another layer of texture using a teal iridescent Paintstik and one of the Doodles rubbing plates.

Judy Gula second layer with rubbing texture, creating map-inspired fabric

Rubbing plates are difficult to photograph; they are made of a shiny black plastic. This Doodles set has some really amazing patterns in it (below); I think you can immediately see which I used to play with the Geologic stamp.

Textures in the Doodles Rubbing Plates by Cedar Canyon Textiles

Below, I created another layer of “bubbles” using a blue iridescent Paintstik and another of the Doodles rubbing plates.

Judy Gula final layer with rubbing texture, creating map-inspired fabric

And the fabric is finished!

I hope that my finished fabric says currents, water, bubbles, movement to you! Which do you prefer, the old-gold fabric or my test white muslin?

Remember, anyone has the opportunity to win a 6" × 6" swatch collection of fabrics by leaving a comment on either the Printed Fabric Bee blog or on Lisa’s blog (you have until tomorrow, January 15 to do so).

Visit these websites to learn how each member made her fabric:

Creating Quilt Labels (Finishing Quilt Projects)

January 7th, 2015

Happy New Year! I watch the social media flurry as so many artists pick one word to focus on for the year, and I applaud those who can do that! Myself, I can never carve my to-do list down to where one word will do the trick. I will say that I am focusing on Finish what you start. (See, multiple words, LOL!) Okay, so my word for this year is FINISH.

Judy Gula art quilt label

Normally I am rushing to finish a piece that I can take on the road with me to include in the Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal booth, and for that usage there’s no requirement for a sleeve or a label. But that is a false sense of completion. So I spent many days over the holiday break sewing sleeves and labels onto many of the quilts that are used as samples in our shop and at shows. And I am not done yet!

I do have a question for you about labels, and would love your feedback in the comments space below, or on our Facebook page, or through our new Meetup group: What do you put on your label?

We recently had a discussion at the shop about to merits of putting the year/date of completion on the quilt. For those of us who have sold our work, is this a bad thing? Can the date be too old? Personally I put the date on the label, because sometimes a show requires that the piece be completed within a specific time.

Judy Gula art quilt label

What else do you put on labels? I put my full name, address, phone number and email address, all in the hopes that if my quilt needs to find me that information is available. Sometimes I also add the materials and techniques used to create the quilt or if the work has appeared in a special exhibit or publication.

I am frequently asked how I create labels for my quilts. Using Microsoft Word or a page layout software, you can, like me, create a rectangle label template using your logo, name, address, phone, email and website. Mine are templated to be 6 labels per 8½" x 11" sheet. I then enter any specific information about the quilt, such as title or materials/techniques. Finally, I print the labels on EQ Printables Premium Cotton Lawn Inkjet Fabric following the manufacturers instructions.

As you can see in these photographs, after cutting my labels out, I stitch 2" strips of coordinating fabric around the label log-cabin style. I then fold those coordinating strips back, giving me a 1" finished edge, and handstitch the entire label to the quilt backing fabric.

Judy Gula's newly applied art quilt labels and sleeves

Above are photos of labels and sleeves on two of my art quilts! FINISHED!

And here’s another finished piece, previously featured on this blog as it was in process. Below you see that I have added some machine quilting, and applied the binding. (No, not the label. YET!) I am very happy with this quilt… love the border with the mixture of fabrics.
Jaka batik panel quilt with free-form strip piecing by Judy Gula

Have you, or would you like to create a quilt using one of our beautiful Hand Drawn Batik Panels? We would love to see what you create! Please email a photo with your full name, the title of quilt, and any information you’d like to share for us to post on our website in the gallery section.

Happy New Year!

December 30th, 2014

Happy New Year 2015!

We hope you all had a wonderful holiday, and wishing you all the best for 2015! Do you have any artistic resolutions for the New Year?

There are a wealth of ideas out there, but here’s a TinkerLab post from a couple years ago that you might enjoy: Five New Year’s Resolutions that Fuel Creativity.
(TinkerLab, a blog by Rachelle Doorley, was originally designed as a source of inspiration for parents, teachers, and caregivers in search of creative activities for children…it has since grown into a creative hub that includes art-making prompts and creative inspiration.)

If your resolution includes learning a new technique, we have a number of classes already set for 2015, including several in January…the perfect cure for post-holiday middle of winter doldrums! Take a look at our website for the latest, and plan to check it regularly as we continue to add to the schedule.

In 2014 we began our How Do I Use This? program, inviting you to join us as we began with instruction in how to use a product or explore a technique, finishing up with plenty of time for your own hands-on experimentation and playtime. Due to popular demand, with the coming new year we will be beginning a daytime How Do I Use This? program in addition to continuing our Thursday evening sessions. If evenings have not worked with your schedule, you will now be able to join us each month on a Tuesday from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm.

If one of our resolutions is building your community, join us for JAMs (Judy’s Altered Minds) — you will find a large, like-minded group who share their creative efforts in a fun and supportive atmosphere. The January meeting will take place on Sunday the 18th: hope to see you! In addition to our usual ATC exchange, we will be having our quarterly art paper-doll exchange (winter-themed), led by Bette Rudgers. If you don’t live close enough to Artistic Artifacts to join JAMs, we encourage you to look for your own local options. MeetUp is a great resource!

Remember, Artistic Artifacts will be closed for New Year’s December 31–January 2, reopening on Saturday, January 3 (closing at 2:00 pm). We hope you too have been able to take some time off during this festive season to visit with family and friends!

Mixed Media Collage Cards

December 17th, 2014

Despite all that was on my “to do” list, for some reason on my day off I wanted to make cards. Most of these weren’t even holiday themed, so this impulse was not particularly helpful, but for some reason I just had to do it. (Ever had that happen to you?)

These are little mixed media collages, 4 x 6 inches. I was testing a set of blank mixed media surface cards by Strathmore, using Dylusions Ink Sprays and stencils. I created backgrounds on cards, set aside to dry. Then I stamped over the inks with Stewart Gill Paints in a different color.

Pictured here, I actually painted on the section of the polymer stamp that I wanted to use, Suess Tulips from Kari McKnight Holbrook. These are a large 8 x10 inches, so for the cards I was creating I did not need to use the entire surface. Note to self, when using water-based inks, they will run and create “mud” when you try to paint over them: they mix too much!

Stewart Gill paints applied directly to a large polymer stamp
Stewart Gill paints applied directly to a large polymer stamp
Stewart Gill paints applied directly to a large polymer stamp

Then I found my collection of retro sewing patterns and began cutting out and pasting figures and text from the cover packages.

Collaged mixed media card by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Collaged mixed media card by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Collaged mixed media card by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Selecting strips to weave from the scrap pile

For another type of card, I thought of a way to use up all those narrow strips you end up with from straightening ragged edge fabrics, or pieces trimmed off when wonky piecing. Everyone has that pile of scraps like this one, that feel too good to toss out.

First I created colored backgrounds with Stewart Gill Paints and stencils, as I wanted a clearer background, consisting of one color and pattern. While the cards were drying I took scraps of Australian Aborigine designed fabrics and wove them together in a plain weave (over under one fabric, over under the next). Below is the first row:

Aborigine designed fabric strips ready for weaving

I included the selvages in my weaving. I love the pop of white, snips of text and the color circle graphics being part of the mix.

In progress woven fabric strips

Once the weaving was complete, I used painter’s tape to carefully tape edges the edges, then gently took the woven fabric to the ironing board and laid it right side down on one of my non-stick teflon craft sheets, then applied a layer of Mistyfuse sheer fusible. Using the craft sheet to protect my iron, I gave the weaving a swipe of heat. The fusible held the fabric together so that I could then cut smaller pieces. These smaller segments were then fused to the card using Mistyfuse (with the craft sheet protecting the card from any residue on my iron).

Taping the edges of the woven fabric to keep it together before fusing

Finished woven fabric strip collaged cards by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Finally, I did get at least a few winter themed cards done, which will be my holiday cards to family. (So that’s one thing off my list after all!) I used fabric scraps, backed with Mistyfuse as described above, and finished off by using my wooden print block in the shape of a snow flake. Those cards are pictured in the bottom row of this assortment:

Completed mixed media collage cards by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Wishing you all the best for the upcoming holiday season (and getting things checked off YOUR to-do list)!

Book Review: Fabric Printing at Home

December 10th, 2014

First, thank you to everyone who braved the cold, rainy day on Saturday to attend the Artistic Artifacts Holiday Open House. And special thanks to several of our Artistic Artifacts teachers, who were on hand to demonstrate techniques and share examples of their upcoming classes: the PG Fiber2Art team, Sue Price and Elizabeth Gibson (Printing with Thermofax Screens and the new class Beyond Basic Screen Printing); Theresa Martin (Mixed Media Eye Token), Linda Cooper and Julie Booth (Fabric Printing at Home: A Kitchen Sampler [2 day workshop]). Julie has recently written her first book, and had an advance copy with her during the Open House that received a lot of attention…although perhaps not as much as her paint-covered corn cob!

I am happy to provide a review here, and Artistic Artifacts will be hosting a Book Signing Reception with Julie on Friday, January 30 2015: plan to join us!

A Must for Your Surface Design Library: Fabric Printing at Home by Julie B. Booth

Photos used with permission from Quarry Books

Fabric Printing at Home: Quick and Easy Fabric Design Using Fresh Produce and Found Objects by Julie B. Booth

I am very excited about this book! Fabric Printing at Home: Quick and Easy Fabric Design Using Fresh Produce and Found Objects by Julie B. Booth is packed with a ton of useful information, both for a new fabric printer and the experienced alike.

I will definitely be adding a copy to my personal library!

The layout of the book is easy to read, and there are a multitude of wonderful photographs illustrating Julie’s very concise directions.

Textile artist Julie B. Booth inking up a homemade kitchen fabric printing plateI have been around long enough to remember the potato printing craze, but it never raised enough interest in me to want to print with a potato. But Julie’s book makes me want to run right out to the grocery store produce section and buy! And I think you’ll agree after reading the book that you will want to get your hands on as many carrots and corncob holders as possible!

I consider myself an experienced fabric surface design artist. Even with those years of experience though, throughout the book, I kept saying to myself: “I didn’t think of that!” and “I will have to try that!”

Julie reminds and instructs you how to prepare a printing surface, which is so necessary to successful printing. I appreciate the reminder concerning the amount of paint to use in printing your fabric in each of the step by step instructions. A little paint is enough. And that layers of paint and pattern create a more interesting fabric.

AND this whole idea of wax paper and sealing plastic to encase string or other objects for a rubbing plate (below) is just brilliant!

Encasing string in wax paper to create a printing plate

Reading the section on Fabric Resists Using Kitchen Ingredients, I kept asking myself: “How does she do this?” But again, great step by step instructions from creating the resist, applying, and removing the resist from the fabric, so she instills the confidence in you that you will be able to achieve the same great results.

Many of Julie’s tips and techniques will be added to my printing “toolbox.” I encourage anyone with a desire to learn (or enhance their own) fabric printing skills to consider this book. Preorder your copy from Artistic Artifacts and we will ship it just as soon as it arrives from the publisher!

Washington DC Downtown Holiday Market!

December 2nd, 2014

Batik Tambal silk scarves at the Artistic Artifacts booth for the 2014 Downtown Holiday Market

I am currently in the midst of a 3-day stint (December 1-3) as a vendor at the Washington, DC Downtown Holiday Market, a unique seasonal shopping experience. I have my space, Booth #21, stocked with many of our Batik Tambal products, such as the silk scarves the above shopper is selecting from, plus other one of a kind items perfect for gift-giving.

The Market is set up across from the Verizon Center, in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum & National Portrait Gallery at 8th and F St, NW. This is right by the Gallery Place Metro station, so this festive destination is easily accessible those who work in the city, residents and visitors. It opened Friday, November 28, and will run continuously through Tuesday, December 23, from 12:00 noon to 8:00 pm each day.

A downtown tradition since 2005, the market was created to form a community-based holiday gathering place. Small and local businesses are showcased throughout the four weeks the Market is open, with many offering fair trade imports and gifts made from recycled and sustainable resources. In addition to a unique shopping opportunity, the Market Stage features a wide variety of musical acts: rock, jazz, gospel, folk, R&B, classical, blues, bluegrass and more, plus food and periodic special events.

Can’t make to the Holiday Market? Then come by to see us at Artistic Artifacts this Saturday, December 6, for our Annual Open House! We will be open from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and will be offering light refreshments, a make and take activity, demonstrations from some of our wonderful teachers as they preview upcoming classes. We hope you can join us for what is sure to be a fun day!

The Artistic Artifacts booth, #21 from December 1-3, for the 2014 Downtown Holiday Market

The Artistic Artifacts booth, #21 from December 1-3, for the 2014 Downtown Holiday Market in Washington, DC

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!