Guest Blogger: Kass Hall

May 20th, 2015

Mixed media artist, author and instructor Kass Hall is our guest blogger today, sharing details on her artistic approach, teaching style and what to expect as a student in her June 6-7 classes. (Her Aussie spellings were left intact!)

What to Expect from My Classes

by Kass Hall

Mixed media artist, author and instructor Kass Hall

I’m so excited to be joining you at Artistic Artifacts in early June, and wanted to give you a sneak peak of what you can expect when you come along.

A few people have told me recently that they don’t know what to expect from my classes, so they haven’t signed up (or waited until the last minute).

This was really interesting to me because I think the answer is simple, but maybe I should spell it out a little…

You are going to have F.U.N.

Yes, first — and most importantly — you’ll have a lot of fun. We will laugh a lot and enjoy ourselves (because that is the point, right?)!

My classes are not ‘copy and paste’ classes. I am not going to show you step by step how to copy my work. Why? Because you get nothing out of that. You spend money on a class where you go home with a sample that doesn’t represent you? That’s not how I teach, and that’s not what you’ll get by joining my classes.

Kass Hall student showing off her journal in progress

What you will get is a bucketload of techniques and tips, leaving with a bevy of ideas and inspiration for your art journals and wall art.

We talk about color.

We talk about adding details (and why they can make or break your work!).

I’ll show you ways of adding texture and drama to your page.

We’ll collage. Stencil. Color in. Draw. PLAY.

Student art journaling in Kass Hall’s class

In It’s All About The Detail, I’ll show you techniques for hand lettering and also for drawing faces — all techniques that are in my third book (due for release early 2016). While there are no rules about what is or isn’t right on a journal page, I’ve found through years of experience that details matter. So often, though, I am asked how to add details so a page looks and feels really finished. This class gives up ALL the good info… and so much more!

Chaos and Creativity Art by Kass Hall

I’ll teach you about creating backgrounds of interest, drawing faces, using collage and found imagery, colour and so much more. I’ll show you how to add shadowing, fine lines and small details that take your art journal pages from great to AMAZING. You’ll be able to create at least two unique journal pages (more if you’re game!) which will change how you journal forever.

One thing I have learned in this class is that every single person leaves with a completely different journal page [see photo below; click for a larger view]. You won’t believe what you can do when given the confidence and know-how to experiment and play!

Art journaling students display their pages to Kass Hall


And what if I told you that you — yes, YOU! — could create a piece of art for your own home, ready to hang at the end of the day?

Student work, Make It Big! with Kass Hall

Well, you can, and in Make It Big, a relaxing class where we really play, I’m going to show you how! The images I’m showing here are my students’ work — not mine! That’s how amazing they are.

In this class I encourage you to bring a large canvas (20″ x 30″ minimum) or if you want to, 2 or 3 to create a diptych (like those shown here) or triptych series.

We create multicoloured backgrounds using paint drips, stencils, our fingertips and more. Then we create a focal image in the centre — your choice — and we build up texture using handmade papers and color.

Student work, Make It Big! with Kass Hall

There’s no rushing… we journal on our canvas as we go, and add small details to finish these works of art off, creating unique, one of a kind wall art just for your home.

Colors and image choices are yours. What I give you are the tips, tricks and techniques — and the confidence — to make great wall art and display it!

I have never had anyone leave this class anything less than THRILLED, and I know you’ll feel the same way.

So, there you are, my feedback of what to expect from the classes I’ll be leading at Artistic Artifacts. There is a reason my books are best-sellers — I love to teach other artists everything I know, and my classes are no different!

Kass provides stencils and collage ephemera to use in her classes

The key is, I am going to enable you and empower you. You’ll go home feeling inspired. You will never hear me say “NO” when you want to try something. There are no rules about what you have to do or not do. (Actually there is one rule: be nice to each other!) You’ll want to try new things. You’ll look at the world around you and see pockets of inspiration.

This will be my second-to-last stop teaching in the United States before I will be heading home to Australia. There are a few things on the horizon that may keep me Down Under for a while, so I’m not sure if I’ll be back in the United States to teach in 2016. Don’t miss out on having a great time with us!

I love meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones, and I really look forward to spending some time with you. Please come along — I promise you won’t regret it!

If you have any questions about either class beforehand, feel free to send me an email (you can do so through my website at and I’ll gladly do what I can to answer!

Kass Hall
Author: Zentangle Untangled, The Zentangle Untangled Workshop 

Kass Hall artwork used on her business cards

Paper Piecing Aussie Blocks

May 13th, 2015

I can still remember when Bonnie K. Hunter spoke at my local quilt guild, the Burke chapter of Quilter’s Unlimited* of Northern Virginia. I loved her quilt samples, patterns and fabric choices. Are you surprised? I have a very eclectic task in fabrics, from vintage to contemporary to ethnic. Bonnie hit the upcycle/repurpose interest that I have by using fabric salvaged from old clothing in her quilts. We do a lot of repurposing of items at Artistic Artifacts, especially me!

After hearing Bonnie talk, the very next day I ordered her book: Scraps & Shirttails: Reuse, Re-purpose, Recycle! The Art of “Quilting Green.”

Virginia Strings block inspired by Bonnie Hunter, pieced by Judy Gula

Fast Forward several years, and I finally acquired enough scraps of Australian Aborigine designed fabric to try my hand at string/paper piecing. I wanted to illustrate the point that many traditional quilt patterns are perfect for our ethnic fabrics, including batiks and Australian.

Paper piecing? I had no clue how to do it… I just knew that needed I print out the template in Bonnie’s book. I chose her Virginia Strings block…her book notes that this is traditionally knows as the Rocky Road to Kansas but because she pieced her quilt while she was here in Northern Virginia for a week teaching, and backed it with a bargain purchase of University of Virgina fabric, she was inspired to name her quilt Virginia Bound.

I printed enough copies of the quarter block templates to create six blocks in total … I already knew that I would not be creating a full size quilt top. I pieced a couple of blocks and brought them, my book, tools and scraps (along with a couple other projects) to my chapter’s annual quilt retreat in order to get “in-person” training. Lucky for me, a fellow Burke member at the retreat had already used this block and offered some advice:

  1. Make your stitches short in order to make pulling the paper off easier. I can tell you that this step makes a big difference! Bonnie also offers this advice in her books and on her blog; she has a number of free patterns and tutorials available, such as this Flying Geese quilt.
  2. Create your block somewhat larger than you want it, and cut it down with a square template. I was creating 8" squares and used my 8½" square, my rotating cutting mat and jumbo Havel’s Rotary cutter to do the trimming.

So here we go. I think that Bonnie advises that you begin at the other end — for some reason I began with the smaller part of the kite shape. To help me while sewing, I did fold my template along the lines. Others will trace over the lines with a Sharpie to make them bolder, if they don’t show through to the back of the paper.

Judy Gula beginning to string piece

Keep piecing, by sewing right sides of fabric strips together, then flipping the last one added back down so that the right side of the fabric is facing up.

Judy Gula completed string piece center of quarter block template

Below, I am beginning to strip piece the sides of the quarter block, using lighter fabrics so that the final block design will show.

Judy Gula string piecing the sides of quarter block template

Using my 8½" square ruler to trim the block from the back.

Using a square ruler to trim the quarter block

The front of my trimmed square! Leaving aside the fact that my photo turned out a bit blurry, it looked pretty good to me, so I made a few more.

The front of a completed quarter block, Virginia Strings quilt

I decided to keep going…after all, it wasn’t like I was going to run out of fabric!

Judy Gula Aussie fabric string pieced quarter block templates

Below, my quilt top as of now. I do have to say that I am happy with how this has turned out. Will I create additional blocks? I am not sure yet. I might just finish this up with a border and stitching.

Judy Gula string pieced Aussie fabric quilt top

My challenge to you is to take a favorite “traditional” quilt pattern and use non traditional fabrics! Send us your photographs, whether a completed quilt, top, or pieced blocks, and we will share them on our blog.

* I’m proud to say I’m teaching at the upcoming 42nd Annual Quilter’s Unlimited Quilt Show in Chantilly, VA, May 28-31, joining Jane Dávila, Dominique Ehrmann, Gyleen Fitzgerald, and Cyndi Souder with an exciting lineup of classes suitable for all levels of expertise. Many people travel to our show every year, as it (rightfully) has a reputation as one of the best on the East Coast. Come join us!

Using Relics & Artifacts by Sandra Evertson

May 6th, 2015

First, congratulations to Shari Adkisson, the randomly drawn winner of Lyric Kinard’s DVD, Thermofax 101: Screen Printing Made Easy from our participation last week in the Thermofax 101 Blog Hop.

In last week’s enewsletter we featured the Relics & Artifacts line designed by Sandra Evertson, and wow, these archival casts are pretty cool! Like Sandra, I love Mexican Milagros, and immediately gravitated to the Flaming Heart EX Votos 1 package that is so reminiscent of them.

Relics & Artifacts line designed by Sandra Evertson, Flaming Heart EX Votos 1
Applying Silks Acrylic Glaze in Guatemalan Green

When these are first out of the package, you immediately see and feel how the surface is nice and smooth: perfectly ready for paint, stain or other. I like that there are hanging options already built into the product. While I have debated cutting off the metal hook on my finished projects, so far I haven’t done it.

For my first piece, I started by applying a layer Silks Acrylic Glaze in Guatemalan Green. After that paint was dry, I rubbed on some Inka Gold in Gold. Inka Gold dries very quickly, so my background was soon ready for embellishment.

Embellished Relics & Artifacts Flaming Heart EX Votos by Judy Gula

I applied a pretty Renaissance-like women’s portrait to the cast, using Golden Soft Gel Medium both under and over. Once that dried, I added metal and crystal embellishments using Crafter’s Pick Jewel Bond.

To dress this up for the finished photo, I cut Silk Ribbon and Leaf Vine ribbon and tied them through the metal loop at the top. I’m still debating how and where this piece will end up: it could easily become a necklace, part of an assemblage or be featured on an art quilt.

The next piece I chose to work with was the one with the “G.R.” cast into them. While I love learning from Sandra’s description that these initials stand for “Gratis Received” or “Grace Received,” for this project I choose to cover them.

Applying Silks Acrylic Glaze as a first layer

First, the paint layer. Again using Silks Acrylic Glaze, this time in Carmen Red, I painted the first coat.

As you can see in the left side of the photograph, I tried to add the second coat of blue too soon, and had to wipe it off. Okay THEN I let the red dry! Honest!

The next coat is Silks Acrylic Glaze in Blue Flame. Let dry.

The embellishing began with the application of Inka Gold, again using the Gold color. Then I added Stewart Gill Fresco Flakes in Partheno (Moroccan Blue). I loved the texture, but decided I wanted a bit more “bling” so I added the Stewart Gill Byzantia Gilding Chips in Electra. I also added a vintage piece of decorative copper, attaching it with the Crafter’s Pick Jewel Bond.

Embellished Blue Flaming Hearts Ex Voto

The finished heart is perfect for my small assemblage, the base of which is a vintage stamp pad tin. Click on the photo below for a larger view.

Embellished Relics & Artifacts Flaming Heart EX Voto Assemblage by Judy Gula

These Relics & Artifacts shapes were so easy to use, and give you an amazing design start to whatever you are dreaming up. I have already begun planning my next project, using the faces… Stay tuned!

Review of Thermofax 101: Screen Printing Made Easy DVD Workshop with Lyric Kinard

April 29th, 2015

Thermofax 101: Screen Printing Made Easy DVD with Lyric KinardI was happy to be asked to review the latest DVD from talented fiber artist Lyric Kinard, who is sponsoring a blog hop around the release of her latest DVD, Thermofax 101: Screen Printing Made Easy.

Artistic Artifacts participated in the Row by Row experience last year (and will do so again for 2015), and our row design for 2014 used Thermofax screens designed by Susan Price and Elizabeth Gibson of PG Fiber2Art to create blocks that were combined with wonky strip piecing. I really wish we had Lyric’s DVD then!

I appreciate that Lyric does not assume that everyone knows what a Thermofax screen is and how it is created. It always seemed so mysterious, as if you needed a secret password to be granted access or otherwise you would never know how to print with Thermofax screens. During Row by Row we met so many customers who were very curious about the process, but intimidated. When we demonstrated screen printing techniques with the PG Fiber2Art Thermofax screens used in our row, they were amazed! I can’t help but imagine how impressed they would be watching this new DVD.

Thermofax 101 gives you a thorough education about the entire process, explaining it so well. As seen in other DVDs produced by Lyric, you feel that you are having a personal workshop in her studio. Very friendly and real! I love that she dropped paint on her fabric and then told us how she would hide it!

Supplies used during Thermofax Printing with PG Fiber2Art class April 25, 2015 at Artistic Artifacts

Supplies used during Thermofax Printing with PG Fiber2Art class April 25, 2015 at Artistic Artifacts

Lyric begins by demystifying Thermofax screens and production, and then moves onto creating successful imagery for Thermofax screens. I found this portion very interesting, and can’t wait to create my own imagery for custom screens.

Next the DVD moves onto actually printing with Thermofax screens using paint, discharge or foil adhesive. Lyric includes discussions about why to use fabric paint, squeegee and other tools, and the important information about the care of screens. I can appreciate Lyric explaining the differences between the two sides of the screen… I can tell you from experience that I have had to toss a few screens out due to not cleaning or drying them correctly! We have a Use and Care of Thermofax Screens web page (compiled by PG Fiber2Art) and include links to some of Lyric’s instructional YouTube videos.

The last section is about designing your cloth. This includes great color theory and layout information for any level of fiber artist as well as helpful suggestions on pattern movement and color choices. I found it interesting how Lyric played off the different types of paint —transparent versus opaque — in the layers of pattern, and her use of extender mediums.

Susan Price and Elizabeth Gibson of PG Fiber2Art teach Thermofax printing at Artistic Artifacts on April 25, 2015

Luckily for Artistic Artifacts, we offer fiber and mixed media classes at the shop and regularly schedule Thermofax Printing (most recently on Saturday, April 25; the photos here are from that class) with Susan and Elizabeth of PG Fiber2Art, who will be the blog hop authors on Friday, May 1st (see below). Their next class with us is on Saturday, June 6, Turn Your Photos into Thermofax Screens.

Win a Copy of Lyric’s DVD!

Win your own copy of Thermofax 101: Screen Printing Made Easy by Lyric Kinard! Simply leave me a comment on this posting answering the following question: What imagery would you reproduce for your own custom Thermofax screen? We will post the winner by the close of business on Monday, May 4, so check back with us then.

You can see what other art quilters and fiber artists (including Jane Dávila, who is on the faculty with me at the Quilters Unlimited 42nd Annual Quilt Show the end of May) participating in this blog hop are saying about the Thermofax 101 DVD by visiting the links below.

Everyone listed here is giving away a copy of the DVD, courtesy of Lyric herself, so visit and comment on each blog to increase your chances of winning! (Don’t want to leave it up to fate? Purchase your copy of the DVD today!)

Visit YouTube for a quick tour of the DVD by Lyric herself.

Student working during Thermofax Printing with PG Fiber2Art class April 25, 2015 at Artistic Artifacts

Student working during Thermofax Printing with PG Fiber2Art class April 25, 2015 at Artistic Artifacts

About Lyric: Lyric Montgomery Kinard is the author of the book Art + Quilt: design principles and creativity exercises and has written extensively for Quilting Arts magazine, appeared on Quilting Arts TV, and has two previous DVD Workshops, Surface Design Sampler Platter, and Bead It Like You Mean It. She was recognized for her talents as the 2011 International Association of Professional Quilters Teacher of the Year. As an artist, author, and educator she transforms cloth into art in her studio and timid spirits into confident creatives in the classroom.

My MIX: Adventures in Mixed Media Submission

April 22nd, 2015

Two Men on a Bench art quilt by Judy Gula -- click for large view

As previously mentioned, next month MIX: Adventures in Mixed Media, a collaboration between Artistic Artifacts and Del Ray Artisans Gallery, takes place. This juried exhibit opens with a reception on Friday, May 1st and closes May 31. The exhibit promises to “shake up” the imagination and explore the mixed media art movement!

During this month-long exhibit Del Ray Artisans and Artistic Artifacts are also offering workshops and classes for anyone interested in mixed media. Visit our website for a full list!

The deadline to submit artwork is quickly approaching:

  • Artwork (created by combining two or more mediums) submissions/drop-off/receiving takes place Sunday, April 26 and Monday, April 27 from 6:00-8:00 pm. Artists are responsible for drop-off/pick-up arrangements; remember your completed entry form.
  • All work must be original (no reproductions) and not previously exhibited in a Del Ray Artisans show.
  • Artists may submit up to 3 pieces of artwork. Entry fee is $5 per piece for Del Ray Artisans Members and $10 per piece for Non-Members. Entry fees are non-refundable. Insurance for any artwork is the responsibility of the artist.
  • Your art must be ready to hang or display with wire and screw eyes, mounting and/or display stand, framed, matted, or with edges finished.
  • Artwork that is not accepted for this exhibit can be picked up Tuesday April 28 & Wednesday, April 29 from 6:00-8:00 pm.

I am serving as a Curator along with Karen Schmitz, a contemporary painter, mixed media and monotype artist. As a former Del Ray Artisans Gallery Director, she has curated numerous exhibits and events. The MIX: Adventures in Mixed Media juror is Rosalie Lamanna, owner of Beads Ltd in Alexandria and a very talented quilter, jewelry artist and much more.

But in addition to my curator role, of course I want to enter a piece in the show as well. I selected the one pictured at the beginning of this post (click on the photo for a larger view).

You have heard me say, many a time, that I love vintage textiles… and you know I try to incorporate them into my artwork as often as I can, especially combined with vintage photos. Those I am also very fond of!

Detail, Two Men on a Bench art quilt by Judy GulaThis mixed media art quilt began with an amazing vintage photo of two men; I’d love to claim them, but they are not my ancestors… but dapper all the same. I loved their pose on a bench, and the rolling painted landscape background.

Detail, Two Men on a Bench art quilt by Judy GulaI scanned the photo into my computer and printed it on a sheet of EQ Printables Premium Cotton Lawn Inkjet Fabric, added a border and stitching. The layer below the photo is another quilt, over which I added a piece of vintage lace. I sewed the bordered photo to this, and I originally thought I was only going to add a sleeve. But I wasn’t happy with the results. So, as I often advise, I sat on it for awhile to puzzle out a solution.

By luck I found a vintage suitcase that included an interior divider that turned out to be perfect! Antique collectors might cringe, but I cut the divider right out of that suitcase with a packing knife, leaving the raw, cut edge intact.

While I was at first surprised to see the brass rod on the suitcase divider, I found it perfect to hang vintage items and bits of ephemera; things I thought my gentlemen might have in their pockets.

Before mounting the assemblage to the suitcase divider, I added the bone buttons and bits of blue lace. I attached the quilt to the divider at the same time I hand stitched the rust trim to the quilt.

Detail, Two Men on a Bench art quilt by Judy GulaI have a few days yet…I still have to figure out how to hang this piece in time to submit to the show. As noted above, all submissions must be ready to hang or mount. Del Ray Artisans has prepared Artwork Presentation and Submission Guidelines to help you ensure that your work is neatly finshed and properly prepared for display. If your work is well-executed but poorly presented, it risks rejection as unprofessional.

Del Ray Artisans Gallery is located at 2704 Mount Vernon Avenue in Alexandria, VA.If you are accepted as an artist, you volunteer as a gallery host and/or volunteer with postcard distribution, set-up, hanging, opening/closing receptions and/or take down.

Get inspiration by going to the Facebook page: MIX: Adventures in Mixed Media.

Download the MIX: Adventures in Mixed Media Call for Entry PDF »

Quilt Projects Completed at Retreat

April 15th, 2015

For the first time in far too many years, I treated myself to some time away from work this past weekend to attend the retreat my quilting guild (the Burke chapter of Quilter’s Unlimited of Northern Virginia) plans each year. I went with a number of projects in mind, and was delighted to finish quite a lot!

One of Judy Gula's completed Black & White & Bold All Over art quilts

I began with the task of finishing off some of the arts quilts that were used to demonstrate steps with when teaching recently at Art & Soul Portland. I am happy to announce that I will be teaching this Black & White & Bold All Over class, as well as my Vintage Hankie Quilt, at this year’s Quilter’s Unlimited Annual Quilt Show, taking place May 29-31 in Chantilly, VA (classes start Thursday, May 28). I’m delighted to be joining nationally known teachers Jane Dávila,
Dominique Ehrmann,
Gyleen Fitzgerald and
Cyndi Souder as the faculty for a really exciting lineup of classes.

An aside to my readers from out of town: this is really a show worth traveling for! In addition to the amazing slate of classes planned (open to all), you will see more than 400 quilts, plus the entire FiberBeatles art quilts collection will be on display in a special exhibit, and there is wonderful shopping from top vendors from around the country. Visitors consistently rate it one of the best quilt shows on the East Coast, so I hope you will join us!

After finishing the free motion stitching, I went to work on long-planned projects that used batik panels from our Batik Tambal line. Here I will be showing you some work from renowned batik artist Mahyar, has a very specific color and design aesthetic.

When I work with Indonesian batik panels, my go-to arrangement is to use complementary batik fabrics and create several strip borders. There are several reasons for this:

  • First: I prefer simple clean lines, simple borders or log cabin construction.
  • Second: I do not have a wide knowledge of quilt block construction- I never learned traditional quilting and thus can’t pull off several blocks the same size.
  • And while I sometimes think that my borders should be more complex (including pieced blocks or the like), but in these instances it’s important is to direct attention to the artistry in the panel.

Working with panels by Mahyar is one of those times where simple is better. All told I created three different quilt tops using different Mahyar panels, and in the coming weeks I will show you each and how I finished them.

Selecting fabrics to use with the Mahyar batik panel

My first step is to pull fabrics that I think will enhance the panel. I always advise pulling more than you think you will need or use, and to vary the light and darks.

Batik panel by Mahyer

Above, this is the first panel that I chose to work with. I thought this panel would make a great housewarming gift. I can think of several other ways to use this, maybe even in a traditional house block? This time, I chose to cut it up.

Batik panel by Mahyer, cut for use in a quilt

And that was difficult to do! (It may have taken me the longest amount of time all retreat!) Now what?

Working in strips, Mayher panel quilt

Above, I began working with the three pieces as individual blocks that I would eventually sew back together. Below, my first attempt at piecing it all together.

First version, Mahyer panel art quilt by Judy Gula

This was my first “Finished” pause. There is a lot of color and pattern in this, but the panels are not the focus. Usually I do not “unsew,” but this time I did, removing the blue border. I reduced the size of the orange and white fabric down the near middle (I measured, because I did not want that strip to be in the exact center) and the turquoise on the left.

Revised version, Mahyer panel art quilt by Judy Gula

Above, can you see the difference after the trimming? I see the panel details again that were lost in the top option. And it’s a good thing I like this one better, because I cut the fabric! There was no going back.

This is as far as I have gotten at the moment, my plan is to free motion stitch it, including a repeat of the tree pattern out into the blue border.

By challenging myself, I hope to challenge you to create using panels and a new way.

Check back for additional blog postings to see how these progress! And plan to visit the QU Show!

Plus, a reminder to anyone who is local or who will be in the area this Sunday: it’s our monthly JAMs meeting. Kathie Barrus will be giving a presentation/demo on PanPastels, and in addition to our usual ATC exchange it is our quarterly art paper doll exchange. And for all of us who have bought entire packages of decorative napkins to use one for collage, bring in your extras…we’ll have a one-to-one exchange where you can go home with a new stash while passing your duplicates along! Our group is open to anyone interested — please use to contact us about your interest, or to RSVP for each monthly meeting.

Mola Inspired Fabric for The Printed Fabric Bee

April 8th, 2015

Mola inspired fabric by Judy Gula

Recently I posted about trying to catch up with my colleagues at The Printed Fabric Bee…and I’m still trying! This group of 12 surface design enthusiasts designates one member each month to serve as the “Queen Bee,” who gets to select a theme and colors for her fabric collection. The result is an original and eclectic collection of fabrics for the Queen, but also to one lucky blog reader, who will win a collection of 6-inch squares of the handcrafted fabrics!

This month the Queen was Julie Booth, and her theme was Molas, a textile art form that I really love. We have a few vintage molas available for purchase in the shop, and pictured at the end of this posting is a mola art quilt I made.

Julie writes, “I’m attracted to the symmetry, the contrast and bright colors and also the playfulness and mastery of the technique.” Her requirements were red, black and other bright mola colors.

I began with an orangey-coral solid fabric, and in addition to the red and black, I selected a bright blue to contrast with my base fabric. I used the TCW399 Switchback stencil from The Crafter’s Workshop for the pattern, as I thought it evoked the look and feel of molas, a layered, reverse applique technique was developed by the Kuna Indians.

Detail, mola-inspired fabric designed by Judy Gula

I usually apply fabric paint through a stencil with a sponge and a pouncing motion, but for this fabric I used a brush to create my alternating rows of color. You can see several spots where I didn’t have the crisp control I was hoping for. At first this upset me, but then I started viewing it as indicative of the handmade nature of molas. They are never perfectly straight and even; they have the quirks of the fabric and the stitching that give them their charm.

Left, a vintage Mola from Artistic Artifacts, right, fabric designed by Judy Gula

Left, a vintage Mola from Artistic Artifacts, right, fabric designed by Judy Gula

Julie is the author of Fabric Printing at Home: Quick and Easy Fabric Design Using Fresh Produce and Found Objects and an incredibly talented surface design artist. We will be welcoming her back to Artistic Artifacts with her 2-Day Fabric Printing at Home: A Kitchen Sampler workshop, taking place on Saturday, April 18 and Sunday, April 19. I can personally vouch for this amazing experience! We all learned so much and had so much fun learning Julie’s surface design techniques. Don’t miss this class!

Enter to Win!

For your chance to win the 6-inch square collection of fabrics, leave a comment on Julie’s blog posting, or do so at The Printed Fabric Bee blog. Your comment must be posted by midnight Eastern USA time on April 14th to leave your comment (I love hearing from you, but to win, your comment must be on either of those two blogs, not mine). Julie will be choosing a winner on Wednesday, April 15. As she pointed out, that will really be cheering news on Tax Day!

Fish Mola Art Quilt by Judy Gula

Free Spring Ephemera Downloads

April 1st, 2015

As a celebration of the coming Easter holiday, and the arrival of spring, I wanted to offer my friends and customers these ephemera downloads to use in your fiber and mixed media projects.

To download, click on the image to bring up its full-size version, then right-click (or click and hold on a Mac) and save the high resolution JPG to your computer.

Taylor's Premium Cologne trade advertising card — click for full size download

Taylor's Premium Cologne trade advertising card — click for full size download

The Woolson's Spice Company's Easter Greeting trade advertising card — click for full size download

The Woolson's Spice Company's Easter Greeting trade advertising card — click for full size download

These are selections from my large — and ever-growing — collection of vintage postcards and advertising trade cards. When I come across beautiful examples at estate and yard sales, I just can’t resist them!

As those of you who know my work are aware, I love to print these vintage images onto fabric and build an art quilt around them, or create fabric postcards or Artist Trading Cards (ATCs). I print my image straight onto fabric using products designed for use with your home printer, or use Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) to transfer onto Lutradur, and then match it up with new or vintage fabric, trims and embellishments, and start stitching!

If you are traveling for spring break or to visit family or friends this weekend, I wish you safe travels and warm spring weather. (With the kind of winter we’ve had, which has hung on so long here on the East Coast), that last is no guarantee, I know!)

About Advertising Trade Cards

The following is excerpted from “Brief History of Trade Cards” by Ben Crane from The Trade Card Place. The invention and popularization of color lithography meant that advertising trade cards became plentiful and by the 1880s, they had become a dominant method of advertising products and services. “A trip to the store usually brought back some of these attractive, brightly colored cards to be pasted into a scrapbook… Some of the products most heavily advertised by trade cards were in the categories of: medicine, food, tobacco, clothing, household, sewing, stoves, and farm. The popularity of trade cards peaked around 1890, and then almost completely faded by the early 1900s when other forms of advertising in color, such as magazines, became more cost effective.”

Catching Up with the Queen Bees

March 25th, 2015

As per last week’s blog posting, I have been running around the country, and to even write this meant sitting down for a break from packing for the Empire Guild show in New York City this weekend! With all that travel, keeping up with the monthly assignments from Printed Fabric Bee (a collaboration of professional textiles artists printing fabric collections for each other) has been difficult at best. 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.

I’m so fortunate that the other members of the Bee have been so understanding. While I was at Art and Soul in Portland, Oregon, Liz Kettle taught a mono printing class using Gelli Plates as one of the tools. Ruth Chandler was kind enough to mind the store for me during lunch so that I could print while the students were out of the classroom. Included here are two of the fabrics that I owe the bee.

The February theme was Petroglyphs, selected by Queen Bee Lynda Heines. She first fell in love with this type of art a few years ago when she vacationed with her husband in the Southwest. She requested fabrics in turquoise and orange.

Petroglyph theme fabric by Judy Gula

This Petroglyph theme was the most difficult for me…someone purchased the last of the skeleton fish wooden printing block I had had my eye on, so then I felt I could not come up with anything. Finally I picked up our Primitive Horse. I used a brayer to mix several brown shades of textile paint to coverthe Gelli Arts™ Gel Printing Plate, then I stamped on the paint with the horse block, which removed most of the paint and left a negative image. I repeated this several times to create a large cloth.

That alone was pretty boring, so I added scribbles of blue paint with a syringe. I need some more pratice with that method, as I kept ending up with too much paint. The orangey-red is a Nautilus shell stamp.

detail, Petroglyph theme fabric by Judy Gula

Close up (above) it looks a little better. I am not 100% happy with this fabric, but sometimes, you just have to call a project done. I do think the horse evokes Petroglyph carvings, and the varying texture of the browns seems like a cave or cliff wall.

Printed Fabric Bee member Carol R. Eaton has a few days left in her reign as the Queen Bee for March, and noted that it was easy for her to decide on a theme. “Nature is my biggest influence when dyeing fabrics and designing wall art,” she writes. “The colors, textures, smells and sounds are unique and endless. I was imagining what a view of the forest floor would be from the vantage point of a bird or maybe a squirrel leaping from branch to branch in the tall trees.” Carol did not offer color suggestions gave each of us free range to interpret her Forest Floor theme.

Forest Floor theme fabric by Judy Gula

This one came easier to me, and I’m happier with the final result too (complete fabric above). The background was created by brayering on several shades of green textile paint to a Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate. I pressed a swatch of textured wallpaper to create the gridded background, which is visible in the below view.

Forest Floor theme fabric by Judy Gula

The next layer was created using the 4 Ferns (TCW414) stencil from The Crafters Workshop two ways. First, I placed it onto the Gelli Plate and brayered paint over it. The stencil was then lifted off, and I rubbed the excess paint coating the stencil onto the fabric. Then the fabric was placed onto the gelli plate and brayered to pick up the fern images left by the stencil. So the stencil was used both positively and negatively…plus you don’t waste paint! This photo shows those options.

Fern stencil used as a positive and negative image

The extra pops of color and bit of brown added with a brayer. Another detail shot is below; all together I love how the layers look like the plant and leaf strewn ground you find underneath trees.

Detail, Forest Floor fabric by Judy Gula

‘Tis the Season

March 18th, 2015

Tis the Season… We normally associate this headline with the November/December holiday season. But this season is the Season of Quilt Shows. And like the holidays, we enjoy the happy, excited energy of shows… but (also like the holidays) it can lead to exhaustion!

Australian Aborigine-Designed fabric for sale by Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal

I am frequently asked how many shows per year that Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal exhibit at, and I am never really sure. I guess I could count them… but maybe I don’t want to know?

Those of us who take our businesses on the road really appreciate those of you who come prepared to shop. It makes the difficult work and long hours worth the travel. Fortunately, I have many customers who are very aware of what it takes for a business to participate in shows around the country. If you haven’t thought too much about this subject, may I share?

The first show of the year for us is Road to California in Ontario California in January. I should really begin ordering and pulling product 3 weeks before the show. (I can tell you it never happens.) Ten days before the show, the pallet needs to ship to California from us inVirginia for it to arrive on time. The cost to ship the pallet is $1.00 per pound. I try to ship just 500 lbs, but usually it weighs in at approximately 700 lbs.

The Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal booth at Mid-Atlantic Quilt FestivalWe fly out the day before the set up day, which is a day to set up our booth, usually a 10 x 20 booth. Depending on the show, that size booth can cost between $1,000 –$2,000. The Road to California Show is four days long; most quilt shows run three or four days. The show ends on Sunday, then we have to repack the unsold product and supplies used in the booth onto the pallet and ship back to Virginia. Monday morning we fly back to Virginia, always with some product carried in our luggage. The following week when the pallet arrives back, it’s time to unpack and put the store back together.

The end of February we went through the entire laborious process again for the 26th Annual Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton, VA, only this time we also had to prepare and ship a pallet of materials and supplies to Portland , OR for Art & Soul.

And since Hampton had a record 8 inches of snow the first day of the show, I ended up putting on my taxicab hat on… I made six runs from the hotel to the Convention Center to ferry determined attendees when shuttle bus didn’t show up. (Happy to help out, but I had to laugh at the number who assumed I was the official hotel shuttle driver!)

I left Hampton, flew to Portland, and without an extra minute to adjust to the new time zone, began assembling a satellite store in the hotel. Art & Soul

Empire Quilt Guild 2015 Show logoBarely recovered from that, at the end of this month I’m attending the Empire Quilt Guild show in New York City: Urban Inspirations Quilt Show, Under a New Star. This will be the first time I have been a vendor for this show; the original owner of Batik Tambal, Trish Hodge, was a vendor there often, so I am looking forward to continuing the tradition.. The show will be held at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT, which was my dream school!),
right in the heart of the city, 7th Avenue at 28th Street.

If you are close to the city, or lucky enough to plan a trip, it should be a great experience. Paula Nadelstern, whose quilts have been featured internationally, will moderate a panel of experts on Collecting Quilts: How and Why. The show will also feature Barbara Brackman, the renowned and well-loved author of the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, who will discuss the ebb and flow of block patterns, how and why they rise and fade in popularity over time.

The quilt show craziness continues for most businesses until November, with the International Quilt Festival in Houston.

Why do we do it? Some days I am not sure! But then the show opens and excited, creative, friendly, wonderful people show up and the day is wonderful!

To end, I would like to offer the following ettiquette for those attending quilt and craft shows.

Quilt/Craft Show DO’s

  • DO bring your patterns, ideas, and fabrics to coordinate with.
  • DO, bring your open mind, creativity and sense of adventure and be willing to listen to new ideas.
  • DO, use some of the space in your tote to bring “show and tell” projects you’ve made using products and materials that you’ve purchased from vendor at previous shows.. I know I love to see what you have created with the materials and supplies that I have gathered for you!
  • DO come by and let me know that you read our newsletter and blog, and that it is helpful!
  • DO come by and let me know that you are a current customer, whether shopping in person in Alexandria, or virtually online..
  • DO, ask before taking any photos of samples on display in a booth. I am usually happy to oblige when it is my own work, but please ask, as I do have other artists’ samples on hand. Know, and respect, that many companies restrict photography of their patterns, which is only fair as they are protected by copyright.

Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival attendees