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!

Vintage Hankie Quilts

September 3rd, 2014

I am grateful for the friends and family that I have, including a special family, the Buck Family. I consider myself an ‘adopted’ daughter to the Buck family. Mr. Buck had his 80th Birthday last year, and he is a proud Navy man. I just so happened to have a vintage hankie that I thought was perfect for him, and assembled all the anchors and trims that I could find for his Birthday quilt. Below is what I sent to arrive within a few days of his birthday.

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

But you know me…I felt it still needed “more,” so I asked to have it returned to me for additional work. Last week my husband Dave and I were going to spend a few days off with the Bucks in North Carolina, so finishing Mr. Buck’s quilt rose to the top of my to do pile and inspired me to look at my other vintage handkerchiefs. Vintage hankies are like potato chips — you can’t just have one!

Drawer full of vintage hankies

Pictured above is a deep drawer where all my washed and ironed vintage hankies are stored.

Floral hankies from my grandmother's collection

The two circular handkerchiefs pictured above came from my Grandmother’s stash.

And once family and friends find out you love vintage hankies…

Vintage handkerchief cards

…you are the recipient of some lovely surprises. I love these cards! (Click the photo above for a larger view of these hankie dolls.)

With my interest rekindled from the additional work I did on Mr. Buck’s quilt, I picked out three vintage hankies (pictured below) from my collection to feature in new quilts.

Trio of vintage handkerchiefs

I love the colors and details of these handkerchiefs! In this posting I will give you some ideas and tips on how I created one of these art quilts, and in future blog postings will update the others.

First step is to choose a background and orientation. I’m working with some green hand dyed cotton and the pretty burgundy leaf square within a square hankie.

Vintage leaf hankie with green hand-dyed fabric

The above layout can work, but…

On point layout of vintage handkerchief

Below you can see that I have added a 3-inch striped border. I have purposely let the hankie “creep” into the border, but note that as of this point the hankie has not been stitched to the green hand-dyed fabric. Next I will assemble the quilt sandwich, with the hankie pinned in place.

Hankie points overlap the striped border fabric

I decided to quilt the entire hand dyed green area, and looked to 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs by Leah Day for inspiration.

365 Free Motion Quilting Designs by Leah Day

I choose her design #150, Strange Leaf, pictured above. I practiced the direction that my needle would go by drawing on paper, and then jumped in. My leaf was in fact strange… and little more like a heart than a leaf!

Free motion quilting the background with the hankie out of the way

As you can see above, I actually folded and pinned the hankie out of the way, and free motion quilted the background green fabric in sections. The reason I do this is to keep the background laying flat and not too puffy when I stitch the hankie at the end.

Vintage leaf handkerchief quilted and bound

Above is the quilt so far (larger view). I stitched around the acorns that are printed in the center of the hankie, along the pink “ribbon,” and the outside edge of the hankie. Then I added the binding. At this point, many would consider the quilt done. I am not sure… I think that it needs some embellishment.

I will write more about other Vintage Hankie Quilts and show off my additional work on Mr. Buck’s quilt in future postings. Stay tuned!

Ashville North Carolina

August 27th, 2014

After the Durham Quilt Show, Dave and I headed to visit family friends in Hendersonville, North Carolina for a few days of relaxation. We found a wonderful store in Asheville named Screen Door, 115 Fairview Road, screendoorasheville.com. I found some wonderful curio shadow boxes by artist Gail Lamuraglia at the Screen Door.

This place is amazing!!

Also, downtown we found Earth Guild. I have been shopping with Earth Guild since my weaving days in high school!

Another great find was Woolworth Walk. This is a locally owned gallery in the heart of downtown (25 Haywood Street) that represents local artists. It is located in a historic building, a renovated F&W Woolworth department store: woolworthwalk.com

I hope everyone here in the U.S. enjoys their upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend!

Our Final Row by Row Color/Design Variation

August 20th, 2014

Artistic Artifacts Red Row by Row Experience Design

This summer’s Row by Row Experience shop hop has been so enjoyable for those of us at Artistic Artifacts! We have met so many people, both local and many from out of state and Canada, who have visited us to pick up our free pattern.

Artistic Artifacts Row by Row Experience fabric kits

Artistic Artifacts Row by Row Experience fabric kits are available in four colorways

We created four different fabric colorways (these fabric kits are now available to order online) and have previously posted photos of three: the orange and blue kits were completed with Thermofax screen printing and hand stamped with our wooden printing blocks. For the green sample, we added a monoprinted background created using a Gelli Arts™ Gel Printing Plate.

In this posting I am finally featuring the fourth colorway, red. I am actually happy that we waited to complete this sample, because it has allowed us to respond to some customer discussions we have had in the store.

We have been delighted with the customers with no previous experience who embraced trying something new; many are experimenting with block printing and screen printing with the Thermofax screens we used. But there were also people who hestitated over those techniques, so we have continually brainstormed options for the background: use rubber stamps or stencils that you already own. Or purchase fabric that has words on it, such as Tim Holtz designs. Or thread paint, or hand-stitch a design. Or do no surface design at all and replace the white fabric with another of your choosing. The winner of our fabric prize, Jana Franklin, used her computer to print springtime poems and facts onto her white muslin, and then stamped with wooden printing blocks over that. What was important to us at Artistic Artifacts was that you made this row your own.

For this red Sample I used a rubber stamp and Memento Luxe Mixed Media Ink Pads to stamp the background before adding block printing. (I have previously blogged about using Memento Luxe Mixed Media Ink Pads in block printing, so take a look.)

Cover-a-Card rubber stamp and Memento Luxe Mixed Media Ink Pads

The stamp pictured above is the French Text Cover-a-Card Stamp. The Cover-a-Card company makes the Mega Mount Acrylic Block for use with these 5¾" square rubber stamps…it sure makes the stamping process easier than manhandling a non-mounted stamp! Pictured are three colors of ink pad… yes I did use all three! Notice the yellow foam printing mat. Every tool box needs one!

Applying Memento Luxe Mixed Media Ink to the Cover-a-Card rubber stamp

As you can see above, the stamp pad is much smaller than the stamp, so I turn the stamp facing up and apply the ink pad to the stamp, rather than applying the stamp to the ink pad. Much better coverage.

Using the Mega Mount and Cover-a-Card stamp

The base of the Mega Mount Acrylic Block is slightly curved so that even the largest stamp only contacts the paper one section at a time, requiring less pressure and resulting in clean, even impressions.

In the above photo you can see the Mega Mount acrylic handle. It is curved so that I “roll” the stamp onto the fabric. I will continue to turn the stamp every which way, because I am creating a background texture…I’m not creating text that is meant to be readable.

Completed stamped background

I stamp the whole background. Once the Memento Luxe Mixed Media Ink is dry, I ironed the fabric, which eat set the ink for permanence and washability.

My previous row designs have been recognizable animals and leaves — the “flora and fauna” of spring. I wanted to do something a bit more abstract for this red colorway, while keeping with the spring theme. We have a large number of paisley designs of wooden printing blocks, and they are such a favorite of mine! You can see that the ones I have chosen have a floral/leaf look to them, so I think it works well with our other rows.

Paisley block stamped in red

With my previous Row by Row samples, I used opaque PROFab Textile Paints for the block printing. In keeping with the idea of working differently, for this sample I used my other favorite textile paint from Stewart Gill.

Another paisley block stamped in shades of red

Using Stewart Gill True Color, Opaque Matte Paint Color # 1 True Red, I applied it to the wooden printing block with sponge, and then stamped.

Using shades of red, including pink, purple and even a bit of blue adds visual interest to the background

While I used a lot of red, I also added some blue and purple into the mix. Mixing different shades of red, including pink and purple, adds visual interest to the background and keeps the design from looking too static.

Red fabrics from kit and scraps from stash for free-form piecing

The next step is to create my strip piecing. Here’s the link to my previous freeform strip piecing tutorial. In addition to the Combanasi and commercial batiks that are included in each fabric kit, our row pattern instructs you to pull coordinating fabrics from your stash. So I went from these pictured piles of fabrics and strips…

More red fabrics from kit and scraps from stash for free-form piecing

To the below freeform pieced width of fabric. Then I cut my Row by Row strips from this larger pieced work.

Red freeform pieced fabric

Below is the final row assembled.

Completed Red Row by Row from Artistic Artifacts pattern

Click photo for a larger view.

Exploring the Possibilities of Gelatos: Part 2

August 13th, 2014
Gelatos tag created by Marjie Curia

Gelatos tag created by Marjie Curia

— View Part 1 of Exploring Gelatos

Tomorrow night, (Thursday, August 14) our monthly “How Do I Use This?” product demonstration will take place. We are having Jen Bell, one of the members of Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs) come in to lead us in using ICE resin and Susan Lenart Kazmer’s latest Art Mechanique products, ICED Enamels Relique cold enameling powders and inclusions on paper/illustration board to create Artist Trading Cards (ATCs). Jen brings her creative efforts every month for exchange and everyone goes nuts for them, so she has generously agreed to share her processes. Join us!

So, now that we are a month away from the previous session, it is long past time for Part 2 of our posting describing the versatility of Gelatos® from Faber-Castell, isn’t it? (Part 1 is available here) I was busy packing merchandise up for the CREATE art retreat in New Jersey, so Sharon McDonagh took over leading the group. We’ll begin with her continuation, and conclude with my “assignment,” which I undertook with my personal creative team!

Exploring Gelatos Part 2, section A, by Sharon McDonagh

Gelatos love texture, so they work beautifully on velvet. We took some pale pink velvet ribbon and completely transformed it.

Applying Gelatos to velvet ribbon

Above, stroke different colors of Gelatos directly on ribbon and blend with your finger. Mist with water if desired for blending. As noted in Part 1 of our article, you can also apply just a few strokes of Gelatos onto your non-stick ironing and craft sheet (or freezer paper) and mist that with water to create a puddle of beautiful dye-like color that can be applied with a brush, by sponging it on, or by dipping the fabric in, etc. Vary the intensity of your color by altering the amount of water added.

Gelatos on velvet ribbon

Above, quite a transformation from the original pale pink (top), wouldn’t you agree? (The heart is a punched piece of watercolor paper: this had several colors of Gelatos stroked on without any blending, then it was misted with water. The bit of color meld and texture you see was created simply by the water application.)

Gelatos with Wooden Printing Blocks

Tag colored with Gelatos and stamped using wooden printing blocks

Tag colored with Gelatos and stamped using wooden printing blocks

Okay, so onto our discovery, as promised in Part 1. As noted then, Gelatos are ideal for use on foam stamps, because of the foam’s texture…and thinking of surface texture got me wondering about using wooden printing blocks.

Rather than risk it with Judy’s extensive stash, I first tried this with my own block, a mermaid. It worked! After success with a solid color print, I realized that withthe Gelatos’s stick form and thick consistency, I could color areas of the block selectively. Painting selectively is hard to do when using textile or acrylic paint on your block, as by the time you get to one area, the paint is drying up elsewhere. With Gelatos being “activated” with the addition of water, you have a longer working time.

Below, a mermaid print on paper. The background was lightly colored with Gelatos and stamped with a foam circle for bubbles. The bottom ‘ocean floor’ is homemade washi tape, artist tape colored with Gelatos. Below the mermaid you can see the wooden printing block used to create her.

Mermaid stamped using a wooden printing block colored with Gelatos

Below, Beth Richardson’s mermaid print, on Roc-lon® Roc-rol™ Multi-Purpose Cloth™.

Beth Richardson's Mermaid stamped using a wooden printing block colored with Gelatos

Selectively applying different colors of Gelatos to a wooden printing block

Above, selectively applying different colors of Gelatos to a graphic circle wooden printing block.

I’ve applied Gelatos to a number of types of fabrics/weights, with beautiful results. But my experiments with fabric had previously all been done with the intention of using the material in either a mixed media piece or an art quilt that wouldn’t be laundered.

To answer a customer who emailed us asking whether Gelatos could be used to draw on fabric for a quilt, I took a piece of a heavy cotton fabric I had “dyed” with Gelatos and soaked it in cold water… I saw little to no color discharge. Using warmer water and a detergent, and scrubbing at it, did remove some color, but the overall look of the fabric was still bright — so there is certainly a strong degree of color permanence, even without planning for it or pretreating the fabric in any way.

But how about treating the fabric to purposefully create colorfastness?

Because Gelatos can be activated by and mixed into any acrylic medium, I wanted to try using Jo Sonja’s Textile Medium to treat the fabric and activate the Gelatos. This is a water based acrylic medium used to convert acrylic paints into fabric paints that, once heat set, are permanent and able to be laundered.

Gelatos stamped on fabric and paper using a wooden printing block

Above, a comparison of results. The top right corner is the wood block printed onto paper. Below it, the block misted with a sprayer filled with a mixture of roughly half water and half textile medium. On the left is a swatch where the fabric was dampened with the textile medium mixture, and the Gelatos-covered block stamped onto it (not misting the block with water). As you can see this resulted in the most bleeding and spreading.

Both swatches shown here were later washed with cold water and mild detergent and the color and print were permanent; no bleeding or run-off. I think this concept certainly bears further exploration. Because Gelatos are in a near-solid stick form, the ratio of textile medium to water to Gelatos is still up for experimentation to determine what works best….applying it to the fabric versus the block or stamp, the ratio used, etc.

Since Judy hadn’t been able to indulge in our experimentation on the “How Do I Use This?” night, she wanted to explore Gelatos on fabric further. Take it away, Judy!

Wooden printing blocks ready to stamp

Exploring Gelatos Part 2, section B, by Judy Gula

Our mission, as accepted, was to play with wooden printing blocks (pictured above), fabric, and Gelatos. My team members are Layla, Evan and Celia (pictured below, left to right).

Layla, Evan and Celia help Aunt Judy experiment with Gelatos

With the goal of achieving color permanence, we prepared a length of muslin by soaking it in Soda Ash and letting it air dry. If you feel that ironing is needed after the treated fabric dries, use a medium heat iron, as high heat might burn the soda ash and cause a brown mark on the fabric. (If this does happen to you, my experience has been that the brown marks will wash out.)

Then, laying the muslin over our foam printing mat, we were ready to apply the gelatos to the wooden printing blocks.

Step 1: Apply Gelatos to wooden printing blocks. Cover the block surface well.

Evan applying Gelatos to bird block

Step 2: Spritz block lightly with a mister of water. We found this the most difficult to gauge…frequently we put too much water on the block.

Misting the wooden printing block to activate the Gelatos

Step 3: Apply the moistened, Gelato-coated wooden printing block to the fabric. Below, Evan is stamping on Multi-Purpose Cloth.

Evan stamping onto fabric

Below, Layla stamping with a wooden printing block.

Layla stamping

Below, Celia is creating a background by rubbing Gelatos on the Multi-Purpose Cloth and then adding water with a paint brush.

Using Gelatos to paint Multi-Purpose Cloth

Using Multi-Purpose Cloth, Layla painted a background by applying Gelatos and then using a wet brush. Below, she is pictured ready to apply the Gelatos through the stencil.

Layla ready to stencil with Gelatos on her Gelatos painted cloth

Below  are several of the fabric pieces we created, combining several techniques. You can see the kids experimented with using PITT Artist Pens by FaberCastell to outline some of the stenciled and wood block printed shapes:

Stencil and block prints with Gelatos

Below are our treated fabric samples; all of these were done with the soda ash prepared fabric. As I mentioned, the learning curve was definitely the spritzing of water, as it was difficult not to put too much on the woodblock, which resulted in some smears (hey, that’s arty!). Look for the finest spray mister top you can find.

Fabric samples before laundering

But as you can see below, even after washing in cold water with gentle detergent we did not have any additional bleed or run-off. Even the Pitt Pens (small outline in turquoise bottom right corner) did not bleed.

Fabric samples after laundering

So based on the results of both of us experimenting, Gelatos can be made permanent on fabric. As with the manufacturers caveat of using rubber stamps, if you are using wooden printing blocks, expect a watercolor effect rather than the sharp crispness you would receive from an ink pad.

If you are interested in using Gelatos in a fiber project that needs to be washable, we recommend experimenting yourself with these methods to determine the best way to proceed.

In conclusion…Gelatos are a fun way to add color to a wide variety of surfaces, as illustrated below. Left,more homemade washi tape, top right is corrugated cardboard and sheet music topped with children’s air-dry modeling clay (stamped with a shell wooden printing block), all colored with Gelatos, bottom right is embossed Grungeboard.

Gelatos on a variety of surfaces

Below right, tag washed with Gelatos, topped with modeling paste applied through a TCW stencil. The white modeling paste was mixed with Gelatos to tint it blue prior to application.

Modeling paste tinted with Gelatos

Have fun playing and experimenting yourself!

Making a Pattern Your Own

August 6th, 2014

Artistic Artifacts and the Row By Row Experience: Congratulations Jana Franklin!

This summer Artistic Artifacts has been participating in the Row by Row Experience, a shop hop event, and it has been a lot of fun to design our unique row, select fabrics for the kits we are selling, and most of all, meeting both old and new friends as they embark on their shopping expeditions.

Jana Franklin holding her prize-winning quiltEach participating shop agreed to make a prize of 25 fat quarters of fabric available to the first person who turned in a completed (quilted, bound, and labeled) quilt using at least 8 different 2014 row patterns. Yesterday (Tuesday, August 5) we were delighted to welcome Jana Franklin to the shop and award her our prize, with a bonus gift certificate prize for using our row in her quilt!

Jana collected eight different row patterns from eight shops, all in the Northern Virginia area. A member of the Burke Chapter of Quilter’s Unlimited (that’s my chapter too!), Jana put these disparate rows together beautifully, creating an wonderful springtime quilt. And she has very kindly allowed us to keep it on loan for display, so please stop by the shop to see it — the photographs we have here are not doing it justice! Click the photo below to see a larger view.

Jana Franklin's prize-winning Row by Row Experience quilt

One of the things we appreciate about Jana’s quilt is how she made the patterns her own. While there is of course nothing wrong with following directions and kits to the letter, from my own standpoint as a shop owner and a teacher, it is important to encourage artists (and yes, you all ARE artists) to put their own spin on a project or technique.

Her row patterns are from the following shops:

Top row: The Quilt Patch in Fairfax, “The Book Shelf.” How she made it her own:
Jana added spine titles that reference local areas and topics of interest.

Detail, Jana Franklin Row by Row quilt

2nd Row, The Quilters Studio in Fairfax, “Spring Cardinal Row.” How she made it her own: She used large round beads, instead of buttons, to create her berries, and gave her cardinal a strong button eye.

Detail, Jana Franklin Row by Row quilt

3rd Row: Our own “Springtime Flora and Fauna.” How she made it her own: Jana selected the butterfly wooden printing block, which I had combined with orange fabric, and chose to work instead with our purple fabric kit (which I had designed with birds). Jana didn’t use the Thermofax screens but instead computer transferred springtime poetry and text onto the provided white muslin, then block printed her butterflies in a variety of pretty pastels. So springtime!

Detail, Jana Franklin Row by Row quilt

4th Row:Old Town Needlecraftsin Manassas, “Summer Hummers.” The shop created three versions of their pattern: one pieced, one for machine embroiderers and one fussy-cut using Benartex Fabrics Glorious Hummingbirds, which is what Jana used.

5th Row: Suzzie’s Quilt Shop in Manassas, “Spring is Here!!!” How she made it her own: She switched the dimensional flower style the kit offered, and also added her own appliqué cardinal sitting on the branch, to tie in with the Virginia state bird and the other portions of her quilt.

Detail, Jana Franklin Row by Row quilt

6th Row: Circle Sewing Studios in Woodbridge, “Dancing Pineapples.”

Left border: Bonnie’s Sewing & Fabric in Alexandria “Amber Waves of Grain.” How she made it her own: Jana used red and cream fabric to match the rest of her quilt, and made extra blocks to elongate the row to serve as a vertical border.

Right border: Aurora Quilts in Manassas, “X-mas Block.” How she made it her own: Elongating the row to serve as a vertical border, and we suspect that she chose her own fabrics for this row, as the cardinal fabric in it is the same as the fabric used in the Circle Sewing Studios’ “Dancing Pineapples.”

Detail, Jana Franklin Row by Row quilt

(By the way, Jana’s piecing and craftmanship is straight and true throughout…our photos can make some seams and joins look a bit off because her quilt was so large we had to hang it to get a full size photo, and there’s a bit of bowing from the hang).

As you know from previous postings, I was inspired by Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts: a Stress-Free Journey to Original Design by Rayna Gillman to piece our row. The thermofax screens “art” and “stitch” that I used are just two of the amazing designs created by the talented women of PG Fiber2Art, Susan Price and Elizabeth Gibson. We’ve enjoyed explaining how to use the screens to Row by Row shoppers, and some have selected other designs to use…that “make the pattern your own” thing again! (But if you prefer to learn in a class environment, (plus have the opportunity to print with a huge selection of their designs) then join us on Saturday, September 27.)

Here’s Susan’s take on our pattern (this is a portion only, so you can see it better):

Detail, Susan Price's Artistic Artifacts row

Visit her blog and click on the photo she has of her row to enjoy a complete, and larger view!

And here’s Elizabeth’s:

Detail, Elizabeth Gibson's Artistic Artifacts row

Click the photo for a full view of her row! She used the PG Fiber2Art “craft” screen, graphic rectangles screen and overprinted with the fish wooden printing block. Her colorful batiks are from India (and her stash).

Elizabeth also made an additional piece of fabric for her mother Barbara to use when making her version of our row. Elizabeth first used a green spray paint on a yellow background, then screened her “craft” definition and a butterfly screen the PG Fiber2Art team recently made.

Elizabeth Gibson's screened fabric

Isn’t is amazing how different the pattern can look…and how beautiful ALL of the surface design variations are?

We have been asking all our Row by Row customers to send us photos of their row, their quilt, their designs. Please do email us … we can’t wait to see —and share!

Plus, even though we have awarded the official Row by Row prize, I have a surprise for you. Anyone who brings their Artistic Artifacts row into the shop to show us, whether in a full quilt or finished as a table runner or wall hanging (or even just sewn together!) will get a small prize from me for playing along. As per the official Row by Row rules, you have until October 31, 2014 to bring in your handiwork from our pattern!

Jana Franklin with her prize of 25 fat quarters and a gift certificate from Artistic Artifacts

Jana Franklin holding her Row by Row Experience prize of 25 fat quarters and a gift certificate from Artistic Artifacts

More than 1,250 quilt shops are involved in Row by Row Experience this year, each creating their own unique pattern for a row so that you can create your own Sew a Season quilt. Each shop chose one of the four seasons to represent in their row. Visit a participating store from now until September 2 to ask for your free pattern. The Row by Row website has completes lists and addresses of participating shops in 34 US states and Ontario, so you can map out your summer trips to visit as many participating quilt shops as possible.

There are still shops out there who haven’t awarded their prize yet, so all of you keep on quilting! Use any pattern to layout your rows: Stack them, arrange around a center medallion, make them horizontal, vertical (like Jana did), upside down, on the front, on the back, whatever! You are the designer….be creative and have fun!

Life on the Road with Artistic Artifacts

July 30th, 2014
Artistic Artifacts sign at Quilt Odyssey

We’ve been in the same location for years, first as Artistic Artifacts and now as Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal.

Last week, July 24-27, my husband Dave and I vended at the Quilt Odyssey Quilt show, held in Hershey, PA.

It takes several days to prepare and pack for a show, and then an entire day (sometimes more) to set up. The show ran from Thursday to Sunday. No matter how tired vendors are after a long and busy show, we have to pack up our booths on Sunday and then drive home. And then, once home, there is the unpacking and putting the store back together. A vendor’s work for each and every show requires additional days of preparation and work before and after.

A view of the Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal booth

Our booth (pictured above and below) is 10 feet deep by 20 feet long. The Goal is to pack as much into our traveling store, but still allow customers to enter and shop!

A view of the Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal booth

Along the back wall we exhibit samples of how our products can be used. Do the samples encourage you? Do they inspire you? Are you happy that we have them? Or do they overwhelm?

Products hanging in the Artistic Artifacts booth

As you can see in the photo above we even hang product from the ceiling! I made the sample quilt hanging on the right with our Woman with 3 Birds on Taupe (portion shown here) panel, which was designed by Jaka, one of Indonesia’s most popular and recognizable batik artists. This panel is now on sale for just $13.00. The hard to photograph background color (a warm taupe with violet tones) of this panel has made it difficult to sell online, so I’ve marked it down, but trust me, it’s gorgeous!

Aborigine-designed fabric at the Artistic Artifacts booth

Above, bins of our popular Australian Fabrics, which are inspired by original art by Aborigine artists. In the center front row are our new floral patterns from Down Under. The pillow on the right is one I made when I wrote earlier this year about Piecing and Piping… Unblocking a Creative Slump.

Sample batik quilts and fabric in the Artistic Artifacts booth

Above, our exclusive Combanasi batik fabric, wonderful solids from Art Gallery Fabrics, and commercial batiks from Robert Kaufman. Hanging on the back wall are two quilts using Indonesian hand-drawn batik panels. The one on the right side was designed and quilted by Batik Tambal founder and original owner Trish Hodge using panels by Jaka, and on the left side features a Hari Agung panel and is a work in process by me (It needs beads!)

The Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal booth

Above, more quilts, more fabric… and look at that panel!

Sarongs and fabric in the Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal booth

Above, a table full of sarongs, printed and hand-drawn batik printed Indonesian fabrics and handwoven Bali cottons.

New and Vintage tjaps in the Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal booth

Copper batik stamps, known as tjaps, on display, including examples of both new and vintage tjaps. We produce more than 30 patterns of tjaps for our customers, each individually hand-crafted. Beautiful on display, wonderful to use as the basis of a Shiva Paintstik rubbing.

Batik panels in the Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal booth

Above, a wall full of batik panels from Indonesia, each hand drawn/painted and signed by the artist.

Stewart Gill products in the Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal booth

Above, Stewart Gill products and additives (my favorite fabric paints) along with Inktense blocks and pencils from Derwent.

A view of the Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal booth

Above, a temping little bit of Tentakulum Handpainted Fibers, Havel’s scissors (the best!), Angelina fibers, products for printing onto fabric from your computer and Mistyfuse sheer paperless fusible.

Wooden printing blocks in the Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal booth

Wooden printing blocks, hand carved in India, and PROFab Opaque Textile Paint. Have you ever tried deColourant with your wooden printing blocks? It works great!

We were very excited to learn that a Quilt had been entered into the show using panels by our artist Jaka. Louise Holder of Lawrenceville, PA won Second Place in the Large Quilt, Predominately Pieced category (photo below).

The Garden of Eden, quilt by Louise Holder

Her quilt is titled The Garden of Eden and is 97" x 105". It is machine pieced, hand appliquéd, and hand quilted. She writes “the batiks found a leading role in this quilt where pieced, appliquéd and hand painted blocks became the supporting cast. I worried about everything working together as I decided where to place them. Last July this was an idea but today I see it displayed…I can only say Wow.”

Detail of The Garden of Eden by Louise Holder

Detail of The Garden of Eden above. Dave and I enjoyed meeting Louise. She told us that she works by collaging the items together as she goes. We agree with her that the results are WOW!

The winner of a prestigious Judges Choice ribbon is Linda Cooper, a long-time teacher at Artistic Artifacts! You can learn her kinetic quilt technique (which is featured in this winning quilt) at our shop on August 23 — visit our website to learn more and register. These quilts look difficult, but Linda is a wonderful teacher and we haven’t yet had a student walk out with anything less than a spectacular 3-D (and two-sided) quilt of their very own!

When Flowers Party, kinetic quilt by Linda Cooper

Her quilt, one side of which is pictured above, is named When Flowers Party and is 36" x 33". It is machine pieced, hand- and machine-appliqued, and machine quilted. Linda writes that “it amuses me to think that flowers have a secret ‘party’ life. This kinetic quilt has flowers (fused to the aluminum from beer cans) that rotate from the more formal arrangement to my painted fabric party side.” You can see two of the bottom flowers are in the process of rotating … Linda was rightfully pleased with the careful way the show organizers hung her mobile-like quilt so that it was shown to its best advantage!

Nancy Lebow also won a ribbon, but I couldn’t get a photo of her quilt. Nancy, will you email us so that we can include you?

Green Tree Quilt From Stash Fabrics

July 23rd, 2014

When students attend my surface design classes, I always encourage them to just play and create fabric, and build a stash. I am happy to say that I practice what I preach on this one!

Judy Gula stash drawers

My studio is a small bedroom in my home, and the best part of the room is that there are two closets that I have filled with drawers from the elfa® Shelving Systems. These drawers are stuffed with my huge stash of fabrics, including most of my painted fabric: Roc-lon® Roc-rol™ Multi Purpose Cloth™, gelli plate prints, wood block printed fabric There’s even a drawer dedicated to my handmade silk paper. Going through your stash periodically can inspire you to begin a new project.

I found the below square of fabric featuring a green and yellow tree in my stash, and it so coordinated with the green fabrics I used to create one of our Row by Row Experience samples in the shop that I was inspired to make use of the leftover strip piecing I had already completed. I have really been having fun Rayna Gillman’s wonky strip piecing technique, as described in her book, Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts: a Stress-Free Journey to Original Design). (See my previous blog post for my take on Rayna’s technique.)

Stenciled tree by Judy Gula

I created this tree by placing a stencil on a Gelli Arts™ Gel Printing Plate and rolling a mix of paint over the stencil with a brayer. Lift up the stencil, and then lay down fabric atop the image on the plate. (Honestly, I was a bit amazed that I was able to keep the fabric around the stencil so clean and white!) I am sorry to say I don’t remember exactly which stencil this is, but with more than 200 stencils in our online store I am sure you can find one you like!

Beginning to piece the stenciled tree block

Above is the start. The colors are great, but despite my earlier pride about keeping so much of the fabric surrounding the tree white, now I am just not liking the white ‘screaming’ at me from the background. I wasn’t sure what to do about it and finally decided to stamp it. I used Memento Luxe Mixed Media Ink Pad in Danube Blue and a Cover-a-Card Script Stamp. The trick was to not stamp over the tree!

White background toned down with script stamp

Much better with the stamped background (photo above), I think!

Using additional hand-stamped and printed fabrics left over from sewing the Row by Row samples, I enlarged the overall dimensions. The bright green batik fabric you see on the right hand side was auditioning for binding. I think that the quilt needed a bright color.

Auditioning fabric for binding

While happier with the stamped background, as I was working I concluded that I stamped too much close to the tree. I softened those areas using some Stewart Gill Alchemy in the Opal shade; I simply painted over some of the stamping close to the tree (see detail below).

Stamped background selectively softened with Stewart Gill Alchemy paint

Once layered with batting and bound, I free-motion quilted the center tree block and the borders using Star Thread by Coats and Clark, which is a wonderful variegated thread.

Completed stenciled green tree art quilt by Judy Gula

Finished! Click here for a larger view of the completed quilt.

Exploring the Possibilities of Gelatos: Part 1

July 16th, 2014

Guest post: by Sharon McDonagh — Part 1, View Part 2 of Exploring Gelatos

On July 10 Artistic Artifacts hosted our monthly “How Do I Use This?” product demonstration, focusing on the versatility of Gelatos® from Faber-Castell, part of their Design Memory Craft line. Judy was busy packing up that evening to leave the next morning for the CREATE art retreat in New Jersey, so I took over leading the group. I’ve recently become a big fan of Gelatos and was happy to share my enthusiasm for the product.

Participants in the Artistic Artifacts “How Do I Use This?” Gelatos demonstration on July 10, 2014

Gelatos tag by Theresa Koenig

During our monthly monthly “How Do I Use This?” session, participants traditionally create samples on shipping tags. Although Gelatos go on a wide variety of surfaces without any advance preparation, to give some texture and interest I prepped tags in advance for with book text, sheet music, map paper, clear and white gesso, and modeling paste texture. This Gelatos tag created by Theresa Koenig.

To a customer looking at a package in a shop like ours, maybe it’s not immediately apparent what they can do — or what sets them apart from other products used to add color. I think to fully grasp the possibilities of Gelatos you really need to try them out, or at least commit to sampling some of the huge amount of web resources for using Gelatos — Faber-Castell’s own Design Memory Craft blog is a great starting point.

And because there are so many well-done resources, this posting isn’t going to reinvent the wheel…instead present you with some of our results and tips. Gelatos are so versatile that we are going to have to make this posting a two-parter!

Gelatos are highly pigmented sticks with a creamy consistency in a twist-up tube that reminds many of Chapstick. The stick glides easily onto paper and other surfaces and are easily blendable. A straight application of Gelatos can be left to dry for vibrant color, or misted/dissolved with water to create watercolor effects. Gelatos are available in a variety of sets or sold singly in the Double Scoop® size (twice as large as the regular Gelatos).

What did we use them on? Kind of everything! Below, foreground is a square of resist paper sold in craft stores for use with spray inks. You can also see the results of applying Gelatos directly to bubble wrap, misting it, and then stamping onto a tag and paper/fabric samples.

Gelatos on a variety of swatches

Using Gelatos with the resist paper is even more fun than using sprays, because you have so much more control with the placement and intensity of the colors and how they blend, as seen in the below example, created by Judy Albert.

Judy Albert example, Gelatos on resist paper

A green Gelatos stick is pictured below. But so is a yellow one. Don’t see it? It’s what is in the spray bottle! Yes, you can create your own spray inks by cutting off a portion of the stick, mashing it with a palette knife or other implement, and blending a bit of warm water into it to make a paste that you dilute to the strength you like.

Gelatos in spray ink form

Baby wipes are perfect for blending Gelatos on surfaces. Here, in addition to creating a color blend, we are removing some of the color through sequin waste to get pattern and texture.

Gelatos on watercolor paper with salt texture

The texture on the blue corner of this watercolor paper swatch comes from sprinkling salt onto the wet surface. Any watercolor technique can be applied to Gelatos.

Gelatos tag created by Judy Albert

Gelatos tag created by Judy Albert

The consistency makes most people think of oil pastels, or soft waxes, but as an experiment I intentionally left a Gelatos stick on the dashboard of my car for 8+ hours during one of the DC area’s summer heat waves. There was absolutely no melting or change. (I can attest from personal experience as an aunt that this is NOT the result you get from crayons!)

Gelatos would thus be ideal for creating a travel art kit for use while vacationing this summer. Or even simply throwing a few in your purse or tote along with your art journal for creating on the go.

One of the “rules” we have for these Thursday evening sessions is working with both paper and fabric, regardless of what the product is intended for. Judy has long pronounced her belief that anything you can do on paper, you can do on fabric.

Gelatos on fabric and cheesecloth
I’ve applied Gelatos to a number of types of fabrics/weights, with beautiful results. Pictured above, cotton fabric and cheesecloth (I love using this in needle felting!), colored with Gelatos. Applying just a few strokes of Gelatos onto your non-stick ironing and craft sheet (or freezer paper) and misting with water gives you beautiful color, much like a dye, that can be applied with a brush, by sponging on, or by dipping in, etc. (The intensity of color varies with the amount of water added.) It’s also fun to mist your fabric with water and apply the Gelatos on directly, and add additional water to watercolor blend the colors together.

The group really enjoyed using stencils, both to push color through or to remove color (artist Dina Wakley calls this reduction stenciling) with the Gelatos that evening. Below, Suzanne Langsdorf’s stenciled fish.

Suzanne Langsdorf’s stenciled fish

Above, another of Suzanne Langsdorf’s pages. Below, Beverly Hilbert works in her art journal.

Beverly Hilbert works in her art journal

Below, Beverly’ finished page. She took it home and added additional mixed media to it, and it is now part of her Documented Life Project journal. How gorgeous is this?

Beverly Hilbert Documented Life Project journal page

Gelatos tag created by Sharon McDonagh

Gelatos tag created by Sharon McDonagh

Gelatos can be used with rubber and polymer stamps, but generally speaking you are going to get a sort of soft/watercolor effect on your final print, because water needs to be misted onto either the stamp or the paper/surface for the color to transfer…hence really finely detailed stamps aren’t usually recommended.

But Gelatos are ideal for use on foam stamps: the wide surface area has the perfect ‘tooth’ for Gelatos to grip and blend. Like stencils, stamps can be used to both apply color, or to pull it away. You see many examples in this posting — the spiral swirls on the tags are easy to pick out.

So, recall me saying we weren’t going to be reinventing the wheel with techniques? Turns out we DO have an area of exploration that we think we are “pioneering” — stamping with wooden printing blocks.

But as this posting it already long, I am saving that, with additional photos and info, for Part 2. View Part 2, posted August 13, 2014.