Product Review: Terial Magic

June 24th, 2015

Terial Magic™ is a non-aerosol fabric stabilizing spray that was the subject of a demonstration at our most recent meeting of JAMs (Judy’s Altered Minds). Treated with Terial Magic, fabrics do not fray when cut, sewn or ironed, and they hold shapes and folds. Originally created for use in creating dimensional fabric flowers, Terial Magic can replace stabilizers and fusibles for quilters and embroiderers and keeps fraying in check for all kinds of fiber and mixed media art.

Terial Magic (pronounced like material) was created for use on fabrics that fray at the edge when cut, or lightweight fabrics that need to have more body to be easily handled. We tested it on cotton and batik, but the manufacturers note that you can use it on T-shirt jersey, polyester, wool and many other fabrics.

Examples of fabric art created using Terial Magic

Above, clockwise from top: Terial Magic fabric stabilizing spray; origami fabric dress card, dimensional fabric flower (both by Linda Morgan) and fabric die-cut into tag shape.

Treated fabric has a noticeable body, much like a sheet of paper — it is not stiff or plasticky. There is no difference in the fabric’s feel or finish, and colors remain true with no shift lighter or darker. Treated fabric is ideal for:

  • creating dimensional flowers and leaves or other 3-D embellishments for fiber art or clothing (the manufacturers do suggest using a clear matte acrylic spray on dimensional fabric flowers to give even more permanence as well as water resistance)
  • paper piecing
  • cutting appliqué shapes (raw-edge, or easily finger press under ¼" allowances for hand or machine stitching) and any intricate shapes
  • machine embroidery (instead of fusible or paper stabilizers)
  • fabric origami (see dress card above)
  • computer printing photos and images (see cherub below)
  • running through electronic cutting machines (see tag above)
  • and more!

Terial Magic treated fabric run through a computer printer

Above, vintage cherub image computer printed on white fabric treated with Terial Magic. The fabric can be trimmed with clean, no-fray edges and has a paper-like consistency so it goes through printers with no problems or jamming.

The spray is simple to use: place your fabric in a bowl or tray and spray it all over, saturated it thoroughly. (See below image, courtesy of the Terial Arts website.) If you are treating a larger quantity of fabric, place it in loose folds, and pick it up and rearrange it while spraying to reach everywhere.

Applying Terial Magic to fabric (Photo by Terial Arts)

Wring the fabric out to both move the product through all the fabric and to remove the excess (we saved the liquid and repoured it into the bottle). Hang the fabric to damp-dry. We were able to hang some fabric outside in the summer sun and it was dry in mere minutes; our friend Linda draped her fabric along the side of her laundry tub, so it took longer.

Once your fabric is damp-dry, iron it to remove any wrinkles. Unlike starch, Terial Magic does not scorch and leaves no residue either on your fabric or you iron’s soleplate. You can also iron completely dry fabric with fine results…and if you are using your fabric to create dimensional flowers and leaves, you may wish to leave the texture in for realism.

Treated fabric is very easy to sew: it is stable and will not shift or stretch as you sew, and there is no residue on your needle or the sewing machine surface.

Terial Magic treated fabric is easy to stitch, and idea for use with machine embroidery or specialty stitches

In the photo above, we began with two strips of 100% cotton fabric: top, untreated; bottom, sprayed with Terial Magic. The same pre-programmed machine stitches were used on both sides, and you can easily see the difference: the treated portion shows flat stitches with no pulls or puckers.

Fabrics treated with Terial Magic, one finger pleated
Sharp pleats ironed into fabric

During our demo, we were asked whether this product could be used to create a pleated dress for a doll, and Linda quickly pleated and finger pressed a rectangle of treated fabric (pictured above). We later ironed the pleats in, resulting in knife-like sharpness — we had to pull the pleats apart in order to get the fabric to spread (photo right).

Terial Magic fabric stabilizing spray

The product has a pleasant, non-chemical scent, — it reminded us of a ‘linen’ scented candle or fabric softener. It has a slippery feel to your skin as you work the product through, similar to a hair conditioner, and easily washes off your hands.

Terial Magic is water soluble and can be washed out of your fabric if desired, e.g., using it to piece and appliqué a quilt. But it is safe to leave in fabrics permanently, which is another notable feature: starched fabrics can attract bugs such as silverfish, especially depending on the climate and humidity levels, which can ruin stored quilts or linens.

Visit the Terial Arts website for additional resources: video tutorials, project ideas, free pattern downloads and more.

Using Embossing Powders

June 17th, 2015

For some reason, I had always thought it was complicated to use embossing powders. With some experimentation over the past year or so, some of it spurred by our monthly How Do I Use This? series, I have found that it is easy to use embossing powders — although it can be a little messy!

This post will feature a page that I worked on recently, which has a shell theme going on, because I am creating the backgrounds for pages that will be completed during my family beach vacation.

Supplies needed when using embossing powder

Above, my materials and tools:

  • Yellow foam printing mat — the “give” of the foam gives you the best results when rubber stamping, and is a necessity when using wooden printing blocks
  • Embossing stamp pad — this brand is tinted pink, which is supposed to help you by being visible (in my opinion, it doesn’t help so much!)…also pictured here is a re-inker
  • Embossing powder — this is a metallic brand from Ranger; embossing powders come in a wide variety of colors and textures
  • Rubber stamp
  • Pre-painted shipping tag to stamp on

Here are the easy steps to using embossing powders:

Embossing powder applied to wet stamped imprint, ready for heating

Stamp your image using a favorite rubber stamp and an embossing stamp pad. Rather than ink, these pads hold a type of glue that holds the embossing powder to your surface. Immediately shake the embossing powder over the wet stamped image (above, left). The powder will cling to the wet imprint of the stamp’s image. (right) Shake off extra embossing powder and return it to the container.

Embossed tag by Judy Gula

Move your tag or paper to a heat-resistant surface (do not use your heat tool on your foam mat). Heat the embossing powder imprint using the tool for a few seconds. You might find it helpful to use a skewer or some other kind of implement to keep your tag or paper in place. You will be able to see the embossing powder melt and fuse together (photo, right). Presto! Magic! It can be difficult to see in photos but metallic embossing powders melt into a wonderful shiny surface.

I think I might add some lighter color paint around the face to make it stand out or I could have stamped and embossed the image on text papers and them applied it to the tag. The ideas are limitless.

Embossed shells by Judy Gula

The fuchsia shell is a smooth embossing power, versus the green ‘bubble’ ribbon at the bottom, which is a Tim Holtz Distress Embossing Powder. After you heat that powder and let it cool, you rub the image with your fingers to remove special release crystals, giving you a worn and weathered look.

Detailed view of two different embossing powders used by Judy Gula

Above is a close up view of the two. Can you see the difference in the texture?

Embossed and collaged shell page by Judy Gula

The above photo uses the same stamp as the fuchsia shell, and the same type of embossing powder… but you can see that I pressed my stamp into the embossing pad too hard, leaving too much embossing “glue” on the stamp, and thus my image details are somewhat “blurry” and difficult to see. But still pretty — I think it looks like the shell is sandy!

Embossing powders were created to use on paper for the stamping/scrapbooking world, but can be used on different surfaces. So of course I have tried it on fabric! Below, the results on a blue cotton using a Pomegranate Halved wooden printing block and a gold metallic embossing powder

Judy Gula using a wooden printing block with embossing powders on fabric

The embossing powder has more of a tendency to cling to the fabric even without the ink adhesion…you can see a few stray marks in my sample. You can use a brush to try whisking them off.

Note that if you experiment with embossing on fabric, the material is not washable, but is wonderful used in an art quilt and or journals.

Slow Stitched Outsider Art Quilt

June 9th, 2015

Judy Gula stitched bird quiltlet in progress

The Slow Stitching Movement has become very hot over the last couple of years. Mark Lipinski modeled the it after the international Slow Food movement, open to all fiber and needle artists to prepare them for a higher form of creativity and important work in the needle and fiber arts.

I have to say that I have enjoyed renewing my acquaintance with hand stitching, inspired by my stitching gurus, Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution, and renowned stitch/fiber artist Ruth Chandler. They both were interviewed by Mark about the Slow Stitching movement — listen to their podcasts!

Another catalyst for my renewed interest was the publication of Ruth’s book Modern Hand Stitching, which gives you instructions for how to create basic stitches, and then shows the multiple ways you can use and alter it for a fresh new look. I comb the used book stores looking for for European hand stitching books — especially the Scandinavian ones. It’s official…I am hooked!

At one our monthly JAMS meeting, a show & tell project by member Karen Scudder caused such a stir that she was asked to give the group a short demo at a future meeting. Karen had used a creative hand stitching and quilting technique commonly attributed to Teesha Moore (see the bottom of the page for more info and tutorial links). That demo has led to many little hand stitch quiltlets appearing at JAMS meetings, and a number of dedicated new fans of the process!

Not wanting to be left out of the fun, and wanting to use samples from wooden printing blocks demonstrations, I embarked on my own slow stitch project.

Here is what I did:

Despite giving literally scores of them away, I still have a huge number of shirting fabric samples, so I used those as my backings, which also gave me a starting point as to the size of my blocks. I matched up the stamped fabric with backing of cotton shirting approximately the same size (for this technique, it’s often recommended that your backing fabric be a bit larger so it can be turned over to the front.

Judy Gula small quilt sandwich makings

I used Nature-Fil™ Blend quilt batting (a blend of bamboo and rayon; stitches beautifully) and cut it slightly smaller than my front and back pieces of fabric. See the beginning of my quilt sandwich above.

Judy Gula small quilt sandwich -- edge stitched for stability

Step 2 is to stitch around the block, by hand or machine (above), to hold the pieces together. While it is possible to skip this step, I have found it does help stabilize it all for the subsequent steps.

Judy Gula small quilt: rolled and stitched edges

The next step is to roll the edges and stitch around them, as shown above. Once you have a small quilt put together, it’s time to break out your floss and stitch away, using as many embroidery stitches as you desire. Many people embellish with beads or charms too, but that embellishing should take place after you have stitched the block completely (your stitches shrink the entire block somewhat; beads applied too early in the process could loosen or pucker).

Here are some samples of other blocks I have in process:

Judy Gula small elephant print quiltlet ready for stitching

Judy Gula small paisley quiltlet ready for stitching

Ultimately I wanted to join the blocks together to create something. I don’t know what that something is yet, maybe a wall hanging? Journal cover? But this is what I have going so far (click for a larger view):

Judy Gula small quiltlets in progress -- click for larger view

This is a fun and portable project — as you can see in the bird block, I carry the needle with me everywhere!

More About These Techniques

Art quilt by Susan "Lucky" Shie

Susan “Lucky” Shie (pronounced “shy”) is an amazing artist, and created a number of heavily stitched and embellished art quilts featured in Quilting Arts and elsewhere. For years she taught her methods; in 1999 she taught a class in her techniques that included Teesha Moore (see Susan’s online diary, scroll approximately halfway down the page). Susan writes that Teesha, “who had never made fabric art before, took to it really fast! She is primarily a stamp artist and journaler, who self publishes a wild stamp art quarterly. Her ability to translate her creativity over to fabric textures was wonderful!”

Although Susan ceased teaching her methods in 2006, she documented her methods in writing and continues to keep that tutorial online. Visit the Lucky School of Quilting Techniques »

Stitched journal cover by Teesha Moore

With Susan’s permission, Teesha (and others) began teaching her own take on this stitching technique, using it to make art dolls, fabric journals and more. Teesha offers a free set of tutorial videos to create one of her fabric journals, constructed from units she calls pillows. (Teesha stuffs her fabric with polyfil stuffing, rather than using batting.) Watch for her own methods on constructing sewn and embellished fiber art:

Encouraging Fiber Arts in the Next Generation

June 3rd, 2015
Girl Scout Troop #776 volunteers for the Fun with Fabric project

Girl Scout Troop #776 volunteers for the Fun with Fabric project. Organizer Celia Middleton is standing, top row, left.

My niece Celia Middleton from Girl Scout Troop #776 recently organized a free* quilting educational activity for her Girl Scout Silver Award, and I was proud to support her as a sponsor!

Celia’s Fun with Fabric – Make Your Own Mini Quilt activity took place on Sunday, May 31 at the 42nd Annual Quilter’s Unlimited Quilt Show in Chantilly, VA.

She developed this project so that participants began with creating a stamped fabric with wooden printing blocks, added batting and backing and then completed the “quiltlet” by hand stitching, which kept the three layers together. These little pieces of fiber art thus illustrated what a quilt is. This event was open to all ages, and all ages participated!

Instructions and illustrations created by Celia Middleton for her Fun with Fabric project

Celia had to organize and administer this project on her own, including documenting her hours of work related to the project, to begin achieving the levels needed to qualify for her Silver Award.

Advance work included an initial meeting with a quilt show representative, lots of practice of the techniques needed so that the steps could be taught, creating samples for display, developing signage and information/illustration boards (pictured above), preparing the supplies of fabric, batting, needles and thread (donated by Artistic Artifacts) and training her helpers, which included her younger sister, Layla.

Learning to block print

Learning to print with wooden printing blocks

Fun with Fabric at the Quilters Unlimited 2015 Quilt Show

A young show visitor displays her finished quiltlet

The pride of learning new creative skills shows as this young participant displays her finished quiltlet.

In addition to this educational activity, Celia is planning to make quilts and donate them to charity as part of her Silver Award project. She asked participants to donate wood block printed squares to be used in these quilts that she will sew. Celia also hosted a fundraiser for the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital SHARE program. The SHARE (Share Her Annual Real Expenses) program helps pay for membership fees, camp and other Girl Scout activities. Celia collected $20 in donations from workshop participants and is planning to continue collecting donations for this worthwhile cause!

Ellen West and her committee co-chair Carla Lounsbury of the Annandale chapter of Quilter’s Unlimited were our quilt show liaisons and created a great space for the project. I hope you enjoy the photographs included here of the girls in action. I know they enjoyed welcoming many participants and teaching them the joys of quilting!

Girl Scout volunteers teaching hand stitching

The Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts who arrived wearing their uniforms on that Sunday were admitted to the show at no charge. We hope that the quilt show admin will consider allowing the Scouts in uniform free for all 3 days of the show. It is so important to encourage a love of traditional arts such as quilting in the next generation, and demonstrations like Celia’s and programs such as free or reduced admission to shows and events are steps to achieving that goal.

Girl Scout volunteers block printing

Girl Scout volunteers block printing. That's the Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal booth in the background. I had a birds-eye view of the action in the demonstration area!

All ages enjoyed the Fun with Fabric project

* Donations were accepted for the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital SHARE family giving campaign.

Red Flower Wonky Log Cabin Quilt

May 27th, 2015

I actually thought I was creating wonky log cabin blocks in a previous blog post when I used Australian fabrics by M&S Textiles. But I just wasn’t wonky enough! Who would have thought?!

Why was I back to creating Wonky Log Cabins? Because we will use a Wonky Log Cabin blocks in our 2015 Row by Row Experience pattern! I thought I should practice first (this is totally out of character for me) and began to investigate the technique.

I found a terrific blog online: Quilt Dad, the alias of John Q. Adams. He has already done the hard work of creating a wonderful instructional tutorial posting on the Wonky log Cabin.

Thanks to his influence, I fashioned my step by step photos like his (because why reinvent the wheel when someone has done such a great job?) Thank you, Quilt Dad!

Above, I began with a mini hand drawn batik panel, Red Flowers, by Hari Agung, trimming the sides at a bit of an angle. The actual cutting is approximately ¼” to ¾” on each side.

Adding "logs" of fabric around the center panel

I then decided on my selections for the additional fabric I wanted to use for the logs around the center panel. Once I had them picked out, I cut them approximately 1½” each for ease (above). I would then trim different amounts off with each row to add variety to my wonky logs (below).

Trimming the added "logs" of fabric around the center panel

I continued to add “log” strips.

Adding and trimming "logs" of fabric around the center panel
Adding and trimming "logs" of fabric around the center panel

Then I added a 3″ border (below). This is I Make The Path, Spirit by Frond Design Studios.

Three-inch border added

Lately I have noticed that I tend to find myself sticking with like fabrics in my projects, and am trying to change that. For example, when I work with batiks, I tend to work with only batik fabrics, even when my intent is to be scrappy. I think I have been limiting myself with that approach, so I am challenging myself to move out of that comfort zone and mix up my fabric choices.

Final touch: lime green piping and a narrow batik binding

I did use one of my favorite tools, the Groovin’ Piping Trimming Tool, to create the lime green piping (shown above). The piping was stitched on first, and then the binding. I have tried to combine these steps in the past with one sewing pass…unsuccessfully. So now I take the time to sew them each on separately.

I added some free-motion stitching on the panel and throughout red border fabric. It’s difficult to see in these photographs, so I took a closeup photo (below). It was great fun following the Frond Fabric wisps and curves! (You can see a bit of that in the binding photo above.)

Free motion quilting on red flower panel

My Finished Quilt (below). I have used batiks, Australian Aborigine, and the Frond Design Studios in this small quilt, and they look great together!

Red Flower Wonky Log Cabin by Judy Gula

Stay tuned for our Row by Row announcement in a future e-newsletter or blog posting, and “like” Artistic Artifacts on Facebook to see our Row first!

P.S. Remember, Artistic Artifacts will be an exhibitor at the 42nd Annual Quilter’s Unlimited Quilt Show in Chantilly, VA, May 28-31. The shop will be closed Friday and Saturday, May 28-29, so locals, please plan visit us at the show!

Guest Blogger: Kass Hall

May 20th, 2015

Posted May 25, 2015: Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances Kass Hall needed to return home to Australia early, and will not be able to fulfill her commitment to teach for Artistic Artifacts.

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 »