Mixed Media Collage Cards

December 17th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Collaged mixed media card by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Collaged mixed media card by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Collaged mixed media card by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Selecting strips to weave from the scrap pile

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

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

Aborigine designed fabric strips ready for weaving

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

In progress woven fabric strips

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

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

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

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

Completed mixed media collage cards by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

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

Book Review: Fabric Printing at Home

December 10th, 2014

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

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

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

Photos used with permission from Quarry Books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encasing string in wax paper to create a printing plate

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

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

Washington DC Downtown Holiday Market!

December 2nd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014 Fall Wholesale Market in Houston Texas

November 19th, 2014

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

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

The Printed Fabric Bee

November 5th, 2014

Updated 11-12-2014

The Printed Fabric Bee

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

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

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

Rubber bands and beans for indigo shibori dyeing

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

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

Shibori tied fabric ready for the indigo vat

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

Judy Gula's indigo shibori fabric after untying

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Printed Fabric Bee October Science theme swatches

Busy Times in Houston!

October 29th, 2014

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

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

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

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

Off to Texas for the Best in Quilts!

October 22nd, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quilt Guild Lecture & Trunk Show

October 15th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Members of the Friendship Quilters’ Guild of Hagerstown, MD

Artful & Practical Gifts

October 8th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Quilting Arts Holiday 2014

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

Paper Holiday from Cloth Paper Scissors

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

Artistic Artifacts at Art & Soul in Virginia Beach!

October 1st, 2014

Virginia Beach, Virginia, site of Art & Soul

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

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

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

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

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

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