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Watch Artistic Artifacts Demo Techniques on Great Day Washington!

Artistic Artifacts is ready for its Great Day Washington taping

Demonstrating surface design techniquesMonday, January 30 was an exciting day for Artistic Artifacts as we appeared live on Great Day Washington, a local morning show on Washington DC’s WUSA*9 TV (CBS affiliate).

Lifestyle Correspondent Meaghan Mooney and her cameraman arrived early in the morning and ran four different “live hits” from 8:55 to 10 am. This amazing opportunity came about because they saw that our customers give us top ratings on Facebook and Yelp…what gratifying news to hear!

For those unable to watch live, we wanted to share the segments from the Great Day Washington portion of WUSA 9 website here.

Click to watch block printing and other surface design techniques

For the first segment — watch online now — Judy demonstrated block Printing on fabric and paper, using hand-carved wooden printing blocks and Artistic Artifacts’ own textile paints. (Join us this weekend for your own opportunity to experiment with this centuries old technique in Block Printing with Cyndi Souder.

The Artistic Artifacts line of Fluid Textile Paints were used for all surface design demonstrations

Additional surface design techniques were also showcased in this segment. Pictured below, Susan Gantz (left) is demonstrating monoprinting on a Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate, while Sue Price of PG Fiber2Art is demonstrating Thermofax screen printing — join us February 18 for Printing with Thermofax Screens with PG Fiber2Art to learn how to create your own screen printed fabric.

Susan Gantz demonstrating monoprinting and Sue Price of PG Fiber2Art demonstrating Thermofax screen printing

Susan Gantz didn’t think she was a big metallic fan, but experimenting with the Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paint set of Silver, Gold and Copper while demonstrating (see some results below) has now changed her mind!

Monoprint by Susan Gantz in progress and completed

In the second segment, Cyndi Souder of Moonlighting Quilts, Ambassador for BERNINA, demonstrated foundation paper piecing to create quilt blocks using a BERNINA sewing machine — watch online now.

Click to watch Cyndi Souder of Moonlighting Quilts demonstrate paper piecing

Cyndi Souder shows Meaghan Mooney of WUSA9 a paper pieced block

The paper piecing technique offers complete accuracy: precise points and a visually complex design become easy to execute. Join us on Saturday, February 11 for Cyndi’s class Beginning Paper Piecing Row By Row. Above, Cyndi shows Great Day Washington Lifestyle Correspondent Meaghan Mooney (right) a completed block from our 2016 Row by Row Experience pattern kit.

Click to watch a discussion of, and examples of, mixed media and upcycled art

The third segment — watch online now — featured Judy talking about mixed media techniques and upcycling with members of Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs), a group that meets at Artistic Artifacts monthly. Judy began by showing off results from the JAMs Box Challenge conceived by Barb Boatman of Cut Sew Create studio (see more photos of the results in our past Facebook album), repurposing dimensional wood box frames formerly used on a display wall of automotive products.

Meahgan Mooney meeting Artistic Artfacts customers and members of JAMs

Members used these surfaces to create small artworks that incorporated products from Artistic Artifacts that they had in their stashes, and/or that they had purchased new. JAMs member Beth Richardson explained the sea turtle box she created, and viewers also get a chance to some of the pages of an art journal that Beverly Hilbert has created.

Click to watch a demonstration of hand-stitching on a batik panel and learn more about how they are created

The final demonstration was Christine Vinh of StitchesnQuilts discussing how batik panels are handcrafted in Indonesia as well as demonstrating hand-stitching on one by the popular batik artist Jakawatch online now.

Batik art panels at Artistic Artifacts

Christine Vinh and Suzanne LangsdorfAbove, our batik panel “station” set up for filming. Chris used Tulip needles, a selection of WonderFil Specialty Threads, and was inspired by Modern Hand Stitching by Ruth Chandler. This segment also includes a walk-through of the shop back to the BERNINA machine embroidery demonstration by Denise Reuter of Artistic Artifacts, who has several years experience as a manager and educator for BERNINA Sewing Machine USA. Artistic Artifacts is a new BERNINA dealer!

In her segment Chris wore her beautiful Schoolhouse Tunic, which was sewn for her by JAMs member Suzanne Langsdorf using Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik in Woodstock, Jam and fabric from a sarong imported from Indonesia. Pictured right, Chris preps for her filming with the caffeine boost of coffee while Suzanne teasingly waves to the camera.

And as if the “official” taping didn’t keep us all hopping enough Judy’s son Kyle also streamed video content live (archived below) on Facebook!

In this livestream “you can hear me talk about my latest artwork (at time mark 15:40 in the video) about my written meditation on forgiveness,” writes mixed media artist Wendy Sittner, pictured below, “when I got to participate in Artistic Artifacts’s appearance on WUSA9 Great Day Washington live with Meaghan Mooney. Owner Judy Vincentz Gula did amazing and Meaghan was so friendly and made us feel so comfortable on camera.”

"Wendy Sittner with her written meditation on forgiveness

For Artistic Artifacts, this really was a "Great Day" — we extend our deepest gratitude to WUSA9 for visiting our store and showcasing the fiber and mixed media talent and techniques of our creative minds!

Artistic Artifacts staff and customers during the Great Day Washington filming

Below, machine embroidery by Denise Reuter.

Always color outside the lines -- machine embroidery by Denise Reuter

Books as Inspiration vs. Prescription

Guest post by Christine Vinh, StitchesnQuilts

I pondered this “Inspiration vs. Prescription” idea one day when browsing through the new books at Artistic Artifacts. As artists — name your media — we probably use books for both inspiration and prescription.

  • Some books are just eye candy and must-haves for that reason alone.
  • Others teach new techniques and skills to add to our “tool box.”
  • There are those who select a book for the instructions to make a project just like the one the artist author shows in the book.
  • And then there are those books that make you wonder, “what if?”…

Kaffe Fassett's Brilliant Little Patchwork Cushions and Pillows

For me, one of the books that falls into the last category is Kaffe Fassett’s brilliant little patchwork cushions and pillows. With a subtitle of “20 patchwok projects using Kaffe Fassett fabrics,” my first thought was, since Artistic Artifacts doesn’t carry his fabrics, why carry the book?

But as I leafed through the pages, I was quickly inspired by the possibilities. Rather than recreate the patterns and fabric choices used in the many projects in the book, I started dreaming about how some of new fabrics in the shop would look instead.

I had already been playing with ideas for the She Sells designs from Frond Design Studios. Looking though the book, I decided that the “chrysanthemum cushion” might work well, as it uses a huge patterned fabric.

Selecting a stripes pattern was a no brainer — the Woodstock 1969 colorway of the Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik was perfect with the She Sells: Aqua I wanted to use. Add two of the Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik Fruit Sours patterns, in Tangerine and Blue Raspberry, and I had a match made in heaven!

I also decided I wanted to make a table runner, rather than the pillow called for in the book. I estimated my fabric requirements using the fabric guidelines in the book. I wanted to use the Blue Raspberry Fruit Sours batik as the back and binding, so I went with one yard there, and ½ yards of the other three fabrics.

Christine Vinh begins piecing a table runner, inspired by a Kaffe Fassett project

Using the cushion pattern as guidelines, I cut the fabrics. When sewing the shell and ombre stripes together, I added stripes at each end to extend the center panel to the desired length, then added the border. I machine quilted my runner with a variegated thread and finished it off with the binding. A fun and easy project completed in a few hours!

Variegated thread used to machine quilt Christine Vinh's table runner sewn from Frond Design Studios fabric and Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik

In the detail photo above, you can see how the variegated thread coordinated with the fabrics — I loved how it turned out.

Christine Vinh's table runner and the Kaffe Fassett project that inspired it

Above, a view of my completed runner and the inspiration pillow project from Kaffe’s book.

This project was so fun and easy to sew that now I’m imagining doing another one, with another She Sells colorway paired with one of the new Barnboard colorways, also from Frond Design Studios. Below, She Sells: Sand and Barnboard: Violet.

She Sells: Sand and Barnboard: Violet fabrics from Frond Design Studios, sold by Artistic Artifacts

Or perhaps She Sells: Ultramarine and Barnboard: Summer, below…

She Sells: Ultramarine and Barnboard: Summer fabrics from Frond Design Studios, sold by Artistic Artifacts

The Malachite pillow from Kaffe Fassestt’s brilliant little patchwork cushions and pillowsBack to Kaffe’s book, I also liked the pattern design used in the “malachite cushion” (pictured right). Kaffe noted that he wanted to play with the swirling lines and color variations of his Jupiter fabric by further cutting the fabric into triangles and piecing it back together.

As soon as I saw the recent addition to our Australian Aboriginal fabrics, River Dreaming by Barbara Egan, I loved the movement! I thought it would be interesting to see how the pattern changed by cutting and piecing it according to Kaffe’s instructions.

I selected the River Dreaming Black for the top and decided on Plum Seeds Red by Kathleen Pitjara as binding. I followed the instructions in the book — again, a quick and easy project. But while I love the finished pillow top (pictured below flat, without the pillow form), because of the overall swirls of the fabric, it is hard to see the quilt pattern.

River Dreaming Black fabric pieced into pillow by Christine Vinh, StitchesnQuilts

So. lesson learned! Next I tried using the River Dreaming White with the Black version, and played with my fabric choices and placement to get the look I wanted. Pictured below, this work in progress using the same pattern has a better ‘bang for the buck’ with the black and white triangles alternated.

River Dreaming Black and River Dreaming white fabrics pieced into pillow top by Christine Vinh, StitchesnQuilts

Both because I wasn’t afraid to ask the question, “what if…?” and because I gave myself permission to play and experiment, I’ll end up with another great graphic pillow.

Take some time and browse through the books for sale at Artistic Artifacts, or on your own book shelf, but with the focus of using the ideas of the author as a springboard for your own imagination. This is a good exercise to do with some of the earlier books you may have, where the fabric used for the samples is outdated. Visualize how the designs and techniques could be brought to life with some of the new and fun fabrics available today: swapping out calicos with modern cottons, for example.

In addition to the books in the shop, check out the book recommendations from members of Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs). Each fall we devote one meeting to sharing thoughts on favorite fiber and mixed media titles, both new publications and favorities from our past. Our ongoing list is a downloadable PDF published on our website.

And remember, we have a new Facebook group, Artistic Artifacts’ Creative Minds, a virtual extension of JAMs. On Facebook group members from all over— art quilters, collage artists, art journal keepers, surface design enthusiasts, paper crafters, assemblage & art doll artists, and more — have a place to share ideas and projects with one another. Come join us there and share your own projects and thoughts on Inspiration vs. Prescription!

To sum up:

  • Don’t be afraid to mix and match fabric lines and colors and textures.
  • Give yourself permission to play.
  • By giving yourself permission to ask “what if” and play, you will learn along the way… and most likely will be very pleased with your results!

Transforming Upholstered Chairs

Fiber and mixed media artist Judi Hurwitt used wooden printing blocks and fabric paint to transform an upholstered chair

While Judy’s away, we are sharing a wonderful post by fiber and mixed media artist Judi Hurwitt, who recently completed the transformation of an armchair using fabric paint and a selection of the wooden printing blocks sold by Artistic Artifacts that Judy had gifted her with.

Yes, Judy is on a well-deserved vacation to Italy! If you haven’t been checking the Artistic Artifacts Facebook page, do so — she is posting some absolutely gorgeous photos of scenery, color and texture to make us all drool with envy.

A sampling of photos taken by Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula while she is in Italy on vacation

Upon receiving the blocks, Judi Hurwitt promised a project and a blog posting…and wow, what she dreamed up! She purchased an upholstered rocker/glider combination arm chair from a neighbor that was in great condition, but upholstered in a pastel nursery fabric (as shown at the top of this post).

Stage 1 of transforming an upholstered chair with wooden printing blocks and fabric paint by fiber and mixed media artist Judi Hurwitt

After givng the chair a coat of opaque white textile paint, Judi began her surface design treatment. The above photo shows the chair after the first stages. Because she knew she ultimately “wanted heavy layering of colors and textures,” she began with her lighter colors, shades of yellow and magenta that she blended. She notes that the above photo shows how she “had also begun to apply the same paints in white, two yellows, and magenta with some of the wooden blocks. I used the same colors as the base colors, particularly the white, to create a resist for later, darker layers.”

Detail, Stage 1 of transforming an upholstered chair with wooden printing blocks and fabric paint by fiber and mixed media artist Judi Hurwitt

Detail of this first stage, above. We think Judi could have stopped here and it would have been a beautiful project as is! And actually, she did stop there for a time…her blog shares her experience with “artist lock.”

Detail of final surface design treatment on an upholstered chair with wooden printing blocks and fabric paint by fiber and mixed media artist Judi Hurwitt

She got back on track after time to finish with a complex blend of color, pattern and texture — we’ve shown you just a small detail “teaser” photo above. Visit her blog, Approachable Art by Judy Hurwit for the finished chair, and more on how she transformed it, including many more of her photographs (several used here with her permission) and info about breaking out of that artist lock.

Plus, we have another chair transformation to share with you!

Wing chair upholstered in batik fabric from Artistic Artifacts; chair owned by Ellen Taylor of Arlington, VA

The batik beauty pictured above began life upholstered in a large floral/fauna fabric featuring colors that no longer suited the owner, our friend and customer Ellen Taylor. Didn’t it turn out wonderfully?

The before view of wing chair owned by Ellen Taylor of Arlington, VA

The “before” wing chair is pictured here, right, and was in good shape otherwise. Ellen perused many of our beautiful batik fabrics before finding the perfect one for her redo. While she didn’t upholster the chair herself, handing it off to a professional, depending on the complexity of your chair and your own level of expertise you might feel up for the challenge of doing it yourself. Either way, you end up with a one of a kind piece of furniture that sparks joy every time you see it!

Ellen is a member of JAMs (Judy’s Altered Minds), which meets at the Artistic Artifacts shop on the third Sunday of each month. If you don’t live close enough to join us in person, we hope you will join our new Facebook Group, Artistic Artifacts’ Creative Minds, which serves as a “virtual” extension of JAMs.

Representing all levels of expertise, Artistic Artifacts’ Creative Minds is a online home for our Creative Minds to encourage and support like-minded friends! Group members from all over have a place to share ideas and projects with one another. Art quilters, collage artists, art journal keepers, surface design enthusiasts, paper crafters, assemblage & art doll artists — come join us there!

The Beauty of Art Dolls

The National Institute of American Doll Artists, NIADA, founded in 1963 with the purpose of promoting the art of the original handmade doll, is hosting its annual Conference and Dollmaking School this week in Old Town Alexandria. Today (Saturday, July 23) and tomorrow there are events open to the public, including Artist Demos at Torpedo Factory Art Center and an Exhibition and Sale. We’ve welcomed some NIADA attendee shoppers this week, and in honor of their event, and our own class next month, Mermaid Art Doll with Leslie Brier, we wanted to share some art dolls that we have on display in the shop, have been made in our classes, or have been shared with us.

Mermaid Art Doll by Leslie Brier

Mixed media artist Leslie Brier’s Mermaid Art Doll class is suitable for both beginning and experienced doll artists. You’ll cover your own soft-bodied doll (Leslie has dolls you can purchase to use if need be) with your choice of a vintage or batik provided kit, plus your own treasures of fabrics, laces, embellishments and trims. See more of Leslie’s art dolls below.

The below mermaid art doll by Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula should be familar to many, as she graces our business card!

Mermaid art doll by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Art doll by Kathlyn J. Aviles

The above was created by Kathlyn J. Avila-Reyes. In 2009 we wrote about hosting an exhibit/sale of Kat’s work…take a look at the wonderful photos from then! Judy couldn’t resist adding the beauty pictured here to her own collection, and she has been a much-admired resident of the shop since then. Look at the amazing detail!

Detail, fiber/beaded art doll by Kathlyn J. Aviles

Earlier this year Kat held a very successful show at the Art League of Alexandria; over time her work has moved away from pure fiber to ceramics but remains absolutely stunning. Visit her website for to view her gallery.

Mary, Star of the Sea by Sharon McDonagh

The above is by Artistic Artifacts staffer Sharon McDonagh. She began with an unadorned store bought Santos figure and altered it from head to toe to become Mary, Star of the Sea (Ave Maris Stella).

Items used to create Mary, Star of the Sea by Sharon McDonagh

This was Sharon’s submission for a recent Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs) challenge. Members each gathered 10 items in a paper bag, and the bags were randomly exchanged. Participants could use any mediums and techniques to create their resulting piece of art; the only rule was that at least some of each of the 10 items had to be used. The assortment (pictured right) Sharon received consisted of small sea shells, blue braid trim, blue feathery yarn, a magazine page altered with Citrasolv, translucent printed map tissue paper, blue handmade fiber paper, a piece of woven grass trim, an upholstery fabric sample, painted foil and a silver color Gelato.

Figurative work often results from classes we host here at the shop. In early May we welcomed Leighanna Light of Taos, New Mexico. Leighanna calls herself a “Thingmaker,” and oh, such beautiful things! One of the classes she taught was titled Faux Etching/Surface Design on Metal, and one of the attendees was Linda Morgan, a member of JAMs who is known within the group for her amazing mixed media fiber and assemblage work:

Art dolls by Linda Morgan completed in Faux Etching/Surface Design on Metal class with Leighanna Light

Above, Linda’s work from the Faux Etching class. Below, additional art dolls by Linda.

Mixed media assemblage art dolls by Linda Morgan

Mixed media assemblage art dolls by Linda Morgan

Below, Jello Mold dolls by Linda Morgan.

Jello mold assemblage art dolls by Linda Morgan

As promised, more art dolls from Leslie Brier, from the small, a multi-beaded figure pictured below…

Beaded art doll by Leslie Brier

…to the tall, Leslie’s “Machine Age Santos.”

Machine Age Santos by Leslie Brier

Mixed media art doll by Leslie Brier

Above, “Sugar” by Leslie Brier.

A student at this year’s Art & Soul Creative Retreat in Portland shared the below cloth doll with us: it made us happy to see what she had done with our Hand Dyed Fiber Collage Kits! Art & Soul Virginia Beach will take place this fall, September 26 – October 1. Take a look at the workshops available, which include a number of art doll classes.

Art doll created with Judy Gula's hand-dyed textiles by Art & Soul creative retreat student

Now go play with your dolls!

Love My ATCs!

I love making and exchanging Artist Trading Cards (ATCs)! We begin each monthly Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs) meeting with an ATC exchange, and it’s always fun to trade while at creative retreats like Art & Soul.

Display carousel of ATCs collected by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Customers visiting the shop have always enjoyed perusing my display, above.

Time for another ATC display carousel!

…and it was long past time for another! I should be embarrassed to show the above photo, right? 😊

Well, my new rack recently arrived, and I’m transferring my beloved ATCs to a proper home. I wanted to share several I’ve recently received, perfect for springtime:

Spring Bloom ATC, No. 8 of 15, by Sharon McDonagh

“Spring…Bloom!” was created by Sharon McDonagh, who used her beloved Gelatos as well as colored pencils, stamping and more, accenting with a flower shaped ‘jewel.’

ATC by Dawn Murray of Fife, Scotland

The above was made by Dawn Murray of Fife, Scotland! Dawn is a friend of Jocelyn Corderot, a member of JAMs, and visits the U.S. once a year or so, and we’ve been lucky enough to have her attend a meeting when the timing has coincided.

Bluejay ATC by Kathie Lostan

Back of Kathie Lostan's ATC

This above bluejay is a wonderful collage of found paper and several painting techniques by Kathie Lostan.

Kathie also used the Ink Bottle design of one of our rubber stamps designed specifically for the reverse side of ATCs. These stamps are available in a wide variety of styles (see more below) and are a great way to add some additional design to your ATCs and save you some time listing the card’s information.

While you can include as little or as much as you want, it’s usually suggested to include at least the following on the reverse of your cards: contact information (e.g., email, website, blog address); date of card creation; and edition number (e.g. 1 of 10).

Rubber stamps for the reverse of ATCs

theresa mARTin and JAMs Challenges

theresa mARTin is very talented fiber & mixed media artist, frequently published, who uses vintage images, hand-dyed fibers, stitching and more when creating. Theresa lives in close-by Arlington, VA, and we are always delighted when her schedule allows for a visit to the store and/or a Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs) meeting.

In addition to her charming mother-in-law (visiting from Scotland), Theresa brought her finished Box Challenge artwork to the February meeting. (More about the Box Challenge at the end of this post.)

Artwork by theresa mARTin: Artistic Artifacts JAMs Box Challenge

What a beautiful, evocative piece! Theresa used Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) to add a vintage sepia photo to a vintage textile that I had hand-dyed — you can see the texture of the fabric in the dot pattern. (My Hand Dyed Fiber Collage Kits feature such vintage linen pieces: embroidered napkins, textured tablecloths, crocheted doilies and more.)

Artwork by theresa mARTin: Artistic Artifacts JAMs Box Challenge

The portrait was stitched with metallic thread and then topped with a sheet of mica. Theresa used Tentakulum Handpainted products in this artwork; the above view also shows the Rusty for Paper and More (a Viva Decor product suitable for a wide variety of surfaces) she used on the sides of the box.

Detail, Artwork by theresa mARTin: Artistic Artifacts JAMs Box Challenge

Above, this close up view gives you a closer view of the Web Weave Ribbon (in Sweet Pea) Theresa accented with tiny red seed beads.

Theresa’s blog/website is a visual delight as she shares her beautifully photographed art. We learned that she will be in a four person show (joining Meg Schaap, John Mors and Nancy McNamara) at the Glenview Mansion Gallery in Rockville, MD November 6-23. She is creating a nine piece Icon series for the show; Anton is one. We wanted to share: created with similar techniques, maybe he’s a future descendent of her lovely girl!

Anton, by theresa mARTin, Icon series

Per Theresa: “Anton is 6" x 6" x 2" and is made with a photo transfer onto tea dyed fabric, Naga beads for the coat, a reversed vintage French hat label, Japanese Kimono thread and mica.” (Photograph by Theresa Martin, all rights reserved.)

Another JAMs Challenge

Also at the February JAMs meeting, members were asked to bring a plain brown lunch bag that contained 10 different items, plus a list of those items to participate in the group’s latest challenge. If you bought a bag in, you selected another (contents unseen), and used its contents to create a mixed media artwork, the reveal of which will be the presentation at the May meeting.

Mixed media art by theresa mARTin

Theresa bought in a bag to trade (amazing contents, by the way), and so received one in return. She wasted absolutely no time in getting to work and has already finished her piece (see above; photo by Theresa Martin, all rights reserved).

Theresa wrote a February 25 blog posting detailing her creative thought process, techniques and results that you must read. (The bar for the rest of us in JAMs has now been set very high…)

10 item bag challenge contents before use by theresa mARTin

Above is a photo of the bag Theresa selected. The contents of the bags could be art supplies, household items, found objects… virtually any kind of material or resource. Visit Theresa’s blog for additional photographs and to learn how she used these items in her beautiful artwork.

The only rule for this challenge is that you must use at least part or some of each of the 10 items (groups of things, such as beads, count as one item) in your work. Artists can add materials from their own stash; alter the bag contents as desired, etc. JAMs member Diane Herbort wisely thought to photograph many of the bag contents, to be paired with photos of the finished work — it will be so inspiring to see everyone’s creations!

Theresa is also a designer for Paper Whimsy and regularly creates art with their collage images, Amazing Alterables and more. View Theresa’s projects for Paper Whimsy.

One of the original display box frames used in the Box Challenge

More about The Box Challenge

I’ve mentioned in this space that the location for the Artistic Artifacts brick and mortar store used to house high-performance auto parts, with a huge display wall of product photographs on dimensional wood box frames. These frames, most approximately 5×5 inch square (as pictured) were pulled out of storage and used for the JAMs Box Challenge conceived by Barb Boatman of Cut Sew Create studio.

Members used these surfaces to create small artworks that incorporated products from Artistic Artifacts that they had in their stashes, and/or that they had purchased new.

Transforming Chipboard Shapes

Chipboard does for shapes what particle board did for furniture. The options are limitless. Chipboard is a lamination of layers of paper pulp — it comes in many thicknesses, shapes and sizes. Our most recent session of our How Do I…? monthly demonstrations was on the versatility of chipboard; we used both commercial shapes as well as cutting into large sheets of thin utility chipboard in our experiments.

Chipboard embellishments available at Artistic Artifacts

We carry some great chipboard shapes and embellishments, but otherwise, the most common place to find chipboard is in the scrapbooking aisle of your local craft store. A simple material, but what you can do with chipboard is anything but ordinary!

Covering a chipboard frame with fabric

This blog posting will touch on just a couple of techniques — know that this is only the tip of the iceberg! We used fabric, washi tape, embossing powders and VIVA products: Inka Gold, Ferro Special Effects Paste, Croco Crackle Paint, Precious Metal Colour to alter our chipboard.

The only tricky option is applying fabric to the chipboard. I ironed fusible web to the back of the fabric and then made my cuts into the fabric (similar to wrapping a package) to cover the frame and fused with an iron in place. Another option is to apply a thick glue like Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue to the chipboard and then wrap the fabric smoothly on the top and around the edges.

Products used to color and alter chipboard

Washi tape is one of the simplest ways to add interest to any paper (or other) project. Mixing different strips to a chipboard frame that still has its center in place is a fun twist: then simply run your craft blade around to cut the tape and pop the center out. Replace it in a different orientation, or use the center shape separately.

Chipboard frames covered in washi tape

Embossing Powder is really magic! Using a stamp paid with “embossing” glue (we used the EMBOSS Embossing Stamp Pad) I stamped the glue onto my precut chipboard frame. Working on a sheet of deli paper, I sprinkled Tim Holtz Distress Embossing Powder in the gorgeous Peeled Paint shade of green.

Mixed media tag by Judy Gula with a chipboard frame transformed with Tim Holtz Distressed embossing powder

Working on deli paper, it’s easy to pour the unused granules of powder back into the jar. I moved my heat tool over the embossing powder until it melted and fused, creating a unique surface. Tim’s Distress powder is formulated to giveyou a worn , weathered finish, as you can see with my tag above.

Metallic embossing powders will ‘wow’you when the heat is applied. They sprinkle on looking rather flat and dull, but after a few seconds turn to looking like molten metal! You can see an example with my journal page below with the gold frame. I love creating a “peek a boo” element by framing a cutout on one page to look through to the next (see below and inset detail).

Judy Gula journal page with a peek a boo cutout framed with embossed chipboard

The journal pages you see here are from “How Do I Use This?” Meets the Art Journal Page, a fun class I’m teaching on April 23-24 where students create original and layered journal pages and bind them into a custom art journal…all supplies provided!

Ferro Special Effects Paste, Croco Crackle Paint, Precious Metal Colour and other paints and mediums can all be applied with a brush or spatula to the chipboard.

Art journal page by Judy Gula
Chipboard tags and frames, painted, embossed and more

Our hands down favorite surface finish for chipboard was to use a die-cutter or paper punches to create shapes, then texturizing the shapes by running them through the diecutting/embossing machine with different embossing folders. The created texture comes alive with paints and Inka gold.

Plain chipboard, die cut into shapes and embossed with texture

Just a tiny amount of Inka Gold is all that’s needed, applied with a fingertip, baby wipe or paper towel.

Embossed chipboard with Inka Gold highlights

The Box Challenge

One of the original display box frames used in the Box Challenge

Most of you know the story about the building that now houses Artistic Artifacts. In its former life housing high-performance auto parts, we had a huge display wall with dimensional wood box frames that showed off product. During a recent warehouse cleaning, I uncovered a box full of these frames, most approximately 5×5 inch square (as pictured) I offered these up to Barb Boatman of Cut Sew Create studio, a dear friend and JAMs member, to come up with a project.

Barb challenged members of JAMs to use these surfaces to create small artworks that incorporated products from Artistic Artifacts that they had in their stashes that could then be used in the shop and at events as samples.

The big reveal of the boxes was this past Sunday at JAMs. We shared some photos on our Facebook page…you will certainly be seeing more of these in this space, as they were all so beautiful and are great examples of mixed media and fiber art techniques! Here are two that use chipboard.

Artwork by Sharon McDonagh: embossed chipboard highlighted with Inka Gold colors

Coming off the How Do I… evening, Sharon McDonagh embossed a chipboard square and then used Inka Gold in blue, copper and violet colors to bring out the texture of the pattern, and green paint topped with a bit of Inka Gold on a chipboard frame with a vintage photo.

Below, Lindy Millman used the Leaf Stems chipboard frame, lightly sprayed with a gold metallic ink, on a base of Tim Holtz fabric (the Entomology design) and accented it with her own ephemera and a skeleton leaf.

Artwork by Lindy Millman: Tim Holtz fabric, chipboard shape, skeleton leaf, ephemera

Photos of Some of My Favorites

It’s easy to imagine that some of my favorite days at the shop are when we are full with teachers and students, family, friends (old and new), enjoying the learning process and sharing their creativity and projects — and building a community! In today’s enewsletter, we list the exciting fiber and mixed media classes coming in January…and of course there are plenty more to come for 2016! If you are local and haven’t yet joined us for Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs), please do! We meet on the 3rd Sunday of each month and this welcoming altered art group is open to all who are interested. The show & tell segment is always inspiring! Join us in 2016 to create my favorite days.

Journaling, a Mixed Media Affair: Fabric Included!

In recent blog posts about my art journaling, I have shown you how I use stencils to add texture to my pages, and how to create your own tissue paper with wooden printing blocks.

This posting is about the next step in the layering process of creating these journal pages. And I need to add the same disclaimer I have before: these pages are not finished yet…there is more to come.

Portion of art journal page by Judy Gula

Pictured above is a portion of a page I have been working on. I wasn’t unhappy with it, but wanted a little something extra, and realized a Pearl Pen from Viva Décor was the perfect solution. Below is the after — I used the Silver color (we just added five new colors to our online shop; now there are 30 to choose from).

Portion of art journal page, with Pearl Pen embellishing, by Judy Gula

This product takes just seconds to apply! What’s great is how perfectly the product forms the half-round “pearls.” There’s none of those spiky peaks you try and mush down, ruining your shape.

Portion of art journal page, with Pearl Pen embellishing, by Judy Gula

In fact, it’s important to let the pen and the product do the work. I applied the pearls to one of my fabric postcards, and without thinking, immediately tapped the card down on the table, the way you would to remove air bubbles or settle a product? Neither was the reality…it was just instinctual, I guess. The result was actually kind of cool…but undeniably flat.

Fabric postcard by Judy Gula, with flattened Pearl Pen
Fabric postcard by Judy Gula, with flattened Pearl Pen

FYI, I am teaching my fabric postcard class on Saturday, October 10. Join me!

So, as mentioned many times over the years on this blog, I got my start as a fabric/textile lover. The surge in mixed media as an art form and the release of a lot of cool products has taught me a lot about paper, and I do enjoy working with paper…for instance, creating these art journal pages has been a really enjoyable process.

But yes, at heart fabric is my true love… and so yes, I often include fabric on my paper journal pages.

Art journal page by Judy Gula with TAP flower

The above journal spread was creating from flower and gardening ephemera. The flower is a photo that my son took. I printed it on Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) onto a piece of muslin, then applied it to my page using Golden Soft Gel Medium (spread the medium onto both the painted journal paper and the back of the transferred photo).

Art journal page by Judy Gula with violet  vintage ephemera

On this above page, I created a tab extending from the page using part of a vintage greeting card. I included a vintage book text/illustration page as well as a fabric coaster of violets with a wonderful frayed edge. All were adhered with soft gel medium.

Art journal page by Judy Gula with lace and trim

This page has bits of white trim again attached with soft gel medium.

For me, sorting and organizing ephemera is a never ending process. I actually have a type cabinet that is completely full, and boxes overflowing with those perfect bits and pieces of fabric and paper I want to use in my journals.

I am trying! Sometimes I think of organizing as an act of procrastination, instead of tackling what I originally intended to do. But the reality is that digging through those drawers and boxes and files brings me back in touch with items I had forgotten I had — including some you see here.

How do you organize your journal bits and pieces? I would really love to know — your system might help me with my treasures! Please leave a comment on this posting and share!

P.S. for those of you who are local, or who will be in the area, a reminder that this Sunday is our monthly JAMs meeting.

More Thoughts on Creativity and Health

In a previous blog posting, we shared thoughts about a recent health study extolling the benefits of creative endeavors and hobbies, and creativity in general: Why Quilting Improves Your Health in Ways Even Exercise Can’t Manage,

Interviews of quilters found that the hobby “helped their cognitive, creative and emotional well-being…[that] the use of bright colors was ‘uplifting,’ the activity distracted from the stress of work, and … offered challenges such as maths and geometry. It also increased confidence and had an important social side.”

Healing through stitching art in progress by Julie B. Booth

A note: Julie will be teaching her Fabric Printing at Home: A Kitchen Sampler class for us on September 19 & 20. On Day 1 you will paint and print fabrics, recycling and “upcycling” household materials to make print blocks, stencils and fabric resists as you learn techniques from Julie’s book, Fabric Printing at Home. On Day 2 you will create a hand-stitched wall hanging using your fabrics. Your head will swim with the creative possibilities! Visit Julie’s blog to see some of the wonderful fabrics generated the last time we had the class!

When we posted, one of the comments from from surface design artist and author Julie B. Booth. Julie wrote, “feeling on the same wavelength and hope you saw my post about the piece I started about my Dad [in process photo above]. I find hand stitching very powerful…healing. Once a month a group of my students and I get together for a “Stitch-In”. Lots of sharing and story telling and of course, stitching! I look forward to spending that time together.”

Fiber and mixed media artist Linda Morgan emailed us after reading the study: “When I’m engaged in creating art, solving design and construction issues, I feel challenged for a while, then happy and proud of my accomplishments. This kind of positive energy keeps me engaged and gives me something to look forward to.”

Under the Sea art quilt by Linda Morgan

Linda adds, “More is always good. I work on a piece until I just can’t put another thing on it. I’m still adding items to my Under the Sea art quilt! [pictured above] I have made some amazing friends through art and found that we are each others support group and cheerleaders. I love trying new things and taking a variety of classes.
I am a very messy worker — I look at this as a sign of a creative soul —and hate to clean up as I go. (I cook this way too!) Art keeps my spirit Happy and Healthy ….. plus I love to shop for new art supplies, which is extremely healthy.” Visit Linda’s Purple Cat Cards blog.

Mixed media collage by Wendy Sittner

In the comments to our original post, collage/mixed media artist Wendy Sittner wrote, “as a mental health therapist, my role is to support people through some of the most difficult times in their lives. I use art as a way to take care of my own mental health outside of work. One way I prevent ‘compassion fatigue’ is by balancing the stories I hear at my job with lighter-themed artwork for clients who commission my work. Creating mixed media pieces about festive occasions like weddings [example above] and family vacations gives me the necessary reminder that life gives us a range of experiences rather than all highs or all lows.” Visit Wendy’s Etsy site for more of her mixed media art.

Handfelted stitchwork by Chris Vinh

“It seems that I have always done some sort of fiber work as a ‘hobby’ and a way of giving part of me to those I care about,” reports textile artist Chris Vinh. “Gifts to family and friends for many years were something handmade in the project du jour — clothes, cross stitch, crewel, needlepoint, and quilting. It was in a class over 20 years ago where I discovered that I had a voice which was best expressed in color and texture. It was then that I realized there were many kindred spirits out there who sang in the same choir. The membership of that choir has grown over the years and my artist friends have been my main stay through good times and bad. With their support and encouragement, I have used fiber, color, texture to express myself in ways I never dreamt possible. [One example of Chris’ felting and stitching work is above.]

Chris continues, “When I need to retreat and center myself, I turn to knitting or hand stitching and when I am bursting with ideas, it’s the fabric stash that calls. And when I need inspiration, I turn to my friends. In addition to the personal benefits, both have provided me avenues for touching a wider community through coordination of charitable projects in memory of one of my early quilting buddies. I simply cannot imagine my life without the benefits I have gained through the use of needle and thread.” Visit Chris’ Etsy site for her Modern Log Cabin Quilt Square [below] and more of her fiber art.

Modern Log Cabin Quilt Square by Chris Vinh

“The first time I thought about the connection between creativity and health was when the child of a good friend was very ill,” shares Artistic Artifacts customer and JAMs member Judy Grumbacher. “My friend said, ‘I can survive anything as long as I have art.’ I know creativity has contributed to my mental health (such as it is!) Soon after I was divorced, I read Circle of Stones. There was a passage that moved me to create six large mixed-medial panels centered around that passage. And I made a fabric piece, using a section of my surgical bra, [pictured below] as I recovered from breast cancer.

Mixed media art by Judy Grumbacher

Judy continues, “another health benefit: when I’m sewing or painting, I’m not snacking!” Judy laughs.

Finally, we want to close with the comment that Martha Irish made to the original post. We were shocked to learn recently that Martha passed away unexpectedly last month. Martha was a loyal customer, frequently attended classes and How Do I Use This? sessions, and will be missed! Martha wrote:

“Color is a vibration. We remember that from elementary school when we learned that each color has a different wavelength. These wavelengths are vital to the physical and emotional health of the body. Reiki therapists and other energy workers, for example, channel energy to the patient to activate the patient’s own natural healing processes….
But back to art. We can stimulate our own natural healing processes by surrounding ourselves with color. Some days we might need the wavelengths of bright warm colors. Other days we are drawn to the cool colors. Maybe that’s why quilters and other artists seem to be working on many projects at one time!”

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