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Fabrics Unveiled at Spring Quilt Market

Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik fabrics

View of Gateway Arch from hotel

There are two Quilt Markets (credentialed trade show for shop owners, fabric companies, etc.) each year. The biggest is each fall, always in Houston just before the huge International Quilt Festival (which takes place November 2-5, 2017). The Spring show changes locations each year; and this year it was in St. Louis; a fact that was reinforced each time we had the chance to take a look from our Hotel to see the iconic Gateway Arch!

My “partners in crime” for this trip were Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution and Ruth Chandler, author of one of my favorite instructional books, Modern Hand Stitching. (Remember, Liz will be visiting Artistic Artifacts next month with her immersive Stitch Journeys class — a few seats are still available for this 4 Day Creative Retreat, so join us!)

Architectural detail in St. Louis

Our walk from the hotel to the Convention Center included passing by buildings featuring beautiful architectural details (see above and in my gallery below). Most of these were likely built in the 1920’s and 1930’s and unfortunately, many of them are empty. So sad!

New fabrics in the Woodstock design, Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik

Artistic Artifacts was there with a booth exhibiting and selling our Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik fabrics (pictured at the top of this post and here), handpainted batik panels and our artist quality textile paints. From our Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik, I’m excited by our new Woodstock 2 fabrics (pictured above)!

New colors coming of established Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik

I also have new colors (pictured above) of established designs, Folk Life-Paisley Leaves and Color Sponge. All of these new Batik Tambal Exclusive Batiks will be available to our customers in approximately two months.

Ruth Chandler and Liz Kettle demonstrating how to create Silk Fusion

The first day of Market for many of us includes the “School House” event. These are short (15 to 30 minute) presentations, sales pitches, and educational sessions. Liz and Ruth have done many of these for companies such as Treenway Silks and Rockland Industries. Artistic Artifacts currently carries products from both of these companies: Silk Roving/Sliver in gorgeous colors from Treenway and from Rockland Industries, muslin, Osnaburg and Roc-lon Multi-Purpose Cloth. Above, Ruth Chandler (left) and Liz Kettle are demonstrating how to create Silk Fusion. (Those of you close to Artistic Artifacts, join me in October for our How Do I… evening: we’ll be making silk paper, a similar technique!)

Sue Spargo hand-stitching

A lot of time is spent walking the aisles looking for inspiration, like the above beauty by Sue Spargo (take a look at the gorgeous colors she selected for her WonderFil Eleganza collection). You can view a lot more eye candy from Quilt Market in my gallery at the bottom of this post!

A sampling of new designs of popular Australian Aborigine-designed fabrics

I made my usual stop at the M&S Textiles booth to see what is new with our popular Australian Aborigine-designed fabrics. I ordered 22 new patterns! You can get an idea of what’s coming in the photos above and below. Stay tuned to our website — they are expected in approximately two weeks.

More new designs of Australian fabrics on the way to Artistic Artifacts from M&S Textiles

I was able to have a quick trunk show with fiber artist and fabric designer Marcia Derse. I have always loved her work!

Marcia Derse Treasure Hunt fabric line

Marcia’s Treasure Hunt line (pictured above) will be available in the shop in October. We hope to add her solids to the store (pictured below) in the future as well.

Marcia Derse solid fabrics

Maker’s Home by Natalie Barnes (pictured below) of Beyond the Reef Patterns will also arrive in the shop in the fall or early winter. This is her second line for Windham Fabrics and includes her signature hand drawn flowers and fun black &white prints (and you know how much I love black & white fabrics). I’ve been looking for the right kind of floral fabric to add to the shop and thought my customers would love this line (more views in the gallery).

Maker's Home by Natalie Barnes of Beyond the Reef Patterns for Windham Fabrics

And we spent time in Art Gallery’s booth (their booth photo below with my detail shots) touching and feeling their knit, voile, and cotton fabrics. We’d like to add knit fabrics to Artistic Artifacts…what do you think? Good idea? Let me know in the comments!.

Art Gallery Fabrics booth

Below, my photo gallery for more from Quilt Marke — click on any photo for a larger view or to see it as a slideshow.

WonderFil Threaducation!

Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula is enjoying her time in sunny California at the WonderFil Education Center Summit…

Judy Gula, owner of Artistic Artifacts, participating in the WonderFil Specialty Threads Education Summit

…as is perhaps obvious from the big smile on her face in the photo above! It was taken by her friend Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution, another attendee at the Summit. Liz (pictured below), a certified “Threaducator” with WonderFil, will be visiting Artistic Artifacts in June for her 4-day creative retreat, Stitch Journeys. Suitable for beginners, attendees gain mastery of their sewing machine and develop the confidence to tackle any kind of specialty thread and tame their tension fears as they create a sample fabric workbook that serves as a permanent, creative reference tool. This is her only time teaching on the East Coast this year, so if you can, plan your vacation around traveling to Virginia and attending!

Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution participating in the WonderFil Specialty Threads Education Summit

Judy and Liz are collaborating in the development of an upcoming Threaducation Center class.

Handpainted batik panel by Rusli, enhanced with machine quilting and thread painting using both Konfetti™ and Tutti™ threads by WonderFil

They used a handpainted batik panel by Rusli, which is enhanced with machine quilting and thread painting using both Konfetti™ and Tutti™ threads by WonderFil. Konfetti and Tutti are both 50wt, 3ply 100% long staple Egyptian cotton threads that are double-gassed (burning off the lint from the thread two times) and mercerized to create a soft, clean, and lustrous finish.

Handpainted batik panel by Rusli, enhanced with machine quilting and thread painting using Konfetti™ thread by WonderFil

Additional detail views above and below.

Handpainted batik panel by Rusli, enhanced with machine quilting and thread painting using Tutti™ thread by WonderFil

Below is Judy’s favorite thread sampler, posted on the Artistic Artifacts Facebook page. When she returns we’ll have to get the details from her!

Judy Gula's favorite WonderFil thread sampler

More Threaducation going on…

The WonderFil Specialty Threads Education Summit

But you know fiber artists…even after a full day of studying, they are still up for more fun! You can see Liz and Judy, plus Bernadette Kent and Alicia Campbell in the background of this selfie taken by Libby Williamson of Blue Denim Design at The Dragonfly Shops & Gardens in Orange, CA.

Fiber artists having fun at the Blue Denim Studio at The Dragonfly Shops & Gardens in Orange, CA

They were busy having fun with block printing and thermofax printing on fabric. Judy never misses the opportunity to share her love of wooden printing blocks!

Those of you close to Artistic Artifacts can further your own Threaducation! Join us on Friday, March 24 for Finding Your Voice, a lecture by WonderFil Threaducator Kay Capps Cross. She promises that “We will relax and learn ways to release our inner creativity and express ourselves through our quilts. Art quilts, experiments, free associations, or whatever we call our pieces, they are a window to what is inside of us. With a little confidence, our voice will be heard.”

Kay Kapps Cross quilt stitched with WonderFil Specialty Threads

And on Saturday, March 25, we are delighted that Kay (who quilted the above beauty as she demonstrated various WonderFil threads during the recent AQS show) will be sharing her knowledge during our exciting WonderFil Boutique Show & Tell event. Sponsored by WonderFil™ Specialty Threads, we will hold two complimentary seatings, morning and afternoon, of this inspiring and informational session. Get inspired with samples of threadwork and demos using the many specialty threads by WonderFil! Reservations are required as seating is limited, so don’t delay and claim your spot!

Artistic Artifacts & The Tale of the Frog Princess…

Staffed by Ruth Chandler and Liz Kettle with support from WonderFil Threads, The Thread Lab: WonderFil Threaducation Center is a learning center devoted to teaching a textile classes, both hand stitching and machine sewing, that use the variety of WonderFil™ Specialty threads. Located at Cottonwood Center for the Arts in Colorado Springs, the Thread Lab is also frequented by The Frog Princess.

The Frog Princess of Colorado Springs

Reigning over the Thread Lab and the artist studios at Cottonwood, and inspired by her own garments full of color and texture, The Frog Princess found she had a natural affinity for recommending thread choices to customers and students.

The Frog Princess choosing thread colors

And so, like Ruth and Liz, she studied for her Thread Certification. (Because every princess wants to be a Thread Goddess! photos above and below by Terza Ekholm) The Frog Princess found that Threads, The Basics & Beyond: The Complete Visual Guide to Thread Techniques & Creativity by Debbie Bates and Liz Kettle is an amazing resource.

The Frog Princess studies Threads, the Basics & Beyond by Debbie Bates and Liz Kettle

And so all was well in the land. Until November 30, when Ruth Chandler sent out the alarm:
“The Frog Princess is AWOL!”

Any disappearance of royalty is of course critical, and so the emergency security plan was immediately put into effect. “I called out the troops to find the Frog Princess,” notes Ruth:

Rallying the troops to find The Frog Princess

But then a message arrived from 1,700 miles away, Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, VA: The Frog Princess had been found! (And there was much rejoicing.)

Yes, craving a change of scenery, The Frog Princess decided to stow away, taking advantage of the trip Liz undertook to assist Artistic Artifacts with the set up and launch the fifth WonderFil Threaducation Center — the only one on the East Coast of the U.S.!

The staff at Artistic Artifacts was delighted to have her as a guest…Friday morning she awoke early to have coffee with Judy, but with so much to do to get ready for the Annual Open House and Pop-Up Holiday Market, we quickly put her to work.

Coffee with The Frog Princess

With her eye for color, The Frog Princess gravitated toward pricing the inspiration packs, popular bundles of hand dyed found textiles and fibers Judy incorporates with two fat quarters of woven cotton, perfect for fiber collage.

The Frog Princess with fiber collage inspiration packs put together by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Below left, she put her stamp of approval on some store rearranging (our ribbons are now nicely showcased, much to her pleasure). At right she poses with Liz on a break from showing off the beautiful WonderFil threads to customers at the Annual Open House on Saturday, December 3, where Liz demonstrated stitching and furthered the “threaducation” of many.

The Frog Princess enjoys visiting Artistic Artifacts with Liz Kettle

Sunday found Liz and students hard at work in the Magical Stitches class. Below you can see that The Frog Princess got herself involved in class discussion.

Magical Stitching class with Liz Kettle at Artistic Artifacts

Artistic Artifacts is usually closed on Mondays, but on December 5, we were all hard at work. Our gorgeous threads and fixtures finally made it through customs and delivery from Canada, so we spent the day putting together the Threaducation Center! Frankly, we thought the tiny little hands of The Frog Princess would have been a bigger help when it came to the WonderFil Thread cabinet construction! But then again, she IS royalty; supervising is really her strength…

The Frog Princess supervises construction of the WonderFil thread cabinets and display stands

Below, everyone wanted to get close to the Sue Spargo collection! WonderFil™ teamed up with the author, teacher, embroidery expert and artist to bring out a new line of colors in the Eleganza™, Razzle™, and Dazzle™ thread lines! These colors have been selected by Sue Spargo to offer an array of beautiful and inspirational choices, including variegated colors that are only available in her line.

The Frog Princess helps Chris Vinh put away the Sue Spargo Collection of WonderFil threads

Below, The Frog Princess poses at the end of a productive workday with the new WonderFil Threaducation Center located at Artistic Artifacts.

The Frog Princess poses with the new WonderFil Threaducation Center located at Artistic Artifacts

Finally it was time to return to her own kingdom. Before she left The Frog Princess took one final lap around the store to soak in some memories:

Come back anytime, Princess — you and your friends at the Thread Lab are always welcome! In fact, consider this a formal invitation for next year, when Liz returns to Artistic Artifacts to teach a 4-day creative retreat, Stitch Journeys — Your Guide to Amazing Stitching, June 15-18, 2017. The cost will be $495, which includes provided lunch each day, and payment plans will be available — please email us to make arrangements. Complete information will be posted soon on the Artistic Artifacts website. Plan to join us!

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!

Block Printing as the March Artist for The Printed Fabric Bee!

Posts in Judy’s March Artist for The Printed Fabric Bee series:

  1. Block Printing Intro
  2. Creating and Embellishing Block Printed Textiles
  3. A Sampling of Block Printed Art Quilts

Earlier this year I directed you to the “reboot” of The Printed Fabric Bee where, instead of creating monthly themed fabrics for the Bee members (with 6″ x 6″ swatches as a prize for those who commented on the posts), in 2016 members of the Bee are each taking a turn hosting a month focusing on a technique of their choice — resulting a year of free tutorials and classes from national and internationally known surface design artists and teachers!

I wrote then that you should mark your calendar for April for me, but turns out, I am representing the month of March! The focus of my posts for The Printed Fabric Bee will be on Block Printing for art quilts and other fiber projects. My first post is copied below:
___________

A wooden printing block being hand-carved by a master craftsman in India

Block printing is one of the most ancient forms of decorative art. We carry a very wide range of wooden printing blocks in our shop. These blocks are hand carved in India and are part of our free trade products: we are proud to be a part of the support of 40 families in India!

For my first post, I’m including a video below that was taped while I was running my on-site “pop-up” shop at the recent Art & Soul creative retreat in Portland, Oregon. The video begins with me answering a question from my audience: where do wooden printing blocks come from?, and then moves into the basics of how to block print.

While traveling around the US vending at shows and teaching, I hear many of the same questions over and over, so I am using this opportunity, below and in the video, to briefly answer the most common ones.

  1. What type of wood is used?
    The wooden printing blocks are carved out of shisham wood, which is a locally grown, sustainable hard wood.
  2. Will the white paint come off?
    The white marking is there to give the carvers, or as they prefer, Block Makers, visual guidance as to where to chisel and carve the wood away.
  3. How do I care for wooden printing blocks?
    Do scrub them with soap and water once your printing session is over. Use a soft nail brush if necessary to get paint out of the fine lines. However, don’t let your blocks soak in the sink or a container water. I dry them face down on a dry towel.
           Know this: they will never be ‘clean’ again — embrace that! (We find them beautiful with the hints of paint and use; see photo below.)
  4. How can I use them?
    … well, the answer to that is for the next blog post!

Wooden printing blocks that have been used multiple times

Wooden printing blocks that have been used many times with many colors of paint have their own special beauty.

My next blog post will give you a few ideas of how to embellish your block printed fabric.

Comment to Win!

NOTE: Prize has been awarded. In addition to the surface design tutorials posted here on The Printed Fabric Bee blog, each month, the specified artist offers a fabulous giveaway. Simply leave a comment on at least one of the blog posts during that month to be eligible. I have selected a beautiful circle design wooden printing block, an orange foam printing mat (critical to successful block printing), and a jar of True Blue PROfab Opaque Textile Paint as my prize. However…if you are selected and are local to the Virginia/DC/Maryland area (or are willing to travel), you can instead choose to attend my Woodblock Printed Art Quilt class on June 11 for free!

March Printed Fabric Bee prize: wooden printing block, textile paint and foam printing mat

Leave a comment below to be eligible for this block printing prize!

P.S. If you would like to travel to India and meet the families who carve our wooden printing blocks, visit the Colouricious website in England to learn about the Textile Trip of a Lifetime!

Color and Inspiration at MAQF

I’m on my way to Portland, Oregon for the first Art & Soul of 2016 as you read this. I left the Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal booth at the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival (MAQF, February 25 – 28 in Hampton, VA)) in the good hands of my husband Dave, son Kyle and help from Cyndi Souder of Moonlighting Quilts and Kathy Lincoln. Chris Vinh (StitchesnQuilts) was a huge help to me packing, driving down, setting up the booth and working the first two days of the show. Thank you to all!

I never get to see as much of a quilt show as I’d like…Here I have shamelessly borrowed some photos from Artistic Artifacts friends and customers to give you a bit of a taste of the show here.

Nancy Hershberger quilt displayed at MAQF

The above stunner (detail below) is by Nancy Hershberger. Nancy is one of our long-time Creative Minds who has been working with Cyndi Souder, Moonlighting Quilts in one of her art quilting groups which meet monthly at Artistic Artifacts.

Detail, Nancy Hershberger quilt displayed at MAQF

Look at that amazing range of batik fabrics and how the colors are graduated!

U2 4ever by Catherine Etter displayed at MAQF

Catherine Etter of Powatan, VA has made the trip up to Artistic Artifacts several times over the years to attend our classes–we are honored she makes that effort! She created U2 4ever (pictured above) for an “Alphabet Soup Challenge” with her Colonial Piecemakers guild, having drawn the letter U.

Detail, U2 4ever by Catherine Etter displayed at MAQF

Catherine’s label reads, “Love this group and all their philanthropic efforts and global vision. And bonus round, their music rocks!!! Mixed media of course… ” Such amazing details and embellishments (see above) in this quilt!

Fledging by Catherine Etter displayed at MAQF

Catherine’s quilt Fledgling was created for the “Bring Hexy Back” Challenge with the Richmond Modern Quilt Guild. Her label reads: “Inspiration: in life, we all take flight. Being born, growing up, leaving home and nest, creating a new home, a new home with fledgings of your own. So spread your wings, take flight and simply soar. Embroidery, appliqué, bead accents.”

Detail, Fledging by Catherine Etter displayed at MAQF

Catherine: “my own personal brilliantly plumed Hexy takes flight, leaving a trail of hope, heart, dreams and creativity along my life’s journey.”

Detail, Fledging by Catherine Etter displayed at MAQF

And speaking of hexies…

Flower Power by Mary W. Kerr, quilted by Linda Jackson Thielfoldt and displayed at MAQF

Above is Mary W. Kerr’s Flower Power quilt, which won a ribbon for Best Use of Negative space. Mary is an American Quilt Society certified appraiser and the author of Recycled Hexie Quilts, among other titles. Mary’s beautiful work was quilted by Linda Jackson Thielfoldt.

Beauty's in the Cosmos by Susan Sladek displayed at MAQF

Above, “Beauty’s in the Cosmos” by Susan Sladek. So intricate, and a gorgeous use of so many different fabrics!

MAQF had as its theme “Sew Far, Sew Good,” a reflection on how the festival has progressed over its 27 years of existence. Entrants were asked to explain how far their quilt making journey has taken them and where they are today as artists, and gave entrants an opportunity to tell show-goers about the secret treasures hidden in their fabric stash!

This year they added modern quilting to its categories; entrants in were asked to draw inspiration from the Mid-Century Mod period of mid-20th century design and reflect their own exposures or from the work of artists such as Joan Miro, Piet Mondrian, Victor Vasarely, and Frank Stella. All accepted quilt entries for the show compete in Traditional, Innovative, Modern and Wall Quilt categories as well as for the “Best of Show” title. There is also a Wearable Art Competition on display at the show.

Packing for a Creative Retreat

Artistic Artifacts/Batik Tambal owner Judy Gula at her on-site satellite store at Art & Soul Virginia Beach
As long-time readers know, 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. I have often written about the work of packing for these events, as well as for the many quilt shows I exhibit at…shortly after arriving home, I’ll be working on stocking up and packing for the International Quilt Festival (October 29–November 1) in Houston.

So, other than telling you to be grateful you don’t have to pack an entire trailer full of EVERYTHING, what are my recommendations for packing supplies for attending an art retreat? This the alphabetical text version (originally published as a cute graphic) of the basic supplies recommended by Art & Soul. If these items aren’t already on your class supply lists, you likely won’t regret packing them. (Pictured are the adorable tags Mindy Lacefield used as examples as she taught her fun class on Monday.)

Hippity Hop Tags created by Mindy Lacefield

  • a few special trinkets, treasures and beads
  • awl or needle tool
  • basic ink pad
  • bone folder
  • cutting mat
  • glue stick
  • hole punch
  • needle and heavy thread
  • needlenose pliers
  • notebook
  • paint brushes: regular, foam, stipple
  • pencil and eraser
  • popsicle sticks
  • ribbons, yarns, fibers
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • tape: double stick and regular
  • toothpicks
  • Xacto knife and extra blades

My recommendations for additions to this list? Well, of course, some fabric! When I am teaching a class that requires fabric as a supply, I recommend just a sandwich baggie size amount of scraps, of a variety of types and weights (unless it is a quilting class that requires yardage, of course). You will be really surprised how far just that baggie can take you with a project!

What else? Golden Soft Gel Medium — this can used as be an embellishment adhesive, a a collage medium, a final sealant, etc. And of course you are packing light, but one or two stencils, especially those that can be used for background layers and textures, won’t add much weight. A couple favorite rubber stamps and/or wooden printing blocks, and a favorite color/brand of paint. A handful of buttons…great embellishments!

What supply or tool have you learned to always take to a class, even if it’s not specifically listed?

Every Art & Soul event includes a Vendor Night that is also open to the general public

P.S. Remember that every Art & Soul event includes Vendor Night, inviting many of the instructors and other creative individuals and stores to sell supplies, jewelry, ephemera and finished artwork. The public is welcome with a $10 admission (free for attendees) — well worth the cost to have this special access. Art & Soul Vendor Night Virginia Beach is this Saturday, October 3 from 6:00-9:00 pm — if you are located anywhere within a reasonable drive, plan to attend!

Catching Up with the Queen Bees

As per last week’s blog posting, I have been running around the country, and to even write this meant sitting down for a break from packing for the Empire Guild show in New York City this weekend! With all that travel, keeping up with the monthly assignments from Printed Fabric Bee (a collaboration of professional textiles artists printing fabric collections for each other) has been difficult at best. Each month a member of the “Hive” chooses a theme, making her the “Queen Bee,” and we all create a piece of fabric based on her choices.

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

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

Petroglyph theme fabric by Judy Gula

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

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

detail, Petroglyph theme fabric by Judy Gula

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

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

Forest Floor theme fabric by Judy Gula

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

Forest Floor theme fabric by Judy Gula

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

Fern stencil used as a positive and negative image

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

Detail, Forest Floor fabric by Judy Gula

‘Tis the Season

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quilt/Craft Show DO’s

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

Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival attendees

Rebel Quilting at Art & Soul Portland

As you know 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. I’ve just returned from Portland…and don’t mind admitting I’m tired, as I went there straight from the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival!

Doing two events back to back involves a lot of prep work, packing, travel…it does wear on you! This year in addition to manning the Art & Soul store, I taught Rebel Quilting with Stencils & Fabric, which was a lot of fun…and also served as a great energizer, being around all that creativity and everyone’s passion for their art!

Judy Gula teaching Rebel Quilting at Art & Soul in Portland, OR

The challenge for me was that this class had been originally created by Jamie Fingal, and so when I stepped in, I had to come up with a way to make the class and product my own, while still retaining enough of her work that the students who had registered expecting it would still be happy. I had so much fun I hope to be able to offer this class again!

Student sewing during Rebel Quilting at Art & Soul in Portland, OR

BERNINA USA provided a classroom of machines for Art & Soul… Modern Domestic, a BERNINA Excellence dealer in Portland, Oregon was on hand to set up the classroom and to demonstrate the machines. Art & Soul has focused on increasing the number of fabric and fiber art classes and arranged this sponsored classroom; a wonderful perk for students, as they didn’t have to worry about not owning a sewing machine, or the fuss of traveling with it. (Juki America will be furnishing the sewing machines for Art & Soul in Virginia Beach, VA.)

Student work in progress, Rebel Quilting at Art & Soul in Portland, OR

Shown throughout this posting are a few photos that were taken during the class. You can see everyone ended up with great work!

Student work, Rebel Quilting at Art & Soul in Portland, OR

The results from a class differ for everyone…not just in terms of each student’s talent and personal aesthetic, but in stages of completion. Are you one of those people who always feel like they are the slowest in a class? Or the one who never fails to walk out the door with a completed project? Somewhere in the middle? Able to enjoy your own experience without comparing it to the other people in the class, or secretly feel some stress and competitiveness?

Student work, Rebel Quilting at Art & Soul in Portland, OR

In the classes we hold at Artistic Artifacts, there is always a range. Sometimes a class is more geared toward teaching a technique, such as the this past weekend’s Gelli Printing with Susan Gantz, and next month’s Printing with Thermofax Screens with PG Fiber2Art; in both of those examples you will leave with plenty of prints and swatches for your stash but not necessarily a finished piece of art. (Although many prints end up so beautiful all they would need is a frame or stitching, and yes, they’re done!)

Other classes, such as this past weekend’s Machine-Age Santos with Leslie Brier and her class this weekend, Vintage Beaded Floral Pendant, are project-based, and you are to walk away with a finished product. Or, one that is at least close, and you have learned the skills and techniques necessary to finish it.

Cards by Beverly Hilbert created in Seth Apter’s 52 Card Pickup class

Pictured above are some of the cards Beverly Hilbert, long-time member of JAMs, created in Seth Apter’s 52 Card Pickup class in January. On the left is an example of the cards as she left class…tons of color, texture and background stenciling, but no collaging. The other two, and the examples below, are examples of the continual collage work she has done on them since. (View larger to examine these in more detail.)

Cards by Beverly Hilbert created in Seth Apter’s 52 Card Pickup class

P.S. The next edition of Art & Soul will be in Kansas City, MO, at The Elms Hotel, beginning April 27 and running through May 1. Founder Glenny Moir has assembled the usual roster of talented instructors, including (for the first time) our friend Seth Apter! And this fall you can attend in Virginia Beach, VA at Virginia Beach Resort Hotel, September 28 – October 4, 2015. If you have never treated yourself to a creative retreat, make 2015 the year you do…it is a wonderful way to learn new techniques, meet new people who share your passion, and nuture your soul.

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