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Something Fishy…

Fiber and mixed media artist Diane Herbort created Something Fishy, her fabric and paper collage pictured above, for Cloth Paper Scissors to illustrate her 2008 article about using disperse dye to transfer images to fabric. Since it was scheduled for the March/April issue, she chose a Poisson d’Avril theme and used one of the vintage postcards she collects as her focal image.

Detail, Blue Fish Quilt by Judy Gula

Vintage and fish… easy to see the connection with Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula’s Blue Fish quilt (detail pictured here). Visit Using Vintage Textiles in My Blue Fish Quilt for the complete quilt photo, plus details on how Judy created it.

To celebrate April 1 we posted Diane’s beautiful work in our newsletter as well as on our Facebook page. We asked members of our Artistic Artifacts Creative Minds Facebook group to share their own “fishy” art, and we loved the responses, sharing them here for those who aren’t on Facebook. (Plus we wanted to keep this particular ‘school of fish’ together!) Enjoy the following (listed in alphabetical order by artist)… all are wonderful!

Susan Callahan: “You asked for fish. This was my 2018 hand stitch exercise. Ten minutes a day for 365 days. Loved this piece!” It measures 17 in. high and 36 in. wide.

NiYa Costly referenced an exchange from a past Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs) meeting: “Fish from one of our random swaps that I was holding onto… haven’t figured out yet how to display them.” See Linda Morgan’s piece below — she started it!

Barbara LeGrand Grothaus: “I am a newbie to this group and just [April 7] saw the post about fish. I just finished this small piece. The center was from Turkey, about 25 years old. The other fabrics are my own hand dyes. The fish charms at the bottom are African and Greek.” We included a detail (right) of the wonderful fish quilting.

Fish cut from batik panels by Jaka center wonky log cabin quilt blocks by Judy Gula

Judy Gula: We began our “poisson d’avril” photo challenge by sharing two blocks that Judy made for a quilt tfeatured in her book Colorful Batik Panel Quilts. School of Fish is one of the projects in the book, using hand-drawn batik panels by one of our most popular batik artists, Jaka. You can see the complete quilt below, as well as in Judy’s introduction of her book.

Mahyar batik panel detail: hand stitching with Eleganza cotton by WonderFil

Judy traveled with a batik panel by Mahyar — the fanciful fish are detailed here — to embellish it with lots of hand stitching, using Eleganza pearl cotton by WonderFil Specialty Threads. The Three Sisters quilt was also featured in her book; learn and see more about it here on this blog.

Susanne Miller Jones: “Fishy theme you say: Gotta Eat.”

Bunnie Jordan: “Just happen to have a fish quilt on my wall right now.”

Sharon McDonagh: “I enjoy Theresa mARTin classes so much I have taken them more than once. Her mixed media eye token class has always resulted in amazing student work since she generously shares so many treasures from her stash. I quickly grabbed the wonderful fish bead for my mermaid-inspired piece. I love how it turned out!”

Julie Hames Mehigan: “A piece I made for a school auction. Kindergartener’s hand prints became fish. Bubbles are their initials. Made a lot of it when my Dad was in the hospital dying, so of course, I bid on it and bought it.”

We sought out Linda Morgan, writing that “we’re expecting to see the fish you made that nearly caused a riot during a JAMs exchange a few years back — talk about a feeding frenzy!”

…and she replied, “Artistic Artifacts, these guys were fun to make!”

Lynda Poole Prioleau: “In keeping with the fish theme for today…Here’s a pendant I made using one of Judy Vincentz Gula’s small, dyed pieces. I added beads, a hand dyed linen backing, and, oh yeah, some fishies!”

Beth Richardson: “For today’s theme, one of my faves. It’s called Coral Reef.”

Joni Seidenstein: “Did someone say fish?” And when a fellow Creative Mind commented on the number of fish, Joni replied “I spent literal hours cutting these fish out to fuse onto this quilt. I did it when my daughter was at swim lessons. It felt quite apropos!”

Etta Stewart: “I just have to add a fish or two…”


…or was that more than two, Etta?

Betsy True: “This was my first art quilt, begun during a workshop with Ruth B McDowell at an Empty Spools Seminar at Asilomar, California.”

Christine Vinh: “For the fishy theme, this is a close-up of part of a quilt that was in Sacred Threads Quilts in 2017. Photos from a visit to Inle Lake in Burma and the one on burlap was done using Transfer Artist Paper. The silver fish charm was given to us by one of the children in a village we visited. The blue water is part of a silk scarf. Stitched throughout with Tentakulum threads.”

Batik panel quilt by Christine Vinh

Chris also sent us two of her quilts created using hand-drawn batik panels. Above, the focal panel is by Bambang Dharmo.

Batik panel quilt by Christine Vinh

Above, a panel from batik artist Aprat is the focal point in this modern art quilt by Chris.

We hope you have enjoyed the wide variety of fish themed art we are have shared here. We thank all who submitted their work, and hope you will thank them too — please leave a comment below!

We love when our customers and friends share their projects with us, via our Facebook page, the Artistic Artifacts Creative Minds Facebook group, or by email for those not on social media, so we hope to hear from you!

School of Fish by Judy Gula, featured in her book Colorful Batik Panel Quilts

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Using Transfer Artist Paper

I was so happy to begin 2020 with Lesley Riley’s Transfer Artist Paper (also known as TAP) back in stock, available in 5-sheet and 18 sheet packs! In my most recent Creative Clips, I give you a quick demonstration on how to use TAP . TAP was always one of my favorite transfer products, and it was a real loss when manufacturing difficulties took it off the market. TAP has been completely reformulated and allows you to transfer images to virtually any surface with the heat of an iron.

In the video I use non-stick Goddess Sheet while ironing. My 13½ inch square Felted Wool Pressing Mat is a great working surface, as it absorbs the heat from the iron and sort of bounces it back to the fabric — for best results with TAP, you want both pressure and heat.

Bluebell Paper Doll, mixed media art quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Above is one of my vintage inspired quilts, from 2006. Titled Bluebell Paper Doll, I used TAP to transfer a photo of the paper doll to vintage embroidered linen. I then embellished with pearls, beads and tatting.

Detail of Bluebell Paper Doll, mixed media art quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Isn’t she sweet? The doll image has dimension through trapunto. The imperfections give it even more vintage character — and look at how vivid the color remains this many years later.

Below, The Lady in the Garden. The focal image was transferred onto Lutradur using TAP, and I used hand-dyed and vintage materials to complement my inspiration. Read more about the making of this quilt »

The Lady in the Garden, an art quilt by Judy Gula using hand-dyed and vintage materials

Upon the re-release of TAP, Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution shared “Good news for image transfer fanatics….the new TAP formula seems to work well! Transfers were easy and clear.”

TAP samples by Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution

Pictured above is her test on Osnaburg 100% Cotton (top) and Ava-lon Bleached Muslin (bottom). Plans are continuing for our 2020 Italian Creative Retreat in September, and Liz will be joining me this year — and we will be using TAP!

Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) on wood, image by C&T PublishingYes, as of this writing Coronovirus is scaring everyone and travel and more is being disrupted, but we remain optimistic that by fall all will be well. We are not requesting any financial deposits or transactions at this time but please let our travel consultant Lewis Gautieri know of your interest in joining our tour and retreat at info@italianculturaltours.com.

As mentioned in my video, remember that TAP sllows you to transfer images on a variety of surfaces, not just on fabric and paper. Other surfaces include wood (example with TAP tranfer is pictured here; image courtesy C&T Publishing), glass, metal, and many more.

You can also learn more about using TAP from Lesley Riley herself in this video.

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Using Stripology Rulers

One of my favorite Creative Minds has authored this guest post — Chris has converted me into a Stripology fan too!

The Best Thing Since Rotary Cutters!

Guest post by Christine Vinh, StitchesnQuilts

Not being a notions junkie, I’ve limited my purchase of new sewing and quilting tools to pretty much the basics. That is, until I picked up one of the Creative Grids Stripology Rulers designed by Gundrun Erla of GE Designs to make a shop sample last year. The ruler slides easily over the fabric until pressure is applied. Then, the exclusive gripper holds the fabric in place while cutting through the slits in the marked increments, eliminating slipping and miss-cuts!

Emma quilt pattern designed by Gundrun Erla of GE Designs, cut using the Creative Grids Stripology rulers

Combining the precision butting using the rulers with the well written patterns by Gundrun means I can no longer claim that I cannot cut or sew a straight line. Above is my Emma quilt — I would have never considered the Emma quilt pattern if I had not already had success following the very clear instructions with great visuals on ruler placement for the cutting instructions! I didn’t realize I had forgotten to turn alternating blocks, but like how they mimic the hummingbird’s spread wings — fabric by Valori Wells. I used some Victoria Findley Wolfe fabric in this quilt too.

Use the Stripology rulers to cut yardage into popular precut charm square sizes

Stripology rulers are available in several sizes and configurations. You can cut full-width fabric and fat quarters into the most popular pre-cuts on the market, 1½ and 2½ inch strips; 5 and 10 inch charm squares. There’s no math required — simply follow the easy-to-read markings: squares for 2 inch cuts, and stars for 1 in. cuts! Above, the Stripology Squared Ruler cutting 10 inch squares of batik.

Use the Stripology rulers to precisely cut your fabric for piecing.

The Clarissa quilt pattern by GE Designs

Above, Stripology XL Quilt Ruler lined up to cut strips from Art Excursion, New Life fabric designed by Denise Burkitt.

Shown here, the Clarissa quilt pattern, sewn with Wild Acres by Victoria Findley Wolfe fabric and a bit of Uppercase Volume 3. I used the Stripology Squared ruler, which includes markings to square up half-square triangles, quarter-square triangles, and blocks up to 12 inch. While Clarissa calls for assorted 10 inch square precuts (plus an accent fabric), one of the things I love about the Stripology Squared ruler is how easy and fast it is to cut precise charm squares out of any fabric you fancy!

The Lil’ Stella table runner pattern by GE Designs using a Jennifer Sampou Sky ombre paired with Atlantia by Studio RK;

Above, I pieced this Lil’ Stella table runner pattern using a Jennifer Sampou Sky ombre paired with Atlantia by Studio RK; the fabric to the right will be the backing.

Using Stripology ruler to cut fabric for the Lil’ Stella table runner pattern by GE Designs

Left, the Stripology Squared Mini Creative Grids Quilt Ruler cutting 5 inch squares of Atlantis for the Lil’ Stella pattern. Right, the ruler turned for cutting angles required by the pattern.

Precision piecing using a BERNINA with #97 Patchwork foot and the Sew Steady Grid Glider

Using my BERNINA with #97 Patchwork foot and the Sew Steady Grid Glider, combined with the accurate blocks cut by the Stripology rulers, makes precision piecing easy!

Below, I paired Kaffe Fassett fabrics with Designer Essentials: Tula Pink Solids, Fat Quarter Pack. Trinity’s triangular blocks are easily made from precut fabrics — 10 in. squares, 2-1/2 strips, or fat quarters — using the Stripology XL ruler.

Trinity Stripology Mixer Pattern by GE Designs sewn by Chris Vinh and machine quilted by Alexandra Lush Benson

This shop sample quilt was made using the Trinity Stripology Mixer Pattern by GE Designs, and beautifully machine quilted by Alexandra Lush Benson — detail below.

Detail of free motion machine quilting by Alexandra Lush Benson

Below, Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula made her niece Layla an Emma quilt for a Christmas 2019. Always known for her freeform blocks, now Judy also raves over the Stripology rulers!

Emma quilt by Judy Gula, a gift for her niece Layla

Below, Layla’s sister Celia also received a quilt from Aunt Judy — wonderful improv!

Improv quilt by Judy Gula, a gift for her niece Celia

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Block Selection for Beginning Quilting

Sampler quilt by Dudley Shugart of Artistic Artifacts

We asked Artistic Artifacts’ staff member and instructor Elizabeth “Dudley” Shugart to explain what skills are learned with her block choices for her Beginning Quilting class. (The next session begins February 1 at the shop — join us!) Thank you for your guest post, Dudley!

My goal in teaching beginner quilting is that a student learns the process of making a quilt from start to finish. Learning to quilt is like learning to write. That first quilt will be a sampler of learned techniques and will be beautiful, but likely not perfect. A true heirloom quilt can be made with additional practice and experience.

Cozy, a quilt project included in FreeSpirit Block Party

Cozy is a sampler project included in FreeSpirit Block Party — it features both the Solitaire and Compass quilt blocks that are taught in our beginning quilting class.

I have chosen the book FreeSpirit Block Party: 40 Quilt Blocks, 5 Samplers, 20 Modern Designers to use as our text and instruction manual and each student is required to purchase the book. Created as the result of a partnership between C&T Publishing and FreeSpirit Fabrics, this book features a number of their designers and a wonderful array of quilt blocks to choose from. My class is structured into four different sessions:

  • For the first class I choose three blocks for the students to make.
  • The second class additional techniques are taught, then the student chooses blocks they would like to make to add into their sampler quilt.
  • Session three is taking the blocks and putting them together in a quilt top.
  • The last class is preparing to machine quilt, start machine quilting and lessons in how to bind.

Image identifying the names of quilt blocks taught in class

After finishing all four sessions, each student has a completed quilt and can branch out into making more complex and interesting quilts.

The first block I selected is Derailed, contributed by Jane Sassaman. This block is and ideal one for teaching students how to rotary cut strips, as well as how to sew longer strips together, checking their sewing and seam allowances. Selecting three fabric that each student likes together is an easier decision for them to make before they move on to more complex blocks that require multiple fabric choices.

The second block I chose is Spun by Margot Elena. The reason for this selection is to introduce large squares and triangles. If you want your quilt to piece together so the top is flat, precision cutting is the key. We discuss how important grain and bias are while cutting squares and triangles. Students also learn pressing tips to make the intersections of the pieces go together so that the seams match.

Student from Artistic Artifacts' beginning quilting class taught by Dudley Shugart preparing her top for quilting

Previous student from Artistic Artifacts’ beginning quilting class taught by Dudley Shugart preparing her completed top for quilting

To finish out the first class I introduce the Solitaire Block, contibuted by Heather Bailey. We discuss fabric selection, as we have now moved on to a block with seven different fabrics. Cutting and pressing skills are also emphasized again.

Class two then brings on two more techniques as we construct two additional blocks, Snowbank by Denyse Schmidt and Compass by Sharon Thornton. While stitching the Snowbank block, I teach how to piece the triangle corner. The Compass block introduces the paper piecing technique.

I encourage students to let me know if they find a block they absolutely want to try within the classs structure. I am always happy to teach other techniques, tips and tricks as they make their sampler of blocks.

For my example quilt, I choose Corsage by Kerri Thomson and Sunset by Joel Dewberry (center of quilt) as the final blocks to complete my sampler. I choose Corsage to bring in more squares and triangles. (I wonder if anyone noticed my quilt is not perfect — I made the center a star. The flowered piece is pointing the wrong way. Oh my!)

Sunset was added after my daughter Ashley and I decided the quilt would look better with an odd number of blocks. I choose Sunset because it is one of my favorite blocks. In fact, as shown below I have made an entire quilt using this block only.

Quilt by Elizabeth (Dudley) Shugart using the Sunset block throughout.

I tell all of my students there is no such thing as the quilt police! But fair warning if you take any of my classes: my one and only rule is you must close your rotary cutter after each use!


Editor’s note: Did you know that all C&T Publishing proceeds from the sale of FreeSpirit Block Party go to Project Night Night? Project Night Night delivers 25,000 Night Night Packages each year to homeless children 12 and under. Each contains a new security blanket, an age- appropriate children’s book, and a stuffed animal — all nestled inside of a new canvas tote bag. The aim is to give children an increased exposure to high-quality literacy materials and a source of security during their time of upheaval.

Below, Neighbors, a quilt sampler project also included in FreeSpirit Block Party.

Neighbors, a sampler project included in FreeSpirit Block Party.

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Holiday Ephemera for You!

As long-time readers of this blog now, I periodically share items from my vintage ephemera collection for special holidays, and below is your December 2019 gift! Use these in a collage (my Holiday Paper vintage paper collage pack would combine beautifully with them) or to make your own cards or gift tags. Or how about printing them onto fabric to make a quilt or pillow, and more. Embellish your art with foils, embossing powders and more!

Vintage flocked Santa card image

This jolly Santa features a beautifully flocked red hat and suit, and the scan gives you a hint of that texture. Download high resolution image »

Vintage postcard of sledding children image

Looks like this trio was out gathering holly and a pine tree to deck the halls. I love the stitching that was added to the boys’ snowsuits. Download high resolution image »

And to celebrate the upcoming New Year, enjoy the following:

Vintage postcard celebrating New Year's Eve image

The subtle metallic gold in this vintage postcard scans as a flat block of color — add some shine with glitter or pearl powders to it when you use it! Download high resolution image »

Vintage postcard celebrating  the New Year image

Above, sweet children are enjoying a frozen pond as they wish you a Happy New Year. Download high resolution image »

As we reach the end of the year, I’m extending holiday greetings to you from all of us here at Artistic Artifacts. Thank you so much for your support and letting us share in your creativity!

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