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Janet Green’s Improv Quilt

We’ve been lucky to see this beautiful quilt coming together during Janet’s visits to Artistic Artifacts, and we thank her for sharing its story.

Inside Stories

Guest post by Janet Green

Janet Green with her improv quilt Inside Stories

“The year 2020 started out much like any other. In January, I had a new planner. In February, I took a quick trip to Florida to get a healthy dose of sand, sea and sun. The first week of March, I attended a much-anticipated Gees Bend Quilt Retreat, returning home on March 8. A week later, life as we knew turned upside and came to a screeching halt. Enter Covid-19. Stay at home. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Socially distance.

“Now in quarantine, I had to stop and think about everything I did: shopping for groceries, going to the doctor, attending Quilt Shows. But life went on. In late March, my beloved dog, Coco, began having seizures. Trips to the vet and pet ER meant hours in the parking lot, often at night, while we waited to hear from the doctors. In late April, sadly, I was allowed inside the facility to say goodbye to my fur baby.

“With all the thoughts and emotions vying for space in my head and heart, I went to my studio and stared at fabric. Batiks, hand-dyeds, bright colors, florals, geometrics, African and Australian. You name it, I had it. To keep from becoming overwhelmed by the choices, I just picked a little piece that I really liked. And I built a block around it. One 16-1/2-inch block.

Janet Green's favorite block from her Inside Stories quilt

“The next day, I did the same thing. Both blocks were the same size, just completely different. I had no plan in mind. I just knew that quilting is therapeutic for me. A block a day, a step at a time, to help heal my broken heart and manage the myriad of Covid-related emotions I was experiencing.

Block detail from Janet Green's quilt Inside Stories

“After 12 days I had 12 blocks. Each was unique. Each had at least one bright fabric which represented hope. I arranged and rearranged the blocks on my design wall and even reworked a few. Come July, I was finally satisfied.

Block detail from Janet Green's quilt Inside Stories

“When I shared pictures of my work in progress with a few of my quilting friends, I was surprised and pleased with their responses. Some saw different rooms, and some began to read the blocks as chapters in a book. They all talked about how they were intrigued as their eyes moved around the blocks. It was time to piece it all together and choose a border.

Block detail from Janet Green's quilt Inside Stories

“Artistic Artifacts to the rescue! Specifically, Ladder to Happiness, Step by Step, by Keiko Goke for Free Spirit. The colors, the geometrics and the fluidity of the design were simply perfect. [Editor’s note: Janet bought the last of this beautiful fabric, which you can see above — but we have lots more wonderful Modern Cottons for you!] Then came the final challenge: how do I quilt this? One block at a time, letting the fabrics dictate the design.

Block detail from Janet Green's quilt Inside Stories

“I must have used at least 50 different thread colors so the quilting would disappear yet still add texture. I also did some hand stitching for accent. Finally, I used the border fabric for the binding. My quilt finished at 63 in. by 75 in. I call it “Inside Stories.”

Block detail from Janet Green's quilt Inside Stories

“This year, on any given day, we have all been stuck inside. And we all have stories to tell. Stories that make us laugh, or cry, or give us pause to consider the things that really matter.

Block detail from Janet Green's quilt Inside Stories

“I captured some of my story in these blocks. My hope is that others, you, will see your stories in my quilt and that you will find joy in your own stories.

“Oh, by the way. In late May, we adopted a new fur baby, Zeus. But that’s another story!”

The completed Inside Stories improv quilt by Janet Green

Thank you for sharing your story, Janet! Above, the completed Inside Stories quilt by Janet Green, one of our favorite Creative Minds. View larger image »

________________

Janet often brings show & tell with her when she visits us at Artistic Artifacts, and we wanted to take this opportunity to show you some of her other work.

Janet Green with her pieced quilt featuring Australian fabrics

Above, from February of this year, Janet created this fun quilt she made using one of our 2 Yard Surprise Fabric Pack, which include a miscellaneous selection of our end of bolt pieces.

Janet Green's quilt top in progress, featuring Marcia Derse fabrics

Last fall Janet bought this quilt top in progress to the shop as she contemplated her borders.

Janet Green mixes fabrics she created in classes at Artistic Artifacts with Marcia Derse fabrics

When we shared Janet’s quilt on our Facebook page, we wrote that “We love to see what our customers do with the products they find at the shop and how they have used techniques they learned in a class. Love the use of a variety of Marcia Derse fabrics mixed with fabrics “made” in a class with Liz Kettle.” There are block prints, Thermofax screen prints, and fabric monoprints created using a gel printing plate from Janet’s stash that harmonize beautifully.

Improv blocks by Janet Green

Above, you can see how Janet loves to piece together improv block units!

Janet Green poses with her sister and the fiber portrait she created of her

In September 2018 we were happy to meet Janet’s sister on a visit here, “Check out this quilted portrait our customer Janet did of her sister!” we posted. “The details are wonderful, down to the hair. She laid a base of wool roving & added doll hair.” Janet gifted the fiber portrait to her sister, and what an amazing gift to receive!

Janet Green holds the batik panel quilt she completed after taking a Judy Gula class at Artistic Artifacts

In August 2018 Janet brought in her finished batik panel quilt, which had begun in a class with me. It’s beautiful!

Janet Green improv quilt embellished with wooden block prints

And above, Janet embellished prints that were made using wooden printing blocks during a class with me, featuring them in a beautiful nature scene atop another improv quilt.

I think you can see why we come running when Janet visits — she so often has something beautiful to show us, and it’s wonderful to feel we’re contributing to her creative journey with our fabric and other products. We love customer show & tell — tag our Facebook page and join our Artistic Artifacts Creative Minds Facebook group to #ShareonSat and inspire your fellow creative minds.

Our Urban Princesses!

I’ve asked Artistic Artifacts staffer Nancy McCarthy to share her experiences with the adorable Urban Princess pattern by Olive Ann Designs that we’ve just added to our website. Nancy was a home economics teacher with a specialty in clothing and textiles, so her expertise is invaluable.

Nancy McCarthy's granddaughters in their Urban Princess dresses

On Saturday, September 19 Nancy was featured for our regularly scheduled 9:30 am ET Facebook Live Videos! Watch our archived video as Nancy shared construction tips and techniques she applied to this pattern that can be translated to other garment construction that both beginning and experienced sewists will enjoy! (Plus there was a surprise sneak peek of some just arrived fabric that will soon be available on our website!

    Guest post by Nancy McCarthy

This super cute dress was a hit with my three- and four-year old granddaughters, pictured above! This pattern offers lots of design possibilities in terms of fabric choices and comes in children’s sizes 2-8. Urban Princess also includes a pattern for an 18 in. doll dress to match.

The Urban Princess pattern by Olive Ann Designs with the Tilda and Tula Pink fabric that Nancy McCarthy selected

My fabric choices for their dresses coordinate closely with their personalities, as you might imagine from the photos!

Nancy McCarthy's granddaughters in their Urban Princess dresses, showing the ruffled back

I lined the bodices and the gathered shoulder straps per the pattern, using fabric left from cutting the garment pieces. By the way, I didn’t realize when I chose the main dress fabrics that both are directional! Fortunately, the pattern layout in the pattern guide is for a directional layout.

This dress doesn’t use much fabric, especially the ruffles, so you certainly might be able to stitch your own with stash fabric left over from other projects.

The Urban Princess pattern by Olive Ann Designs

I want to share a couple of notes on the back of the dress — watch video

  1. The back bodice neckline and button opening are bias edges that I decided needed some interfacing for stability.
  2. The center back ruffle panel is created on a long, narrow base triangle (bias edges!) that fits into the two back pieces of the dress (more stretchy bias seams!) and the angle of the cutting line for the back pieces means that those pieces take a lot more fabric than might be expected. The end result is a cute swingy skirt that’s definitely worth it!

Editor’s Note: The Olive Ann Designs’ blog offers an update the Urban Princess pattern, an optional change to the top ruffle in the back that makes it less full and easier to sew.

More Fabric Postcards!

I want to share more of the beautiful fabric postcards (here’s how I make mine) that I’ve received this summer. Where does the time go? I apologize for being overdue on posting!

Fabric postcard by Joyce for Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

My offer is an ongoing one: send me a handmade fabric postcard and you’ll receive one in return: watch my Creative Clip for my challenge for those interested in trading! But remember, you must include your full name and especially your address so I can send you mine in return! I’m sad to report that I have had several instances where I can’t reciprocate for that reason. (Email me if you forgot to include your address!)

Fabric postcards by Joyce for Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Joyce said she had some fun with this challenge — and it shows, as she treated me with three! Her cute Collie Flower opened this post and above are her wonderful patchwork postcards.

Fabric postcard by Lee for Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Lee used beautiful batik fabrics and added lovely free motion quilting to embellish — the blues and greens are so refreshing to look at during this summer heat.

Fabric postcard by Sally for Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Another wonderful cool color combination of fabrics that were pieced and quilted by Sally.

Fabric postcard by Karen for Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Karen shares my love of fabric selvages! Don’t they make the best stripes? (Karen, if you’re reading, I need your last name and mailing address!)

Fabric postcard by Paula for Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Paula thanked me for “this inspiring challenge. I have made eight cards so far to share!” Happy to hear that Paula, and I bet your recipients are happy to find your postcards brightening their mailboxes!

Fabric postcard by Laura Jane for Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Laura Jane wrote that this “was a blast to create, even with my self-taught skills. During this crazy pandemic season, it was a creative path that offered a respite… thank you for your store and passion!”

First time fabric postcards by Susan, the top left was sent to Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Susan posted this photo on her Instagram page with the comment “I just finished my first free motion, quilted post cards thanks to coaching by Judy Gula at #ArtisticArtifacts. As with everything, I learned much that I’ll do differently next time. It was SO much fun. Instructions are online at AA’s blog.”
         One of these beauties made their way to me with this sweet message from her, “I will always be grateful to you for your support, your laughter and your willingness to encourage me to do things I think I can’t.” I love how her cyanotype fabrics look combined with rusted fabric and commercial cottons.

Fabric postcards by Betsy True

Ready for more inspiration? Betsy True used our #ShareonSat hashtag, posting to the Artistic Artifacts Creative Minds Facebook Group, that she had been “playing with fabric postcards using some of my Asian theme fabrics collected over the years; cutting elements out and collaging them onto more interesting backgrounds.”

Fabric postcards by Betsy True

This is such a great idea for large scale fabrics or fabric panels!

Paper collaged postcard by Linda for Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

And of course, you don’t have to use fabric. Linda created this embellished collaged postcard with paper and cardstock, but she’s also a talented fiber artist. “Thank you for keeping me supplied with fabric and thread,” Linda wrote, “and keeping me entertained online during the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020. I sure miss seeing you all!”

We miss seeing many of our customers and friends too, Linda. Fortunately social media allows us all to touch base with one another to check in and to share. If you aren’t already subscribed to our newsletter you may do so here. Please join our Creative Minds Facebook Group as well as visiting our store Facebook page, Instagram, and Pinterest boards. Plus our YouTube channel features video tutorials and more!

Additional fiber art received by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Summer Heat, Winter Ephemera!

As we celebrated Christmas in July and BERNINA Swissmas in July, I showed off some of my seasonal art quilts and ‘how to’ ideas for making gifts and décor, gift suggestions, technique demos and more during our Facebook Live videos. For those who missed them, or would like a rewatch, these videos are now archived on our Artistic Artifacts YouTube channel

Vintage ephemera shared by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

I’ve often shared vintage ephemera scans from my personal collection in the past, and am gathering these into one place for you. I hope they find their way into your own holiday projects! Above, Christmas Signpost/Luck — Download the high-resolution image »

In my latest Artistic Artifacts Creative Clip, I share some of the direct print and transfer products I use for the vintage photographs and imagery that make their way into my fiber and mixed media art! I hope you’ll find it a useful introduction to what these products can do, including Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) sold per 5 sheet and 18 sheet packs. Important note: Any ephemera that includes words must be printed as a reverse image so the words will read correctly once it is transferred. (And remember that earlier this year I shared a Creative Clip dedicated to TAP.)

Vintage ephemera shared by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Above, Birds Happy New Year — Download the high-resolution image »

Vintage ephemera shared by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

These winter scenes were originally handed out by Washington, DC merchants as collectible trade advertising. Fine Dry Goods — Download the high-resolution image »

Vintage ephemera shared by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

P.Grogan birds — Download the high-resolution image »

Vintage flocked Santa card image

The scan of this flocked Santa card gives you a hint of that texture — Download high resolution image »

Vintage postcard of sledding children image

I love the stitching that was added to the boys’ snowsuits — Download high resolution image »

Vintage postcard celebrating New Year's Eve image

The subtle metallic gold in this vintage postcard scans as flat color; add shine with glitter or pearl powders — Download high resolution image »

Vintage postcard celebrating  the New Year image

Sweet skaters wishing you a Happy New Year—Download high resolution image »

Vintage ephemera download offered by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Not specifically Christmas, but the red and green fit the color scheme: I’ve used these as the focal points of small art quilts. Red Leaf Lady — Download the high-resolution image »

Vintage ephemera download offered by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Green Leaf Lady — Download the high-resolution image »

Vintage image shared by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Vintage winter-themed illustrated poem — Download the high-resolution image »

Fabric Postcards Received: I’m Still Trading!

After sharing my process for making fabric postcards and offering to trade, I’ve had requests to share the results. Hope you enjoy seeing examples of what arrived in the mail (and a couple other artful cards) as much as I have!

postcard received from Lora in Texas

Above, received from Lora in Texas, who wrote that she has a “zillion” postcards piled up and was so happy to trade. She also noted that this is a photo of her from grade school in her Halloween costume! It’s a great example of prepared fabric products that can be used for text and photographs.

Postcard received from Sherry

Sherry in Florida mailed me this one. The colors and fabrics together are so charming.

Postcard from Ray

This postcard is from Ray — I love the little swirl!

Postcard from Peggy

This wonderful postcard received from Peggy in Texas is great reminder to smile each day. She also emailed me after receiving mine: “Judy, what a fun surprise today receive your beautiful postcard. Am so happy mine arrived to you also… yours gives me much inspiration.
FYI, I’m the Membership Chairman for the Fiber Artists of San Antonio and just found out that one of our members, Carmen Goyette, used to frequent your shop when she lived in your area.” Carmen was a member of JAMs and everyone still misses her — turns out it’s a small world!

Peggy continued: “I was telling our group about your postcard exchange and we may be doing that amongst our members… we still can’t meet in person, but always fun to get mail. Before I found out about your exchange, I had just mailed out about 75 postcards to my family. friends, bead group friends and others.” Great job, Peggy!

Postcard from Suzanne

Suzanne Langsdorf, a favorite local Creative Mind that we miss seeing, made a star out of our WB174 Left Facing Scaled Fish Wood Block — plus I recognize other block prints in her embellished fabric collage postcard. While the other postcards featured here arrived as-is through the mail, as shown here, Suzanne handmade the envelope for hers.

Chris stitching in front of the postcard I sent her

When I wrote the original blog post, I mailed postcards to my staff and the volunteers who have helped keep us going during this pandemic. I was pleased to see Chris Vinh included my fabric postcard to her in her recent post about beginning to stitch on her new Sashiko cloth.

Postcard from Maureen

While not mailed to me, Maureen Erhardt did post this wonderful example to Facebook — she wrote that it was the result of “A black and white challenge with my sisters.”

Reverse of postcard from Maureen

Maureen included a photo of the back side of the postcard, which is pure art too!

Collaged card by Jocelyn Corderot

Not a postcard, but since I’m counting other mail art here: this #ShareonSat to our Artistic Artifacts Creative Minds Facebook group was posted by Sharon McDonagh, who was spurred by my blog: “This is a gorgeous mixed media collage card made for me by Jocelyn Corderot. I can attest to what a day-brightener a homemade card can be!”


A homemade card by Diane Mularz, who posted it responding to a recent #ShareonSat that asked for artwork with birds after the great response we had with our fish theme.

So my offer is still good: send me a handmade fabric postcard and you’ll receive one in return: watch my Creative Clip for my challenge for those interested in trading!

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