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Ephemera to Share

Vintage image shared by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

We hope you are enjoying the winter holidays and looking forward to a Happy New Year! As mentioned in today’s Artistic Artifacts newsletter (subscribe here if you aren’t receiving it — you’ll get info on new products, sales, tutorials, coupon codes and more) we are sharing the above vintage poem for you. Download the high-resolution image »

And for those who might have missed these the first time we shared them, you may also download these beautiful images from Judy’s vintage ephemera collection. Click on the desired image below to bring up the larger version, and save that to your computer.

Vintage ephemera download offered by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

The images above and below have been previously used by Judy as the focal points of small art quilts you can see on display in the shop.

Vintage ephemera download offered by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Shibori Guest Post: Cathy Ward

We received the following email from Cathy Ward: “I am very excited about the indigo class on Saturday! I went back to look at my blog post on when I visited the town in Japan that is famous for their shibori and I thought you might enjoy.” Well, we did — so much so we asked for her permission to “guest blog” for us, and she agreed. Thank you so much for sharing the experience and your beautiful photos with us, Cathy!

Streetscape from the town of Arimatsu, Japan. Photo by Cathy Ward

Arimatsu & Shibori

by Cathy Ward — ma vie trouvée (My found life: Traveling, eating, and creating art!)

The quaint town of Arimatsu is one of the most famous locations for shibori in Japan. I had read about it, so three of us “trailing spouses” hopped on the local train and headed about forty-five minutes outside of Nagoya for a visit. Eight families settled the town in 1608 and they have been creating this type of fabric ever since.

Shibori fabric scraps purchased in Arimatsu, Japan. Photo by Cathy Ward

Shibori is the Japanese word for the different ways of embellishing textiles by binding, stitching, folding, or twisting and securing it with string before dyeing – basically a form of tie-dyeing. The fabrics shown here are scraps I bought created in this style.

In Japan, the earliest known example of cloth dyed with the shibori method dates back to the 8th century.

Shibori was originally an art of the poor. People could not afford to buy new clothing, so they would repair and dye their old clothing using the shibori technique. The intricate pattern hid stains well, as in the example pictured below.

Shibori fabric detail. (Photo by Cathy Ward)

Eventually it became a technique of the rich, as a way to decorate the silk used for kimonos. There is a wonderful little museum in the town, Arimatsu-Narumi Shiborikaikan, where you can watch women creating many of the complex designs.

The basic technique of shibori is to draw a design on a piece of fabric (usually silk or cotton), then tie very tight knots with thread around points of the fabric. These women are so skilled they no longer need a pattern.

Shibori techniques demonstrated at the Arimatsu-Narumi Shiborikaikan museum in Japan (Photo by Cathy Ward)

Which technique is used in shibori depends not only on the desired pattern, but the characteristics of the cloth being dyed. Also, different techniques can be used in conjunction with one another to achieve even more elaborate results.

Shibori tied fabric ready to be dyed.  (Photo by Cathy Ward)
A completed example of shibori. (Photo by Cathy Ward)

I can’t image the time it takes to create one piece of material. Above is what it looks like just before dyeing…

Since the dye does not penetrate the knots, when they are untied there is a pattern of dyed and un-dyed areas. The fabric pictured at right is similar the pattern she was making.

These women were not young to be sitting all day in what is called “seiza position” (literally “proper sitting”) while they worked.

Shibori techniques demonstrated at the Arimatsu-Narumi Shiborikaikan museum in Japan (Photo by Cathy Ward)

Pictured above, this woman is actually folding the material in a fan pattern before wrapping the thread around it. See the water bottle? She sprayed the fabric periodically, probably making it easier to fold.

Result of fan folding and wrapping shibori technique. (Photo by Cathy Ward)

Her fabric will turn out like the one pictured above They did not speak English, but were able to communicate through their art. We also saw a video on the process, which was in English and very helpful.

Here are a few samples of different fabric in the museum. Indigo blue with white is the most traditional color, but today it is made in many of colors.

Indigo samples from the Arimatsu-Narumi Shiborikaikan museum in Japan. (Photo by Cathy Ward)
Indigo samples from the Arimatsu-Narumi Shiborikaikan museum in Japan. (Photo by Cathy Ward)
Indigo samples from the Arimatsu-Narumi Shiborikaikan museum in Japan. (Photo by Cathy Ward)
Indigo samples from the Arimatsu-Narumi Shiborikaikan museum in Japan. (Photo by Cathy Ward)

Pictured below is a scarf I bought — love the colors and the texture. It was made from linen, not silk.

Shibori scarf. (Photo by Cathy Ward)
Shibori fabric scraps. (Photo by Cathy Ward)

Pictured above are more scraps I bought. You know me, always collecting!

Shibori fabric scraps arranged into the start of fabric collages by Cathy Ward. (Photo by Cathy Ward)

I am starting to see collages with the scraps I purchased!

My last item to share is pictured below: a small purse I purchased that was made from some of the shibori fabric. This is the style they carry with kimonos.

Purse sewn from shibori fabric.  (Photo by Cathy Ward)

I hope this post inspires you — maybe you can wrap and dye some fabric using this special technique and see what you come up with. And be sure to share it with me!

Folded Fabric Tree

Folded fabric tree by Julie Middleton of Artistic Artifacts
Art Gallery Fabrics fabric tree project

My sister Julie Middleton made the above pictured Folded Fabric Tree. She was inspired by the Holiday Decorating 101- Decorate like a Pro post earlier this month on the Art Gallery Fabric blog.

It included 6 free patterns and ideas for holiday decorating — although the Divided Organizer Caddy project is a great year round idea! Julie fell in love with #4, the fabric Christmas tree (Art Gallery version pictured right).

Blog author Meli wrote, “Wanna take a break from sewing? Try making a fabric Christmas tree by following this fun folding and pinning method. I love how professional all the folded clean edges look. Add your tree to the center of your table to make the most darling centerpiece!” View their easy video tutorial below.

We love the beautiful modern cottons by Art Gallery Fabrics — you can see our in-store quilt using many of the colors of their Squared Elements line in the background of the above photo. Julie used a variety of fabrics (detail pictured below), including selections from our Black and White Fabrics section — including Australian Aborigine designed prints and our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik such as Folklife-Paisley Leaves Mystic.

Detail, Folded fabric tree by Julie Middleton of Artistic Artifacts

Instead of creating a star, Julie topped her tree with a vintage spool of thread. This might be a fun project to do as a group as you gather with friends and family this holiday season — many hands would make light work of cutting and folding the fabric squares to create the tree. You can match any decor and vary the size: how about a grouping of trees gracing your mantel or tabletop?

Art Gallery Fabrics is also offering a free download of cute gift tags inspired by some of their fabric collections for those doing last minute gift wrapping.

Happy Holidays to all!

Block Printed Projects in Martha Stewart Living!

cover of Martha Stewart Living, November 2016

We’re so excited to be featured in the November 2016 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine!

We were contacted earlier this year (magazines have such long lead times to production) and were delighted with the end result and seeing our wooden printing blocks and textile paints used in such a beautiful way!

The magazine reads, “Block printed linenas are costly to buy, but surprisingly simple to make. With little more than textile paint, muslin fabric, and woodblock stamps, a personalized setting is close at hand. We went with a botanical motif, but choose whatever appeals to you.”

Artistic Artifacts wooden printing blocks and textile paints used in a Martha Stewart Living project, November 2016

Artistic Artifacts wooden printing blocks and textile paints used in a Martha Stewart Living project, November 2016

Artistic Artifacts wooden printing blocks and textile paints used in a Martha Stewart Living project, November 2016
Source attribution, Martha Stewart Living magazine, November 2016

Project designers Silke Stoddard and Tanya Graff used a palette of our Transparent Textile Paint in 15 Colonial Gold, 45 True Blue and 403 Indigo. These paints have a thick, pudding-like consistency, making them ideal for block printing. They used our foam printing mats to ensure the best prints, and printed on muslin (see sources, right)…and here’s a tip for you: we sell Nature’s Way™ by Roc-lon® muslin at just $4.00 a yard!

Blocks used in the magazine project, which includes instructions, are:

Pick up your copy of the November 2016 Martha Stewart Living to share in our “grateful spread” as well as for the usual wonderful recipes, decorating ideas and more. For our own tips on block printing, please see:

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

Hello from Quilt Market in Salt Lake City!

Artistic Artifacts booth at Spring 2016 Quilt Market in Salt Lake City, UT

Artistic Artifacts presents during the Schoolhouse SeriesI’m at Quilt Market in Salt Lake City! Above is a view of one of the Artistic Artifacts’ booth walls, featuring our gorgeous Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik and a handpainted batik panel by Mahyar.

I was able to post some set-up shots on the Artistic Artifacts’s Facebook page, but once it all gets started, you simply get too busy to keep up… check out the show’s Instagram feed for some serious eye candy!

I was proud that my topic, Hand-Drawn Batik Panels was accepted for the International Quilt Market’s popular Schoolhouse Series! The Schoolhouse Series took place on Thursday, the day before Market opens, and  is a forum for manufacturers, publishers, and retailers to present new products, techniques, and books to quilt shop owners throughout the world.

 Mahyar Cats in the City art quilt by Christine Vinh

The above quilt by Christine Vinh of StitchesnQuilts was completed in time for me to use it at Market as an example of how our Batik Panels, handcrafted by many of Indonesia’s finest batik artists, can be used  in art or traditional quilts, or any form of fiber art. Because we’ve learned that many of our customers are afraid to cut into or sew the panel they’ve fallen in love with, I’ve scheduled Create a Batik Panel Art Quilt for Saturday, May 28. I need a few more registrants to ensure this class running, so I hope some of you will plan to join me!

Valori Wells’s booth at Spring Quilt Market 2016

Here’s a sneak peek of a beautiful new fabric line that Artistic Artifacts will be carrying…but we ALL have to wait until this fall to receive it. I fell instantly in love with Marks by acclaimed  quilter, author, fabric and pattern designer Valori Wells, collaborating with her mother Jean. Marks is her new line for Robert Kaufman Fabrics. which notes “the designs are a combination of their love of block printing and textiles.” Block printing…so no wonder I fell in love, right?

Marks fabrics in the Indigo colorway, designed by Valori Wells for Robert Kaufman Fabrics

It’s going to be a tough wait! Below is Valori’s “Plus Mob” quilt.

Plus Mob quilt by Valori Wells at Spring Quilt Market 2016

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