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Museum Visits Always Inspire!

Cleveland Museum of Art, first floor diagram

One of my favorite family traditions is that whenever we have the opportunity, and especially when we travel, we visit a museum. Over the Thanksgiving holiday we visited family who live in Cleveland, Ohio, so for this trip we went to the “newly” renovated Cleveland Museum of Art.

The renovations over the years (see the level one diagram here from their visitor guide) created a ‘square’ with its original building forming one side. The wings and galleries all house different art forms and eras. The museum has a wonderful gift shop and Café. As you can see from this layout, the Atrium is very large. Even though it was a holiday weekend I did not feel squished!

Texture inspiration from the Cleveland Museum of Art

I love to take photographs of patterns, colors and textures, and then try to translate that inspiration to fiber. (I haven’t moved past the first step of taking the photos from this trip so far!) With this blog post I’m sharing with you some of my favorites… my challenge to you is to translate them to your art medium. If you do, please share! With the images above and below, I can visualize using Baked Textures Embossing Powder by Seth Apter to create an inspiration piece.

Texture inspiration from the Cleveland Museum of Art
Texture inspiration from the Cleveland Museum of Art

There was also a special exhibit with many products from the William Morris: Designing an Earthly Paradise exhibit open at the time.

William Morris design from the Cleveland Museum of Art
William Morris design from the Cleveland Museum of Art
William Morris design from the Cleveland Museum of Art
William Morris design from the Cleveland Museum of Art
William Morris design from the Cleveland Museum of Art
William Morris design from the Cleveland Museum of Art

I was surprised to find beautiful lace items included in the museum, found in the original building:

Handmade lace designs from the Cleveland Museum of Art
Handmade lace designs from the Cleveland Museum of Art
Handmade lace collar/bib from the Cleveland Museum of Art

I’m including a photo of the sign that introduces the lace exhibit — beautifully expressed information! Artistic Artifacts hosts the “Doily Madisons” on the first Saturday of the month, the Washington, DC study group of the Chesapeake Region Lace Guild — it’s amazing to watch them tatting.

Exhibit sign describing lace from the Cleveland Museum of Art

Using ATCs on Greeting Cards

Greeting cards by Judy Gula using woven fabric strips and Artist Trading Cards
Inspirational ATC about gratefulness

It’s the time of year greeting cards, and my most recent blog post reviewed Block Printed Holiday Cards (plus, see a new photo below). And I’ve previously written about weaving paper strips to use as the base of embellished cards … as a former weaver, it’s a technique I return to time and time again. After completing and trimming several quilting projects, I had a pile of thin fabric strips… and of course, rather than toss them, I was inspired to use them.

Yes, back to the weaving, and back to making cards… one of my favorite art pastimes! This variation found me using some of my many collected Artist Trading Cards, (ATCs) as the focal point of my cards (examples pictured above). We have an ongoing trade at every Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs) meeting at Artistic Artifacts, and I’ve collected many over the years through the mail, art groups, etc. While working through my collection to refresh my ATC display carousel, I was inspired to put some these beautiful bits by talented fiber and mixed media artists back out into the world via handmade greeting cards!

Joy greeting card by Judy Gula using woven fabric strips and Artist Trading Cards

Sometimes I plan a color theme from my strips, as in the example above, which includes several of our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik fabrics.

Inspire greeting card by Judy Gula using woven fabric strips and Artist Trading Cards

The above ATC paired beautifully with strips from the Carrie Blomston “Wonder” fabric line, available in our Modern Cottons section.

Materials to craft greeting cards using woven fabric strips and Artist Trading Cards

Above, looks like I’ve got the makings of some holiday cards ready!

Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) collected by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

ATCs are wonderful little bits of art to trade and amass. Whether stitched from fabric and trims or crafted from paper and paint, it’s amazing to see how people use the 2.5 inch x 3.5 inch space to express themselves.

Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) collected by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

P.S. I promised you a new photo of block printed cards… allow me to brag on my talented niece Celia Middleton. While manning our make & take table at our Annual Open House and teaching visitors to block print, she embellished her print examples with the most wonderful sketching and made some gift tags too (below).

Block printed cards with sketching created by Celia Middleton

Revisited: Dye. Layer. Collage. Art.

I’m doing some springtime travel: presenting my Batik Adventure lecture and trunk show to the Colorado Quilting Council on Saturday, April 28, and also teaching my Woodblock Printed Collage Art Quilt for the group on Sunday, April 29. (FYI, this class will also take place May 19 at Artistic Artifacts.)

Lady with Brooch mixed media art quilt by Judy Gula

The workshop will take place at the Cottonwood Center for the Arts, in Colorado Springs, also home to Textiles West and my oft-mentioned friends Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution and Ruth Chandler, who are both are on the Textiles West board. I’m reminded of a Colorado visit nearly eight years ago, teaching a class titled Dye. Layer. Collage. Art. at a Textile Evolution Retreat. The quilt I made there is pictured above, my “Lady with Brooch.”

Art and inspiration are timeless, so while my original blog post about this 2010 event is no longer available, I wanted to share again, this time including additional photos taken by Liz.

Dyeing fabric in Colorado, Textile Evolution Retreat 2010The first day of class we were immersed in making what I called “bits,” the base materials for our creations. We began with dyeing fabrics, vintage linens, trims and more. In the high-altitude Colorado climate, we could dye in jars, set out in the sun for three hours, rinse and line dry, and use in our quilts — all in the same day! (While the process is not that speedy on the East Coast, I have several Dye Days on the schedule now that the weather is warming.)

Show and TeJl at Textile Evolution Retreat 2010Day one also found us using fabric, tissue paper and paints to create fabric paper. You can download Making Fabric from Paper by Beryl Taylor, a PDF tutorial from the Cloth Paper Scissors blog to learn how youreself. During the retreat we would finish out each day with show and tell, and in this photo (right) you can see finished sheets of fabric paper and piles of hand-dyed fabric being passed around. It was fun to see what students in the other classes were up to each day!

Judy Gula demonstrating making silk paper at Textile Evolution Retreat 2010

In addition to the daytime classes, each evening the instructors would take turns doing another fiber arts related demonstration and hands-on activity. Pictured above, I demonstrated making silk paper using silk fibers, Angelina, Jo Sonja Textile Medium and more, adding to our stash of bits to use. (View my tutorial on creating silk paper on the Artistic Artifacts website)

Lady with Brooch art quilt by Judy Gula, detail

The 'bits' used in  the Dye. Layer. Collage. Art class by Judy Gula at Textile Evolution Retreat 2010The above detail photo of my Lady with Brooch quilt shows some of the fabric paper and dyed trims, as well as the vintage brooch referenced in my title.

The second day of class, my students had a choice of continuing to make bits (a glimpse of which are pictured right; including some of the student work begun), or to immediately start in on designing their quilts. They had to do so without pencil, paper, or preplanning — just letting the materials speak to them.

This was scary for all, but thanks to Cass Mullane and Laura Cater-Woods, every retreat attendee was issued a ‘permission slip’ to try something scary!

Students beginning to design their collaged art quilts

By beginning with an inspiration item such as a pin, photo or found object, they all were able to create a small art quilt that could be easily finished (if necessary) after the retreat concluded. Above you can see students beginning to experiment with layering fabrics and textiles to find the design they wanted to complete.

Student work from Dye. Layer. Collage. Art class by Judy Gula at Textile Evolution Retreat 2010

I was very proud of my students — they all stepped into the scary land of intuitive designing! Unfortunately I didn’t capture all of the work, but they all did a fabulous job. Above and below, student work experimenting with possible layouts.

Student work from Dye. Layer. Collage. Art class by Judy Gula at Textile Evolution Retreat 2010

Below, Cathleen “Cat” Mikkelson’s collage composition.

Cat Mikkelson’s student work from Dye. Layer. Collage. Art class by Judy Gula at Textile Evolution Retreat 2010

Cat’s inspiration was a “Famous Woman Card” that was included in the retreat Goodie Bag and her newly dyed fabrics.

Ruth Chandler at work designing her fiber collage art quilts

Above, Ruth Chandler at work composing two different pieces.

Ruth Chandler’s student work from Dye. Layer. Collage. Art class by Judy Gula at Textile Evolution Retreat 2010

The beginning of another piece by Ruth Chandler from Dye. Layer. Collage. Art class by Judy GulaRuth’s inspiration was the beautiful dyed and surface designed fabric she created combined with the photo, one of many I brought with me for student use.

Here you see more of Ruth’s fabric, but for this piece, the inspiration was a 12 in. × 12 in. piece of scrapbooking paper! Other Artists who taught at Textile Evolution Retreat 2010 were Laura Cater-Woods, a wonderful art coach, artist and friend and Carol Sloan.

This was the first time I had met Carol and I wrote then that she was “a new friend who draws wonderful designs, creates very cool rusted fabrics and loves found objects… wonder why we get along!”

My mother Pat Vincentz accompanied me on the trip to the retreat. While I was busy teaching, she took Carol’s two-day mixed media class Scraps, Fragments and Artifacts. She enjoyed herself, met new friends and then surprised me with the most wonderful quilt ever!

There was a photo of me and my mom holding it, me sweaty and sobbing. With my first blog post, I wrote that my readers were to “Keep in mind this quilt was a surprise and I was crying like a baby! I also had been working outside in 90 degree sunshine…you are supposed to be looking at the quilt!” This time around, I’m going to spare myself that embarrassment and just post the beautiful keepsake.

Pat Vincentz student work from Scraps, Fragments and Artifacts by Carol Sloan at Textile Evolution Retreat 2010

You can see my mom used some of Carol’s rust dyed fabric in her quilt. I used a wonderful piece too in my quilt; the detail photo below shows it as well as the free motion thread painting/quilting I used. I now sell my own Rusted Fabric Collage Pack — it adds such a great touch to fiber projects!

Lady with Brooch art quilt by Judy Gula, detail

I hope you’ve enjoyed this walk down memory lane and are inspired to create your own art quilt!

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!

Artistic Artifacts at the Play Therapy Conference

Artistic Artifacts merchandise at the Play Therapy Training Institute conference

Artistic Artifacts is back this weekend with the Mid-Atlantic Play Therapy Training Institute, taking place this weekend (June 10-12) at the Crystal City Marriott. Highlighting the use of the Creative Arts, this is a continuing education opportunity for play therapists, arts educators, psychologists, social workers, counselors and more. The goals of the training institute are to introduce leading-edge play therapy strategies; explore best-practices in working with children and their families and demonstrate the value of integrating expressive arts and other approaches.

Artistic Artifacts merchandise at the Play Therapy Training Institute conference
Artistic Artifacts merchandise at the Play Therapy Training Institute conference
Selecting fabric to use in the creation of an ATC

Those that dedicate themselves to this rewarding work are usually artists themselves, so each year we bring in a sampling of our fiber and mixed media supplies for them, like the creative books, Sandra Evertson’s Relics & Artifacts (new designs coming this week in our enewsletter!) wooden printing blocks, Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plates and more in the photos above.

But we’re probably best known for setting up a creative workstation where attendees can create Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) while experimenting with various pens and ink pads, Gelatos, surface design techniques and more.

Lani Gerity Glanville is an artist/art therapist/writer/puppetmaker from Nova Scotia. She posted the image below on Facebook earlier this year, writing, “I’m working on the Zine for participants of my workshop at the Mid-Atlantic Play Therapy Training Institute.” Her class at the conference was titled: Master Class Visual Art Journaling for Teens & Adults in Treatment: Creative, Messy, Contained, a day long session to demonstrate to practitioners, “a way to present art journaling in your therapy groups or in individual work. We will be using simple office supplies and collage materials to create journals and then using a variety of ‘directives’ we will explore art journaling as a way of building strength, resiliency, and self-care.”

Collage art by Lani Gerity Glanville for Visual Art Journaling for Teens & Adults in Treatment: Creative, Messy, Contained at Fourth Annual Mid-Atlantic Play Therapy Training Institute

Collage art by Lani Gerity Glanville for Visual Art Journaling for Teens & Adults in Treatment: Creative, Messy, Contained at Fourth Annual Mid-Atlantic Play Therapy Training Institute

Lani has several beautiful websites! In writing about her preparation this class, she notes, “Over the past few years, I’ve been creating and posting morning pages every day on FaceBook and my blog, 14 Secrets for a Happy Artist’s Life. Here’s what I have learned so far.”

  • If you practice something every day, you get better at it.
  • If you practice something which encourages thought and reflection every day, you become more thoughtful.
  • If you practice something which makes you happy every day, you get happier every day.

This is certainly sound advice for anyone!

Making ATCs at the Play Therapy Training Institute conference

Above, an attendee at the conference uses a Pearl Pen to accent her ATC.

Also from Lani, we were also struck by this statement:

“As a student, I used to wonder why Edith Kramer, art therapy pioneer, repeatedly encouraged us to create art every day. She also encouraged us to keep a journal for things we were learning, for the ideas and questions that come to us. She suggested that these activities, if engaged in fully, would help us grow into our best selves, that we would be able to see our strengths and resilience unfold. There are a lot of intrinsic rewards built into utilizing our inner strengths, and nothing that promotes freedom, independence, and a sense of self worth better than the realization that we have the power to create our own inner satisfaction and intrinsic rewards.”

Left, creating ATCs at the Play Therapy Institute, right, close-up of ATC by Kelsey Grandy

Left, creating ATCs at the Play Therapy Institute, right, close-up of ATC by Kelsey Grandy, Artistic Artifacts volunteer.

Keep on creating art everyday!

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