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Artistic Artifacts Gift Guide

Wooden printing blocks with Artistic Artifacts textile paint

Ideas for the Creative Minds on Your List!

We have put together this list of Creative Finds to help you with your gift buying or to use for your Holiday Wish List to share with those who say “I never know what to get you.”
Fiber and mixed media books at Artistic Artifacts

We’ve included some specific items as well as some suggested collections for the creative person on your list. Hope this helps and we encourage you to shop and ship early this year to avoid the delays and disappointments we all experienced last year.

A good start for almost anyone on your list is a fiber or mixed media book filled with inspiration and/or new ideas and techniques. We recently received a number of beautiful titles that would make wonderful gifts. A few suggestions include: Creativity Through Nature by Anne Blockley, Embroidering the Everyday by Cas Holmes or Textile Travels by Anne Kelly.

Another beautiful book is Quarantine Quilts: Creativity in the Midst of Chaos by Sandra Sider. These visual and personal stories of concerns, despair, and ideas give us a fascinating perspective and can help connect our own experiences with pandemic to the larger world of creativity.

Gift suggestions for hand-stitchers

WonderFil Specialty Threads themed thread packs

Do you have someone on your list who enjoys the process of slow stitching – whether it be embroidery, Sashiko, visible mending, or stitch meditations? Here are a few ideas, pictured above, you might want to check out for them (again, books are always a good idea, and we have a number of titles specifically about Sashiko and visible mending). We have curated ‘Treasure Boxes’ that would be a fun surprise, full of bits of fabrics, threads and ephemera. These can be found in our Fabric & Textile Packages section, which also contains curated fabrics pieces themed by type, boro and stitch meditation scrap packs and more. Always wonderful additions to a fabric stash are our Inspiration Packs, hand dyed found textiles (napkins, damask, trims, doilies, etc.) and fibers bundled with overdyed woven cotton prints and solids. Each is unique!

Handpainted Painter's Threads products, imported from Germany.

And of course, you can’t stitch without thread! We have a large selection of Eleganza thread in three different weights. This gorgeous hand-stitching thread from WonderFil Specialty Threads is also available in color-themed packs that recipients would love!

Artistic Artifacts has long been known as a source for the hand-painted and space-dyed Painter’s Threads products, imported from Germany. Formerly known as Tentakulum, these threads, trims and more are created from silk, cotton, wool, rayon and metallic materials in amazing colorways. A dream to stitch with!

Sashiko Stitching cloth example with Sashiko thread and needles

For someone just starting in hand stitching, we would suggest a bundle of items for them that you might want to put into our Indian Handmade Paper Boxes in large and small sizes: just put a bow on it and your gift is ready! You might add a Sashiko patterned cloth and a Sashiko Handy Pocket Guide; Sashiko Threads and needles by hidimari — or take a look at the huge selection of Tulip Needles for hand-stitching artists — and Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Scissors or the Tula Pink 5 in. Curved EZ Snip.

Products for art journaling at Artistic Artifacts

An art journal in progress by Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula

Maybe your friend or family member has found Creative Journaling… if so, we have lots of ideas for them, as pictured above! With a New Year ahead, a blank journal is a good starting place. We have a selection of sizes in our Indian Handmade Paper Journals as well as a variety of other journals for art journalists. We have a large selection of Ink, Pens and Markers to journal with; creamy Gelatos by Faber-Castell give you vivid color and blend with water or can be used to tint acrylic mediums. Decorate the pages with collages created from our Found Papers & Collage Packs. Stencils and rubber stamps are always favorites — and don’t forget ink pads!

Products and tools to create mixed media art, all available at Artistic Artifacts.

How about for someone exploring Mixed Media Art? You’ve come to the right place! Seen above, we have curated Mixed Media Treasure Boxes all ready for you: boxed in a vintage cigar box and ready to give! For those who’d like to create their own bundle, fun products would include: a Gel Press Printing Plate, some Artistic Artifacts Paints, Wooden Printing Blocks (our themed multi-block sets are great gifts) with the foam pad that ensures great prints. Mixed media artists love our selection of Stamperia Rice Paper, while a perfect way to add sparkle and shine to cards, mixed media art — even fabric — are gorgeous Foil Transfer Sheets.

Artistic Artifacts has lots to inspire sewing and quilting enthusiasts!
Handy Pocket Guides are available on a variety of topics, sized to take along when shopping for supplies

And let’s not forget our Sewing and Quilting enthusiasts! The possibilities are endless but we’ll try to give you some ideas. Again, our Book & Magazine Section has a great selection of options for anyone who sews and/or quilts. Our Handy Pocket Guides are available on a variety of topics and make great stocking stuffers; perfectly sized to take along when shopping for supplies or attending a quilting class or retreat. Our Sewing, Quilting Tools & Accessories section listed in our Notions category is a great resource for useful products and tools. Another great combo gift – a hand-drawn artisan batik panel with a copy of Colorful Batik Panel Quilts. You could also choose a complete batik panel quilt kit which includes a panel, complementary fabric and the book

If you are still stumped after all these suggestions, you can always give an Artistic Artifacts Gift Certificate and let your favorite creative mind pick out their choice of our creative finds!

We hope this Creative Gift Guide has made your gift giving a bit easier and who knows, you made even be inspired to try a few of these items for yourself! Again, we encourage you to shop and ship early this year!

TAP Fragment Dolls

Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts films a video sharing the Fragment Doll project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley
The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

We were happy to be a part of The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley Instagram book tour for — our ‘stop’ was Thursday, April 22! Visit our Instagram page for our video post of how this new guide inspired our latest Transfer Artist Paper projects! Commenters there were eligible to win a free ebook version of this Ultimate Guide, specific to the new TAP formulation with many new techniques and project ideas: our randomly selected winner was Gerri Congdon — congratulations Gerri!

There was a new prize drawing for each stop. The Transfer Artist Paper Instagram Book Tour participating artists were:

We were inspired by Lesley’s ‘Fragment Dolls’, one of the projects in the book. It was coincidental timing since our Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs) group (meeting via Zoom during the pandemic) had issued a Spirit Doll challenge — we’ll be sharing those results soon!

Judy Gula Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Above, my first doll. I used TAP to transfer the vintage photograph and lots of scraps, stitching and embellishments to complete her. Of course I dug out my beads and our leaf vine ribbon was perfect for her. I really enjoyed spending time with this project! I have another one in progress:

Judy Gula in progress Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

In our video I explain the vintage jewelry piece you see — I’ve glued it to a small piece of Ultra Suede, which will give me a surface I can stitch so I can add the brooch later by trimming and stitching. This is one of my favorite tricks to incorporate jewelry or found objects.

Chris Vinh Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Above, Chris Vinh of StitchesnQuilts shared her beautiful doll during our April 18 JAMs Zoom call. I was delighted to see that she had reduced a photograph of one of her batik panels by Mahyar to use as her face! Chris shows us that Eyelash Silk, one of the products by Painter’s Threads (formerly known as Tentakulum) makes perfect hair for an art doll! She also used the handpainted pearl cotton from Painter’s Threads for stitching and French knots on her Fragment doll.

Chris Vinh Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Chris also enjoyed this project and created another gorgeous doll using hand dyed silk fabrics accented with her hand stitching — this time using Eleganza variegated perle cotton by WonderFil Specialty Threads. You can see a bit of a line in the face — she transferred her TAP onto silk, and the silk had a slub thread. Lesley makes the point in her book that the TAP is very sensitive and any bit of unevenness in your surface can show. I love it for the vintage feel it gives. In her IG book tour post, Liz Kettle even mentions trying to intentionally distress a TAP transfer to get that worn feel.

Sharon McDonagh Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Sharon McDonagh of our shop was eager to explore TAP’s ability to take a variety of art media to add color, whether paint, inks, etc. She printed her TAP transfers out (remember, inkjet printers only) in just black and white, and then added color using her favorite product, Gelatos by Faber-Castell and loved the results! She also ‘dyed’ her mermaid’s cheesecloth wrap with Gelatos — visit our YouTube channel for her method and more in Using Gelatos. (Note Sharon’s doll was stitched but not turned due to its design; she painted the visible white edges with blue acrylic paint.)

Sharon McDonagh Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

For her Sun doll, she transferred onto yellow cloth, and so just added a touch of orange Gelatos to the checks and the rays, with a blend of red. She loves uses small pieces of our Web Weave Ribbon for texture in fabric collage and mixed media.

Some of the supplies available at Artistic Artifacts used to create our Fragment Dolls

Our Fragment Dolls are all fabric, but TAP can be used on many substrates — Lesley’s new book includes instructions on transferring onto canvas, metal, mica and more. In addition to the book and TAP itself, we have so many wonderful supplies for fiber and mixed media art: our Inspiration packs full of hand-dyed fabrics, linens and trims, sari ribbon & yarn, specialty ribbons, WonderFil Specialty Threads Sue Spargo products for hand stitching (an Eleganza thread pack is pictured), buttons and more — our Fabric & Fiber Packages are a wonderful way to build your stash with a variety of textiles.

(Our video is also available on our YouTube channel.)

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.

Colorful Batik Panel Quilts: My First Book!

Colorful Batik Panel Quilts by Judy Gula on display at Artistic Artifacts

I’ve begun the new year as a published author, with the release of Colorful Batik Panel Quilts: 28 Quilting and Embellishing Inspirations from Around the World — it’s so exciting to see it come to fruition and hold the tangible product in my hands! I’ve been working on this project for quilt some time now, and for those who purchase my book and who are readers of this blog, you will recognize some of the projects that are included!

Pictured below, School of Fish is featured as one of the book’s projects, with complete instructions on my wonky log cabin method. Plus, a closeup of one of the the wonderful hand-drawn fish by Jaka ended up as the cover star (see below) of my book!

School of Fish quilt by Judy Gula, included in Colorful Batik Panel Quilts by Judy Gula

This quilt was designed and created for our 2015 Row by Row Experience project, which had H2O as its theme. It was the topic of this post, where I expressed the unexpected difficulty in adding a new row to an already completed quilt!

Sisters batik panel quilt by Judy Gula, in progess, included in Colorful Batik Panel Quilts

Jaka is one of the most well known batik artists in Indonesia and his “postcard” quilts (9-up grid of animals and designs) are popular and versatile. To create the wonky log cabin strips in School of Fish, I combined our Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik with many Australian Aborigine designed fabrics — I love the play of patterns and colors.

My piano keys border method, included in the book, is pictured (right) in progress and was described in this post. Sisters (a portion of which is pictured here) began with the choice of an expressively painted panel by Bambang Dharmo. The border used silk pieces from our Silk Fat Quarter Assortment from India.

Mahyar batik panel  awaiting border

A completed Three Sisters (shown in progress above) is included in my “embellishing” section. I introduced you to this quilt in this post, which began with a batik panel by Mahyar. I loved hand-stitching on this panel, using Eleganza pearl cotton by WonderFil Specialty Threads and my trusty chenille needles from Tulip. Colorful Batik Panel Quilts contains instructions on my favorite embroidery stitches.

Instructions on how to add beading to your projects is included in Colorful Batik Panel Quilts by Judy Gula

In addition to embroidery stitches, my book also teaches you the basic beading stitches. Batik Flowers, a quilt shown in this post (portion shown above) and included in the book, began with a floral batik panel by the very talented Hari Agung. As the book notes, “My idea was to use a variety of beads and stitching to create a hydrangea-type flower. I used the beading and stitching to extend beyond the doily and batik flower….” I used my yellow bead mix and Silamide thread to embellish this quilt.

I hope I’ve tempted you to add my book to your shelves and create your own Colorful Batik Panel Quilt! If you are local or able to travel, in addition to a book signing party at Artistic Artifacts on Sunday, February 3, I will be teaching my Create a Batik Panel Art Quilt class on January 26 and would be delighted to have you join us. I also include this class in my offerings to quilt guilds and art groups around the country too — learn more about booking me for your own event!

Colorful Batik Panel Quilts: 28 Quilting and Embellishing Inspirations from Around the World by Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula

Review of Thermofax 101: Screen Printing Made Easy DVD Workshop with Lyric Kinard

Thermofax 101: Screen Printing Made Easy DVD with Lyric KinardI was happy to be asked to review the latest DVD from talented fiber artist Lyric Kinard, who is sponsoring a blog hop around the release of her latest DVD, Thermofax 101: Screen Printing Made Easy.

Artistic Artifacts participated in the Row by Row experience last year (and will do so again for 2015), and our row design for 2014 used Thermofax screens designed by Susan Price and Elizabeth Gibson of PG Fiber2Art to create blocks that were combined with wonky strip piecing. I really wish we had Lyric’s DVD then!

I appreciate that Lyric does not assume that everyone knows what a Thermofax screen is and how it is created. It always seemed so mysterious, as if you needed a secret password to be granted access or otherwise you would never know how to print with Thermofax screens. During Row by Row we met so many customers who were very curious about the process, but intimidated. When we demonstrated screen printing techniques with the PG Fiber2Art Thermofax screens used in our row, they were amazed! I can’t help but imagine how impressed they would be watching this new DVD.

Thermofax 101 gives you a thorough education about the entire process, explaining it so well. As seen in other DVDs produced by Lyric, you feel that you are having a personal workshop in her studio. Very friendly and real! I love that she dropped paint on her fabric and then told us how she would hide it!

Supplies used during Thermofax Printing with PG Fiber2Art class April 25, 2015 at Artistic Artifacts

Supplies used during Thermofax Printing with PG Fiber2Art class April 25, 2015 at Artistic Artifacts

Lyric begins by demystifying Thermofax screens and production, and then moves onto creating successful imagery for Thermofax screens. I found this portion very interesting, and can’t wait to create my own imagery for custom screens.

Next the DVD moves onto actually printing with Thermofax screens using paint, discharge or foil adhesive. Lyric includes discussions about why to use fabric paint, squeegee and other tools, and the important information about the care of screens. I can appreciate Lyric explaining the differences between the two sides of the screen… I can tell you from experience that I have had to toss a few screens out due to not cleaning or drying them correctly! We have a Use and Care of Thermofax Screens web page (compiled by PG Fiber2Art) and include links to some of Lyric’s instructional YouTube videos.

The last section is about designing your cloth. This includes great color theory and layout information for any level of fiber artist as well as helpful suggestions on pattern movement and color choices. I found it interesting how Lyric played off the different types of paint —transparent versus opaque — in the layers of pattern, and her use of extender mediums.

Susan Price and Elizabeth Gibson of PG Fiber2Art teach Thermofax printing at Artistic Artifacts on April 25, 2015

Luckily for Artistic Artifacts, we offer fiber and mixed media classes at the shop and regularly schedule Thermofax Printing (most recently on Saturday, April 25; the photos here are from that class) with Susan and Elizabeth of PG Fiber2Art, who will be the blog hop authors on Friday, May 1st (see below). Their next class with us is on Saturday, June 6, Turn Your Photos into Thermofax Screens.

Win a Copy of Lyric’s DVD!

Win your own copy of Thermofax 101: Screen Printing Made Easy by Lyric Kinard! Simply leave me a comment on this posting answering the following question: What imagery would you reproduce for your own custom Thermofax screen? We will post the winner by the close of business on Monday, May 4, so check back with us then.

You can see what other art quilters and fiber artists (including Jane Dávila, who is on the faculty with me at the Quilters Unlimited 42nd Annual Quilt Show the end of May) participating in this blog hop are saying about the Thermofax 101 DVD by visiting the links below.

Everyone listed here is giving away a copy of the DVD, courtesy of Lyric herself, so visit and comment on each blog to increase your chances of winning! (Don’t want to leave it up to fate? Purchase your copy of the DVD today!)

Visit YouTube for a quick tour of the DVD by Lyric herself.

Student working during Thermofax Printing with PG Fiber2Art class April 25, 2015 at Artistic Artifacts

Student working during Thermofax Printing with PG Fiber2Art class April 25, 2015 at Artistic Artifacts

About Lyric: Lyric Montgomery Kinard is the author of the book Art + Quilt: design principles and creativity exercises and has written extensively for Quilting Arts magazine, appeared on Quilting Arts TV, and has two previous DVD Workshops, Surface Design Sampler Platter, and Bead It Like You Mean It. She was recognized for her talents as the 2011 International Association of Professional Quilters Teacher of the Year. As an artist, author, and educator she transforms cloth into art in her studio and timid spirits into confident creatives in the classroom.

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