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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

Artistic Artifacts’ Holiday Stockings

In preparation for our annual Open House weekend, held on December 1-3, the staff of Artistic Artifacts decided to make Christmas stockings (which were stuffed with product) to go to the winners of a random drawing. We planned to use the same pattern for consistency but to each use different fabrics or techniques to showcase different Artistic Artifacts products.

Judy Gula’s completed holiday stocking

Above, Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula challenged herself to just use scraps from her stash — predominately Australian Aborgine-designed prints, with some fun modern cottons mixed in.

Below, Judy’s sister Julie Middleton used traditional red and green colors, but twisted tradition by using our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batiks.

Julie Middleton’s completed holiday stocking

Below, Julie made her stocking reversible by concentrating her patchwork to a specific color. She used Velvet Rick Rack to embellish the cuff — a perfect finishing touch!

Julie Middleton’s completed holiday stocking, reverse side

Chris Vinh’s completed holiday stocking

Above, Chris Vinh used Effervescence Border, Fiesta for her stocking. She used the contrasting border design portion of the fabric for her cuff and thought she might add some hand-stitching… but the exuberant print and colors on their own were so beautiful she decided she was done!

Denise Reuter’s completed holiday stocking

Above, Denise Reuter selected a cool color palette and used a variety of fabrics: our batiks, Australian, bits of Tim Holtz and Frond Design Studios fabrics. Her stocking is another that can hang in either direction, as both sides are beautiful. The wonderful blue faux fur cuff was a lucky find amongst the materials on the “free table” featured at each JAMs (Judy’s Altered Minds) meeting — our next is Sunday, December 17.

Detail, Denise Reuter’s completed holiday stocking

Of course, our in-house BERNINA expert couldn’t consider her stocking done until she had added beautiful machine embroidery — detail pictured above. She used a built-in snowflake design and hooped it on the B790, using WonderFil’s Spotlite metallic thread in 8831 Ice Blue.

Sharon McDonagh’s completed holiday stocking
The Artistic Artifacts holiday stocking template

Above, Sharon McDonagh decided to represent the mixed media side of the business. She created a paper-cloth base of tissue over muslin, colored with Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paints and Gelatos and Wooden Printing Blocks accents.

How We Did It

We found a Christmas Stocking Pattern & “How To” on the Stitchin’ Post blog from an online search. After printing out the template pages and taping it together, we felt it was too large for our needs, so we cut some off from the top of the stocking, and also shortened the toe by tracing a round tin a couple inches in and correcting the edges.

We then transferred our new shape onto chipboard (pictured above right) to make it more durable for multiple tracings.

Chris Vinh sewing in progress

Although our original pattern link contained a how-to, Chris discovered this Christmas Stocking Tutorial on the FabricWorm site and used it since it included instructions for incorporating a cuff. As the first one to complete her stocking, everyone else followed suit.

Chris Vinh creating stocking cuff and lining

Above, Chris used Pomegranate Squared Elements for her lining — a beautiful contrast to her base fabric.

Sharon McDonagh’s paper cloth base drying

Above, Sharon began with a piece of Nature’s Way™ UNBLEACHED by Roc-lon® muslin and layered printed tissue and papers such as those found in our Found Paper & Collage Packs — book text, sheet music, maps, etc. You can download a PDF tutorial Making Fabric from Paper by Beryl Taylor from the Cloth Paper Scissors blog for complete how-to’s — the article appeared in the very first issue of the magazine.

Sharon McDonagh adding paint, block printing and Gelatos to her paper cloth

Above, Sharon layering color and block prints onto the paper cloth. Below left, she adds the seam allowance to the reverse of her paper cloth. While it stitches easily, she attached her cuff section as a separate element. Below right, she uses the Uni-ball Signo Broad Gel Pen in white to add embellishing to her cuff block print. If you register for Noir Magic — Lettering, Flora and Fauna with theresa mARTin, you will learn how critical a tool this pen is!

Marking paper cloth

We hope these ideas have inspired all of you to create your own! Our lucky winners, randomly drawn were Ann Kuipers, Sharon Rosenblatt, Judy Seitz, Susan Stelow and Ursula Yeo. Congratulations, ladies!

Watch Artistic Artifacts Demo Techniques on Great Day Washington!

Artistic Artifacts is ready for its Great Day Washington taping

Demonstrating surface design techniquesMonday, January 30 was an exciting day for Artistic Artifacts as we appeared live on Great Day Washington, a local morning show on Washington DC’s WUSA*9 TV (CBS affiliate).

Lifestyle Correspondent Meaghan Mooney and her cameraman arrived early in the morning and ran four different “live hits” from 8:55 to 10 am. This amazing opportunity came about because they saw that our customers give us top ratings on Facebook and Yelp…what gratifying news to hear!

For those unable to watch live, we wanted to share the segments from the Great Day Washington portion of WUSA 9 website here.

Click to watch block printing and other surface design techniques

For the first segment — watch online now — Judy demonstrated block Printing on fabric and paper, using hand-carved wooden printing blocks and Artistic Artifacts’ own textile paints. (Join us this weekend for your own opportunity to experiment with this centuries old technique in Block Printing with Cyndi Souder.

The Artistic Artifacts line of Fluid Textile Paints were used for all surface design demonstrations

Additional surface design techniques were also showcased in this segment. Pictured below, Susan Gantz (left) is demonstrating monoprinting on a Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plate, while Sue Price of PG Fiber2Art is demonstrating Thermofax screen printing — join us February 18 for Printing with Thermofax Screens with PG Fiber2Art to learn how to create your own screen printed fabric.

Susan Gantz demonstrating monoprinting and Sue Price of PG Fiber2Art demonstrating Thermofax screen printing

Susan Gantz didn’t think she was a big metallic fan, but experimenting with the Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paint set of Silver, Gold and Copper while demonstrating (see some results below) has now changed her mind!

Monoprint by Susan Gantz in progress and completed

In the second segment, Cyndi Souder of Moonlighting Quilts, Ambassador for BERNINA, demonstrated foundation paper piecing to create quilt blocks using a BERNINA sewing machine — watch online now.

Click to watch Cyndi Souder of Moonlighting Quilts demonstrate paper piecing

Cyndi Souder shows Meaghan Mooney of WUSA9 a paper pieced block

The paper piecing technique offers complete accuracy: precise points and a visually complex design become easy to execute. Join us on Saturday, February 11 for Cyndi’s class Beginning Paper Piecing Row By Row. Above, Cyndi shows Great Day Washington Lifestyle Correspondent Meaghan Mooney (right) a completed block from our 2016 Row by Row Experience pattern kit.

Click to watch a discussion of, and examples of, mixed media and upcycled art

The third segment — watch online now — featured Judy talking about mixed media techniques and upcycling with members of Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs), a group that meets at Artistic Artifacts monthly. Judy began by showing off results from the JAMs Box Challenge conceived by Barb Boatman of Cut Sew Create studio (see more photos of the results in our past Facebook album), repurposing dimensional wood box frames formerly used on a display wall of automotive products.

Meahgan Mooney meeting Artistic Artfacts customers and members of JAMs

Members used these surfaces to create small artworks that incorporated products from Artistic Artifacts that they had in their stashes, and/or that they had purchased new. JAMs member Beth Richardson explained the sea turtle box she created, and viewers also get a chance to some of the pages of an art journal that Beverly Hilbert has created.

Click to watch a demonstration of hand-stitching on a batik panel and learn more about how they are created

The final demonstration was Christine Vinh of StitchesnQuilts discussing how batik panels are handcrafted in Indonesia as well as demonstrating hand-stitching on one by the popular batik artist Jakawatch online now.

Batik art panels at Artistic Artifacts

Christine Vinh and Suzanne LangsdorfAbove, our batik panel “station” set up for filming. Chris used Tulip needles, a selection of WonderFil Specialty Threads, and was inspired by Modern Hand Stitching by Ruth Chandler. This segment also includes a walk-through of the shop back to the BERNINA machine embroidery demonstration by Denise Reuter of Artistic Artifacts, who has several years experience as a manager and educator for BERNINA Sewing Machine USA. Artistic Artifacts is a new BERNINA dealer!

In her segment Chris wore her beautiful Schoolhouse Tunic, which was sewn for her by JAMs member Suzanne Langsdorf using Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik in Woodstock, Jam and fabric from a sarong imported from Indonesia. Pictured right, Chris preps for her filming with the caffeine boost of coffee while Suzanne teasingly waves to the camera.

And as if the “official” taping didn’t keep us all hopping enough Judy’s son Kyle also streamed video content live (archived below) on Facebook!

In this livestream “you can hear me talk about my latest artwork (at time mark 15:40 in the video) about my written meditation on forgiveness,” writes mixed media artist Wendy Sittner, pictured below, “when I got to participate in Artistic Artifacts’s appearance on WUSA9 Great Day Washington live with Meaghan Mooney. Owner Judy Vincentz Gula did amazing and Meaghan was so friendly and made us feel so comfortable on camera.”

"Wendy Sittner with her written meditation on forgiveness

For Artistic Artifacts, this really was a "Great Day" — we extend our deepest gratitude to WUSA9 for visiting our store and showcasing the fiber and mixed media talent and techniques of our creative minds!

Artistic Artifacts staff and customers during the Great Day Washington filming

Below, machine embroidery by Denise Reuter.

Always color outside the lines -- machine embroidery by Denise Reuter

Books as Inspiration vs. Prescription

Guest post by Christine Vinh, StitchesnQuilts

I pondered this “Inspiration vs. Prescription” idea one day when browsing through the new books at Artistic Artifacts. As artists — name your media — we probably use books for both inspiration and prescription.

  • Some books are just eye candy and must-haves for that reason alone.
  • Others teach new techniques and skills to add to our “tool box.”
  • There are those who select a book for the instructions to make a project just like the one the artist author shows in the book.
  • And then there are those books that make you wonder, “what if?”…

Kaffe Fassett's Brilliant Little Patchwork Cushions and Pillows

For me, one of the books that falls into the last category is Kaffe Fassett’s brilliant little patchwork cushions and pillows. With a subtitle of “20 patchwok projects using Kaffe Fassett fabrics,” my first thought was, since Artistic Artifacts doesn’t carry his fabrics, why carry the book?

But as I leafed through the pages, I was quickly inspired by the possibilities. Rather than recreate the patterns and fabric choices used in the many projects in the book, I started dreaming about how some of new fabrics in the shop would look instead.

I had already been playing with ideas for the She Sells designs from Frond Design Studios. Looking though the book, I decided that the “chrysanthemum cushion” might work well, as it uses a huge patterned fabric.

Selecting a stripes pattern was a no brainer — the Woodstock 1969 colorway of the Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik was perfect with the She Sells: Aqua I wanted to use. Add two of the Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik Fruit Sours patterns, in Tangerine and Blue Raspberry, and I had a match made in heaven!

I also decided I wanted to make a table runner, rather than the pillow called for in the book. I estimated my fabric requirements using the fabric guidelines in the book. I wanted to use the Blue Raspberry Fruit Sours batik as the back and binding, so I went with one yard there, and ½ yards of the other three fabrics.

Christine Vinh begins piecing a table runner, inspired by a Kaffe Fassett project

Using the cushion pattern as guidelines, I cut the fabrics. When sewing the shell and ombre stripes together, I added stripes at each end to extend the center panel to the desired length, then added the border. I machine quilted my runner with a variegated thread and finished it off with the binding. A fun and easy project completed in a few hours!

Variegated thread used to machine quilt Christine Vinh's table runner sewn from Frond Design Studios fabric and Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik

In the detail photo above, you can see how the variegated thread coordinated with the fabrics — I loved how it turned out.

Christine Vinh's table runner and the Kaffe Fassett project that inspired it

Above, a view of my completed runner and the inspiration pillow project from Kaffe’s book.

This project was so fun and easy to sew that now I’m imagining doing another one, with another She Sells colorway paired with one of the new Barnboard colorways, also from Frond Design Studios. Below, She Sells: Sand and Barnboard: Violet.

She Sells: Sand and Barnboard: Violet fabrics from Frond Design Studios, sold by Artistic Artifacts

Or perhaps She Sells: Ultramarine and Barnboard: Summer, below…

She Sells: Ultramarine and Barnboard: Summer fabrics from Frond Design Studios, sold by Artistic Artifacts

The Malachite pillow from Kaffe Fassestt’s brilliant little patchwork cushions and pillowsBack to Kaffe’s book, I also liked the pattern design used in the “malachite cushion” (pictured right). Kaffe noted that he wanted to play with the swirling lines and color variations of his Jupiter fabric by further cutting the fabric into triangles and piecing it back together.

As soon as I saw the recent addition to our Australian Aboriginal fabrics, River Dreaming by Barbara Egan, I loved the movement! I thought it would be interesting to see how the pattern changed by cutting and piecing it according to Kaffe’s instructions.

I selected the River Dreaming Black for the top and decided on Plum Seeds Red by Kathleen Pitjara as binding. I followed the instructions in the book — again, a quick and easy project. But while I love the finished pillow top (pictured below flat, without the pillow form), because of the overall swirls of the fabric, it is hard to see the quilt pattern.

River Dreaming Black fabric pieced into pillow by Christine Vinh, StitchesnQuilts

So. lesson learned! Next I tried using the River Dreaming White with the Black version, and played with my fabric choices and placement to get the look I wanted. Pictured below, this work in progress using the same pattern has a better ‘bang for the buck’ with the black and white triangles alternated.

River Dreaming Black and River Dreaming white fabrics pieced into pillow top by Christine Vinh, StitchesnQuilts

Both because I wasn’t afraid to ask the question, “what if…?” and because I gave myself permission to play and experiment, I’ll end up with another great graphic pillow.

Take some time and browse through the books for sale at Artistic Artifacts, or on your own book shelf, but with the focus of using the ideas of the author as a springboard for your own imagination. This is a good exercise to do with some of the earlier books you may have, where the fabric used for the samples is outdated. Visualize how the designs and techniques could be brought to life with some of the new and fun fabrics available today: swapping out calicos with modern cottons, for example.

In addition to the books in the shop, check out the book recommendations from members of Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs). Each fall we devote one meeting to sharing thoughts on favorite fiber and mixed media titles, both new publications and favorities from our past. Our ongoing list is a downloadable PDF published on our website.

And remember, we have a new Facebook group, Artistic Artifacts’ Creative Minds, a virtual extension of JAMs. On Facebook group members from all over— art quilters, collage artists, art journal keepers, surface design enthusiasts, paper crafters, assemblage & art doll artists, and more — have a place to share ideas and projects with one another. Come join us there and share your own projects and thoughts on Inspiration vs. Prescription!

To sum up:

  • Don’t be afraid to mix and match fabric lines and colors and textures.
  • Give yourself permission to play.
  • By giving yourself permission to ask “what if” and play, you will learn along the way… and most likely will be very pleased with your results!

Transforming Upholstered Chairs

Fiber and mixed media artist Judi Hurwitt used wooden printing blocks and fabric paint to transform an upholstered chair

While Judy’s away, we are sharing a wonderful post by fiber and mixed media artist Judi Hurwitt, who recently completed the transformation of an armchair using fabric paint and a selection of the wooden printing blocks sold by Artistic Artifacts that Judy had gifted her with.

Yes, Judy is on a well-deserved vacation to Italy! If you haven’t been checking the Artistic Artifacts Facebook page, do so — she is posting some absolutely gorgeous photos of scenery, color and texture to make us all drool with envy.

A sampling of photos taken by Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula while she is in Italy on vacation

Upon receiving the blocks, Judi Hurwitt promised a project and a blog posting…and wow, what she dreamed up! She purchased an upholstered rocker/glider combination arm chair from a neighbor that was in great condition, but upholstered in a pastel nursery fabric (as shown at the top of this post).

Stage 1 of transforming an upholstered chair with wooden printing blocks and fabric paint by fiber and mixed media artist Judi Hurwitt

After givng the chair a coat of opaque white textile paint, Judi began her surface design treatment. The above photo shows the chair after the first stages. Because she knew she ultimately “wanted heavy layering of colors and textures,” she began with her lighter colors, shades of yellow and magenta that she blended. She notes that the above photo shows how she “had also begun to apply the same paints in white, two yellows, and magenta with some of the wooden blocks. I used the same colors as the base colors, particularly the white, to create a resist for later, darker layers.”

Detail, Stage 1 of transforming an upholstered chair with wooden printing blocks and fabric paint by fiber and mixed media artist Judi Hurwitt

Detail of this first stage, above. We think Judi could have stopped here and it would have been a beautiful project as is! And actually, she did stop there for a time…her blog shares her experience with “artist lock.”

Detail of final surface design treatment on an upholstered chair with wooden printing blocks and fabric paint by fiber and mixed media artist Judi Hurwitt

She got back on track after time to finish with a complex blend of color, pattern and texture — we’ve shown you just a small detail “teaser” photo above. Visit her blog, Approachable Art by Judy Hurwit for the finished chair, and more on how she transformed it, including many more of her photographs (several used here with her permission) and info about breaking out of that artist lock.

Plus, we have another chair transformation to share with you!

Wing chair upholstered in batik fabric from Artistic Artifacts; chair owned by Ellen Taylor of Arlington, VA

The batik beauty pictured above began life upholstered in a large floral/fauna fabric featuring colors that no longer suited the owner, our friend and customer Ellen Taylor. Didn’t it turn out wonderfully?

The before view of wing chair owned by Ellen Taylor of Arlington, VA

The “before” wing chair is pictured here, right, and was in good shape otherwise. Ellen perused many of our beautiful batik fabrics before finding the perfect one for her redo. While she didn’t upholster the chair herself, handing it off to a professional, depending on the complexity of your chair and your own level of expertise you might feel up for the challenge of doing it yourself. Either way, you end up with a one of a kind piece of furniture that sparks joy every time you see it!

Ellen is a member of JAMs (Judy’s Altered Minds), which meets at the Artistic Artifacts shop on the third Sunday of each month. If you don’t live close enough to join us in person, we hope you will join our new Facebook Group, Artistic Artifacts’ Creative Minds, which serves as a “virtual” extension of JAMs.

Representing all levels of expertise, Artistic Artifacts’ Creative Minds is a online home for our Creative Minds to encourage and support like-minded friends! Group members from all over have a place to share ideas and projects with one another. Art quilters, collage artists, art journal keepers, surface design enthusiasts, paper crafters, assemblage & art doll artists — come join us there!

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