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Left Overs

Arts and Old Lace was the 2012 Art Quilt Challenge that was hosted by Artistic Artifacts and Cyndi Souder of Moonlighting Quilts.  Below is a photo of my completed Challenge Piece. (Click here for a large view of “Lace with Grace.”)

Arts and Old Lace Challenge Art Quilt

I design intuitively, which means that I don’t have a documented plan when I start a piece. I might have an idea that I like, a vintage photo, a couple of items that go together… but otherwise I am a tornado in my studio, pulling items and testing how I feel about the composition in real time.  

After the tornado there are sometimes items that I think still work together, and ‘why don’t I just start the next art quilt’….. so these items are kept together. I think I have been moving the below pictured grouping around my studio for about two years now.

Testing the layout

Testing the layout

Do you see the white clay doll in the middle? She is a Frozen Charlotte and came from Germany. I just love these vintage china pieces and wanted her to be the focal point of a quilt.  Originally I thought this piece would have to be mounted on a canvas due to the weight of Charlotte, but it turned out to be fine. The lesson today is how to mount three-dimensional items to your quilt with glue!

Glue!! I know, I freaked you out, didn’t I? But yes, glue. The trick is to glue the item to another piece of fabric, like ultrasuede or, as in this case, a piece of vilene, then stitch that onto your art quilt.

Frozen Charlotte attached to Vilene

Pelment Vilene is a European product that is similar to Lutradur. The Tentakulum company includes hand-painted pieces in several of its popular Painted Threads products, for example, the Painter’s Pixies. For this project, I cut down a postcard size piece. I took matte gel medium (fabric glue is fine also) and applied it to the back of the frozen Charlotte at the points that would meet the Vilene.

In addition, I used a double strand of beading thread, secured around the neck and one leg of the doll. I thought about adding pearls or small beads to the tie downs, but in the end decided not to.

Stablize vintage ribbon

To stablize the vintage ribbon that was used in the art quilt, I applied a stiff organza fabric with Mistyfuse. Doing so helped to keep the vintage material together and straight, as well as making stitching through the ribbon easier.

The Art Quilt Base Stitched and Bound

I have learned the hard way that it is necessary to machine stitch the background before adding my layers. And for this particular project, I even applied and stitched the binding on before attaching the doll.

The remainder of the items — ribbon, lace, buttons, pearls — were all stitched on by hand. In other projects I will add such layers on with machine stitching, but in this case I felt the condition of the ribbon and lace cuff would would be better preserved with careful hand stitching.

Photos of My Finished Art Quilt

Frozen Charlotte At Home

Frozen Charlotte attached side view

Art Quilt with Frozen Charlotte

Wooden Printing Blocks and Modern Hand Stitching

When printing with wooden print blocks, it is one of those tasks that is better done without an end result in mind… at least that is how I feel. Just enjoy creating fabric, stamping patterns and have fun!

Wood Block Printed Owl

I printed two pieces of fabric with wooden printing blocks, which are hand carved in India, using PROFab Opaque Textile Paint. The first bird is stamped on plain white muslin, while the owl has been printed on a watercolor batik. Inspired by Ruth Chandler’s wonderful book, Modern Hand Stitching I decided to stitch over my block printing with Tentakulum Painter’s Thread.

In preparation for hand-stitching, I took the fabric, applied Mistyfuse to the back, and attached it to a light weight flannel or Osnaburg. The Mistyfuse prevents bearding of the quilt batting, while the thin flannel keeps the quilt thin. The completed stitched block can be layered over quilt batting and backing to finish.

Above, Block Printed Birds. below, Block Printed Owls

My idea is to use different stitches and Tentakulum threads on each owl.  But those honeycomb owl bodies scream cross stitches!

Wood Block Printing Bird Layout

Close up of the Hand Stitched Bird. One completed, two to go. I will probably leave one bird as a printed/stamped image only.

Wooden Block Printed Bird embellished with Hand Stitching

Wood Block Printed Owl Embellished with Hand Stitching

As you can see, these stitching experiments are still a work in progress. But I am enjoying working on them, and I think that the end result will be that these fine-feathered fowls will find their way into art quilts!

For the next inspiration, look at your fabrics monoprinted with your Gelli Arts™ Gel Printing Plate and those surface designed with stencils, such as the example shown at the end of this post.  Do the shapes and colors inspire you to pick up some thread and begin stitching?




Inspiration! From Facebook to Amsterdam

I try to check Facebook every morning, but I have to be quick about it so I don’t get sucked in. You all know about that … right?! Well, today, I totally got sucked in.  Through Facebook, I discovered a cool textile blog written by Geri deGruy called Explorations.  Geri’s most recent post discussed a wonderful website called Open Culture, which sends out daily emails about free cultural and educational resources on the web.

Through a post on Open Culture, Geri discovered that museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art are now creating digital photo files of their artwork. The museums participating so far are listed in this blog post by Open Culture.

Are you still with me?  My story doesn’t end here…  One of the museums listed is the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Why am I specifically interested in this collection? Indonesia, of course! The Dutch occupied Indonesia for centuries. Some of the world’s best collections of batiks were collected by the Dutch. So, I thought this museum might have a wealth of batik patterns to view. I searched on “batik” and many really cool images came up — I was so excited!  I wanted copies!

You can  create an account at Rijksmuseum website and save the photos that you like to that account. So, of course, I created an account, logged in, started saving the photos that I wanted …. AND then I got an email from the museum. I had won a prize for being the 150,000 visitor to create an account at the Rijksmuseum! And this was all before 8am!

Studio portrait of a young Javanese woman in a dancing posture, Kassian Cephas, c. 1867 - c. 1910

Studio portrait of one young Javanese woman, Kassian Cephas, c. 1870 - c. 1912

Studio portrait of a seated young woman in a sarong with Javanese batik motif, Kassian Cephas, c. 1867 - c. 1910

Studio portrait of a seated young Javanese woman, Kassian Cephas, c. 1890 - c. 1910

I am just blown away by these photos and thrilled that I found them.  Thank you to the Rijksmuseum for these wonderful photos. I will be crusing additional museum digital sites soon!

Memento Ink Pads + Wooden Printing Blocks = Fun!

I’ve stated this many times so far in this blog, and here is it again: I am a fabric girl. I am continuing to learn about using paper, and enjoy it, but fabric is my go-to medium.

So with that being said, I am pretty fearless using products on fabric that aren’t meant to be used on fabric. But I will I jump right on it when a manufacturer takes care of the testing for me, and states up front that its product is FOR use on fabric! That is the case with Memento Luxe Mixed Media Ink Pads (see more about them at the end of this post).

Memento Luxe Mixed Media Ink Pads are made by Tsukineko, which the first manufacturer that I knew of that created inks that were permanent on fabric when heat set. At that time they came in a marker form. Now we have ink pads!

Next enter wooden printing blocks — limitless fun in pattern form! My current stash of various types of ink pads had never worked with wooden printing blocks: the wood sucked up the ink too quickly, leaving either nothing to be transfered to the fabric, or such a faint and uneven print that it wasn’t suitable. A friend suggested that I try Memento Luxe Mixed Media Ink Pads with my wooden printing blocks and it works beautifully!

I was thrilled with the results of just ink on fabric. But because these inks are very “juicy” I was able to add embossing powders for texture. (Told you, I’m all about using non-fabric products on fabric.) I’m hooked!

I had some Postcards fabric collaged and ready to go.

Below are some results of my testing:

Apply the ink to the wooden printing block

From Top down Wooden printing Block, fabric postcard, foam mat

Applied Black Gesso (Instead of white) to postcard creating an oval

stamped with memento, covered with embossing Powder, add heat

A New Postcard!

Using Clear Embossing Powder, UTEE

The Memento Luxe Mixed Media Ink and embossing powder is very cool, but what if I want to keep the color of the ink? Enter clear embossing powder — I used Melt Art Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel (which is also available in five colors).

Samples of Postcards with Memento Inks and Embossing Powder Finish

This idea would of course show up better if the fabric was a solid or very small print… but you know me, I like to collage my postcards…

Below is a swatch print of my new favorite paisley wooden printing blocks. Each of the three prints began with white Memento Luxe Mixed Media ink: left is the print alone, center is topped with Tim Holtz Distress Embossing Powders in Fired Brick (these are a little softer in color and texture; after you apply and emboss with your heat gun, you rub the embossed element, which releases special crystals to give you a textured, worn and weathered look) and right is topped with Metallic Embossing Powder in gold.

Test swatch, inks and embossing powders on fabric

Memento Luxe Facts from Tsukineko Inks:

  • Mixed media ink can be used on any porous surface: paper, fabric, wood, leather and more.
  • Permanent on fabric when heat set and will remain vibrant on textiles even after repeated washings
  • Available in 24 vibrant colors
  • Great ink for paper projects as well as mixed media
  • Highly fade-resistant ink
  • Relatively fast drying for a pigment ink
  • NOTE: prize has been awarded So, a bit of a challenge for you: try out this technique to create your own fabric (or paper/cardstock) postcard. Mail it by June 14, 2014 to me and your name will be entered into a drawing for a Wooden Printing Block! My choice, your sweet surprise!

    Mail your finished postcard to :

    Judy Gula
    Artistic Artifacts
    4750 Eisenhower Avenue
    Alexandria, VA 22304

Participating in the Prayer Flag Project

Prayer flags made by members of Judy's Altered Minds, a fiber/mixed media group

Click to read additional info and view even more photos of our flags!

Sue Sladek and her prayer flag

At Artistic Artifacts we have a mixed media group that meets once per month, on the third Sunday at 1:00 pm. Judy’s Altered Minds, or JAMS for short, is very important to me personally and to the success of the Art Community that we are building here at Artistic Artifacts.

Members of the group played a large part in raising more than $1,800 for Food for Others through our Mixed Media Metallics Challenge this past winter, helped staff a community outreach for an Art Therapist conference, and this past weekend when the group met they dove into creating prayer flags to participate in The Prayer Flag Project.

Vivika Hansen DeNegre started The Prayer Flag Project several years ago, inviting all who are interested to join her in making Prayer Flags. Each flag is created in the style and materials of the artist’s choice, then hung outside. The concept is that words and sentiments expressed in these little pieces of art dissolve into the wind and then spread to all whom the wind touches. On the project website, Vivika notes that the flags “are a living, breathing, kinetic journal of our hopes, dreams and concerns.”

Some of the prayer flags created by JAMs members

One of the JAMs members followed Vivika’s tutorial and generously sewed up a large collection of “blanks” for the group to use. I donated paint, inks, fabric and stencils to the cause, many women bought items from their own stash, and the frenzy of creation began.

Rosalie Lamanna stitches beads onto her prayer flag (inset)
Sue Haftel and her prayer flag

Everyone tried to embrace the idea that these flags are not meant to be permanent but to instead return to the universe as they spread their prayers and wishes. So there was no stressing over perfection, but instead an atmosphere of play and fun.

A number of the flags are staying here to hang outside the shop, while others went home with their creators, either to have a finishing touch applied or in order to hang in their own yards and gardens. [See more examples at the bottom of this post.]

Because I was finishing up teaching a 2-day class, I wasn’t able to participate on Sunday with everyone else from JAMs, so I made my prayer flags this morning. It took less than ½ an hour. I mention that detail because doing something nice for the world really is easy!

The base of my prayer flags is a monoprinted fabric that had previously been created using a Gelli Arts™ Gel Printing Plate (the dried fabric was already in my stash), collected scraps of ribbon and fabric.

Supplies to create prayer flags
Monoprinted fabric torn into strips for prayer flags

I began by ripping the fabric to the size of the ones already completed by my JAMs buddies. I then ironed a fold for the sleeve and laid out my chosen fabric strips and ribbon to span the flags.

Sewing the seam to create the hanging sleeves for my flags meant that I also caught the ribbons and strips, so in one step, I had the addition of hanging embellishments for my flags as well.

Sewing a sleeve and trimming the flag

Adding ribbons and strips of fabric to embellish the flags

I then wrote my words using Copic Markers. Several of the flags I made are dedicated to the idea of protecting our teenagers from suicide. Unfortunately our local High School has lost several students to suicide in the recent years, and it has affected the community greatly.

Lettering the flag with prayers and wishes
Finished prayer flags by Judy Gula

As I said, I spent just minutes: it’s so simple to participate in the Prayer Flag Project. I hope you will join in! And once the rain pounding our area ceases, we’ll share a photo of the flags flying!

May 5, 2014 update: the rain did finally stop, and included at the top of this posting is our final result! We love the colorful stream of flags decorating our shop entrance!

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