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Block Printed Wonky Scrap Quilt

Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

Pictured above is one of my most recent complete projects, my block printed wonky scrap quilt. I love it! This is the largest quilt I’ve made featuring block printing (see info links at the end of this post). Click to view larger photo »

Detail, Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

It was beautifully quilted by Susan Bentley of suZquilts. I’m always so pleased with when I receive my quilts back!

Detail, Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

Most of my log cabin blocks in this quilt feature the block print as the center, and you can also see some block printed fabrics in the rows. I have a never ending supply of block printed fabric scraps, from the many, many block printing demonstrations I’ve held over the years while vending at quilt and art shows, teaching classes here and the shop, etc.

Wonky Log Cabin block for the Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

And of course, as a fiber artist of many years now, I have a ton of fabric scraps! This quilt features a wide range of the beautiful Modern Cottons we feature in the shop. Leftovers from a quilt project, strips remaining from the bolt end of a sold out fabric — no scrap goes to waste!

Wonky Log Cabin block for the Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

I love wonky, and letting the fabrics dictate the size and shape of the blocks. If you haven’t tried wonky log cabin piecing, I have previously recommended a post from the blog Quilt Dad — he created a wonderful Wonky Log Cabin tutorial that is illustrated with step by step photos, making the process so easy.

Designing the layout for the Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

So after stitching together a pile of blocks, it’s time to figure out a layout. Rather than squaring mine up and seaming them together precisely, I played around with layouts using my studio floor (forgive the uneven lighting) for a design wall. I knew I would “fill in” the gaps with a unifying fabric.

Designing the layout for the Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

Above, more layout decisions, and the beginnings of stitching together block units.

Wonky log cabin block unit for the Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

Trim straight edges on your blocks and rows to seam together. Because these are intentionally wonky, there is no worry of pattern or block matching.

Trimming wonky log cabin block units, Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

Working improvisationally is a lot of fun, and is a great exercise in thinking creatively as you use the scraps you have, a variety of block sizes, and make it all come together.

Completing and laying out wonky log cabin block units, Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

Here’s my introduction to block printing that includes additional links if you’d like to explore this art form further. Artistic Artifacts carries a large variety of wooden printing blocks that are hand-carved in India. We also have our own line of textile paint, which gives you beautiful results on fabrics (and other surfaces) and can be easily heat set for permanence — you can wash and dry your quilt and the colors will stay bright and true.

Detail, Block Printed Scrappy Quilt by Judy Gula

Quilters’ Quest & Artistic Artifacts

Artistic Artifacts filled with Quilters' Quest 2019 shoppers

Quilters’ Quest is a free annual shop hop event that encourages fiber artists to explore quilt shops located in Maryland and Northern Virginia over the course of 10 days. Artistic Artifacts was delighted to be invited to participate this year for the first time and our shop in Alexandria, VA was added to the roster! The 2019 dates were October 11 through October 20.

Shoppers admiring the Artistic Artifacts quilt created using Quest Cuts from the 2019 Quilters' Quest Shop Hop event

Book Room Stylish was selected as the 2019 color theme, with traditional colors in hues of blue, green, red, and brown. Each participating shop created Quest Cuts, a set of six 10 in. fabric squares coordinating with the theme. We used our beautiful and unique Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik for our packs! Shoppers could earn a free Quest Cut pack with a purchase of $40, or you could purchase it for $6.00 (limit two packs per in-store customer). Each shop designed an exclusive quilt (using some or all 60 Quest Cuts squares that could be collected throughout the Quest), offering a free copy of their quilt patterns. Pictured above are shoppers admiring the Artistic Artifacts quilt.

Artistic Artifacts welcomed so many new quilters and friends during Quilters' Quest

We enjoyed preparing the store for this event and have had so much fun meeting so many new quilters and friends! Each participating chartered a bus (or two!) for their customers’ convenience — purchasing your seat on the bus meant you saw all participating shops in two days while leaving the stress of driving and traffic to a professional!

Bus chartered by the Traditions of the White Swan shop in Hagerstown, MD full of Quilters' Quest shoppers

When the busses were due (pictured above are customers of Traditions of the White Swan in Hagerstown, MD), it was all hands on deck for staff!

Quilters' Quest shoppers at Artistic Artifacts

During the Quilters’ Quest Shop Hop we demonstrated block printing, letting shoppers have a try at using our hand-carved wooden printing blocks and our Artistic Artifacts textile paint for surface design.

For Quilters' Quest Shop Hop we demonstrated block printing with our hand-carved wooden printing blocks and our Artistic Artifacts textile paint.

We thank our volunteers who stepped up to help with with demonstrations, stamping Quilters’ Quest passports and more — we couldn’t have done it without you!

Helping a customer select fabric during Quilters' Quest 2019

Above, our Australian Aborigine-designed fabric and Architextures by Carolyn Friedlander in Orangeade were the perfect complement to one shoppers batik log cabin blocks — we hope she shares a photograph of her finished quilt with us!

Fabric and batik panels on display at Artistic Artifacts

Above, seasonal fabric display and hand-drawn Indonesian batik panels available at Artistic Artifacts.

My Italian Vacation Journal

An inside spread from art journal created in Italy by Artistic Artifact's Judy Gula

This summer I was thrilled to embark on the first Artistic Artifacts creative retreat, headquartered in Ischia di Castro, Italy, an amazing medieval city approximately one hour northwest of Rome. The artistic goal was create custom art journals — one of my page spreads is shown above and I include additional images here.

Everyone on the tour had accommodations in apartments in the village, and gathered each morning for a variety of mixed media lessons to create original and layered journal pages.

Our Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paints used with wooden printing blocks and on gel printing plates

All the necessary supplies were shipped ahead to Italy and were waiting for everyone to play! Above, our Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paints used with wooden printing blocks and on gel printing plates.

Mixed media art supplies available during the Artistic Artifacts creative tour of Ischia di Castro, Italy

Above, a variety of rubber stamps and ink pads, as well as a variety of pens, markers and more (including Gelatos).

Students working during the Artistic Artifacts creative tour of Italy
Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts used Kraft-Tex for her journal cover

I taught my students my favorite journal format, as shown in a previous blog post. My cover is shown here — I cut a piece longer than my page spreads intentionally, so the extra (seen right) can wrap around to the front to form a closing flap. My journal is tied shut with sari silk ribbon.

One key difference from journal I’ve featured in in the past was the substitution of Kraft-Tex Kraft Paper Fabric for the cover. I had previously used and loved Roc-Lon Multi-Purpose Cloth, but unfortunately it has been discontinued by the manufacturer. The Kraft-Tex took paint and ink beautifully and was easy to sew (to bind the page signatures), and has a wonderful, leather-like feel — it’s ideal for a journal cover!

Click through this gallery to see my journal pages (shown randomly). I wanted mostly Madonnas, as there were many in Italy — and beautiful! St. Francis slipped in there too (we can always use a Saint on our side).

 

After our morning studio sessions, we spent our afternoons and evening with guided tours, sightseeing and of course delicious authentic Italian cuisine. One visit was to the town of Fabriano, where papermaking was demonstrated for us in a private tour: fascinating! We all gathered ephemera from these excursions to include in our journals.

A favorite afternoon excursions was to The Tarot Garden envisioned by Niki de Saint Phalle (she was assisted by a large team of master craftsmen) and located in Tuscany. You can see images of some of her beautiful outdoor sculptural art featured in my journal pages. Here are a few photographs I took in the garden. (In the photo captioned Wheel of Fortune, my husband Dave Gula is seated with me in front of The High Priestess; the Wheel of Fortune is to the right.) What a beautiful, inspirational day!

 

Traveling is really inspiring to your art and soul. I’m looking forward to my block printing tour in India in March 2020 — there’s room for you to join me too!

The 2020 Italian Creative Retreat will take place in September and will focus on stitching. One of my best friends, Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution, will be joining me for this exciting trip! Email Italian Cultural Tours to indicate your interest in traveling with us in 2020! Details will be posted on the Artistic Artifacts website as they are finalized.

A Peek at Gel Plate Printing

Monoprinted fabrics

It’s been a busy summer. Heck, it’s been a busy YEAR. And that can mean falling behind on tasks, such as keeping this blog and the Artistic Artifacts YouTube channel updated. So I wanted to pop in with a quick surface design demo — watch as I monoprint on a Gel Press-PolyGel Gel Plate on fabric.

As you see, monoprinting is easy — and I can tell you it is addictive! Simply apply your paint, ink, etc. with a brayer or other tool, make your mark with textures and press your substrate onto the plate and rub gently. Then just lift the print and admire!

Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paints and gel printing plates

Below is a view of the fabric monoprint I created in the Creative Clip. I worked with the manufacturers to formulate our Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paints so that it had the qualities to make it an ideal paint for gel plate monoprinting: an easy flow consistency right out of the squeeze bottle, high pigmentation, and permanent on fabrics.

Fabric printed on gel plate with Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paint by Judy Gula

When brayering, your paint colors can stay somewhat distinctive as in my red and yellow swatch, or you can blend them together to create a completely new color, as in the below example.

Adding paint to a gel plate and brayering it smooth

While acrylic-based paints such as our paints are the most popular choices, a wide variety of medium can be applied. The manufacturer of the Gel Press Plates notes that they have seen prints created with everything from tempera to oil pigments sticks (such as Shiva Paintstiks), alcohol inks and more. They offer this tip: if you can wash the media off the plate with materials you would use to clean your hands, then it should work well on the plate.

Rubbing plates and stencils impart texture on a round gel printing plate

You have so many options to create texture and pattern in your paint before you pull your print! Pictured above left is a rubbing plate impression (Cedar Canyon Rubbing Plates are sold in sets of six and are deeply embossed with patterns); right is a stencil in place on a round printing plate.

Monoprinted fabric created on a gel printing place with Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paint and wooden printing blocks.

And we all know my love of wooden printing blocks… their texture means they are wonderful to pick up paint off the plate, as in the example above, leaving a design behind. And of course that loaded wood block is immediately stamped onto another piece of fabric or paper!

Jamie Malden of Coloricious block printing on monoprinted fabric

I thought you might enjoy seeing this photo of the quilt pictured at the top of this post (in detail; the full shot is below) while it was in progress. That’s Jamie Malden of Coloricious adding the white wood block prints to our gel plate printed fabric blocks. I borrowed this photo from Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution’s 2013 “3 Artists + 3 Days = Creative Frenzy.” blog posting. Jamie was in the U.S. and we were lucky enough to host her for a block printing class; Liz was in town too, so the three of us set aside a few days to do some creative collaborating here at Artistic Artifacts. (My March 2020 Block Printing Tour of India is a Coloricious Holiday — join me for this once in a lifetime experience!

I hope this post inspires you to try monoprinting or other surface design technique — creating your own fabric or paper is very satisfying and ensures your finished artwork is truly unique.

Art quilt created in collaboration: Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts, Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution and Jamie Malden of Coloricious

My Mixed Media Art Journal

Flower inspired Mixed media art journal by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

I wanted to share some of the pages of my flower-inspired mixed media art journal. This particular journal has been in the works for years now! You know how some projects are like that, especially journals and mixed media where another layer and an extra dose of ephemera can always been worked in!

Above, the back of the closed journal with a flower charm added to the fabric ties.

Above, the wraparound flap hides another flower image as you begin to open the journal.

You know my love of wooden printing blocks… I thought the bird was a perfect addition to the butterflies and ephemera.

Multiple pages include pieces that were completed in the shop to show off a technique or product. The altered book page on the left has an image transfer, to show how you can get the transparency where the text peeks through.

In a previous blog post I wrote about transforming chipboard shapes — the above page spread is shown in that post!

Another previous blog post: Journaling, a Mixed Media Affair: Fabric Included features a number of pages now found in this journal in their initial stages, such as the above. I wrote then, “…And I need to add the same disclaimer I have before: these pages are not finished yet…there is more to come.” (I didn’t promise how QUICKLY they would be finished!)

I would begin working on both sides of paper: standard letter size piece of mixed media paper or watercolor paper, or a sheet torn from a blank journal. Folded in half, they were then stacked up and stitched into signatures, as shown above.

I’ve added some treasured and thematic Artist Trading Cards received during Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs) meetings, Art & Soul Creative Retreats, etc. to my journal too, as seen above and in the detail below:

Below, bringing in my love of vintage ephemera with a vintage postcard.

Below, “hinge” of washi tape means the postcard’s charming message can be viewed.

I hope you enjoyed this peek at this updated project!

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