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Fabric Embellishing Inspiration

“It’s easy to take advantage of the creative offerings available that allow you to participate in the convenience of your own home,” wrote Art & Soul founder Glenny Moir** on the Art & Soul blog last year. “But there’s nothing like being amongst your tribe of like-minded souls, having a teacher right in front of you to answer questions as they arise [and] walking around a classroom to see what others are doing.”

We love that sentiment, as it really sums up our experience hosting classes at Artistic Artifacts. Much of the fun is in the mix of students and their own approaches and styles, favorites colors and themes. Plus most of our instructors report back to us that that learn as much from their students — and yes, even beginners and those inexperienced!

Student work from Judy Gula's Fabric Embellishing class

The photos shared here are student work from our 6-session class Fabric Embellishing Workbook with Judy Gula, which uses Fabric Embellishing — the Basics and Beyond as the text. And we’ve just scheduled a new session of this class beginning in February, 2019!

This is a great opportunity to try fabric embellishing: walk through various techniques, create a reference book of beautiful examples, and enjoy the company of, and learn from, others in the class. We will learn multiple fabric embellishing techniques as we create a beautiful fabric book. Class sessions consist of demonstrations as well as hands on activities; you will complete your pages and “homework” at home. Note, each student must own a copy of Fabric Embellishing — the Basics and Beyond and bring it with them to each session. We will cover techniques from Fabric Embellishing, as well as Judy’s own, resulting in an artful book you will refer to time and time again.

More student work from Judy Gula's Fabric Embellishing class

Christine Vinh of StitchesnQuilts points out that “The difference between taking a class and working on your own using a book is the inspiration you get from the others working through the same exercises. The details in the Fabric Embellishing — the Basics and Beyond book are wonderfully done and easy to follow. But the show and tell of the folks taking Judy Gula’s class using the book as a guide adds so many ideas to push us out of our own comfort zone and explore new options within our own work.”

Student work from Judy Gula's Fabric Embellishing class

Student work from Judy Gula's Fabric Embellishing class

Inaugural student Suzanne Meader agrees: “I participated in the first session of this class at Artistic Artifacts that started last fall, and it is FANTASTIC! As Chris Vinh says, you not only learn new techniques, but seeing how the students in the class interpret and create ‘pages’ based on the techniques learned in the class sessions are so inspiring. It was really interesting to see how each student developed their own style for their pages…great class, and I highly recommend!”

Student work from Judy Gula's Fabric Embellishing class

Student work from Judy Gula's Fabric Embellishing class

Enjoy these many examples of fabric manipulation and embellishing techniques and be inspired to create your own too!

Student work from Judy Gula's Fabric Embellishing class
Student work from Judy Gula's Fabric Embellishing class

Student work from Judy Gula's Fabric Embellishing class

** P.S. We included the following information in one of our recent enewsletters: Art & Soul founder Glenny Moir recently announced that the Virginia Beach Resort Hotel was purchased by Marriott, and the planned $25 million renovation means it will be closed for all of 2019 —“exciting news for the property and wonderful staff, but it means that we will NOT be in VA next year… Therefore, if you have been wanting to see what it is we love about this location on the beach — now is the time to register! Virginia Beach is an east-to-get-to destination for those of us in the Mid-Atlantic region, and the off-season weather still lets you enjoy walks on the beach just outside your classroom. The International Sand Sculpting Championship will take place September 27-October 7, part of Virginia Beach’s annual Neptune Festival— another exciting draw! Remember that Artistic Artifacts sets up an on-site “satellite shop” filled with fiber and mixed media supplies, and it’s open to anyone, not just retreat attendees. Visit the Art & Soul website to register for your choice of classes.

Student work from Judy Gula's Fabric Embellishing class

Student work from Judy Gula's Fabric Embellishing class

Student work from Judy Gula's Fabric Embellishing class

Student work from Judy Gula's Fabric Embellishing class

Stitched & Silks Mahyar Batik Panel Quilt

Mahyar batik panel bordered with silk fabrics

I love these ladies — wonderful exotic ladies! I have been hand stitching on this batik panel by Mahyar for quite awhile now, using Tulip needles (chenille) and the luscious Eleganza pearl cotton by WonderFil Specialty Threads.

Mahyar batik panel detail: hand stitching with Eleganza cotton by WonderFil

This was my take along travel project, and the girls did a lot of traveling! The majority of my embroidering was simple straight stitches and French knots.

Mahyar batik panel detail: hand stitching with Eleganza cotton by WonderFil

One of the classes I am teaching at Art & Soul Virginia Beach is Create a Batik Panel Art Quilt, and I wanted to share this example with you. FYI, Art & Soul has released its 2018 event dates: Portland, OR – Feb 11-18 (registration is open now), Minneapolis, MN – May 2-9, and back again to Virginia Beach, VA – Oct 1-6, 2018. Plan your creative retreat experience now!

Mahyar batik panel detail: hand stitching with Eleganza cotton by WonderFil

For the longest time I  could not figure out how to finish these Mahyar beauties… they were not telling me! Asking the advice of Chris Vinh of StitchesnQuilts, we finally decided they should be “dressed in Silks.” Part of my inspiration came from the crazy quilt table runner I was working on using beautiful silk fabrics I had purchased from Pamela Armas (a.k.a. Gypsy Pamela), the owner of Treasures of the Gypsy.

Crazy quilt table runner with silk fabrics from Treasures of the Gypsy

Pamela sells exotic fabrics, trims, beads, ribbon, and more, imported from India and Europe, via booths at most of the major sewing and quilting shows (she is in Houston each year for Quilt Festival. Treasures of the Gypsy doesn’t have a web site, but does have a Facebook page.

Crazy quilt table runner with silk fabrics from Treasures of the Gypsy

These silk fabrics are very tricky to quilt with — I definitely had trouble with the Dupioni silk unraveling.

Cutting silk fabric from Treasures of the Gypsy for the border
The Dupioni silk did fray at cut edges

Lesson learned! I would recommend that if you are working with these fabrics, stablilize them with a lightweight fusible or interfacing before cutting and sewing them. I will do that next time! (Of course this time did not want to stop my progess, so I just kept going.)

Adding silk borders to Mahyer batik panel quilt

Using Spotlite™ by Wonderfil, a 40 wt metallic thread, I stitched on the Dupioni in a straight line. There is so much hand stitching on the panel, and the fabric is so exotic I felt simplified quilting on the borders was called for.

Quilted silk borders for Mahyer batik panel quilt

I plan to bind with the dark Turquoise Silk Dupioni after I have used Mistyfuse to prevent unraveling.

Mahyar batik panel  awaiting border

The Beauty of Art Dolls

The National Institute of American Doll Artists, NIADA, founded in 1963 with the purpose of promoting the art of the original handmade doll, is hosting its annual Conference and Dollmaking School this week in Old Town Alexandria. Today (Saturday, July 23, 2016) and tomorrow there are events open to the public, including Artist Demos at Torpedo Factory Art Center and an Exhibition and Sale. We’ve welcomed some NIADA attendee shoppers this week, and in honor of their event, and our own class next month, Mermaid Art Doll with Leslie Brier, we wanted to share some art dolls that we have on display in the shop, have been made in our classes, or have been shared with us.

Mermaid Art Doll by Leslie Brier

Mixed media artist Leslie Brier’s Mermaid Art Doll class is suitable for both beginning and experienced doll artists. You’ll cover your own soft-bodied doll (Leslie has dolls you can purchase to use if need be) with your choice of a vintage or batik provided kit, plus your own treasures of fabrics, laces, embellishments and trims. See more of Leslie’s art dolls below.

The below mermaid art doll by Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula should be familar to many, as she graces our business card!

Mermaid art doll by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Art doll by Kathlyn J. Aviles

The above was created by Kathlyn J. Avila-Reyes. In 2009 we wrote about hosting an exhibit/sale of Kat’s work…take a look at the wonderful photos from then! Judy couldn’t resist adding the beauty pictured here to her own collection, and she has been a much-admired resident of the shop since then. Look at the amazing detail!

Detail, fiber/beaded art doll by Kathlyn J. Aviles

Earlier this year Kat held a very successful show at the Art League of Alexandria; over time her work has moved away from pure fiber to ceramics but remains absolutely stunning. Visit her website for to view her gallery.

Mary, Star of the Sea by Sharon McDonagh

The above is by Artistic Artifacts staffer Sharon McDonagh. She began with an unadorned store bought Santos figure and altered it from head to toe to become Mary, Star of the Sea (Ave Maris Stella).

Items used to create Mary, Star of the Sea by Sharon McDonagh

This was Sharon’s submission for a recent Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs) challenge. Members each gathered 10 items in a paper bag, and the bags were randomly exchanged. Participants could use any mediums and techniques to create their resulting piece of art; the only rule was that at least some of each of the 10 items had to be used. The assortment (pictured right) Sharon received consisted of small sea shells, blue braid trim, blue feathery yarn, a magazine page altered with Citrasolv, translucent printed map tissue paper, blue handmade fiber paper, a piece of woven grass trim, an upholstery fabric sample, painted foil and a silver color Gelato.

Figurative work often results from classes we host here at the shop. In early May we welcomed Leighanna Light of Taos, New Mexico. Leighanna calls herself a “Thingmaker,” and oh, such beautiful things! One of the classes she taught was titled Faux Etching/Surface Design on Metal, and one of the attendees was Linda Morgan, a member of JAMs who is known within the group for her amazing mixed media fiber and assemblage work:

Art dolls by Linda Morgan completed in Faux Etching/Surface Design on Metal class with Leighanna Light

Above, Linda’s work from the Faux Etching class. Below, additional art dolls by Linda.

Mixed media assemblage art dolls by Linda Morgan

Mixed media assemblage art dolls by Linda Morgan

Below, Jello Mold dolls by Linda Morgan.

Jello mold assemblage art dolls by Linda Morgan

As promised, more art dolls from Leslie Brier, from the small, a multi-beaded figure pictured below…

Beaded art doll by Leslie Brier

…to the tall, Leslie’s “Machine Age Santos.”

Machine Age Santos by Leslie Brier

Mixed media art doll by Leslie Brier

Above, “Sugar” by Leslie Brier.

A student at this year’s Art & Soul Creative Retreat in Portland shared the below cloth doll with us: it made us happy to see what she had done with our Hand Dyed Fiber Collage Kits! Art & Soul Virginia Beach will take place this fall, September 26 – October 1. Take a look at the workshops available, which include a number of art doll classes.

Art doll created with Judy Gula's hand-dyed textiles by Art & Soul creative retreat student

Now go play with your dolls!

Block Printed Quilt-lets

I enjoy printing with my wooden printing blocks on fabric. I often print on small pieces of fabric using a motif, without an advance plan for how the pieces will be used.

When I saw what Jamie Fingel did for her Rebel Quilting (which I studied up on in order to take Jamie’s place at Portland Art & Soul), I thought that instead of using pieces of stenciled fabrics as Jamie does, I could instead use my block printed squares and rectangles.

Block printed art quilt-let by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

So I gathered up my stash of wooden block printed fabrics, a piece of felt, Misty Fuse, rotary cutter and mat and went to work straightening the edges of the printed fabrics.

After cutting a rectangular piece of felt, I applied Misty Fuse to the entire surface. My first attempt of fusing on a multitude of block prints and fabric strips resulted in lots of colors and patterns. Frankly, It was an ugly disaster! While I saved it as a reminder of what not to do, I’ve “conveniently” misplaced it to avoid the visual spreading out on the World Wide Web!

Block printed art quilt-let by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Taking a deep breath I stepped back and tried to calm the arrangement down into something I’d be happy with. How to do that?

The big Aha! moment: limit the color palette of our quilt-lets By printing the wood block motifs in the same colors and by using a limited number of coordinating fabric in between the block prints.

Block printed art quilt-let by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Included in this post above are some of the art quilts I’ve made since that aha moment. These are the perfect size to experiment with some thread sketching and free-motion quilting. I “bind” the edges with a loose satin stitch all around to prevent unraveling and fraying.

Block printed art quilt-let by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

I’m also sharing some photos from our June 11 Woodblock Printed Collage Art Quilt as I taught students how to print and design their own version of these quilts.

Collage Art Quilt class on June 11 at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, VA

Woodblock Printed Collage Art Quilt class on June 11 at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, VA

We all had a great time creating that day! As usual, we enjoyed ourselves so much we didn’t take nearly as many photos to share as we should have. Everyone walked away with wonderful pieces!

Woodblock Printed Collage Art Quilt class on June 11 at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, VA
Woodblock Printed Collage Art Quilt class on June 11 at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, VA
Student work, Woodblock Printed Collage Art Quilt class on June 11 at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, VA
Student work, Woodblock Printed Collage Art Quilt class on June 11 at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, VA
Student work, Woodblock Printed Collage Art Quilt class on June 11 at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria, VA

Love My ATCs!

I love making and exchanging Artist Trading Cards (ATCs)! We begin each monthly Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs) meeting with an ATC exchange, and it’s always fun to trade while at creative retreats like Art & Soul.

Display carousel of ATCs collected by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Customers visiting the shop have always enjoyed perusing my display, above.

Time for another ATC display carousel!

…and it was long past time for another! I should be embarrassed to show the above photo, right? 😊

Well, my new rack recently arrived, and I’m transferring my beloved ATCs to a proper home. I wanted to share several I’ve recently received, perfect for springtime:

Spring Bloom ATC, No. 8 of 15, by Sharon McDonagh

“Spring…Bloom!” was created by Sharon McDonagh, who used her beloved Gelatos as well as colored pencils, stamping and more, accenting with a flower shaped ‘jewel.’

ATC by Dawn Murray of Fife, Scotland

The above was made by Dawn Murray of Fife, Scotland! Dawn is a friend of Jocelyn Corderot, a member of JAMs, and visits the U.S. once a year or so, and we’ve been lucky enough to have her attend a meeting when the timing has coincided.

Bluejay ATC by Kathie Lostan

Back of Kathie Lostan's ATC

This above bluejay is a wonderful collage of found paper and several painting techniques by Kathie Lostan.

Kathie also used the Ink Bottle design of one of our rubber stamps designed specifically for the reverse side of ATCs. These stamps are available in a wide variety of styles (see more below) and are a great way to add some additional design to your ATCs and save you some time listing the card’s information.

While you can include as little or as much as you want, it’s usually suggested to include at least the following on the reverse of your cards: contact information (e.g., email, website, blog address); date of card creation; and edition number (e.g. 1 of 10).

Rubber stamps for the reverse of ATCs

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