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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

Top Shop Memories

Now that the Fall/Winter 2018 issue of Quilt Sampler® magazine has been released, we are reminiscing about last fall, when we were chosen as one of 10 shops from across North America to be featured in the Spring/Summer 2018 issue! You can still purchase our issue and get lost in the inspiring pages featuring these destination quilt shops.

Artistic Artifacts (and the other nine chosen shops) were extensively photographed and interviewed by a team from Quilt Sampler for the multipage profile that appears in the issue. The Quilt Sampler crew sent to photograph the shop and gather information were so talented and patient… it was amazing to see them create such beautiful vignettes of our products, to watch the laptop editing and shot testing, and more. It was a long day full of lots of lights, cameras and action!

In addition to seeing their work in our photos here, please watch the Quilt Sampler video tour and interview with Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula. Please note the Artistic Artifacts magazine exclusive quilt project photograph in the gallery is used with permission from Quilt Sampler® magazine; ©2018 Meredith Corporation; all rights reserved. Visit our website to purchase your choice of color fabric and bead kit below to complete your own Floral Batik Panel Quilt designed by Judy!

Artistic Artifacts South

It’s tough for a small business when more than one opportunity arrives at a time. We’ve happily relied on Chris Vinh to help Artistic Artifacts be in two places at the same time in the past, and she’s just come through for us once again!

On the Road for Artistic Artifacts

Guest post by Christine Vinh, StitchesnQuilts

This summer, I was fortunate to represent Artistic Artifacts at two events hosted by the Asheville Quilt Guild. In June, we were invited to be a vendor at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium and most recently we were at the Asheville Quilt Show. The guild members at both events exhibited their Southern hospitality and welcomed us warmly.

The Artistic Artifacts booth at the Asheville Quilt Show

Photo: The Artistic Artifacts booth at the Asheville Quilt Show.

For me, it was a bit of a homecoming as I was born in Asheville and my folks moved back to the area when I was in college. Hanging out for two weekends gave me time to visit some favorite spots with friends and family as well as to make new friends. Even better was to have Barb Boatman, one of the Creative Minds who had taught at Artistic Artifacts and participated in a number of local artisan events at Del Ray Artisans, work the booth with me for both events. Barb retired to Hendersonville, NC this year and, in addition to helping with sales, she was welcomed into the quilting community by the folks we met.

The North Carolina Quilt Symposium, Inc. is a non-profit corporation that was formed after the first North Carolina Quilt Symposium in Raleigh in 1979 The purpose is to promote and perpetuate the art of quilting through regularly sponsored symposia within the state of North Carolina and to sponsor other projects designed to preserve, continue, and advance this art form. The Symposium is held in different areas across the state each year, and next year’s event is scheduled for May 2–5, 2019 at Lake Junaluska in Western NC. The event in Asheville had a roster of instructors and a display of award winning quilts from guild members.

Susan Cleveland quilt “Seven Ringie Dingies”

Photo: Susan Cleveland quilt “Seven Ringie Dingies.” Susan uses WonderFil Specialty Threads in her quilts and likes InvisaFil for her applique and stitch in the ditch quilting. Susan has also worked with WonderFil to create namesake color-themed packs of Spagetti 12 wt 100% Long Staple Egyptian Cotton thread.

“Even with Brown,” quilt by Gyleen Fitzgerald

Photo: “Even with Brown” by Gyleen Fitzgerald, author of Trash to Treasure Pineapple Quilts and creator of the Pineapple Tool.

Chihuly at Biltmore, the first art exhibition in the estate’s historic gardens

Photo: Chihuly at Biltmore, the first art exhibition in the estate’s historic gardens. Biltmore is one of Asheville’s most recognized attractions.

The Asheville Quilt Show is put on annually by the Asheville Quilt Guild. It is a juried show and open to all quilters and included over 350 quilts in addition to vendors, silent auction, demonstrations and lectures. You can find this year’s winners on the guild website. Barb and I were kept busy all three days. The photograph at the top of this post was taken after we set up; you can see the beautiful Artistic Artifacts version of Step Into Christmas quilt, created by Dudley Shugart.

We met lots of loyal fans of Artistic Artifacts as well as introduced the shop to many new customers.

Quilting author and television host Georgia Bonesteel with Barb Boatman

Photo: Barb Boatman, right, discussing her own style of quilting using strips of aluminum cans woven with fabric to Georgia Bonesteel, author of numerous books, host of The Lap Quilting series on television and producer of the documentary The Great American Quilt Revival. Georgia had work on exhibit and was volunteering as a guild member.

“The Unexpected Visitor Goes Walkabout” quilt by Jane Butckovitz

Photo: “The Unexpected Visitor Goes Walkabout” by Jane Butckovitz. Her description stated, “I read a book on Japanese quilts saying they have an unexpected visitor somewhere. There is one in this quilt, mixed with Australian Aboriginal fabrics.” Can you find it?

Detail, “The Unexpected Visitor Goes Walkabout” quilt by Jane Butckovitz

We spotted it! A block featured Effervescence by Amelia Caruso (center left ring).

“Jazz Festival Backup Singers” quilt by O.V. Brantley

Photo: “Jazz Festival Backup Singers” by O.V. Brantley, Atlanta, GA. An original design with beautiful batiks and African Fabric.

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-seesion 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

Creating Fabric Collage

Beaded and embellished fabric pins by Judy Gula

Almost a decade ago Judy posted about creating fabric collage and we wanted to share this useful technique again for new readers, or those who missed it the first time around. She began her post writing about finding some surprise free time in her studio, and “really didn’t know what to do with myself.” Joking that she was steps away from having a perfectly clean and organized studio, she instead took the advice of fiber artist Beryl Taylor — start with making bits — and got to work playing with one of her favorite techniques.


Before Artistic Artifacts was a full blown web presence and a bricks and mortar store, I was known for my line of fabric jewelry, including necklaces, earrings, bracelets and pins (pictured above). These were sold at the Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery located in the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, VA.

Collaged and free motion quilted fabric by Judy GulaI love to create collaged fabrics. It is relaxing to me, and I have many uses for it, whether cutting it into small bits for my pins or using it to build an art quilt. It’s a great process when you want to be creative but aren’t feeling the pull of a specific project, or if you only have a short period of time to work.

To begin my collaged fabrics, I pick one of the several drawers in my studio that hold scraps of fabric sorted by color and take it to my work surface or ironing board.

Next I cut a piece of Steam-A-Seam 2 approximately 12 in. 14 in. (Artistic Artifacts sells this by the yard, and Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 is available in a package of five 9 in. x 12 in. sheets.) These are double stick fusible webs, heat activated and pressure sensitive. The fusible is sticky and repositionable, so you can “play” with your design before permanently ironing. I love using Steam-A-Seam 2 for this technique since it holds the fabric scraps in place.

I peel one piece of the protective paper off and set it aside. Place the Steam-A-Seam 2 on your work surface, sticky side up. Begin by pulling scraps from your stash, iron them, (honestly, I guess you don’t really have to iron them!) place them on the Steam-A-Seam 2. You can cut them smaller or into shapes as you like. I start my fabric collage in the middle and work out towards the edges. You can begin anywhere you want!

Fused fabric collage by Judy Gula

Completed beaded and embellished fabric pin by Judy GulaThe fabric scraps should be in one layer, with a minimal amount of overlap. Once your piece of Steam-A-Seam 2 is completely covered with scraps and you’re happy with it (remember, you can play with your positioning), replace the protective sheet of paper over it and iron to hold your scraps together as a sheet of collaged fabric. Pictured above is an example after first fusing.

At this point you will need to decide on your backing, depending on what project you plan to use your collaged fabric for. I use muslin if I’m making book or journal covers, and a heavyweight stablilizer such as Pellon 70 Peltex Sew-In Ultra Firm Stabilizer if I’m making postcards, artist trading cards (ATCs) and for my pins. Once you’ve selected your backing, peel off the remaining paper and place the fusible coated side down onto your backing. Iron it to finally fuse.

Fused fabric collage after free motion quilting by Judy Gula

I then free-motion sew/quilt my fabric collage sheet. I sometimes choose to place yarns, ribbon, etc. on top, covering it with netting. I don’t worry if it moves around, this is a collage. I frequently have to cut the netting if I’m using it, because it gets caught on my machine foot, but it doesn’t matter! Choose your thread and head to your sewing machine to being the free motion stitching. The fabrics you used in your collage can help with your free motion simply by following the prints and designs already there. But anything goes, as you can see in my example above. Free motion ‘doodling’ is very freeing and a lot of fun!

Reverse of fused fabric collage after free motion quilting by Judy Gula

Above you can see the reverse of one of my fabric collage pieces that has been free-motioned quilted. The white of the Peltex stabilizer I used is visible shows off my free motion doodling. Since I was going to cut this piece up and finish the back in additional steps, there was no need to have a visible backing fabric in place.

Finished art quilt by Judy Gula

This finished art quilt by Judy Gula began with a fused and quilted base of collaged fabric scraps.

To make my fabric pins, I pull out my vintage buttons, beads, laces, etc., once the free motion stage is finished. I cut the collaged fabric sheet into various shapes and pieces to begin my pins, then start the layering and embellishing steps.

Another example of fabric collage by Judy GulaWhile the fabric collage process can be fast and fun, yes, these pins take a little longer than a free afternoon of found studio time! I face the back with ultrasuede, attach a pin backing (you can see the ultrasuede and pin backing in the photo that opened this post), and finish the edges, usually with rows of beading and beading stitches.

The black and white fabric collage pictured here was used to create the pins below. (You know my weakness for black and white fabrics!) In addition to vintage buttons, I used some wonderful buckles.

Fabric pins by Judy Gula

These are a lovely little piece of art in themselves, and if you don’t wear pins, they also make wonderful quilt or mixed media art embellishments or focal points. A gallery of some of my favorites (click to see larger views):

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