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Revisited: Dye. Layer. Collage. Art.

I’m doing some springtime travel: presenting my Batik Adventure lecture and trunk show to the Colorado Quilting Council on Saturday, April 28, and also teaching my Woodblock Printed Collage Art Quilt for the group on Sunday, April 29. (FYI, this class will also take place May 19 at Artistic Artifacts.)

Lady with Brooch mixed media art quilt by Judy Gula

The workshop will take place at the Cottonwood Center for the Arts, in Colorado Springs, also home to Textiles West and my oft-mentioned friends Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution and Ruth Chandler, who are both are on the Textiles West board. I’m reminded of a Colorado visit nearly eight years ago, teaching a class titled Dye. Layer. Collage. Art. at a Textile Evolution Retreat. The quilt I made there is pictured above, my “Lady with Brooch.”

Art and inspiration are timeless, so while my original blog post about this 2010 event is no longer available, I wanted to share again, this time including additional photos taken by Liz.

Dyeing fabric in Colorado, Textile Evolution Retreat 2010The first day of class we were immersed in making what I called “bits,” the base materials for our creations. We began with dyeing fabrics, vintage linens, trims and more. In the high-altitude Colorado climate, we could dye in jars, set out in the sun for three hours, rinse and line dry, and use in our quilts — all in the same day! (While the process is not that speedy on the East Coast, I have several Dye Days on the schedule now that the weather is warming.)

Show and TeJl at Textile Evolution Retreat 2010Day one also found us using fabric, tissue paper and paints to create fabric paper. You can download Making Fabric from Paper by Beryl Taylor, a PDF tutorial from the Cloth Paper Scissors blog to learn how youreself. During the retreat we would finish out each day with show and tell, and in this photo (right) you can see finished sheets of fabric paper and piles of hand-dyed fabric being passed around. It was fun to see what students in the other classes were up to each day!

Judy Gula demonstrating making silk paper at Textile Evolution Retreat 2010

In addition to the daytime classes, each evening the instructors would take turns doing another fiber arts related demonstration and hands-on activity. Pictured above, I demonstrated making silk paper using silk fibers, Angelina, Jo Sonja Textile Medium and more, adding to our stash of bits to use. (View my tutorial on creating silk paper on the Artistic Artifacts website)

Lady with Brooch art quilt by Judy Gula, detail

The 'bits' used in  the Dye. Layer. Collage. Art class by Judy Gula at Textile Evolution Retreat 2010The above detail photo of my Lady with Brooch quilt shows some of the fabric paper and dyed trims, as well as the vintage brooch referenced in my title.

The second day of class, my students had a choice of continuing to make bits (a glimpse of which are pictured right; including some of the student work begun), or to immediately start in on designing their quilts. They had to do so without pencil, paper, or preplanning — just letting the materials speak to them.

This was scary for all, but thanks to Cass Mullane and Laura Cater-Woods, every retreat attendee was issued a ‘permission slip’ to try something scary!

Students beginning to design their collaged art quilts

By beginning with an inspiration item such as a pin, photo or found object, they all were able to create a small art quilt that could be easily finished (if necessary) after the retreat concluded. Above you can see students beginning to experiment with layering fabrics and textiles to find the design they wanted to complete.

Student work from Dye. Layer. Collage. Art class by Judy Gula at Textile Evolution Retreat 2010

I was very proud of my students — they all stepped into the scary land of intuitive designing! Unfortunately I didn’t capture all of the work, but they all did a fabulous job. Above and below, student work experimenting with possible layouts.

Student work from Dye. Layer. Collage. Art class by Judy Gula at Textile Evolution Retreat 2010

Below, Cathleen “Cat” Mikkelson’s collage composition.

Cat Mikkelson’s student work from Dye. Layer. Collage. Art class by Judy Gula at Textile Evolution Retreat 2010

Cat’s inspiration was a “Famous Woman Card” that was included in the retreat Goodie Bag and her newly dyed fabrics.

Ruth Chandler at work designing her fiber collage art quilts

Above, Ruth Chandler at work composing two different pieces.

Ruth Chandler’s student work from Dye. Layer. Collage. Art class by Judy Gula at Textile Evolution Retreat 2010

The beginning of another piece by Ruth Chandler from Dye. Layer. Collage. Art class by Judy GulaRuth’s inspiration was the beautiful dyed and surface designed fabric she created combined with the photo, one of many I brought with me for student use.

Here you see more of Ruth’s fabric, but for this piece, the inspiration was a 12 in. × 12 in. piece of scrapbooking paper! Other Artists who taught at Textile Evolution Retreat 2010 were Laura Cater-Woods, a wonderful art coach, artist and friend and Carol Sloan.

This was the first time I had met Carol and I wrote then that she was “a new friend who draws wonderful designs, creates very cool rusted fabrics and loves found objects… wonder why we get along!”

My mother Pat Vincentz accompanied me on the trip to the retreat. While I was busy teaching, she took Carol’s two-day mixed media class Scraps, Fragments and Artifacts. She enjoyed herself, met new friends and then surprised me with the most wonderful quilt ever!

There was a photo of me and my mom holding it, me sweaty and sobbing. With my first blog post, I wrote that my readers were to “Keep in mind this quilt was a surprise and I was crying like a baby! I also had been working outside in 90 degree sunshine…you are supposed to be looking at the quilt!” This time around, I’m going to spare myself that embarrassment and just post the beautiful keepsake.

Pat Vincentz student work from Scraps, Fragments and Artifacts by Carol Sloan at Textile Evolution Retreat 2010

You can see my mom used some of Carol’s rust dyed fabric in her quilt. I used a wonderful piece too in my quilt; the detail photo below shows it as well as the free motion thread painting/quilting I used. I now sell my own Rusted Fabric Collage Pack — it adds such a great touch to fiber projects!

Lady with Brooch art quilt by Judy Gula, detail

I hope you’ve enjoyed this walk down memory lane and are inspired to create your own art quilt!

Stitching on Wool and Felt — Journal Covers and More

Hand Stitched Mixed Media Journal Cover

Several years ago during the holiday season I wrote about creating felt-covered journals (my tutorial is expanded on below). I mentioned that I generally batch or make multiples of art, in that case making four journal covers at one time… a great process for making gifts! I’ve realized I hadn’t shared the cover (pictured above) of the journal I kept for myself, and so in celebration of February being National Embroidery Month, am sharing some of my stitching here.

Detail, Hand Stitched Mixed Media Journal Cover

Pictured above, and stitching detail photo right, is the finished hand-stitched felt/wool mixed media journal cover. Natural fiber felts are perfect for needlefelting (by hand or machine), or as a base for hand-stitching.

Plus, in addition to commercial felts, I enjoy using upcycled wool sweaters and fabrics that have been “fulled” (washed in hot water and dried to shrink and tighten the fibers) as a base for switching. You can see the fun striped sweater created a beautiful accent!

Commercial felt and fulled wool sweaters were used to create the journal cover design

Above, commercial felt and fulled wool sweaters were used to create my journal cover. I simply cut simple shapes to add, plus traced a more elaborate scroll design to appliqué to the base felt fabric. These shapes were accented with blanket stitching, simple straight stitches, running stitching and cross-stitching.

WonderFil Specialty Threads embellish wool hearts on an upcycled sweater piece

WonderFil Specialty Threads feature a large number of beautiful threads, such as Sue Spargo’s collection of Eleganza, perfect for hand-stitching. Here, WonderFil Specialty Threads embellish wool hearts on an upcycled sweater swatch. Above left features French knots; right are Bullion knots (use a Bullion Knot Needle for ease in creating these). Also pictured below, these stitched hearts are an example of a project demonstrated and completed during our monthly Hand Stitch Third Thursday sessions.

WonderFil Specialty Threads embellish wool hearts on an upcycled sweater piece

I am always touting Modern Hand Stitching by Ruth Chandler: it’s a wonderful resource, giving you well-illustrated instructions on creating basic embroidery stitches. The fun of the book is how she shows you many ways you can adjust and alter those stitches for a new look. Artistic Artifacts also carries a number of other beautiful embroidery books complete with instructions, patterns and projects.

Hand stitching with wool on wool

This blog post is giving you instructions to create a mixed media journal, but imagine the above pictured examples (more of my hand-stitching on wool) instead sewn into a zipper pouch… wouldn’t that make the perfect storage for your favorite thread spools? Or how about working larger, or stitching together different squares, to create a pillow? Your only limit is your imagination!

Creating Mixed Media Journals

Select your commercial felt base or fulled wool swatch. The bright light green pictured here is XoticFelt, which came as a large 20" x 22" swatch. I folded it in half, ironed the fold line, folded it in half again and ironed that fold.

Folding felt for cutting lines

Doing this created easy to follow cutting lines to cut my four book covers. Because I was “batching” my work to create multiple journals to use as gifts, I used the entire piece and these covers measured 10" x 11". This was a bit unusual in size, but I didn’t waste any felt! Of course you can choose to make your cover in any size you like.

Rotary cutting along fold lines

The next step is to cut a backing for the felt. This surface will serve as your inside front and back cover. My favorite to use is Roc-lon Multi-Purpose Cloth™. Comparable to canvas, this 70% Polyester/30% cotton material is flexible, soft, and prepared for painting and collaging. Using it makes your felt cover sturdier and more durable. Cut the Multi-Purpose Cloth (or your desired material) the same size, or a bit smaller than the size of the felt.

You will also want to cut your choice of found papers, and cards to go on the inside of the book. You can cut all your paper for your page signatures the same size, or you can, like in my example, incorporate different sizes for interest.

Pages for the journal interior

This is an ideal way to recycle junk mail, wrapping paper scraps, and more. You can also incorporate sheets of fabric into your pages as I did. If you do, you can stitch inside your book, or pin or fuse items to the fabric. The sky’s the limit!

You now have three elements working: embroidered felt or wool for the front cover, Multi-Purpose Cloth for the inside cover, and your pages.

Front Cover:

Cut small pieces of contrasting felt to create a design, and hand-stitch with floss using straight or embroidery stitches. I’ve included a photo here of a different stitched book cover I created for additional ideas — I love stitching on buttons! As noted above Artistic Artifacts carries a number of hand-stitching and embroidery books, plus there are a huge number of online and YouTube resources for learning embroidery stitches. You could also choose to machine stitch your cover — a great opportunity to practice free-motion quilting!

Inside Cover:

Next is the Multi-Purpose Cloth. You can leave this plain/white, or create some surface design with paint or inks. I’ve used stencils and spray inks to quickly pattern the inside cover of the Multi-Purpose Cloth.

Spray inks and stencils atop Multi-Purpose Cloth inside cover

When working with spray inks, make sure your work surface is well covered, or place your item in a box. In the photo examples here, I have used a red plastic tablecloth to protect the table surface, topping it with tissue paper.

Stencil removed, leaving ink design

I add the tissue paper because then it builds my stash — I can use any of the oversprayed tissue in other mixed media projects! Spray your first color of ink lightly through the stencil.

Adding additional colors of ink and layers of design

After I lifted the stencil off, I let it dry (spray inks dry quickly) and then continued the process, spraying all four of my Multi-Purpose Cloth at the same time, using different colors of ink. I also added a small stencil and used another color ink. Let dry.

Spray ink through stencils on Roc-lon Multi-Purpose Cloth

Mistyfuse layered onto Multi-Purpose cloth and covered with a non-stick craft sheet

To continue, the non-sprayed or plain side of your Multi-Purpose Cloth needs to have Mistyfuse applied to it. I’ve often mentioned using Mistyfuse in projects; you know I love it! But remember, it requires the use of a Goddess Sheet, the Bo-Nash Amazing Sheet or any brand of non-stick (Teflon) craft sheet (parchment paper will also work) to cover the surface while ironing. Pictured here, the plain side of my Multi-Purpose cover has a layer of white Mistyfuse (hard to see, I know, but you can pick up the webbing texture) that is being covered by the non-stick sheet. I iron on top of the sheet, which fuses the Mistyfuse to the interior covers.

Once the Mistyfuse has been applied, all the pieces are ready:

  1. Outside Cover: the felt has a pattern and color stitched to the front.
  2. Inside Cover: the Multi-Purpose Cloth has color on one side (or was left plain) and Mistyfuse on the other side.
  3. Pages: Paper and fabric is assembled for the interior of the book.

Stitching & Embellishing Pages:

Stitch the paper to your inside cover Multi-Purpose Cloth. I found the center by simply folding all the papers and fabrics. I also folded the Multi-Purpose Cloth and lined everything up according to that fold — remember, your color side faces up so it is visible — and straight stitched down the center.

Stitching your paper and cardstock signatures together using your sewing machine and a long, straight stitch

Set your sewing machine to sew a long, straight stitch — shorter stitches too close together can cause the paper to perforate and then fall out.

Washi tape covers stitching and creates foldout page

These mixed media journals are also a great place to use your favorite washi tape: apply the tape over the stitching (above) to hide it if you prefer. Washi tape is also a simple and decorative way to create fold out pages and pockets.

Washi tape creates a fold out pocket tab and embellishes a tag

Finishing Your Mixed Media Journal:

Your last step is to fuse your stitched felt cover to the plain side of your Multi-Purpose Cloth interior cover — which has already had the Mistyfuse applied. Trim your edges if it’s necessary.

You can add finishing touches like a button closure and an attached fabric tie, as in my example. Pictured below is my journal opened to show both the front and back stitching and how the fabric tie was stitched on.

View of both front and back hand stitched journal cover

Finally, enjoy your new journal… and if you have batched your construction, enjoy giving away these special gifts!

“It’s Time to Fly” Art Quilt

Butterfly stitch meditation art quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope that 2018 is a creative year for you!

Detail, Butterfly stitch meditation art quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

I try to fit in little creative time every week. Sometimes it’s just moments. If I get lucky, it’s part of a day. And then there are times when I just sort and refold some of my fabric, or even simply admire and pet it — that counts too!

When I have moments of time, I work on my version of Liz Kettle’s stitch meditations, detailed in a previous blog post. The art quilt I’m featuring here began with one of my larger stitch meditations.

I had found a vintage tablecloth that featured cutwork embroidered butterflies, which I Indigo dyed. Cutting out the butterfly to use for a stitch meditation, I simply echoed its wings and antennae using Sue Spargo Eleganza #5, solid perle cotton in Orange Crush and a running stitch.

I stitched the butterfly to a square of the “fly” printed cotton. (Notice that I included the printed selvedge in the quilt!) While this particular fabric is currently sold out, you might like Flutter by Jennifer Sampou from the same line.

Detail, Butterfly stitch meditation art quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Interest was added with the little squares of orange hand-dyed cottons topped with irregular triangles of a printed Italian silk Jacquard. These accents were stitched ‘in flight’ with the butterfly.

I decided to finish it with a 2-inch wide border of Folklife-Parang, Rainbow from the Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik line, and then bound it with a circle patterned Kaffe Fassett fabric I found in my stash (also the backing fabric).

If you are local, you can join me at Artistic Artifacts on January 18 as Artistic Artifacts hosts another opportunity to create Stitch Meditations, this time as the inaugural class in our new Hand Stitch Third Thursday series. Hope to see you!

Support the Shop Small Movement

Show your love for Artistic Artifacts by visiting on Small Business Saturday, November 25

This November 25, we want to share Small Business Saturday® with you! Small Business Saturday® is an annual shopping tradition celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Dedicated to supporting small businesses and celebrating communities across the country, the Shop Small movement was founded by American Express in 2010.

Shop Small® with us — grab a friend or family member and come by Artistic Artifacts between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm on the big day. As a Thanksgiving weekend expression of gratitude to our customers, visitors can enjoy a store-wide 15% discount on products (some exceptions apply). We have plenty of wonderful gift selections for your favorite creative friends and family as the holiday season approaches! Fill out a wish list (on paper in the shop or online) and let us know who we should contact to drop the hint for your OWN perfect present!

Artistic Artifacts is getting ready to kick off the 2017 Holiday season!

Artistic Artifacts is preparing for the 2017 Holiday season—join us for Small Business Saturday on November 25!

We invite you to come relax and hang out at the shop — getting away from the mall crowds and/or extended family — and get yourself in a positive frame of mind for the upcoming holiday season. We will have door prizes, all the makings and instruction on creating a Stitch Meditation, plus a 1:00 pm presentation by Janette Coffee of Essentially Holistic (see more below).

Recently completed Stitch Meditations by Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution

Previous hand-stitching or embroidery experience is not necessary to create a beautiful Stitch Meditation, and we will have plenty of fabrics, threads and embellishing scraps on hand for you to play with! The Stitch Meditations pictured here are some of the recent creations of Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution (watch a video by Liz on her website) who created this amazing practice. You can also learn more about Stitch Meditations and view many additional examples in our own previous blog posting.

Whether as a reaction against the big-box madness of “Black Friday” or simply to show support, many embrace Small Business Saturday as a holiday shopping tradition. If you are not close enough to visit Artistic Artifacts yourself, please visit your own local small businesses (whether exploring new ventures or your hometown favorite), dine at a local non-chain restaurant, and more. You can help get the word out about this important “think big, shop small” movement by using #shopsmall on Facebook and all your social networks.

Artistic Artifacts is one of the 706,626 small businesses in operation across Virginia. Small businesses make up 99.50% of all the businesses in the state! (Statistics based on data from the Office of Advocacy’s Small Business Profiles; “Small Business” is defined as a firm employing fewer than 500 employees.)

From local restaurants to the paint store down the street, small businesses have created major impacts across all communities and help ensure local economies stay strong and vibrant. Invite your friends and family to join you: Shop Small and show your love for your favorite places. Because when small businesses succeed, we all do.

Introduction to Essential Oils

An essentials oils introduction will be presented at Artistic Artifacts on Saturday, November 25

Artistic Artifacts will be the site of a 1:00 pm presentation by Janette Coffee of Essentially Holistic, discussing döTERRA Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® essential oils. Janette promises “Essential Oils are safe and affordable and can help with everything from difficulty sleeping and stress, to chronic pain and digestive issues. If you want to learn how to use a natural remedy to achieve your best health, this is the right place!”

From döTerra: When you choose döTERRA, you are choosing essential oils gently and carefully distilled from plants that have been patiently harvested at the perfect moment by experienced growers from around the world for ideal extract composition and efficacy. Each döTERRA essential oil is also carefully and thoroughly tested using the strict CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® quality protocol. Experienced essential oil users will immediately recognize the superior quality standard for naturally safe, purely effective therapeutic-grade doTERRA essential oils.

Artistic Artifacts Row By Row Variations

Stitched table runner by Chris Vinh, a 2017 Artistic Artifacts Row by Row Experience pattern variation

The “hibernation” period for this year’s Row by Row Experience is now over … and our 2017 Row by Row kits are available for purchase online! The Artistic Artifacts Pinwheels In Motion row kits are available in five different colorways of our Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik! To mark this time, we wanted to share some fun Row by Row adaptations with you.

The official rules for the event each summer requires creating a quilt with 8 different row patterns in it to win, but our row alone works just beautifully!

The back of Sue Lee's 2017 Row by Row Experience quilt, featuring the Artistic Artifacts row.

Pictured above, one side of the quilt that won our prize for the first completed (quilted, bound, and labeled). Sue Lee extended our row in length and used it on the back of her quilt, making it reversible. After initially purchasing her kit in July, she returned the next day for more fabric — Shapes-Pinwheels, Fuchsia and Color Sponge Solid: Berry —to create the row extension and to create her quilt’s binding. We loved how just the single row created such a modern look.

Detail of hand stitched table runner by Chris Vinh, a 2017 Artistic Artifacts Row by Row Experience pattern variation

DPictured at the top of this blog post, and in detail above, is a table runner that used one row kit. This was designed and hand-stitched by Chris Vinh of StitchesnQuilts. Our row was originally presented with the “flaps” pressed open and stitched down in that position, but for this runner, Chris folded and stitched them down. She embellished runner with lots of gorgeous hand-stitching, using a variety of Tentakulum Painter’s Threads hand-dyed fibers. Tentakulum products are available in a wide range of colors, so both matching and contrasting your fabric is easy.

Quilt using multiple 2017 Artistic Artifacts Row by Row Experience row patterns by Chris Vinh

Chris also made a quilt using several of our rows stitched together (above). For this project Chris chose to swap out the Pinwheels fabric for Shapes-Eyes in Harvest, and paired it with Color Sponge Solid: Flame.

Detail, Quilt using multiple 2017 Artistic Artifacts Row by Row Experience row patterns by Chris Vinh

She also used Terial Magic™ a non-aerosol fabric stabilizing spray when creating this quilt, so that her open flaps hold their dimensional structure. Originally created for use in creating dimensional fabric flowers, this product can replace many stabilizers and fusibles for quilters and embroiderers. Terial Magic keeps fraying in check for all kinds of fiber and mixed media art, and will be the focus of the November session of our How Do I… evening demonstrations. For more information, visit our previously published product review.

All Artistic Artifacts 2017 Row by Row kits include the June Tailor® Charming Circles Ruler (to easily cut accurate circles), a piece of Avalon Bleached Muslin for background, Mistyfuse® lightweight fusible and a sample spool of WonderFil 50 wt sewing thread, either Konfetti™ or Tutti. As these examples show, swapping out our original white background for black creates a dramatic contrast.

Artistic Artifacts makes a practice of keeping its Row by Row Experience patterns free rather than selling them. Download our 2017 Row by Row Experience pattern* (or any previous years’) from our website for your personal use. We’d love for you to share your project with us!

* All patterns are copyright Artistic Artifacts, all rights reserved; it is not permitted to copy or transfer the pattern in any format.

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