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Janet Green’s Improv Quilt

We’ve been lucky to see this beautiful quilt coming together during Janet’s visits to Artistic Artifacts, and we thank her for sharing its story.

Inside Stories

Guest post by Janet Green

Janet Green with her improv quilt Inside Stories

“The year 2020 started out much like any other. In January, I had a new planner. In February, I took a quick trip to Florida to get a healthy dose of sand, sea and sun. The first week of March, I attended a much-anticipated Gees Bend Quilt Retreat, returning home on March 8. A week later, life as we knew turned upside and came to a screeching halt. Enter Covid-19. Stay at home. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Socially distance.

“Now in quarantine, I had to stop and think about everything I did: shopping for groceries, going to the doctor, attending Quilt Shows. But life went on. In late March, my beloved dog, Coco, began having seizures. Trips to the vet and pet ER meant hours in the parking lot, often at night, while we waited to hear from the doctors. In late April, sadly, I was allowed inside the facility to say goodbye to my fur baby.

“With all the thoughts and emotions vying for space in my head and heart, I went to my studio and stared at fabric. Batiks, hand-dyeds, bright colors, florals, geometrics, African and Australian. You name it, I had it. To keep from becoming overwhelmed by the choices, I just picked a little piece that I really liked. And I built a block around it. One 16-1/2-inch block.

Janet Green's favorite block from her Inside Stories quilt

“The next day, I did the same thing. Both blocks were the same size, just completely different. I had no plan in mind. I just knew that quilting is therapeutic for me. A block a day, a step at a time, to help heal my broken heart and manage the myriad of Covid-related emotions I was experiencing.

Block detail from Janet Green's quilt Inside Stories

“After 12 days I had 12 blocks. Each was unique. Each had at least one bright fabric which represented hope. I arranged and rearranged the blocks on my design wall and even reworked a few. Come July, I was finally satisfied.

Block detail from Janet Green's quilt Inside Stories

“When I shared pictures of my work in progress with a few of my quilting friends, I was surprised and pleased with their responses. Some saw different rooms, and some began to read the blocks as chapters in a book. They all talked about how they were intrigued as their eyes moved around the blocks. It was time to piece it all together and choose a border.

Block detail from Janet Green's quilt Inside Stories

“Artistic Artifacts to the rescue! Specifically, Ladder to Happiness, Step by Step, by Keiko Goke for Free Spirit. The colors, the geometrics and the fluidity of the design were simply perfect. [Editor’s note: Janet bought the last of this beautiful fabric, which you can see above — but we have lots more wonderful Modern Cottons for you!] Then came the final challenge: how do I quilt this? One block at a time, letting the fabrics dictate the design.

Block detail from Janet Green's quilt Inside Stories

“I must have used at least 50 different thread colors so the quilting would disappear yet still add texture. I also did some hand stitching for accent. Finally, I used the border fabric for the binding. My quilt finished at 63 in. by 75 in. I call it “Inside Stories.”

Block detail from Janet Green's quilt Inside Stories

“This year, on any given day, we have all been stuck inside. And we all have stories to tell. Stories that make us laugh, or cry, or give us pause to consider the things that really matter.

Block detail from Janet Green's quilt Inside Stories

“I captured some of my story in these blocks. My hope is that others, you, will see your stories in my quilt and that you will find joy in your own stories.

“Oh, by the way. In late May, we adopted a new fur baby, Zeus. But that’s another story!”

The completed Inside Stories improv quilt by Janet Green

Thank you for sharing your story, Janet! Above, the completed Inside Stories quilt by Janet Green, one of our favorite Creative Minds. View larger image »

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Janet often brings show & tell with her when she visits us at Artistic Artifacts, and we wanted to take this opportunity to show you some of her other work.

Janet Green with her pieced quilt featuring Australian fabrics

Above, from February of this year, Janet created this fun quilt she made using one of our 2 Yard Surprise Fabric Pack, which include a miscellaneous selection of our end of bolt pieces.

Janet Green's quilt top in progress, featuring Marcia Derse fabrics

Last fall Janet bought this quilt top in progress to the shop as she contemplated her borders.

Janet Green mixes fabrics she created in classes at Artistic Artifacts with Marcia Derse fabrics

When we shared Janet’s quilt on our Facebook page, we wrote that “We love to see what our customers do with the products they find at the shop and how they have used techniques they learned in a class. Love the use of a variety of Marcia Derse fabrics mixed with fabrics “made” in a class with Liz Kettle.” There are block prints, Thermofax screen prints, and fabric monoprints created using a gel printing plate from Janet’s stash that harmonize beautifully.

Improv blocks by Janet Green

Above, you can see how Janet loves to piece together improv block units!

Janet Green poses with her sister and the fiber portrait she created of her

In September 2018 we were happy to meet Janet’s sister on a visit here, “Check out this quilted portrait our customer Janet did of her sister!” we posted. “The details are wonderful, down to the hair. She laid a base of wool roving & added doll hair.” Janet gifted the fiber portrait to her sister, and what an amazing gift to receive!

Janet Green holds the batik panel quilt she completed after taking a Judy Gula class at Artistic Artifacts

In August 2018 Janet brought in her finished batik panel quilt, which had begun in a class with me. It’s beautiful!

Janet Green improv quilt embellished with wooden block prints

And above, Janet embellished prints that were made using wooden printing blocks during a class with me, featuring them in a beautiful nature scene atop another improv quilt.

I think you can see why we come running when Janet visits — she so often has something beautiful to show us, and it’s wonderful to feel we’re contributing to her creative journey with our fabric and other products. We love customer show & tell — tag our Facebook page and join our Artistic Artifacts Creative Minds Facebook group to #ShareonSat and inspire your fellow creative minds.

Something Fishy…

Diane Herbort Poisson d' Avril art quilt

Fiber and mixed media artist Diane Herbort created Something Fishy, her fabric and paper collage pictured above, for Cloth Paper Scissors to illustrate her 2008 article about using disperse dye to transfer images to fabric. Since it was scheduled for the March/April issue, she chose a Poisson d’Avril theme and used one of the vintage postcards she collects as her focal image.

Detail, Blue Fish Quilt by Judy Gula

Vintage and fish… easy to see the connection with Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula’s Blue Fish quilt (detail pictured here). Visit Using Vintage Textiles in My Blue Fish Quilt for the complete quilt photo, plus details on how Judy created it.

To celebrate April 1 we posted Diane’s beautiful work in our newsletter as well as on our Facebook page. We asked members of our Artistic Artifacts Creative Minds Facebook group to share their own “fishy” art, and we loved the responses, sharing them here for those who aren’t on Facebook. (Plus we wanted to keep this particular ‘school of fish’ together!) Enjoy the following (listed in alphabetical order by artist)… all are wonderful!

Susan Callahan fish quilt

Susan Callahan: “You asked for fish. This was my 2018 hand stitch exercise. Ten minutes a day for 365 days. Loved this piece!” It measures 17 in. high and 36 in. wide.

Mixed media fish collected by NiYa Costley in a JAMs swap

NiYa Costly referenced an exchange from a past Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs) meeting: “Fish from one of our random swaps that I was holding onto… haven’t figured out yet how to display them.” See Linda Morgan’s piece below — she started it!

Fish cut from batik panels by Jaka center wonky log cabin quilt blocks by Judy Gula

Judy Gula: We began our “poisson d’avril” photo challenge by sharing two blocks that Judy made for a quilt tfeatured in her book Colorful Batik Panel Quilts. School of Fish is one of the projects in the book, using hand-drawn batik panels by one of our most popular batik artists, Jaka. You can see the complete quilt below, as well as in Judy’s introduction of her book.

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

Judy traveled with a batik panel by Mahyar — the fanciful fish are detailed here — to embellish it with lots of hand stitching, using Eleganza pearl cotton by WonderFil Specialty Threads. The Three Sisters quilt was also featured in her book; learn and see more about it here on this blog.

Susanne Miller Jones fish quilt

Susanne Miller Jones: “Fishy theme you say: Gotta Eat.”

Bunnie Jordan fish quilt

Bunnie Jordan: “Just happen to have a fish quilt on my wall right now.”

Sharon McDonagh’s mixed media eye token as taught by theresa mARTin

Sharon McDonagh: “I enjoy Theresa mARTin classes so much I have taken them more than once. Her mixed media eye token class has always resulted in amazing student work since she generously shares so many treasures from her stash. I quickly grabbed the wonderful fish bead for my mermaid-inspired piece. I love how it turned out!”

Julie Hames Mehigan fish wall hanging

Julie Hames Mehigan: “A piece I made for a school auction. Kindergartener’s hand prints became fish. Bubbles are their initials. Made a lot of it when my Dad was in the hospital dying, so of course, I bid on it and bought it.”

We sought out Linda Morgan, writing that “we’re expecting to see the fish you made that nearly caused a riot during a JAMs exchange a few years back — talk about a feeding frenzy!”

Stitched fiber collage fish by Linda Morgan

…and she replied, “Artistic Artifacts, these guys were fun to make!”

Lynda Poole Prioleau fish bead fiber pendant

Lynda Poole Prioleau: “In keeping with the fish theme for today…Here’s a pendant I made using one of Judy Vincentz Gula’s small, dyed pieces. I added beads, a hand dyed linen backing, and, oh yeah, some fishies!”

Beth Richardson Coral Reef quilt

Beth Richardson: “For today’s theme, one of my faves. It’s called Coral Reef.”

Joni Seidenstein fish quilt

Joni Seidenstein: “Did someone say fish?” And when a fellow Creative Mind commented on the number of fish, Joni replied “I spent literal hours cutting these fish out to fuse onto this quilt. I did it when my daughter was at swim lessons. It felt quite apropos!”

Etta Stewart fish fiber collage

Etta Stewart: “I just have to add a fish or two…”

Etta Stewart fish fiber collage


…or was that more than two, Etta?

Betsy True fish art quilt

Betsy True: “This was my first art quilt, begun during a workshop with Ruth B McDowell at an Empty Spools Seminar at Asilomar, California.”

detail of art quilt by Christine Vinh

Christine Vinh: “For the fishy theme, this is a close-up of part of a quilt that was in Sacred Threads Quilts in 2017. Photos from a visit to Inle Lake in Burma and the one on burlap was done using Transfer Artist Paper. The silver fish charm was given to us by one of the children in a village we visited. The blue water is part of a silk scarf. Stitched throughout with Tentakulum threads.”

Batik panel quilt by Christine Vinh

Chris also sent us two of her quilts created using hand-drawn batik panels. Above, the focal panel is by Bambang Dharmo.

Batik panel quilt by Christine Vinh

Above, a panel from batik artist Aprat is the focal point in this modern art quilt by Chris.

We hope you have enjoyed the wide variety of fish themed art we are have shared here. We thank all who submitted their work, and hope you will thank them too — please leave a comment below!

We love when our customers and friends share their projects with us, via our Facebook page, the Artistic Artifacts Creative Minds Facebook group, or by email for those not on social media, so we hope to hear from you!

School of Fish by Judy Gula, featured in her book Colorful Batik Panel Quilts

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