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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.

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!

“The Lady in the Garden” Art Quilt

The Lady in the Garden, an art quilt by Judy Gula using hand-dyed and vintage materials

If you’re like me, one of the things you admire with the arrival of spring are the beautiful shades of green as new growth emerges. I focused on green with this art quilt, which I titled “The Lady in the Garden” and featured four years ago on this blog. I wanted to revisit it and again share insights into my process for creating a fiber collage/art quilt.

Over the last few years I have worked a lot with batiks and batik panels, to the point where I think some of my newer customers don’t realize my first and true love: working with vintage items! Many times a vintage photo is all it takes to spark my imagination. The Lady in the Garden, currently on display in the shop, began with a vintage black and white photo that I found and instantly loved.

Beginning with a inspiration vintage photo and beginning to assemble materials

I scanned it and then modified in Photoshop (you could also use Photoshop Elements or any photo editing program), choosing to colorize the photo with a green hue. I could have left it as is, but since I had visualized wonderful spring green leaves, I wanted to work monochromatically. You can do the same using your own favorite color with any favorite black and white or sepia photo. Once I had colorized my image, I printed it onto Transfer Artist Paper (TAP, developed by fiber artist Lesley Riley — unfortunately due to manufacturing changes this product is no longer available) and then transferred it to 70 wt. Lutradur. You could also print directly onto the Lutradur, or use another of the many products available to print a photo onto fabric. My final colorized image, ready to sew, is shown above, as well as a hint of materials that I thought I would incorporate into this art quilt.

Continuing to refine  my stash of possible materials

I begin my design process by tossing the fabric and embellishments around. I knew I wanted to work with my hand dyed fabrics, and my vintage Trims and Laces. I just pull materials and lay them in a sorted pile. Then I walk away from it. Thus when I come back it after a break, I make my next choice with fresh eyes. Sometimes I have to do this several times each, adding and subtracting new fabrics and trims, until I finally see an arrangement that “clicks” and makes me smile.

Embellishment possibilities for my art quilt

My next step is to finalize my choices of embellishments. Some materials are selected very early in my process, while others are chosen after my main fabrics have been selected. Pictured above I have pulled materials including a mixture of green beads, pearls, vintage millinery trims, and hand dyed vintage trims pulled from one of my Inspiration Packs. Artistic Artifacts sells some great ribbon, including the popular Web Weave seen at the top of the above photo — a great way to add texture and color to any fiber or mixed media project. A substitute for the leaf trim shown above could be our leaf vine ribbon, available in regular or jumbo sizes.

Beading on fabric example and supplies

Another art quilt in progress that featured beading. Beads come in such a variety of shapes, sizes and colors and add the perfect touch to fiber &mixed media projects.

And whenever possible I love to add some form of beading to my art quilts (detail of another project shown here). Beautiful beads add the perfect touch of color, shine and texture. The bead soup mixtures sold at Artistic Artifacts are the same ones that I use in my artwork and are an easy, inexpensive way to guarantee yourself a variety of bead sizes, styles and shades to enhance your jewelry, fiber and mixed media projects. These are favorites of Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution, author of First-Time Beading on Fabric: Learning to Bead in Nine Easy Lessons, my first recommendation for those who want to learn to embellish their quilts, decor and garments with beading. (Don’t let the “First Time” in the title fool you; this is a great resources even for those who have beading experience!) My favorite Tulip needles also come in beading versions of various sizes, flexible and easy to thread, with a rounded tip that does not split thread.

Focal point of quilt mostly completed

At the stage pictured above, I had worked on the focal point of the art quilt. At this point everything was stitched down in the center. My original decision was to not stitch the background, and I came to believe that I goofed by not doing so. Lesson learned, and I now know stitch the backing before layering my photo. In this project I did add quilting… but it would have been easier to do it earlier.

Detail photograph of quilt elements that changed through the design and creation process

As I continued working, there ended up being differences from the materials I originally started with and thought I would use, which you can see in my completed art quilt photo at the beginning of this post. You can also view a larger image to see additional detail.

As pictured here, the vintage millinery used turned out to be beige, not peach. I used turquoise-colored beads, not green. The trims are darker than my original lighter choices. (Of course any unused materials aren’t discarded but go back into the stash, waiting for another project.)

I find that many times you can become paralyzed by the number of options possible when creating, and therefore end up completing nothing at all. There could have been a million options on how to create an art quilt with this —or any — photo as a a focal point. You just have to choose one and begin! As you see from my example, you may end up changing things along the way, but your end goal should simply be that you’re happy with your final product.

And I am! I like the essentially monochromatic color scheme, and The Lady in the Garden still makes me smile when I look at it. One of the key things I love about art quilts is that there are no rigid rules, except maybe just one: begin! Pick an inspiration point, take a look at your stash, and see where the creative process leads you.

The “We Are Somebody” Quilting Program

Christine Vinh and Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula present Roy Mitchell's quilting students with three bolts of Indonesian-made material for their classroom.

Christine Vinh (left) and Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula present Roy Mitchell’s quilting students with three bolts of Batik Tambal Exclusive Batiks for their classroom.

We Are Somebody Quilting Program presents Just 4 U sign

The Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival is always a good event for Artistic Artifacts. Because it takes place in Hampton, VA, we see lots of local friends who have made the trip. And we are always grateful for our many repeat customers who seek out the Artistic Artifacts booth to see what we brought along with us. We are inspired by the works many of our customers have in the show and pieces they bring along with them to show us.

This year a particular highlight was meeting up with Roy Mitchell, Jr. and three of his quilting students, young men incarcerated at The Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice’s Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center. We have met Roy in the past when he brought the young men to the show for inspiration, but this year was special. Mitchell’s students had their own special exhibit in the show, We Are Somebody: Quilting Program presents Just 4 U. The use of color, design, and workmanship of the 19 quilts by these young men deserved their place in the show, and we’d like to share our photographs of some of these beautiful works.

Quilt from the We Are Somebody Quilting Program exhibit Just 4 U at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival

From the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival’s description of its 2018 Virginia Quilt Guilds special exhibits: “The Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice’s (DJJ) quilting program, believed to be the only quilting class in the country in a male juvenile corrections setting, teaches not just the hard skills involved in this difficult craft — planning, design, measuring, geometry, sewing — but also critical life skills such as goal-setting, patience, frustration management, public speaking, and the value of precision. Instructor Roy Mitchell, Jr. instills the notion that ‘You Are Somebody’ to all his students. Hundreds of quilts made by DJJ residents have been given to hospitals and homeless encampments, and featured in art galleries in Virginia, Michigan and California.”

Quilt from the We Are Somebody Quilting Program exhibit Just 4 U at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival

We took the opportunity to talk with Mr. Mitchell and his students — who learn his class mantra “I am somebody” when they enter his classroom — upon seeing them in the exhibit area near our booth. The pride and joy on their faces was enough to bring us to tears. When we asked who did the quilting of their pieces, one of the boys was quick to say he was the quilter.

DJJ Quilting Instructor Roy Mitchell lifts a quilt to reveal the intricate detail work on the back.

DJJ Quilting Instructor Roy Mitchell lifts a quilt to reveal the intricate detail work on the back. He has been teaching quilting since 2012.

We encouraged them to take full advantage of the skills they have learned in the quilt classes. We were so impressed that we presented several bolts of our Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik fabric (pictured at the top of this post) for use in their classroom to the group, with a promise to stay in touch and make future donations. By the end of our conversation Mitchell was planning a road trip to Artistic Artifacts with some of his students to spend a day with our local quilters.

Quilt from the We Are Somebody Quilting Program exhibit Just 4 U at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival

The boys also give back to their community, and recently Mitchell, accompanied by Deana Williams, director of post-secondary programs at Yvonne B. Miller High School, took 35 of the students’ creations to the Third Street Bethel AME Church in Richmond to give to homeless people who were waiting outside the church for a meal. Participants in the program have created quilts that have been exhibited throughout the country and have also created a Virginia-themed quilt that now hangs in the lobby of the Patrick Henry Building in downtown Richmond.

Square in a Square, 46 in. x 80 in., by L.R --Quilt from the We Are Somebody Quilting Program exhibit Just 4 U at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival

Square in a Square, 46 in. x 80 in., by L.R

Visit the Sewing With Nancy website to watch a video of Nancy Zieman’s January 2017 interview with Roy Mitchell, which includes a view of the Virginia-themed quilt — an impressive 10 feet by 12 feet — from the Patrick Henry building. You’ll also learn he has very stringent entrance requirements for this special program. (At least one Artistic Artifacts staffer is certain she would flunk the math exam!)

Fading, 78 in. x 88 in. by J.M. -- Quilt from the We Are Somebody Quilting Program exhibit Just 4 U at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival

Fading, 78 in. x 88 in. by J.M.

We look forward to their future visit to Artistic Artifacts and hope to support them in their quilting endeavors. We also hope you are as inspired as we were by the creativity and workmanship shown by these young men, and by the dedication of their instructor, who has taught quilting to 200 participants with a 0% recidivism.

Something Out of Nothing, 43 in. x 61 in., by B.B. -- Quilt from the We Are Somebody Quilting Program exhibit Just 4 U at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival

Something Out of Nothing, 43 in. x 61 in., by B.B.

Flower in a Garden, 55 in. x 55 in. by D.H. -- Quilt from the We Are Somebody Quilting Program exhibit Just 4 U at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival

Flower in a Garden, 55 in. x 55 in. by D.H.

Guest Post: SAQA Report from QuiltCon

SAQA member Sarah Bond won the eQuilter Quilting Excellence award at Quilt Con

SAQA member Sarah Bond won the eQuilter Quilting Excellence award at Quilt Con 2018 and is pictured here with her quilt.

          Guest Post by Lisa Ellis, President of Studio Art Quilt Associates
          Learn more about Lisa below.

I have returned from QuiltCon, held in Pasadena CA, from Feb 22-25. I was representing Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA), a non-profit membership organization that is passionate about the art quilt. So why was SAQA (an art quilt-focused organization) at QuiltCon, the Modern Quilt Guild show — which is all about the modern quilt?

SAQA defines the art quilt as a “a creative visual work that is layered and stitched or that references this form of stitched layered structure.” From SAQA’s perspective, this includes modern quilts! SAQA is trying to break down the barriers of categorizing art quilts as different than modern quilts. If they are original works, they are ART (and the quilt makers are ARTISTS).

Lisa Ellis poses with QuiltCon attendees in front of the SAQA Trunk Show exhibit

SAQA had a booth in the non-profit area to engage with the quilt show visitors. We had one of our trunk shows which are 50 little 6” x 8” artworks that show samples of our members’ work. The trunk show was eye candy that brought people into the booth. You can see a portion of the SAQA trunk show in the photo above as I pose with QuiltCon attendees Joyce, Jone and Bernice. From there we could talk about our mission and benefits to membership — like our stellar publications, education, and exhibition programs.

Modern Inspirations: Art Quilts from the 1970s Through Today

In addition, we had a Special Exhibit called “Modern Inspirations: Art Quilts from the 1970s Through Today.” This exhibit showed how quilt artists from the early days of the art quilt movement in the 1970s were working in the abstract and geometric style. The modern quilt movement that started in the mid-2000’s built on the successes and aesthetic of earlier artists. Pictured above, Maria Shell, author of Improv Patchwork, holds the exhibit catalog.

Daisy Aschehoug poses with her quilt in the SAQA booth

Daisy Aschehoug poses with her quilt in the SAQA booth. Daisy was a member of the QuiltCon 2018 faculty and has had a number of quilts published in magazines such as Modern Quilts Unlimited, Love Patchwork and Quilting, and Modern Patchwork.

Nancy Bavor, a former SAQA Board Member and currently the Director of the San Jose Quilts and Textiles Museum, gave a quilt history lecture about the art quilt movement which began in the 1960s. Nancy showed the influences of the modern art movement in the early days of the quilt revival, and how the trends continue today of current art influenceinh quilt making styles.

I was on the QuiltCon faculty and conducted three “before hours” gallery walks through all the special exhibits, to include the SAQA Modern Inspirations, and the AIDS Quilt, Carolyn Friedlander’s featured artist work, and MQG Quilts of the Month. It was a great experience to spend an hour with 35 visitors and to educate about curation, design, SAQA and the power of quilts in activism and healing.

QuiltCon is a fantastic show filled with amazing original works of art, exciting vendors, lectures and workshops: view a list of the 2018 winners.

About Lisa Ellis

Lisa Ellis

Lisa Ellis is a quilt artist, teacher and lecturer, passionate about quilting and using quilts to make the world a better place. She frequently lectures on healing quilts and inspire quilters to get involved in using their love of quilting to improve health care centers and hospitals.

Lisa is the director of the non-profit organization Sacred Threads. Sacred Threads is a biennial exhibition dedicated to sharing our most personal quilts with themes of spirituality, joy, inspiration, healing, grief and peace/brotherhood. (Artistic Artifacts is now a proud sponsor of Sacred Threads!) The 2019 exhibit opens July 11, 2019.

Desiring to give back to the non-profit world, Lisa serves on the board of directors for organizations that have missions she strongly believes in. She is the current President of SAQA and Treasurer of the Quilt Alliance, which brings together the creative, scholarly, and business worlds of quiltmaking to celebrate and preserve our shared quilt heritage and inspire today’s quilters.

Email Lisa »

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