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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

Block Selection for Beginning Quilting

Sampler quilt by Dudley Shugart of Artistic Artifacts

We asked Artistic Artifacts’ staff member and instructor Elizabeth “Dudley” Shugart to explain what skills are learned with her block choices for her Beginning Quilting class. (The next session begins February 1 at the shop — join us!) Thank you for your guest post, Dudley!

My goal in teaching beginner quilting is that a student learns the process of making a quilt from start to finish. Learning to quilt is like learning to write. That first quilt will be a sampler of learned techniques and will be beautiful, but likely not perfect. A true heirloom quilt can be made with additional practice and experience.

Cozy, a quilt project included in FreeSpirit Block Party

Cozy is a sampler project included in FreeSpirit Block Party — it features both the Solitaire and Compass quilt blocks that are taught in our beginning quilting class.

I have chosen the book FreeSpirit Block Party: 40 Quilt Blocks, 5 Samplers, 20 Modern Designers to use as our text and instruction manual and each student is required to purchase the book. Created as the result of a partnership between C&T Publishing and FreeSpirit Fabrics, this book features a number of their designers and a wonderful array of quilt blocks to choose from. My class is structured into four different sessions:

  • For the first class I choose three blocks for the students to make.
  • The second class additional techniques are taught, then the student chooses blocks they would like to make to add into their sampler quilt.
  • Session three is taking the blocks and putting them together in a quilt top.
  • The last class is preparing to machine quilt, start machine quilting and lessons in how to bind.

Image identifying the names of quilt blocks taught in class

After finishing all four sessions, each student has a completed quilt and can branch out into making more complex and interesting quilts.

The first block I selected is Derailed, contributed by Jane Sassaman. This block is and ideal one for teaching students how to rotary cut strips, as well as how to sew longer strips together, checking their sewing and seam allowances. Selecting three fabric that each student likes together is an easier decision for them to make before they move on to more complex blocks that require multiple fabric choices.

The second block I chose is Spun by Margot Elena. The reason for this selection is to introduce large squares and triangles. If you want your quilt to piece together so the top is flat, precision cutting is the key. We discuss how important grain and bias are while cutting squares and triangles. Students also learn pressing tips to make the intersections of the pieces go together so that the seams match.

Student from Artistic Artifacts' beginning quilting class taught by Dudley Shugart preparing her top for quilting

Previous student from Artistic Artifacts’ beginning quilting class taught by Dudley Shugart preparing her completed top for quilting

To finish out the first class I introduce the Solitaire Block, contibuted by Heather Bailey. We discuss fabric selection, as we have now moved on to a block with seven different fabrics. Cutting and pressing skills are also emphasized again.

Class two then brings on two more techniques as we construct two additional blocks, Snowbank by Denyse Schmidt and Compass by Sharon Thornton. While stitching the Snowbank block, I teach how to piece the triangle corner. The Compass block introduces the paper piecing technique.

I encourage students to let me know if they find a block they absolutely want to try within the classs structure. I am always happy to teach other techniques, tips and tricks as they make their sampler of blocks.

For my example quilt, I choose Corsage by Kerri Thomson and Sunset by Joel Dewberry (center of quilt) as the final blocks to complete my sampler. I choose Corsage to bring in more squares and triangles. (I wonder if anyone noticed my quilt is not perfect — I made the center a star. The flowered piece is pointing the wrong way. Oh my!)

Sunset was added after my daughter Ashley and I decided the quilt would look better with an odd number of blocks. I choose Sunset because it is one of my favorite blocks. In fact, as shown below I have made an entire quilt using this block only.

Quilt by Elizabeth (Dudley) Shugart using the Sunset block throughout.

I tell all of my students there is no such thing as the quilt police! But fair warning if you take any of my classes: my one and only rule is you must close your rotary cutter after each use!


Editor’s note: Did you know that all C&T Publishing proceeds from the sale of FreeSpirit Block Party go to Project Night Night? Project Night Night delivers 25,000 Night Night Packages each year to homeless children 12 and under. Each contains a new security blanket, an age- appropriate children’s book, and a stuffed animal — all nestled inside of a new canvas tote bag. The aim is to give children an increased exposure to high-quality literacy materials and a source of security during their time of upheaval.

Below, Neighbors, a quilt sampler project also included in FreeSpirit Block Party.

Neighbors, a sampler project included in FreeSpirit Block Party.

Colorful Batik Panel Quilts: My First Book!

Colorful Batik Panel Quilts by Judy Gula on display at Artistic Artifacts

I’ve begun the new year as a published author, with the release of Colorful Batik Panel Quilts: 28 Quilting and Embellishing Inspirations from Around the World — it’s so exciting to see it come to fruition and hold the tangible product in my hands! I’ve been working on this project for quilt some time now, and for those who purchase my book and who are readers of this blog, you will recognize some of the projects that are included!

Pictured below, School of Fish is featured as one of the book’s projects, with complete instructions on my wonky log cabin method. Plus, a closeup of one of the the wonderful hand-drawn fish by Jaka ended up as the cover star (see below) of my book!

School of Fish quilt by Judy Gula, included in Colorful Batik Panel Quilts by Judy Gula

This quilt was designed and created for our 2015 Row by Row Experience project, which had H2O as its theme. It was the topic of this post, where I expressed the unexpected difficulty in adding a new row to an already completed quilt!

Sisters batik panel quilt by Judy Gula, in progess, included in Colorful Batik Panel Quilts

Jaka is one of the most well known batik artists in Indonesia and his “postcard” quilts (9-up grid of animals and designs) are popular and versatile. To create the wonky log cabin strips in School of Fish, I combined our Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik with many Australian Aborigine designed fabrics — I love the play of patterns and colors.

My piano keys border method, included in the book, is pictured (right) in progress and was described in this post. Sisters (a portion of which is pictured here) began with the choice of an expressively painted panel by Bambang Dharmo. The border used silk pieces from our Silk Fat Quarter Assortment from India.

Mahyar batik panel  awaiting border

A completed Three Sisters (shown in progress above) is included in my “embellishing” section. I introduced you to this quilt in this post, which began with a batik panel by Mahyar. I loved hand-stitching on this panel, using Eleganza pearl cotton by WonderFil Specialty Threads and my trusty chenille needles from Tulip. Colorful Batik Panel Quilts contains instructions on my favorite embroidery stitches.

Instructions on how to add beading to your projects is included in Colorful Batik Panel Quilts by Judy Gula

In addition to embroidery stitches, my book also teaches you the basic beading stitches. Batik Flowers, a quilt shown in this post (portion shown above) and included in the book, began with a floral batik panel by the very talented Hari Agung. As the book notes, “My idea was to use a variety of beads and stitching to create a hydrangea-type flower. I used the beading and stitching to extend beyond the doily and batik flower….” I used my yellow bead mix and Silamide thread to embellish this quilt.

I hope I’ve tempted you to add my book to your shelves and create your own Colorful Batik Panel Quilt! If you are local or able to travel, in addition to a book signing party at Artistic Artifacts on Sunday, February 3, I will be teaching my Create a Batik Panel Art Quilt class on January 26 and would be delighted to have you join us. I also include this class in my offerings to quilt guilds and art groups around the country too — learn more about booking me for your own event!

Colorful Batik Panel Quilts: 28 Quilting and Embellishing Inspirations from Around the World by Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula

Block Printing Holiday Cards

Holiday themed wooden printing blocks for sale by Artistic Artifacts

Above, holiday-themed wooden printing blocks available at Artistic Artifacts.

the Shop Small x District Rebel Supported by Amex & Etsy at Union Market in Washington, DC

It’s no surprise to write that one of our favorite techniques is block printing using our wooden printing blocks, which are hand carved by artisans in India, ethically sourced using sustainable wood.

We planned a “make and take” for our shop as part of our celebration of Small Business Saturday. Then, we were delighted to be asked to participate in the District Rebel Market, which was as Shop Small event supported by Amex & Etsy at Union Market in Washington, DC by hosting a make and take demonstration. (District Rebel “seeks to curate a collection of artists and makers that put a unique, modern spin on traditional art + craft.”) Since this event also took place on Small Business Saturday, we once again recruited Christine Vinh of StitchesnQuilts (pictured here at left in photo) to represent us. We set up a wide variety of wooden printing blocks, our Artistic Artifacts line of textile paints and blank notecards and envelopes at both locations for holiday card making.

Union Market attendees enjoying the block printing make and take opportunity

Above, at Union Market, both children and adults enjoyed learning to block print. It’s fun to introduce a new generation to art techniques, and simple block printing is quick and easy!

 Applying paint to the wooden printing block

Above, use a sponge to apply paint to the wooden printing block — pictured here is WB163 Reindeer. Pounce the paint on lightly but evenly.

Applying pressure to the block placed atop a foam printing mat

Working on a foam printing mat is essential, as it allows the necessary amount of give to ensure a crisp and complete impressions of your block. Place the fabric or paper you are printing on top of the mat (here we are printing on tissue paper) and apply strong, even pressure with the heel of your hand. Remove the block for your print, which will dry very quickly. Since our tissue paper was thin, and fabrics have a weave, you can see that your foam mat will not stay clean (pictured above, right). The layers that will build up have their own kind of beauty!

Finished reindeer print on tissue paper

Above, the finished print using the Copper color of Metallic Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paint. Clean your wooden printing blocks with soap and water when you are finished printing.

Using reindeer print to create a holiday card

Finish your card as desired. Here the tissue was torn for an organic edge and adhered to the card with GOLDEN Matte Medium. Adding additional paper scraps, fabrics, ephemera, glitter and more are fun ways to embellish and complete your cards.

Block printed cards created using wooden printing blocks and textile paints sold by Artistic Artifacts, accented with paper ephemera

Below, watch as Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula gives a brief tutorial on using wooden printing blocks and Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paint on 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-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

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