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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 included projects!

Pictured below, School of Fish is featured as an included project, 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 basics 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

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

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 (here we are printing on tissue paper) you are printing on top of the mat 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.

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.

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