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My Italian Vacation Journal

An inside spread from art journal created in Italy by Artistic Artifact's Judy Gula

This summer I was thrilled to embark on the first Artistic Artifacts creative retreat, headquartered in Ischia di Castro, Italy, an amazing medieval city approximately one hour northwest of Rome. The artistic goal was create custom art journals — one of my page spreads is shown above and I include additional images here.

Everyone on the tour had accommodations in apartments in the village, and gathered each morning for a variety of mixed media lessons to create original and layered journal pages.

Our Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paints used with wooden printing blocks and on gel printing plates

All the necessary supplies were shipped ahead to Italy and were waiting for everyone to play! Above, our Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paints used with wooden printing blocks and on gel printing plates.

Mixed media art supplies available during the Artistic Artifacts creative tour of Ischia di Castro, Italy

Above, a variety of rubber stamps and ink pads, as well as a variety of pens, markers and more (including Gelatos).

Students working during the Artistic Artifacts creative tour of Italy
Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts used Kraft-Tex for her journal cover

I taught my students my favorite journal format, as shown in a previous blog post. My cover is shown here — I cut a piece longer than my page spreads intentionally, so the extra (seen right) can wrap around to the front to form a closing flap. My journal is tied shut with sari silk ribbon.

One key difference from journal I’ve featured in in the past was the substitution of Kraft-Tex Kraft Paper Fabric for the cover. I had previously used and loved Roc-Lon Multi-Purpose Cloth, but unfortunately it has been discontinued by the manufacturer. The Kraft-Tex took paint and ink beautifully and was easy to sew (to bind the page signatures), and has a wonderful, leather-like feel — it’s ideal for a journal cover!

Click through this gallery to see my journal pages (shown randomly). I wanted mostly Madonnas, as there were many in Italy — and beautiful! St. Francis slipped in there too (we can always use a Saint on our side).

 

After our morning studio sessions, we spent our afternoons and evening with guided tours, sightseeing and of course delicious authentic Italian cuisine. One visit was to the town of Fabriano, where papermaking was demonstrated for us in a private tour: fascinating! We all gathered ephemera from these excursions to include in our journals.

A favorite afternoon excursions was to The Tarot Garden envisioned by Niki de Saint Phalle (she was assisted by a large team of master craftsmen) and located in Tuscany. You can see images of some of her beautiful outdoor sculptural art featured in my journal pages. Here are a few photographs I took in the garden. (In the photo captioned Wheel of Fortune, my husband Dave Gula is seated with me in front of The High Priestess; the Wheel of Fortune is to the right.) What a beautiful, inspirational day!

 

Traveling is really inspiring to your art and soul. I’m looking forward to my block printing tour in India in March 2020 — there’s room for you to join me too!

The 2020 Italian Creative Retreat will take place in September and will focus on stitching. One of my best friends, Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution, will be joining me for this exciting trip! Email Italian Cultural Tours to indicate your interest in traveling with us in 2020! Details will be posted on the Artistic Artifacts website as they are finalized.

Museum Visits Always Inspire!

Cleveland Museum of Art, first floor diagram

One of my favorite family traditions is that whenever we have the opportunity, and especially when we travel, we visit a museum. Over the Thanksgiving holiday we visited family who live in Cleveland, Ohio, so for this trip we went to the “newly” renovated Cleveland Museum of Art.

The renovations over the years (see the level one diagram here from their visitor guide) created a ‘square’ with its original building forming one side. The wings and galleries all house different art forms and eras. The museum has a wonderful gift shop and Café. As you can see from this layout, the Atrium is very large. Even though it was a holiday weekend I did not feel squished!

Texture inspiration from the Cleveland Museum of Art

I love to take photographs of patterns, colors and textures, and then try to translate that inspiration to fiber. (I haven’t moved past the first step of taking the photos from this trip so far!) With this blog post I’m sharing with you some of my favorites… my challenge to you is to translate them to your art medium. If you do, please share! With the images above and below, I can visualize using Baked Textures Embossing Powder by Seth Apter to create an inspiration piece.

Texture inspiration from the Cleveland Museum of Art
Texture inspiration from the Cleveland Museum of Art

There was also a special exhibit with many products from the William Morris: Designing an Earthly Paradise exhibit open at the time.

William Morris design from the Cleveland Museum of Art
William Morris design from the Cleveland Museum of Art
William Morris design from the Cleveland Museum of Art
William Morris design from the Cleveland Museum of Art
William Morris design from the Cleveland Museum of Art
William Morris design from the Cleveland Museum of Art

I was surprised to find beautiful lace items included in the museum, found in the original building:

Handmade lace designs from the Cleveland Museum of Art
Handmade lace designs from the Cleveland Museum of Art
Handmade lace collar/bib from the Cleveland Museum of Art

I’m including a photo of the sign that introduces the lace exhibit — beautifully expressed information! Artistic Artifacts hosts the “Doily Madisons” on the first Saturday of the month, the Washington, DC study group of the Chesapeake Region Lace Guild — it’s amazing to watch them tatting.

Exhibit sign describing lace from the Cleveland Museum of Art

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!

Fabrics Unveiled at Spring Quilt Market

Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik fabrics

View of Gateway Arch from hotel

There are two Quilt Markets (credentialed trade show for shop owners, fabric companies, etc.) each year. The biggest is each fall, always in Houston just before the huge International Quilt Festival (which takes place November 2-5, 2017). The Spring show changes locations each year; and this year it was in St. Louis; a fact that was reinforced each time we had the chance to take a look from our Hotel to see the iconic Gateway Arch!

My “partners in crime” for this trip were Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution and Ruth Chandler, author of one of my favorite instructional books, Modern Hand Stitching. (Remember, Liz will be visiting Artistic Artifacts next month with her immersive Stitch Journeys class — a few seats are still available for this 4 Day Creative Retreat, so join us!)

Architectural detail in St. Louis

Our walk from the hotel to the Convention Center included passing by buildings featuring beautiful architectural details (see above and in my gallery below). Most of these were likely built in the 1920’s and 1930’s and unfortunately, many of them are empty. So sad!

New fabrics in the Woodstock design, Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik

Artistic Artifacts was there with a booth exhibiting and selling our Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik fabrics (pictured at the top of this post and here), handpainted batik panels and our artist quality textile paints. From our Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik, I’m excited by our new Woodstock 2 fabrics (pictured above)!

New colors coming of established Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik

I also have new colors (pictured above) of established designs, Folk Life-Paisley Leaves and Color Sponge. All of these new Batik Tambal Exclusive Batiks will be available to our customers in approximately two months.

Ruth Chandler and Liz Kettle demonstrating how to create Silk Fusion

The first day of Market for many of us includes the “School House” event. These are short (15 to 30 minute) presentations, sales pitches, and educational sessions. Liz and Ruth have done many of these for companies such as Treenway Silks and Rockland Industries. Artistic Artifacts currently carries products from both of these companies: Silk Roving/Sliver in gorgeous colors from Treenway and from Rockland Industries, muslin, Osnaburg and Roc-lon Multi-Purpose Cloth. Above, Ruth Chandler (left) and Liz Kettle are demonstrating how to create Silk Fusion. (Those of you close to Artistic Artifacts, join me in October for our How Do I… evening: we’ll be making silk paper, a similar technique!)

Sue Spargo hand-stitching

A lot of time is spent walking the aisles looking for inspiration, like the above beauty by Sue Spargo (take a look at the gorgeous colors she selected for her WonderFil Eleganza collection). You can view a lot more eye candy from Quilt Market in my gallery at the bottom of this post!

A sampling of new designs of popular Australian Aborigine-designed fabrics

I made my usual stop at the M&S Textiles booth to see what is new with our popular Australian Aborigine-designed fabrics. I ordered 22 new patterns! You can get an idea of what’s coming in the photos above and below. Stay tuned to our website — they are expected in approximately two weeks.

More new designs of Australian fabrics on the way to Artistic Artifacts from M&S Textiles

I was able to have a quick trunk show with fiber artist and fabric designer Marcia Derse. I have always loved her work!

Marcia Derse Treasure Hunt fabric line

Marcia’s Treasure Hunt line (pictured above) will be available in the shop in October. We hope to add her solids to the store (pictured below) in the future as well.

Marcia Derse solid fabrics

Maker’s Home by Natalie Barnes (pictured below) of Beyond the Reef Patterns will also arrive in the shop in the fall or early winter. This is her second line for Windham Fabrics and includes her signature hand drawn flowers and fun black &white prints (and you know how much I love black & white fabrics). I’ve been looking for the right kind of floral fabric to add to the shop and thought my customers would love this line (more views in the gallery).

Maker's Home by Natalie Barnes of Beyond the Reef Patterns for Windham Fabrics

And we spent time in Art Gallery’s booth (their booth photo below with my detail shots) touching and feeling their knit, voile, and cotton fabrics. We’d like to add knit fabrics to Artistic Artifacts…what do you think? Good idea? Let me know in the comments!.

Art Gallery Fabrics booth

Below, my photo gallery for more from Quilt Marke — click on any photo for a larger view or to see it as a slideshow.

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