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Graphic & Improv Modern Scrap Quilt

Modern scrap quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

One of my latest projects is a fun modern quilt that is just back from suZquilts and ready for binding (pictured above). suZquilts owner Susan Bentley did an amazing job with the longarm quilting!

Scraps of colorful printed fabrics ready to go into the quilt

I often profess my love for black and white print fabrics. I love them as is, and I love to overdye them too — you’ll find swatches in my Inspiration Packs, which also include hand-dyed found textiles and fibers for art quilts and other fiber projects. For this quilt I left my graphic black and white prints alone and added color with long strips that were pieced from coloful fabric scraps (above) from my stash.

Strips of fabric sewn into larger pieces to further cut into strips

I began by freehand cutting strips (including some of my black and whites) and sewing them together randomly to create larger pieces of fabric. I embraced the wonkiness and worked without rulers or stitching perfectly straight lines. You can see at the bottom of the photo above that I was able to use strips that weren’t all the same length — nothing goes to waste.

Randomly cut strips of colorful cotton prints

My cuts from the pieced fabrics were also free-hand and random, resulting in different widths. You can see the variety of fabric used, but I did focus on my modern cottons stash versus the batiks and Australian Aborigine-designed fabric I often gravitate to.

Cutting a black and white print block to inset the color strips

Working improvisationally, I sliced my black and white fabric blocks (not perfectly square and again, different sizes and widths) and sewed my colorful strips in.

Black and white print block with two color strips inset

I don’t think any two blocks are the same — some have one strip, some two or more, some strips intersect — and there’s a wide variety of angles involved.

Blocks and their inset strips are all random

As you can see in the photo above, I also didn’t worry about having each block the same height. I played around with the blocks until I had a layout I liked.

Laying out finished blocks to come up with a layout and to square the quilt up

As I finalized the layout, I started making the adjustments to “smoosh” the blocks together, stitching vertical rows. (FYI, the lighting in my studio shows the colors unevenly here.)

Adding vertical strips to the finished blocks for the final quilt design

I had so many scraps pieced into strips that I was able to inset vertical rows of them too.

Finished quilt, missing only the binding

Most of my work are small art quilts or medium wall hangings, so working large for bed-size quilts is still somewhat rare for me. I love how this came together!

Striped border accents the improv blocks

The striped fabric worked perfectly for the border — it continued the look of the colorful inset strips without the time necessary to piece them. This closeup also lets you see the beautiful quilting by suZquilts.

Detail of improv blocks and longarm quilting by suZquilts

This freeform, improv method of construction was a lot of fun and I love my final result. Give it a try!

2 Comments to “Graphic & Improv Modern Scrap Quilt”

  1. Susan gantz

    I am totally in love with this. I have so much potential fabric from all the thrift store rejects. Have to do this. One strip at a time.

    Reply

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As Seen at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival

Artistic Artifacts booth at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival 2019

We always enjoy the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival — relatively close to home, and so many of our customers and guild members make the trip down. We received a lot of comments and compliments on my book Colorful Batik Panel Quilts and all the samples and products we had with us: thank you! While we love being busy in the booth (pictured above), of course we hope to have a few moments free to enjoy the quilts!

We were blown away by the hand appliqué work of Barbara G. Buchanan!

Mary Down Under No. 2, hand appliqued by Barbara G. Buchanan, machine quilted by Maria O'Haver

Above, Mary Down Under No. 2. Barbara’s entry read: “This is the second quilt of a triptych using four of 25 blocks from the original red and green Baltimore Album style Mary Mannakee quilt made in Montgomery County, MD, 1850-1851. The original is in the DAR Museum, Washington, DC. Australian Aboriginal designs are the focus fabrics. I designed the border using motifs from the original Mary’s border. I also used batiks and other fabrics as needed. I used window templates to preview the [Aborigine-designed] fabrics to get just the right design element. This was crucial, as these fabrics are a challenge to use, but so rewarding when you realize that they will work. It just takes a little more effort.”

Mary Down Under No. 3, hand appliqued by Barbara G. Buchanan, machine quilted by Maria O'Haver
Detail of Barbara G. Buchanan's quilt

Above, Mary Down Under No. 3. We’ve never seen Australian Aboriginal fabric used in this way! Both quilts are 50 in. square and were expertly machine quilted by Maria O’Haver. In this detail photo you can see the care in which Barbara framed the fabrics’ pattern to enhance her applique pieces, as well as the lavish quilting by Maria to enhance it all. Barbara noted that she requested her triptych quilts be quilted“ as if they were cousins versus sisters.” She also noted that her husband Loren Buchanan provided design assistance!

We were pleased to see that we knew several winners, customers, students and teachers who are a part of our robust class program. Nancy Hershberger submitted Ghost Solder 1918, a 30 in. square wall quilt that was inspired by the poppy fields of Belgium — and it was awarded a blue ribbon for Best Sewing Machine Workmanship. Nancy is a big fan of our Artistic Artifacts Fluid Textile Paints, and used them in this quilt!

Ghost Soldier 1918 by Nancy Hershberger

Cindy Grisdela won Best Use of Color for her quilt Confetti, pictured below, created in her trademark artful improv style.

Confetti by Cindy Grisdela
Roy Mitchell, Jr., instructor for The Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) quilting program (photo courtesy DJJ Facebook page)

Last year while at Mid-Atlantic we shared in this blog post how much we enjoyed the special exhibit We Are Somebody, and learning more about Roy Mitchell, Jr. (pictured here center; his students’ identities are protected) and his quilting students, young men incarcerated at The Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice’s (DJJ) Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center. Please read it if you have not yet — their story is so inspirational! The DJJ quilting program is believed to be the only class of its type in a male juvenile corrections setting in the U.S. It teaches the skills involved — planning, design, measuring, geometry, sewing — and also critical life skills such as goal-setting, patience, frustration management, public speaking, and the value of precision.

A Thyme to Slant from the We Are Somebody special exhibit

This year they were again featured, with “All About Us” the theme of their special exhibit. We’re delighted to share our photographs of some of these quilts, known for their amazing uses of color and design, as well as stellar workmanship! Above, A Thyme to Slant.

Lotty Dotty from the We Are Somebody special exhibit

Lotty Dotty.

Crescent Moon from the We Are Somebody special exhibit

Crescent Moon.

It’s a Batik Thang from the We Are Somebody special exhibit

It’s a Batik Thang.

No Place Like Home from the We Are Somebody special exhibit

No Place Like Home.

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Hearts by Judy

Happy Valentine’s Day! I wanted to share with you all some of my art quilts that feature hearts. Below, this features crazy quilt techniques, embellished with found objects. You can see my signature on this: created in 2005!

Crazy quilted heart with embellishments: an art quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

I’ve always appreciated this sentiment from Liz Kettle, from her Plethora of Pinked Hearts tutorial she shared with us years ago: “When I was in my formative art years, hearts were passé, trite and so unsophisticated [but] Somewhere along the way I realized that even if they were trite in the ‘serious’ art world I had fallen in love with them! I make my art to please myself these days, so even if the sophisticated shock artists of the world roll their eyes and dismiss me as trite… I am contented with my hearts.”

Detail of crazy quilted heart with embellishments by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Love the locket half, and the fun beaded fringe.

Needlefelted and beaded heart Love art quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

The charm titles this one: Love.

Detail, needlefelted and beaded heart Love art quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Detail above: needlefelted heart that combines scraps of wool, cotton, silk and more, encrusted with beads.

Hanging heart art quilt incorporating vintage clothes hanger by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

I’ve often used vintage wooden clothes hangers to hang my art quilts.

Details, heart art quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Beaded details: left, the stripes on these yellow beads were perfect to enhance the vintage fabrics grid, and my blue flower beads were a near-exact match to embellish this border!

Needlefelted and beaded nine-patch heart art quilt by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Beaded blue wool hearts appliquéd to needlefelted bases, then stitched to a hand-dyed wool base that had been bordered with cotton and machine quilted.

Beaded detail of needlefelted heart by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Detail above: it’s fun to sneak in accent beads, like this ladybug, to see who notices.

Beaded details of needlefelted hearts by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Remember, Valentine wishes don’t have to be red or pink or lacy to be heartfelt!

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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

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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 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

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