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Sharing Stitch Meditations

Stitch Meditations created by students in July's "How Do I..." session

We were going to take an August vacation from our monthly product/technique demonstrations and play-time, but due to demand we are repeating July’s popular program!

Participants in the July session of "How Do I... Create a Stitch Meditation?"

Above, the July session of How Do I…Create Stitch Meditations: we had a full house! At the top of this post are the amazing pieces created by students that night. Join us Thursday evening, August 10 to create your own: using WonderFil Specialty Threads (all supplies provided), participants learn the approach originated by my dear friend Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution. Previous sewing or embroidery experience isn’t necessary, so if you are local, please plan to join us.

Stitch Meditation by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Inspired by Liz, I have also become addicted to this practice. I have posted many on the Artistic Artifacts Facebook page, and wanted to share some of my recent creations in this post. Visit Liz’s website gallery to see her own beautiful examples. Liz has also put together a 17 minute video she hopes inspires others to begin their own stitch practice: learn more.

Stitch Meditation by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Above, I was inspired by a bit left over from a batik panel by the artist Rusli.

In our 2015 post Thoughts on the Health Benefits of Creativity, Liz shared that managing stress can be difficult for her, and that “The best medicine I have found is what I call Stitch Meditations. I tried for years to do ‘real’ meditation. It just never took and I always felt like I was doing it wrong. But, I knew I needed a stress reducer that was simple and didn’t take much time to do. I love both machine and hand stitching and I find both very relaxing. However the tactile nature of hand stitch won over and I started creating simple small collages using only hand stitch. These meditations are really important to my mental health not only because I slow down and enjoy the meditation, but they give me a sense of connection to my art on a daily basis…even when life has me otherwise occupied.”

Stitch Meditation by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Liz creates her stitch meditations in the morning, but after experimenting, I have found that stitching in the evening after work is what best works for me. It’s a calming, restful way to end the day. I make a point of traveling with a small stash of supplies so I can create in my hotel room each evening.

Stitch Meditation by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

In addition to Liz, in terms of inspiration I also have to thank Ruth Chandler, author of Modern Hand Stitching … she has taught so many of us how to add a creative, freeform spin on hand-stitching! I can’t count how many times I have recommended her book to my customers: it is an invaluable addition to any stitcher’s library.

Stitch Meditation by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Above, this small corner of a hand-dyed handkerchief really spoke to me. Proof that you don’t have to work large! I’m thinking it might fill the blank corner of the long work pictured above it.

Stitch Meditation by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Now that Artistic Artifacts is a WonderFil Specialty Threads “Threaducation Center” I have relished learning about the different weights and properties of their threads… perfect for hand stitching as well as using in your sewing machine!

Stitch Meditation by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

If you are one of those people find themselves saving scraps of fabric and lengths of thread because they’re just too pretty to throw away, you have the makings of the perfect stitch meditation stash!

Stitch Meditation by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Part of the technique is not to fall into the trap of agonizing over your choices. Quickly choose a few pieces, whether color-coordinated or completely contrasting, and get to work.

Stitch Meditation by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Below, a larger completed piece created by Suzanne Langsdorf, who just gifted it to Sharon McDonagh of Artistic Artifacts. At last month’s session, Sharon kept picking out fabrics and fibers and walking around to participants to tempt them to start another piece. Suzanne took one of her handfuls and added to it, ultimately creating this gorgeous fiber art.

Stitch Meditation by Suzanne Langsdorf

Below, a detail photograph. Such amazing color and texture!

Detail view, Stitch Meditation by Suzanne Langsdorf

3 Comments to “Sharing Stitch Meditations”

  1. Sharon

    Suzanne is the sweetest… I absolutely LOVE what she created! Every Stitch Meditation is just beautiful and makes you want to dig out your needle and thread.

    Reply
  2. Miki Willa

    I completed eight stitch meditations while I was in Virginia and put then into a cloth book I made for that purpose. I will send you pictures. I have become a stitch meditator.

    Reply

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Row by Row Winner and Upcoming News!

Winner Sue Lee — and Our New Batiks!

Updated July 26 to include batik and Rayna Gillman class links, now available.

For the third summer, Artistic Artifacts is participating in the Row by Row Experience, an annual shop hop event taking place throughout the U.S., Canada, and even many locations in Europe!

Sue Lee with her 2017 Row by Row Experience quilt, the prize winner at Artistic Artifacts

The theme this year is “On the Go,” and as always we enjoyed designing our unique “Pinwheels In Motion” row, created using our Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik. On July 20, 2017 we awarded our prize for the first completed (quilted, bound, and labeled) quilt using at least 8 different 2017 row patternsto Sue Lee…who used 9 row patterns including ours. Sue extended our row and included it on the back of her quilt, making it reversible.

The back of Sue Lee's 2017 Row by Row Experience quilt, featuring the Artistic Artifacts row.

Sue purchased one of our kits (currently available to in-store visitors only; when the event ends this fall we will be able to sell them online) Each kit includes a June Tailor® Charming Circles Ruler to easily cut accurate circles, Avalon Bleached Muslin for background, Mistyfuse® lightweight fusible and a sample spool of WonderFil Specialty Thread. There are so many beautiful color combinations possible with our batiks that we allow kit purchasers to pick the two they like; Sue chose Shapes-Pinwheels, Fuchsia and Color Sponge Solid: Berry.

Detail, of Sue Lee's 2017 Row by Row Experience quilt, featuring the Artistic Artifacts row in our Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik fabric, also used as binding.

Sue so loved our fabric that after buying our kit returned the next day for more to create the row extension and to create her quilt’s binding. Sue was happy to receive her prize of 25 different fat quarters of Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik fabrics, plus a gift certificate to our shop (pictured below). Congratulations, Sue!

Sue Lee with her Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik fabric prize for being the first to turn in a completed Row by Row Experience quilt.

New Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik Fabrics!

And we have exciting news to share about our Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik: new patterns and colors have arrived from Indonesia! We are in the process of getting these news designs on our website: stay tuned to our weekly enewsletter to see! They are making their debut at Quilt Odyssey this weekend!

Some of the new colors and designs of our Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik, coming soon to our online shop!

(updated 7/26) Above, some of the new Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik, NOW AVAILABLE to order on our website: shop now. We have new colors of some of our established designs, and new patterns for you as well!

Rayna Gillman Workshop September 23

And more good news to announce! Our first year of participating in The Row by Row Experience was 2014, and a key design feature in that inaugural row design was Rayna Gillman’s wonky strip piecing technique.

Create Your Own Improv Quilts: Modern Quilting with No Rules & No Rulers by Rayna Gillman, coming November 2017

Rayna has written several books teaching her design concepts, and has influenced so many art quilters… so we’re delighted to announce that Rayna Gillman will be visiting Artistic Artifacts on September 23-24 to teach her amazing techniques!

Back in April our enewsletter included a photo of our customer Laura Geiser’s modern, graphic quilt, featuring many of our wonderful Australian Aborigine fabrics interspersed with many black and white designs as well as modern cottons.

Once she received her copy, Rayna emailed us, “This is exactly what I have done in my new book… using some of the Aboriginal fabrics I bought from you, modern fabrics, and some solids. Time for us to schedule me to teach a 2-day class from my [upcoming] new (modern) book!”

That new book will be published in November. Titled Create Your Own Improv Quilts: Modern Quilting with No Rules & No Rulers, you can pre-order a signed copy from her website.

Updated 7/26: Learn more about this class and register now »

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Hari Agung Floral Batik Panel Quilts

One of my favorite ways to put together a fast, but beautiful, art quilt is to start with a handcrafted batik panel and add one of more border strips log cabin style. This one just needs the binding.

Small red floral batik panel by Hari Agung bordered with Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik

To complement this gorgeous red floral panel by Hari Agung, I used two fabrics from our own Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik fabric line: top and left is Fruit Sours, Green Apple, and bottom/right is Fronds, Mocha.

Detail, Small red floral batik panel by Hari Agung bordered with Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik

I machine quilted the borders with simple angled straight lines, and the center panel with a free-form meander.

French knots accenting the flower centers of the Hari Agung batik panel

Above, I accented the flower centers with French knots. I love using a variegated thread like our beautiful Eleganza from the Sue Spargo Collection by WonderFil Specialty Threads for French knots: you end up with different colors without changing threads!

I used a medium size Hari Agung panel for this next quilt in progress.

Medium Hari Agung floral panel art quilt ready for quilting and then binding

This one is framed with simple log cabin-style nested borders, including Batik Tambal Exclusive Batik in Connections, Red and the Crosshatch Gold from the Marks by Valori Wells collection, a gorgeous modern cotton. The next step is to add quilting using the BERNINA Q20 sit down machine and then bind it.

Detail, medium Hari Agung floral panel art quilt ready for quilting and then binding

This simple construction technique — batik panel framed by log cabin strips —is easy enough for beginning quilters, but impressive: get started on your own version!

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Paper Solvy Image Transfer

This blog post was originally published in 2011, but in the ensuing years and web/blog redesigns, it accidentally went missing. Our most recent enewsletter discussed stabilizers, and so we wanted to offer this to readers again. This many years later, still a great transfer technique! Watch Liz Kettle demonstrate her technique on YouTube: Image Transfers with Water Soluble Paper »

Image Transfer with Water Soluble Paper

Thumbnail version of finished fiber art by Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution

by Liz Kettle, Textile Evolution

One of the frustrations of image transfer techniques is the propensity of manufacturers to ‘improve’ their products to retain the ink, making it difficult for those of us who want to transfer the ink to another surface. If you share this frustration, you can imagine my excitement when Laura Cater-Woods and I were discussing some of her innovative surface techniques using water soluble paper stabilizer meant for foundation piecing and embroidery.

Laura wasn’t using the paper with imagery, but the gears in my brain started turning… and in a true light bulb moment I found a new way to transfer inkjet printed images to fabric or paper. Best of all, this product probably won’t be ‘improved.’

Supplies to create an image transfer with water soluble paper

Supplies:

Steps:

Before you begin, print your image onto a sheet of the Paper Solvy or other water soluble stabilizer. This process works with both pigment and dye inkjet printers. [Ed. note: one of the uses of Paper Solvy is to reproduce multiple foundation and paper piecing designs; it is manufactured to go though a printer or copy machine without jamming or sticking. Remember that if necessary, reverse your image so that your final transfer will be oriented as you wish (necessary if your image contains text.]

Step 1, Image Transfer with Water Soluble Paper

1.) Use a foam brush to apply a layer of matte medium to the fabric. You need enough medium to cover the fabric evenly without excess.

Step 2, Image Transfer with Water Soluble Paper

2.) Apply a thin coat of matte medium to the Paper Solvy printed image.

Step 3, Image Transfer with Water Soluble Paper

3.) Lay the printed image down on the fabric and brayer firmly. Hold the paper firmly to keep it from wrapping up on the brayer or shifting as you roll the brayer over the Paper Solvy.

Step 4, Image Transfer with Water Soluble Paper

4.) Wait for a count of 5-7 seconds, and check to see if the image is transferring by pulling up one corner of the paper. If you don’t see the transfer happening, lay the paper back down, brayer again or wait a few moments longer.

Step 5, Image Transfer with Water Soluble Paper

5.) Peel up the paper to reveal your image. Some times the paper will come up in one piece. The longer you wait, the more the paper will begin to break down and come off in multiple pieces. In this example, the paper came off in three strips.

Fiber art by Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution, featuring a Paper Solvy image transfer

Above, another version of a finished transfer (note that for this piece my starting image was reversed so that the finished art had the girl facing left) has been layered and stitched with embellishment fabrics on top of a piece of painted Roc-lon Multi-Purpose Cloth, block printed with wooden printing blocks and textile paints.

Helpful Tips:

  • If you wait too long to pull up the paper or have too much medium, the paper will start to dissolve. If this happens, lay the paper back down and let dry completely in place. Use water to dissolve the paper and rub it off with your fingers.
  • If there is paper residue on the image after removing the paper, simply wait for the transfer to dry. Dampen your finger with water and rub the area to remove the paper fuzzies. Or, the image can be soaked in water while you rub off the excess paper. Do not rub too hard, or you will remove the image.

About the Author

Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution is a fabric and mixed media artist with a passion for teaching others the joy of making art and the creative process. After acquiring the skills for success in the traditional quilting arena she began to delve into art quilting and discovered a world of freedom and fun in mixed media. Liz is the co-author of Fabric Embellishing: The Basics & Beyond and Threads: The Basics & Beyond, and the author of First-Time Beading on Fabric and Know Your Needles: A Carry-Along Guide for Choosing Hand and Machine Needles.

2 Comments to “Paper Solvy Image Transfer”

  1. CHRISTINE VINH

    Great description of the process and one I haven’t tried before. Thanks for searching for it in the archives.

    Reply

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Dreamtime Stories to Share

The M&S Textiles Booth at Spring Quilt MarketIn my last blog posting I wrote about visiting the Spring Quilt Market in St. Louis and gave you a taste of some of the beautiful fabrics and products exhibited there.

One of my first stops, as always, was to see what was new from M&S Textiles (booth pictured here). Their Australian Aborigine-designed fabrics are consistently one of our biggest sellers, and I simply can’t resist them. The 2017 line of new designs has just arrived in our shop, and I’m sharing a few here. As we mentioned in our most recent newsletter, the Australia’s indigenous art tradition by Aborigines is more than 50,000 years old. In ancient times the Aboriginal people created cave paintings, rock paintings, and sand or ground painting, and more. We love to learn the stories behind these colorful patterned fabric designs and wanted to share some of them here.

Bush Food Dreaming by Tanya Price, available in black, ecru and mint

M&S Textiles, the company that licenses these designs from the Aborigine artists and prints the high-quality cotton fabrics, shares that most of the Aboriginal designs have a “Dreamtime” story to tell. Aboriginal mythology recounts that Dreamtime is the time when the world was dark and nothing was on the earth. Soil was soft; then their forefathers sprang up from underneath it and began building most of what their future generations would require: mountains, rivers, waterholes, trees, light gardens and many more.

The Dreamtime is a philosophy of living. Body painting, corroborree (ceremonial gatherings of Aboriginal people where they interact with Dreamtime ancestors through dance, music, and costumes), men’s and women’s business (certain customs and practices are performed separately by male and female groups) are strictly obeyed by the Aboriginal people.

Aborigines used to be nomadic, collecting foods from nature by hunting and gathering. They never hoarded food or water, or spoiled nature, always honoring their ancestral lands and environment.

Bush Food Dreaming, pictured right, is a design by Tanya Price Nangala, available in (from top to bottom) black, ecru and mint. Tanya learned painting from both her parents and grandparents, and depicts a number of foods important to Aborigines: oranges, bush plums, bush berries, lemons and more. She is illustrating a corroboree where people are happily eating, dancing and discussing various social matters, enjoying each other’s company. Like many Aborigine artists, Tanya uses fine dotting techniques in the background of her precise, vibrant drawings.

Winter Spirits by Faye Oliver, available in brown, black and purple

Winter Spirits, pictured above, is designed by Fay Oliver. It is available in brown (top), yellow (left) and purple. The Sounthern hemisphere’s winter weather is hot and sunny like our northern hemisphere’s summer (in Australia each season begins on the first day of the calendar month: summer runs from December 1 to the end of February, autumn from March to May, winter from June to August, and spring from September to November). Fay uses vibrant winter colors to illustrate her painting, which depicts spirits watching over Dreamtime creatures, the bush and camp from the sky.

Sandy Creek by Janet Long Nakamarra, available in yellow, black and purple

Pictured above is Sandy Creek by Janet Long Nakamarra, available in red (top), black and purple. Sandy Creek is located in the Northern Territory of Australia and is home to Tjaynera Falls, located within the Litchfield National Park. The Falls can only be reached by a 4-wheel drive vehicle and an approximately 1.4 kilometers from the car park, which is on the site of a timber cutting camp used during the mid 1900’s. There are some Aboriginals who interact with tourists to the area, telling Dreamtime stories and involving them in timber-cutting activities. Janet is illustrating the plain land under the waterfall and some of the surrounding area. The semi-circles depict people walking the land as well as sitting in a circle around waterholes.

Artistic Artifacts is known for its large selection of Australian fabric, and these new designs are wonderful additions. We hope you have enjoyed learning more about the meaning behind the designs.

3 Comments to “Dreamtime Stories to Share”

  1. Willa Downes

    Thanks so much for sharing such wonderful information about the fabrics! Knowing more really brings the fabrics to life!

    Reply
  2. B. J. Berlo

    I’ve just completed a wall quilt using fabrics from my stash of Aboriginal fabrics and am looking for a name for it. Maybe “CORROBOREE” is the name. I plan to order some of your new designs for a vest I’m making.

    Reply
  3. Miki Willa

    I have long loved these fabrics. I am so happy that you shared the story of these three patterns. I will be there in a couple of weeks and I have my eye on Sandy Creek.

    Reply

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