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PG Fiber2Art and the Row by Row Experience

We love working with PG Fiber2Art, the surface design team of Susan Price and Elizabeth Gibson. We carry a large variety of their beautiful thermofax screen designs in the shop, and they teach one of our most popular classes, Printing with Thermofax Screens, which will next be held on September 26.

The 2015 Row by Row Experience at Artistic Artifacts, with PG Fiber2Art screens and rows

Because we are offering their thermofax screen alternate design as part of the 2015 Row by Row Experience (see above, click for a larger view), we will also be offering a fun, abbreviated “taste” of the process on the evening of August 13 as part of our How Do I Use This sessions — register to join us!

PG Fiber2Art maintains a really wonderful blog, full of inspiration, instruction and information…right now they are documenting their experiences at many of the New England shops participating in Row by Row. Time to envy these lucky ladies: they spend part of every summer in New Hampshire, lakeside, at their very own Quilt Camp.

We wanted to share some of their Row by Row-related posts with you, especially when they included some “learned the hard way wisdom.” I had to laugh —very much WITH them, not at them — when I saw the title Wonky Is Easier When You Read the Directions … I personally am notorious for not reading directions!

But as we all know, any time spent with fiber art is well spent, even when you don’t end up with what you thought you would.

And as the saying goes, the third time is the charm. Along with the fish screens they had created to use for this year’s Row by Row, they had created two beautiful sea shell screens too. Don’t they make for another beautiful alternative for the Artistic Artifacts row? (See below, click image for a larger view.)

PG Fiber2Art Row by Row Experience design with seashells

Here are lessons learned by Elizabeth’s — great tips for anyone who picked up our Row by Row pattern:

  • Wonky isn’t severe. Don’t make those cuts too severe or they will grow out of your control.
  • Measure as you go so you will end up with a block you can cut into a square and not end up with a rectangle.
  • Don’t make the inner rounds too wide or you will reach the 9.5 inch block size limit before you get as many rounds of fabric on it as you want.
  • When horizontal doesn’t work, try vertical. (Our 2015 winner did, see below!)

PG Fiber2Art fish screens on Batik Tambal Exclusive Fabric

Above, Elizabeth used the PG Fiber2Art crackle screen (also available in our shop; if you aren’t close by, visit the PG Fiber2Art Etsy shop) on the Woodstock by Batik Tambal, Green River for wonderful additional background texture. Then she added another thermofax layer of the fish screens with in hunter green and navy.

And as we were putting this posting together, our shop’s Row by Row Experience winner came in! Congratulations to Janet DuLaney-Saunders of Manassas Park, VA, pictured left holding her quilt (click for larger view) with Artistic Artifacts owner Judy Gula. Janet named her quilt Singing in the Rain, and used a total of 9 rows, including ours! She used fabric kits from some shops and also used some of her own fabrics to make the blocks, or to substitute in kits for particular color choices.

Janet DuLaney-Saunders holding her winning 2015 Row by Row Experience quilt

Janet’s quilt features rows from the following shops, beginning with the middle section, from the top:

  • Olde Town Needlecraft, Manassas, VA
  • Oh Sew Persnickety Fabrics and Threads, Gainesville, VA
  • Quilt Patch, Fairfax, VA
  • Daffodil Quilts, Nokesville, VA
  • Bonny’s Sewing & Fabric, Stafford, VA
  • Circle Sewing Studio, Dale City, VA

Our Artistic Artifacts row is the top left vertical row, and underneath it is the pattern (Janet’s own fabric) from Bonny’s Sewing & Fabric in Alexandria. The top vertical row of seahorses at the right is by Suzzie’s Quilt Shop in Manassas, VA.

Well done, Janet — thank you for visiting us!

Review of Thermofax 101: Screen Printing Made Easy DVD Workshop with Lyric Kinard

Thermofax 101: Screen Printing Made Easy DVD with Lyric KinardI was happy to be asked to review the latest DVD from talented fiber artist Lyric Kinard, who is sponsoring a blog hop around the release of her latest DVD, Thermofax 101: Screen Printing Made Easy.

Artistic Artifacts participated in the Row by Row experience last year (and will do so again for 2015), and our row design for 2014 used Thermofax screens designed by Susan Price and Elizabeth Gibson of PG Fiber2Art to create blocks that were combined with wonky strip piecing. I really wish we had Lyric’s DVD then!

I appreciate that Lyric does not assume that everyone knows what a Thermofax screen is and how it is created. It always seemed so mysterious, as if you needed a secret password to be granted access or otherwise you would never know how to print with Thermofax screens. During Row by Row we met so many customers who were very curious about the process, but intimidated. When we demonstrated screen printing techniques with the PG Fiber2Art Thermofax screens used in our row, they were amazed! I can’t help but imagine how impressed they would be watching this new DVD.

Thermofax 101 gives you a thorough education about the entire process, explaining it so well. As seen in other DVDs produced by Lyric, you feel that you are having a personal workshop in her studio. Very friendly and real! I love that she dropped paint on her fabric and then told us how she would hide it!

Supplies used during Thermofax Printing with PG Fiber2Art class April 25, 2015 at Artistic Artifacts

Supplies used during Thermofax Printing with PG Fiber2Art class April 25, 2015 at Artistic Artifacts

Lyric begins by demystifying Thermofax screens and production, and then moves onto creating successful imagery for Thermofax screens. I found this portion very interesting, and can’t wait to create my own imagery for custom screens.

Next the DVD moves onto actually printing with Thermofax screens using paint, discharge or foil adhesive. Lyric includes discussions about why to use fabric paint, squeegee and other tools, and the important information about the care of screens. I can appreciate Lyric explaining the differences between the two sides of the screen… I can tell you from experience that I have had to toss a few screens out due to not cleaning or drying them correctly! We have a Use and Care of Thermofax Screens web page (compiled by PG Fiber2Art) and include links to some of Lyric’s instructional YouTube videos.

The last section is about designing your cloth. This includes great color theory and layout information for any level of fiber artist as well as helpful suggestions on pattern movement and color choices. I found it interesting how Lyric played off the different types of paint —transparent versus opaque — in the layers of pattern, and her use of extender mediums.

Susan Price and Elizabeth Gibson of PG Fiber2Art teach Thermofax printing at Artistic Artifacts on April 25, 2015

Luckily for Artistic Artifacts, we offer fiber and mixed media classes at the shop and regularly schedule Thermofax Printing (most recently on Saturday, April 25; the photos here are from that class) with Susan and Elizabeth of PG Fiber2Art, who will be the blog hop authors on Friday, May 1st (see below). Their next class with us is on Saturday, June 6, Turn Your Photos into Thermofax Screens.

Win a Copy of Lyric’s DVD!

Win your own copy of Thermofax 101: Screen Printing Made Easy by Lyric Kinard! Simply leave me a comment on this posting answering the following question: What imagery would you reproduce for your own custom Thermofax screen? We will post the winner by the close of business on Monday, May 4, so check back with us then.

You can see what other art quilters and fiber artists (including Jane Dávila, who is on the faculty with me at the Quilters Unlimited 42nd Annual Quilt Show the end of May) participating in this blog hop are saying about the Thermofax 101 DVD by visiting the links below.

Everyone listed here is giving away a copy of the DVD, courtesy of Lyric herself, so visit and comment on each blog to increase your chances of winning! (Don’t want to leave it up to fate? Purchase your copy of the DVD today!)

Visit YouTube for a quick tour of the DVD by Lyric herself.

Student working during Thermofax Printing with PG Fiber2Art class April 25, 2015 at Artistic Artifacts

Student working during Thermofax Printing with PG Fiber2Art class April 25, 2015 at Artistic Artifacts

About Lyric: Lyric Montgomery Kinard is the author of the book Art + Quilt: design principles and creativity exercises and has written extensively for Quilting Arts magazine, appeared on Quilting Arts TV, and has two previous DVD Workshops, Surface Design Sampler Platter, and Bead It Like You Mean It. She was recognized for her talents as the 2011 International Association of Professional Quilters Teacher of the Year. As an artist, author, and educator she transforms cloth into art in her studio and timid spirits into confident creatives in the classroom.

Our Final Row by Row Color/Design Variation

Artistic Artifacts Red Row by Row Experience Design

This summer’s Row by Row Experience shop hop has been so enjoyable for those of us at Artistic Artifacts! We have met so many people, both local and many from out of state and Canada, who have visited us to pick up our free pattern.

We created four different fabric colorways and have previously posted photos of three: the orange and blue kits were completed with Thermofax screen printing and hand stamped with our wooden printing blocks. For the green sample, we added a monoprinted background created using a gel printing plate.

In this posting I am finally featuring the fourth colorway, red. I am actually happy that we waited to complete this sample, because it has allowed us to respond to some customer discussions we have had in the store.

We have been delighted with the customers with no previous experience who embraced trying something new; many are experimenting with block printing and screen printing with the Thermofax screens we used. But there were also people who hestitated over those techniques, so we have continually brainstormed options for the background: use rubber stamps or stencils that you already own. Or purchase fabric that has words on it, such as Tim Holtz designs. Or thread paint, or hand-stitch a design. Or do no surface design at all and replace the white fabric with another of your choosing. The winner of our fabric prize, Jana Franklin, used her computer to print springtime poems and facts onto her white muslin, and then stamped with wooden printing blocks over that. What was important to us at Artistic Artifacts was that you made this row your own.

For this red Sample I used a rubber stamp and Memento Luxe Mixed Media Ink Pads to stamp the background before adding block printing. (I have previously blogged about using Memento Luxe Mixed Media Ink Pads in block printing, so take a look.)

Cover-a-Card rubber stamp and Memento Luxe Mixed Media Ink Pads

The stamp pictured above is the French Text Cover-a-Card Stamp. The Cover-a-Card company makes the Mega Mount Acrylic Block for use with these 5¾" square rubber stamps…it sure makes the stamping process easier than manhandling a non-mounted stamp! Pictured are three colors of ink pad… yes I did use all three! Notice the yellow foam printing mat. Every tool box needs one!

Applying Memento Luxe Mixed Media Ink to the Cover-a-Card rubber stamp

As you can see above, the stamp pad is much smaller than the stamp, so I turn the stamp facing up and apply the ink pad to the stamp, rather than applying the stamp to the ink pad. Much better coverage.

Using the Mega Mount and Cover-a-Card stamp

The base of the Mega Mount Acrylic Block is slightly curved so that even the largest stamp only contacts the paper one section at a time, requiring less pressure and resulting in clean, even impressions.

In the above photo you can see the Mega Mount acrylic handle. It is curved so that I “roll” the stamp onto the fabric. I will continue to turn the stamp every which way, because I am creating a background texture…I’m not creating text that is meant to be readable.

Completed stamped background

I stamp the whole background. Once the Memento Luxe Mixed Media Ink is dry, I ironed the fabric, which eat set the ink for permanence and washability.

My previous row designs have been recognizable animals and leaves — the “flora and fauna” of spring. I wanted to do something a bit more abstract for this red colorway, while keeping with the spring theme. We have a large number of paisley designs of wooden printing blocks, and they are such a favorite of mine! You can see that the ones I have chosen have a floral/leaf look to them, so I think it works well with our other rows.

Paisley block stamped in red

With my previous Row by Row samples, I used Opaque Artistic Artifacts Textile Paints for the block printing. In keeping with the idea of working differently, for this sample I also used my other favorite textile paint from Stewart Gill (sadly no longer available).

Another paisley block stamped in shades of red

Using a True Red, I applied paint to the wooden printing block with sponge, and then stamped.

Using shades of red, including pink, purple and even a bit of blue adds visual interest to the background

While I used a lot of red, I also added some blue and purple into the mix. Mixing different shades of red, including pink and purple, adds visual interest to the background and keeps the design from looking too static.

Red fabrics from kit and scraps from stash for free-form piecing

The next step is to create my strip piecing. Here’s the link to my previous freeform strip piecing tutorial. In addition to the Combanasi and commercial batiks that are included in each fabric kit, our row pattern instructs you to pull coordinating fabrics from your stash. So I went from these pictured piles of fabrics and strips…

More red fabrics from kit and scraps from stash for free-form piecing

To the below freeform pieced width of fabric. Then I cut my Row by Row strips from this larger pieced work.

Red freeform pieced fabric

Below is the final row assembled.

Completed Red Row by Row from Artistic Artifacts pattern

Click photo for a larger view.

Making a Pattern Your Own

Artistic Artifacts and the Row By Row Experience: Congratulations Jana Franklin!

This summer Artistic Artifacts has been participating in the Row by Row Experience, a shop hop event, and it has been a lot of fun to design our unique row, select fabrics for the kits we are selling, and most of all, meeting both old and new friends as they embark on their shopping expeditions.

Jana Franklin holding her prize-winning quiltEach participating shop agreed to make a prize of 25 fat quarters of fabric available to the first person who turned in a completed (quilted, bound, and labeled) quilt using at least 8 different 2014 row patterns. Yesterday (Tuesday, August 5) we were delighted to welcome Jana Franklin to the shop and award her our prize, with a bonus gift certificate prize for using our row in her quilt!

Jana collected eight different row patterns from eight shops, all in the Northern Virginia area. A member of the Burke Chapter of Quilter’s Unlimited (that’s my chapter too!), Jana put these disparate rows together beautifully, creating an wonderful springtime quilt. And she has very kindly allowed us to keep it on loan for display, so please stop by the shop to see it — the photographs we have here are not doing it justice! Click the photo below to see a larger view.

Jana Franklin's prize-winning Row by Row Experience quilt

One of the things we appreciate about Jana’s quilt is how she made the patterns her own. While there is of course nothing wrong with following directions and kits to the letter, from my own standpoint as a shop owner and a teacher, it is important to encourage artists (and yes, you all ARE artists) to put their own spin on a project or technique.

Her row patterns are from the following shops:

Top row: The Quilt Patch in Fairfax, “The Book Shelf.” How she made it her own:
Jana added spine titles that reference local areas and topics of interest.

Detail, Jana Franklin Row by Row quilt

2nd Row, The Quilters Studio in Fairfax, “Spring Cardinal Row.” How she made it her own: She used large round beads, instead of buttons, to create her berries, and gave her cardinal a strong button eye.

Detail, Jana Franklin Row by Row quilt

3rd Row: Our own “Springtime Flora and Fauna.” How she made it her own: Jana selected the butterfly wooden printing block, which I had combined with orange fabric, and chose to work instead with our purple fabric kit (which I had designed with birds). Jana didn’t use the Thermofax screens but instead computer transferred springtime poetry and text onto the provided white muslin, then block printed her butterflies in a variety of pretty pastels. So springtime!

Detail, Jana Franklin Row by Row quilt

4th Row:Old Town Needlecraftsin Manassas, “Summer Hummers.” The shop created three versions of their pattern: one pieced, one for machine embroiderers and one fussy-cut using Benartex Fabrics Glorious Hummingbirds, which is what Jana used.

5th Row: Suzzie’s Quilt Shop in Manassas, “Spring is Here!!!” How she made it her own: She switched the dimensional flower style the kit offered, and also added her own appliqué cardinal sitting on the branch, to tie in with the Virginia state bird and the other portions of her quilt.

Detail, Jana Franklin Row by Row quilt

6th Row: Circle Sewing Studios in Woodbridge, “Dancing Pineapples.”

Left border: Bonnie’s Sewing & Fabric in Alexandria “Amber Waves of Grain.” How she made it her own: Jana used red and cream fabric to match the rest of her quilt, and made extra blocks to elongate the row to serve as a vertical border.

Right border: Aurora Quilts in Manassas, “X-mas Block.” How she made it her own: Elongating the row to serve as a vertical border, and we suspect that she chose her own fabrics for this row, as the cardinal fabric in it is the same as the fabric used in the Circle Sewing Studios’ “Dancing Pineapples.”

Detail, Jana Franklin Row by Row quilt

(By the way, Jana’s piecing and craftmanship is straight and true throughout…our photos can make some seams and joins look a bit off because her quilt was so large we had to hang it to get a full size photo, and there’s a bit of bowing from the hang).

As you know from previous postings, I was inspired by Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts: a Stress-Free Journey to Original Design by Rayna Gillman to piece our row. The thermofax screens “art” and “stitch” that I used are just two of the amazing designs created by the talented women of PG Fiber2Art, Susan Price and Elizabeth Gibson. We’ve enjoyed explaining how to use the screens to Row by Row shoppers, and some have selected other designs to use…that “make the pattern your own” thing again! (But if you prefer to learn in a class environment, (plus have the opportunity to print with a huge selection of their designs) then join us on Saturday, September 27.)

Here’s Susan’s take on our pattern (this is a portion only, so you can see it better):

Detail, Susan Price's Artistic Artifacts row

Visit her blog and click on the photo she has of her row to enjoy a complete, and larger view!

And here’s Elizabeth’s:

Detail, Elizabeth Gibson's Artistic Artifacts row

Click the photo for a full view of her row! She used the PG Fiber2Art “craft” screen, graphic rectangles screen and overprinted with the fish wooden printing block. Her colorful batiks are from India (and her stash).

Elizabeth also made an additional piece of fabric for her mother Barbara to use when making her version of our row. Elizabeth first used a green spray paint on a yellow background, then screened her “craft” definition and a butterfly screen the PG Fiber2Art team recently made.

Elizabeth Gibson's screened fabric

Isn’t is amazing how different the pattern can look…and how beautiful ALL of the surface design variations are?

We have been asking all our Row by Row customers to send us photos of their row, their quilt, their designs. Please do email us … we can’t wait to see —and share!

Plus, even though we have awarded the official Row by Row prize, I have a surprise for you. Anyone who brings their Artistic Artifacts row into the shop to show us, whether in a full quilt or finished as a table runner or wall hanging (or even just sewn together!) will get a small prize from me for playing along. As per the official Row by Row rules, you have until October 31, 2014 to bring in your handiwork from our pattern!

Jana Franklin with her prize of 25 fat quarters and a gift certificate from Artistic Artifacts

Jana Franklin holding her Row by Row Experience prize of 25 fat quarters and a gift certificate from Artistic Artifacts

More than 1,250 quilt shops are involved in Row by Row Experience this year, each creating their own unique pattern for a row so that you can create your own Sew a Season quilt. Each shop chose one of the four seasons to represent in their row. Visit a participating store from now until September 2 to ask for your free pattern. The Row by Row website has completes lists and addresses of participating shops in 34 US states and Ontario, so you can map out your summer trips to visit as many participating quilt shops as possible.

There are still shops out there who haven’t awarded their prize yet, so all of you keep on quilting! Use any pattern to layout your rows: Stack them, arrange around a center medallion, make them horizontal, vertical (like Jana did), upside down, on the front, on the back, whatever! You are the designer….be creative and have fun!

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