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TAP Fragment Dolls

Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts films a video sharing the Fragment Doll project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley
The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

We were happy to be a part of The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley Instagram book tour for — our ‘stop’ was Thursday, April 22! Visit our Instagram page for our video post of how this new guide inspired our latest Transfer Artist Paper projects! Commenters there were eligible to win a free ebook version of this Ultimate Guide, specific to the new TAP formulation with many new techniques and project ideas: our randomly selected winner was Gerri Congdon — congratulations Gerri!

There was a new prize drawing for each stop. The Transfer Artist Paper Instagram Book Tour participating artists were:

We were inspired by Lesley’s ‘Fragment Dolls’, one of the projects in the book. It was coincidental timing since our Judy’s Altered Minds (JAMs) group (meeting via Zoom during the pandemic) had issued a Spirit Doll challenge — we’ll be sharing those results soon!

Judy Gula Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Above, my first doll. I used TAP to transfer the vintage photograph and lots of scraps, stitching and embellishments to complete her. Of course I dug out my beads and our leaf vine ribbon was perfect for her. I really enjoyed spending time with this project! I have another one in progress:

Judy Gula in progress Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

In our video I explain the vintage jewelry piece you see — I’ve glued it to a small piece of Ultra Suede, which will give me a surface I can stitch so I can add the brooch later by trimming and stitching. This is one of my favorite tricks to incorporate jewelry or found objects.

Chris Vinh Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Above, Chris Vinh of StitchesnQuilts shared her beautiful doll during our April 18 JAMs Zoom call. I was delighted to see that she had reduced a photograph of one of her batik panels by Mahyar to use as her face! Chris shows us that Eyelash Silk, one of the products by Painter’s Threads (formerly known as Tentakulum) makes perfect hair for an art doll! She also used the handpainted pearl cotton from Painter’s Threads for stitching and French knots on her Fragment doll.

Chris Vinh Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Chris also enjoyed this project and created another gorgeous doll using hand dyed silk fabrics accented with her hand stitching — this time using Eleganza variegated perle cotton by WonderFil Specialty Threads. You can see a bit of a line in the face — she transferred her TAP onto silk, and the silk had a slub thread. Lesley makes the point in her book that the TAP is very sensitive and any bit of unevenness in your surface can show. I love it for the vintage feel it gives. In her IG book tour post, Liz Kettle even mentions trying to intentionally distress a TAP transfer to get that worn feel.

Sharon McDonagh Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

Sharon McDonagh of our shop was eager to explore TAP’s ability to take a variety of art media to add color, whether paint, inks, etc. She printed her TAP transfers out (remember, inkjet printers only) in just black and white, and then added color using her favorite product, Gelatos by Faber-Castell and loved the results! She also ‘dyed’ her mermaid’s cheesecloth wrap with Gelatos — visit our YouTube channel for her method and more in Using Gelatos. (Note Sharon’s doll was stitched but not turned due to its design; she painted the visible white edges with blue acrylic paint.)

Sharon McDonagh Fragment Doll, a project from The Ultimate Guide to Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

For her Sun doll, she transferred onto yellow cloth, and so just added a touch of orange Gelatos to the checks and the rays, with a blend of red. She loves uses small pieces of our Web Weave Ribbon for texture in fabric collage and mixed media.

Some of the supplies available at Artistic Artifacts used to create our Fragment Dolls

Our Fragment Dolls are all fabric, but TAP can be used on many substrates — Lesley’s new book includes instructions on transferring onto canvas, metal, mica and more. In addition to the book and TAP itself, we have so many wonderful supplies for fiber and mixed media art: our Inspiration packs full of hand-dyed fabrics, linens and trims, sari ribbon & yarn, specialty ribbons, WonderFil Specialty Threads Sue Spargo products for hand stitching (an Eleganza thread pack is pictured), buttons and more — our Fabric & Fiber Packages are a wonderful way to build your stash with a variety of textiles.

(Our video is also available on our YouTube channel.)

Green Vintage-Inspired Art Quilt

Art Quilt by Judy Gula

Many of the ideas I have for my quilts begin with the inspiration of a vintage photo. My green quilt, picture above, started with a vintage black and white photo that I scanned, and then modified in Photoshop (you could also use Photoshop Elements or any photo editing program).

Once scanned, it was a simple process of colorizing the photo with a green hue. Why tint the photo, you ask? I’m not sure other than that I saw all these wonderful green leaves everywhere at the time (hands up, who else is sick to death of this winter?) and thought of green. It was just that simple; you can do it too with any favorite black and white or sepia photo and your own favorite color!

Beginning with a colorized image

Once I had colorized my image, I printed it onto Transfer Artist Paper (TAP, developed by fiber artist Lesley Riley) and then transferred it to Lutradur. The photo above shows my final colorized image ready to sew, as well as a hint of materials that I thought I would incorporate into this art quilt.

Judy Gula pulling together fabric and trims for her art quilt

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 linens and trim. 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.

Trims and embellishments

My next step is to finalize my choices of embellishments. Some start early in my process, some come in after the main fabrics have been selected. Pictured above I have pulled materials including a mixture of green beads, pearls, vintage millinery, and hand dyed vintage trims and ribbon.

A side bar about my beads: The mixtures that we sell at Artistic Artifacts are the same ones that I use in my artwork. In my studio I have them corralled in little hardware drawers, each with a specific color and mixture of glass beads. I have, oh, maybe 64 drawers!

Judy Gula creating the focal point of her art quilt

Pictured above is a stage where I have worked on the focal point of the art quilt. At this point everything is stitched down in the center. My original decision was to not stitch the background, and I can say now that I think I goofed by not doing so. If I were repeating the project, I would stitch the backing before layering my photo.

Click for large, detailed view of Judy Gula's finished art quilt

My finished art quilt, as pictured at the beginning of this post [view a large image with more detail]. As you can see, there are some key differences from what I started out with: the vintage millinery is beige, not peach; beads are turquoise, not green; and the trims are darker than my original lighter choices.

This art quilt could be thought of as a lesson in monochromatic color scheme. I like it! And yes, it still makes me smile when I look at it.

I find that many times you are paralyzed by the number of options to create and therefore do nothing. It’s my opinion that there could have been a million options on how to create an art quilt with this, or any, photo. 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. One of the key things I love about art quilts is that there are no rules!

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