Monday, March 16, 2020

Daisy Meadow - Thermofax Screens for Fusible Applique

Last month Sue completed a piece for the Backyard Escape exhibit being curated by Sacred Threads.  There will be several groups of traveling exhibits that will be shown at hospitals and quilt shows beginning in May 2020, and then will come together at Sacred Threads in July 2021.  The "backyard escape" theme was to showcase something that brings you peace and tranquility in your backyard, that could do the same for patients and families in a hospital setting.  All the works are to be for sale, so there is also a fund raising aspect for the hospitals involved.

Sue's "Daisy Meadow" combines a background technique by Terry Kramzar which she also used last year in a piece called Balloon Flowers, along with fusible applique created from screen prints. This is the finished quilt, but we also want to share the technique for the Thermofax printed flowers.
But first, the background. The 4" finished background squares are made from an assortment of batiks and are layered with fusible batting, then quilted prior to assembly.
After quilting, they are trimmed and then ready for the center squares which are also from a variety of batiks.  Terry's special ruler makes trimming and placement of the squares easy.
Then the squares were arranged with darker values at the bottom and lighter values at the top.
After the squares were sewn together, it was time to create the flowers and stems.  Sue chose our "lazy daisy" screen in 3 sizes to print with black acrylic paint on yellow fabric.
These need to be backed with a fusible product before cutting out.  Sue used MistyFuse, but you could also use Wonder Under or Steam-a-Seam2 Lite, or another favorite fusible, as long as it is fairly thin.  You don't want to add stiffness or something that might gum up on your needle when stitching. After fusing, cut them out, then you are ready to create your arrangement on the background.
Play with the arrangement until you are satisfied.  Consideration was also given to where the stems would go and what needed to go underneath what.
Here's the arrangement with stems and leaves added.  The stems & leaves were fused and stitched before the flowers were fused in place. To maintain your arrangement, take a picture for reference and you can also lay them out on another surface the same way you want them on the quilt.
The flowers were all edge stitched in black along the printing lines, and then the petals have some accent stitching in yellow.
And finally, a close up detail shot.  We have a number of screens in the shop that work well for this fusible applique technique, including various flowers, leaves, a bird, butterflies. If you have a photo of an item, you can turn it into a screen - all of those items mentioned started out as photos we took. And like the flowers, when they are digital, you can create various sizes.  What photos do you have that would make great appliques?

Thursday, January 30, 2020

The 100 Day Project - Next Steps

Have you heard of the 100 Day Project?  The 100 Day Project is a free art project that takes place online.  You can choose any project you wish and do it for 100 days, sharing your process on Instagram.  If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook (search PGFiber2Art), you might recall that Sue participated in this project last year.  We were surprised to see that we hadn't done any blog posts about this, but all the pictures are on our Instagram page so you can always go back to see the daily pictures there.  Sue's project was to screen print on 5" squares - one print every day.  All of the prints use our original Thermofax screens, a portion of which are available in our Etsy shop.  So, what to do with those 100 prints? Well, part of her plan was to enhance the prints with either hand or machine stitching or both.  To that end, all the squares were backed with fusible fleece to provide some stability for stitching.  The first project from these squares was a 12" square 9-patch quilt that was donated to the SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) online auction.
These are the 9 squares that were put together after printing and stitching - if you click on the picture you should be able to see the stitching better.  Below is the finished piece.  Eyelash trim was couched over the seams for additional embellishment.
Sue has continued embellishing the squares with stitching and is nearing completion of her second project with the squares.  This one combines 20 of the prints that are all framed with brightly colored hand-dyed cottons.
Here's a group of 4 squares in the quilt.

The inner squares were first quilted with monofilament thread next to the borders.  The rest of the quilting is straight line quilting through the border squares with Superior Threads Rainbow variegated thread which has a one inch color change.

You can see the quilting better in this close up photo.  And the whole piece can be seen below.  Again, click on the picture for a better view.
Let us know what you think!  If you were to participate in the 100 Day Project, what project would you choose?  This year's project starts on April 7, so you have plenty of time to consider what you'd like to do!  

A word about the screen prints - as mentioned previously, these are all our original screens made from photos.  We will be teaching a class at Artistic Artifacts on March 7 to teach you how to use Photoshop Elements to transform a photo to a black and white image that can be used to make a Thermofax screen.  If you're interested in learning this process, please join us!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Turn Your Photos into Thermofax Screens!

It's been a while since we last taught Turn Your Photos into Thermofax Screens at Artistic Artifacts.   We are on the schedule for Saturday, March 7, from 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM, and would love for you to join us!  It is not necessary to have taken our screen printing class previously; this is a stand alone class.  If you haven't taken our screen printing class, we will be teaching that in May.  So taking the Photoshop class first would give you some time to prepare your own photos to turn into screens that you might then use in the printing class. Read on to learn more about this class.

We will show you how to use Photoshop Elements to convert a photo to a black and white image suitable for creating a Thermofax screen that can then be used in your art quilts or mixed media work.  In the photo above, you see the original photo of a sunflower, that flower converted to a black & white image, and then the screen used to print on fabric.  In this 3 hour class you will practice with some of our photos first and then work with your own to see how you can incorporate your own unique imagery into your work without concerns about copyright.  We'll also give you tips for taking photographs to make this process easier.  Soon you'll be looking at things with screen images in mind.  If you're in driving distance of the metropolitan DC area, come join us on March 7!

Note: While your own laptop and copy of Photoshop Elements are preferred, you can share one of our laptops if you don't have one, and download a trial copy of Photoshop Elements to try for 30 days before purchasing. Send us an email at pgfiber2art  @ gmail dot com if you have questions.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Happy New Year 2020!

As we turn the page on a new year, its a good time to refocus, looking back on the accomplishments of the previous year and making plans for the new one ahead of us.
We got our year rolling with a trip to Nashville for Quilt Con.  It was our second Quilt Con, and the first time to Nashville for both of us.  We thoroughly enjoyed Music City and Quilt Con!
In March we participated in the Creative Arts Business Summit to focus on our Thermofax screen business.  We always come away from this event with great ideas and tips from other creatives; unfortunately this was the last time for CABS.
The look back is the most surprising, to see how much was accomplished - more than we thought! Both of us spent a lot of time exploring cyanotype printing (you could say that was our focus for the year), and explored other techniques as well.  Here are some of our projects.
We debuted some new screens in the Etsy shop.  Sue used the Queen Anne's lace print in the center to make the fabric box below.

Elizabeth made this special pillow for her grandson Finn.

Sue took a class on making coiled rope baskets.  Here is the second one she made.  She also made a number of coasters with the same technique.

Summer was the time for cyanotype printing; we followed parallel paths with Elizabeth in New Hampshire and Sue in Virginia.  Elizabeth made numerous prints and combined 9 into this quilt top.

She also printed this scarf (displayed here on Molly the mannequin).

You'll see Sue's cyanotype quilt in the collage below (bottom left) which consists of 9 projects she worked on in 2019.  Top to bottom, left to right, the projects are Tea Bag Revival (12 x 12), Nature's Prints (12 x 12), Opposites Attract (10 x 10), Balloon Flowers (18 x 24), baby quilt (about 40" square), Gloria (16 x 20), cyanotype prints (35 x 42), 100 day prints which is unfinished (about 24 x 30), and the last is a memory quilt that is twin bed size, made from a child's clothes.

Sue also completed a number of charity quilts.  She organized the charity project for her guild's spring retreat, so in addition to completing a full size quilt that members made blocks for, she also used the leftover blocks to make 16 preemie quilts!  It was a great opportunity to  practice ruler quilting.

Last fall, Elizabeth took a class on eco printing in which she printed a silk scarf.  Here is one of the prints from the scarf.

And finally, Sue was proud to be included in 2 publications in 2019.  OurStory: Human Rights Stories in Fabric includes her Women's Voices Matter quilt. Inspired by Endangered Species includes her contribution of the Pink Fairy Armadillo.  Both are beautiful books and include amazing quilts with fabulous workmanship.  It is an honor to be included in both.  Exhibits of these quilts are both touring nationally. 

Wow!  That's a lot of stuff!  Will we be as productive in 2020?  Let's hope we can at least maintain the productivity. And what will be our focus this year?  You can expect to see more cyantopye printing, and probably some eco printing as well.  Of course, there will also be Thermofax printing.  Are you sensing a theme here?  It's safe to say we like printing of all types!  Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for pictures of our work throughout the year (search pgfiber2art).  What's on YOUR creative agenda for 2020?  Whatever it is, we hope you have a creative and fulfilling year!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Postcard Swap

Our regular blog followers may recall previous posts about Sue's postcard swap group.  It looks like it's been a while since we've posted about a swap.  We have been a steadfast group of 5 for a number of years (the original group got its start more than 10 years ago).  For our most recent swap in November we grew to 6 participants, but one member has decided to bow out so we'll be back to 5.   Our theme for this round was "silhouettes".  It's always fun to see how everyone interprets the theme.

Sue opted for choosing a Thermofax screen as her silhouette (no surprise there).  The screen she chose was poppies.  She started with some ice dyed fabric and first printed grasses as part of the background.
Then the poppies were screen printed in black to create the silhouette.
Each of the finished cards was slightly different because of the ice dyed background fabric. This is the group of cards that Sue made.  She chose poppies as the silhouette in honor veterans.
The other "posties" had varied interpretations.
Grace is our new member who made this lovely layered silhouette of the queen. The text in the background is overlaid with the blue and red segments.
Cathy created this striking California sunset.
Sherry had a unique interpretation with this cat silhouette created from thread scraps trapped under tulle.
Lois lamented that our visions of ourselves don't always match what we see in the mirror. :(
Paula got us all humming a tune with her interpretation of the song "Silhouettes on the Shade".

What will the theme be next time?  Our next round will be due by the end of June.  Guess you'll have to follow along to see what comes next.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Balloon Flowers

Last week Sue shared pictures from a Whisper Challenge.  If you followed along on Facebook, Barbara Wise guessed  Sue's quilt to be the Balloon Flowers.  So today we are sharing some process photos.  This is the inspiration photo that Sue used in creating her quilt.

The technique used for the background is one developed by Terry Kramzar.  It has the look of square in a square blocks but without any seams.  The blocks are backed with fusible batting, quilted, then the  small squares are appliqued on.  If you look at her website, you'll see this technique as a background for many of her quilts.

She also has her own ruler to make placement of the square easy.

After completing the background, the stems and leaves for the flowers were added.

The flowers were cut from gradient fabric that came from Colorways by Vicki Welsh. After cutting out the shapes, details were added with Inktense pencils.

The stems and leaves were stitched first, then the flowers were placed and stitched.

Here's what the back looked like after all the stitching before the backing was added.

The final quilting is stitch in the ditch between all the squares.  Below is the finished quilt.

The process made this a fun quilt to make.  Check out Terry's website for examples of how she uses this technique in her work.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Whisper Challenge

Well, here we are again.  A couple of months have gone by since our last blog post.  It seems once you get out of the habit, it's easy to let it slide.  But, this week Sue has results of an art group challenge to share.  For an annual challenge, our art bee decided to repeat a "whisper" challenge that we had done the year before.  It works like a game of telephone in that the first person chooses a photo and makes a quilt inspired by the photo.  Then their quilt gets passed to the next person, who makes theirs based on the first one, and so on.  Only the first person sees the picture, and each succeeding person sees only the quilt prior to theirs.  It is certainly interesting to see the results!

So, this was the inspirational photo for this go-round.
The next photo shows the first 2 quilts in the sequence.
As the first quilt maker explained, she was inspired by what was missing from the photo - specifically the leaves that had already fallen from the tree.  So she featured 5 different types of leaves in her quilt.  The second person focused on the fact that there were 5 items and came up with her design.
Quilts 3, 4, and 5 follow pretty closely with the colorful segments of quilt 2.  Quilt 3's colorful circles are representative of beach balls (or hard candies?); the beach balls inspired a beach umbrella with segmented colors; and the umbrella inspired colorful balloons.
In quilt # 6, the balloons inspired balloon flowers.  The balloon flowers became fractured flowers. And the fractured flowers led to an Asian inspired quilt.  What do you think?  Interesting transitions, eh?  It's fun to see how one piece led into the next, especially when you hear about the thought process of the maker.  

Have you guessed which quilt is Sue's?  If you have a guess, leave a comment on this post!  She'll do another post and share some process photos from making the quilt.