Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Great Day Washington!

What a fun morning!  Artistic Artifacts was featured Monday morning on the local CBS affiliate's morning show, Great Day Washington.  Over the course of a one hour live show, there were 4 segments showing different aspects of the shop - teachers, demo-ing surface design techniques (including Sue doing screen printing), paper piecing by machine, Judy's JAMS group working on hand projects, and highlighting the batiks in the shop with hand stitched embellishments.  The shop looked terrific and Judy was well prepared with the shop set-up.  The TV host, Meaghan Mooney, was a quick study as we walked through the pre-show prep of the techniques being presented.
The first segment included wood block printing, gelatin plate printing and thermofax screen printing.  Here's a link to this segment: http://www.wusa9.com/entertainment/television/programs/great-day-washington/adult-arts-and-crafts-with-artistic-artifacts-/394538005

Another segment featured some upcycled boxes done by Judy's Altered Minds (JAMS) that meets once a month and chats with some of the members who were working on hand projects.
You can find this segment here: http://www.wusa9.com/entertainment/television/programs/great-day-washington/artistic-finds-at-artistic-artifacts-/394549214

Cyndi Souder showed some more traditional machine piecing techniques featuring non-traditional fabrics including Australian Aborignal designs and Tim Holz fabrics.
See this segment at:  http://www.wusa9.com/entertainment/television/programs/great-day-washington/expressing-your-creativity-at-artistic-artifacts/394546555

Chris Vinh highlights the Artisan Batik panels and how she embellishes them with the Wonderfil embroidery threads.  Also in this segment, a quick pan of the shop and a look at Denise doing some machine embroidery.  All of this can be seen at: http://www.wusa9.com/entertainment/television/programs/great-day-washington/diy-crafts-and-more/394555807
 It was a fast-paced and fun morning at the shop, plus a behind-the-scenes look at live TV production!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Wrapping Up Craft Napa

Here are a few more photos to round out the Craft Napa experience.
A sign at Pokey's art barn.  Conveniently, the Embassy Suites has complimentary wine and hors d'oevers.
The Fountain Court at the Embassy Suites, on Welcome night.  This was the gathering place; all the classrooms surrounded this room.  Most days, the floor was covered with tarps holding drying fabric.
Examples of Jane LaFazio's work (teacher of 8 Objects 8 Ways).  Love her work.
A sample quilt of Judy Coates Perez's work.  Love her work too!
Additional quilts in the exhibit honoring Yvonne Porcella.  These were on display Friday evening - wish they had been there longer.
A black swan in the hotel courtyard pond.  There were several black, as well as white swans, and a family of ducks.
A celebratory cake honoring the first publication by Crafting a Life -
Playful Fabric Printing by Carol Soderlund and Melanie Testa.
Above is a group photo of Saturday's classes, minus some early departures.  Sue's prayer flags are at the far right, rear.  Photo credit to Indigo Perez, daughter of Judy, who documented the event.  Well worth the trip, in spite of flight issues, to learn from these talented teachers!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Turn Your Photos into Thermofax Screens!

We are looking for a couple more students to make this class a "go" for next Saturday.  Check your schedule and come join us!

We are again teaching this class at Artistic Artifacts in Alexandria on Saturday, January 28, from 10 AM -1 PM.  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.  You will practice with some of our images first and then work with your own to see how you can incorporate your own unique imagery into your work without any 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 Jan.28!

Note: While your own laptop and copy of Photoshop Elements are most beneficial, 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.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Craft Napa Day 3

Finally getting a chance to post about Sue's third class at Craft Napa - two days of travel that should have taken one, and delayed baggage interfered - but that's a story for another day.

Saturday's class was called Blessings in the Wind - Prayer Flags with Judy Coates Perez.  Judy, also known as the Creative Alchemist, is known for her whole cloth painted quilts and intricately layered imagery.  This class was a last minute change for Sue - she was originally registered for another class but decided to switch because she'd always admired Judy's work, had previously taken classes with the other teacher, and thought she should take the opportunity to learn from someone new.  She was very glad she did. Below are some of Judy's prayer flags.
Sue was most interested in learning Judy's techniques, less so in creating the flags, but as the day progressed the goal of completing the prayer flags became more significant. 
The morning was spent painting our fabrics  (we had 12 pieces about 8 x 10") with Golden Fluid Acrylic Inks. Various techniques were used to create different effects, including scrunching, sponging, Shibori folds, and painting on wet or dry fabrics.  Sue had done most of these techniques before but not recently and with different paints so it was a good refresher of those techniques.  Below are some of Judy's fabric samples and a demo of sponging.

Below are Sue's painted fabric pieces that she chose to add additional imagery to for the flags.
In the afternoon we added additional layers with stamps, thermofax screens and Judy's abaca papers.
We were so busy trying to get them done that taking more process pictures was forgotten.  After adding more layers, the pieces were trimmed down to 6 x 9" and encased in a folded length of twill tape. Below are Sue's finished flags.  The additional images and trimming really transformed some of the less than stellar backgrounds.
She regrets not getting pictures of the other finished flags as well.  It was a busy but fun and inspirational day of creativity.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Craft Napa Day 2

Friday's class was 8 Objects 8 Ways with Jane LaFazio - another out of the comfort zone class on drawing and watercolor.  Sue has long admired Jane's work and enjoyed her low stress step by step instruction. While not a quilt technique per se, there are some parts of it that may be transferable to art quilting.  And she looks forward to continuing to practice the drawing techniques.
The objective of today's class was to draw a group of related objects using different drawing tools and water colors to make a pleasing composition on a watercolor journal page.  Some were drawn in pencil, some in ink, some with water soluble pens. Another technique was drawing on a book page and then adding that to the page. A similar technique was tracing one of the objects on tissue paper and adding it with matte medium.

Jane is very skilled and it was so interesting to watch her demonstrate these techniques. As you can see in the upper left, the sun was shining and the sky blue today. We went to lunch in Napa at a place called the General Store - a combination store and cafe. Sue's page from class is on the bottom right - not quite finished, needing a few more details.

This evening there was an artists' market along with a display of quilts honoring Yvonne Porcella, an art quilter and founder of Studio Art Quilt Associates, who passed away last year. Contributing artists created quilts celebrating this icon of the quilt world and to convey what living a bright life means to them.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Craft Napa Day 1

Sue's class on Thursday was with Carrie Bloomston, artist, fabric designer, and author of "The Little Spark 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity".  The class was called Playing with Art History - Creative Collage.  We started off the day with an exercise to spark our creativity. We had a pile of "trash" (brown paper and magazine shapes) and had to illustrate a word we were given at random. We had a limited time for this activity (5-6 minutes), so we had to act & not spend much time contemplating. It was a good way to "get out of your head" and just create. Sue's word was "abstract" - can you find the picture?  We also discussed principles of design with examples shown in the paintings of famous artists. A lesson in gesture drawing rounded out the morning.
In the afternoon we worked on collages inspired by something we brought, which could have been fabrics, paper, ephemera, a quote or the work of a favorite artist. Some of us worked on paper while others worked on artist canvas. 
Sue had a selection of fabrics she worked with, adding tissue paper, some of Carrie's fabrics, and wooden block prints. The class results overall were creative and varied. It was fun to see what and how everyone created from their inspiration. Everything is held together with matte medium.  Sue's finished piece is on the upper right.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Exploring Napa

Today at Craft Napa was a free day for Sue and her friend Sherry; Paula was taking a class at Pokey's art barn, so we took her there this morning and then set out to explore the area. And the sun was shining! So happy to get a break from the rain.
In the pictures above clockwise from top left, there are palm trees right outside our hotel room window!  Top right is the view from the art barn. Next is Paula ready for her class with Leslie Tucker Jennison, and the front view of the art barn.

After dropping Paula off, we set out to explore downtown Napa, walking around a bit till we finally found the visitor center where a very helpful lady showed us points of interest on the map. 
The river was really high and moving fast. We drove up the valley to St. Helena, passing oodles of wineries along the way.  We walked through town wandering in and out of various shops. The clouds moved back in with more showers this afternoon; hopefully they'll clear out completely tomorrow.
The architecture here is really interesting.  We think Craftsman & Victorian.  We'd had a recommendation for lunch at the Culinary Institute, but unfortunately it was closed for renovation.  So we drove back to Napa and ate at Joe's Riverfront Brewery. After a stop at a grocery store, it was soon time to pick up Paula from her day of class.  This evening is a welcome gathering and then classes for all of us tomorrow. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Craft Napa

Sue is treating herself to a fiber art splurge this year by going to Craft Napa in - you guessed it - Napa, California!  This will be her first time to visit California, and the first time flying in a quite a few years, so she is excited!

If you're not familiar with Craft Napa, check out the link.  Pokey Bolton, former editor of Quilting Arts magazine and former creative director for International Quilt Festival, moved to CA to start an art retreat center.  This is the 2nd year for Crafting a Life/Craft Napa, which features 3 full days of classes with some top-notch fiber art and quilting teachers.

Sue is taking classes with: Carrie Bloomston, Play with Art History - Collage Composition
Jane LaFazio, 8 Objects 8 Ways
and Judy Coates Perez, Blessings in the Wind - Prayer Flags
She is looking forward to terrific classes and seeing Napa, CA!  Stay tuned for more.

Learning the Destiny IQ Designer

Before Christmas, Elizabeth was able to attend a two day class in Richmond at All Brands Sew and Vac on the IQ Designer portion of her Babylock Destiny sewing machine affectionately called “Super Baby”.  In February it will be two years since she traded in “Baby” for this machine!  The IQ Designer is where you can design your own embroidery from within the machine instead of doing it in a separate software program on the computer.  You can also edit the built-in designs and fonts easily in this area.  It is not as powerful as digitizing software on a computer but that isn’t really Elizabeth’s interest.  She is more interested in combining designs and in being able to create blocks which are quilted right in the hoop.

In the class we learned how to create a small quilted and zippered in-the-hoop bag where we “built” all the parts of the bag using the features within IQ.  First we built our appliqued tree by learning to use the shapes and sizing the triangle to create our tree. 
We copied the shape for the applique outline and then repeated it to sew down the fabric and create the satin stitched edging.  Next we learned how to create our embroidered package 
using the scanning feature of the machine where you can use line art to turn an image into an embroidery with either a fill design, a satin stitch design or a straight stitch.  This was very exciting as Elizabeth intends to turn some of our thermofax screen designs into embroidery patterns.  The idea of combining the screen printing and embroidery to make fabric with more depth is also a goal.  Combining repeats of decorative stitches and saving them to the machine’s memory was the goal of the zipper application.

We then learned how to use the built in stippling design to make a quilted backing 
and how to create the shapes to use for placement and to put all the pieces in order for the bag to sew out correctly.  
It was a very fun class and now she has the confidence to really delve into the fantastic things this sewing machine can help accomplish.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Sue's Word for 2017

Positivity.  "The state or character of being positive; a positivity that accepts the world as it is." That is my word for 2017. 
I have been thinking of late how difficult a year 2016 has been - it included an accident 8 months ago that my husband is still recovering from, as well as the deaths of several people I knew.  And anticipating what could be in store for 2017 and beyond, there is certainly much to be concerned about.  So I decided to try to focus on the positive in order to counteract the negative - in daily events, our country, and the world beyond.   To find the positive in every day, in people, in my creative pursuits, and the world in general.   I know that some days will be hard, especially as I head to Pennsylvania today because my 95 year old mother was hospitalized yesterday. But I will try, so wish me luck!

Elizabeth's Word for 2017

Word Reveal:  For 2017, Elizabeth has chosen the word “Persist” (along with all the derivatives such as persevere, persistence, persisting, etc).  This is a word that has long been a favorite of hers as an elementary school resource teacher.  One of her job requirements is to teach “Critical and Creative Thinking Skills” to all the students in the school through whole class lessons each quarter of the school year.  Each year, she starts out with a lesson on persisting. She has done this for more than a dozen years.  It is a mindset that she truly believes needs to be nurtured and encouraged for all children. 

Many of the students in the school know persist as her “favorite word” and will say it to her when they see her in the hallways.  As she teaches about persistence she often uses a book such as The Little Engine that Could, Pearl’s New Skates, Salt in His Shoes, or The Most Magnificent Thing.  Sometimes she uses videos like this commercial for a bank in Thailand or one of the many motivational videos about the failures and persistence of Michael Jordan or another athlete with whom the students are familiar. 

However, she hasn’t always practiced what she preaches and so this is the year to consciously think about persisting in all aspects of her life.  Whether it is sticking with a diet plan, maintaining a positive attitude about a career which increasingly is about students filling in trivia questions on standardized tests, or finishing up all those sewing UFOs, persistence seems to be something she would do well to focus on.  So, up on the wall the word will go so that it is right there above the computer and she can remember to persist, to re-evaluate what she is working on and learn from the failures too.
Elizabeth has used the software built into her Babylock Destiny to create this image of the word “Persist” with the crosshatched stitching underneath.  One of her goals for the year is to persist in learning how to use all the powerful features on this lovely sewing/embroidery machine.

Have you selected an inspirational word for the New Year?