Thursday, February 23, 2017

Zentangle with Marisela

Wednesday night Sue had the pleasure of attending a presentation on Zentangle by local quilt instructor Marisela Rumberg.  What is Zentangle and what does it have to do with quilting, you may ask?  Well, Zentangle is a copyrighted method of drawing that involves some standard elements to create abstract drawings.

Zentangle drawings, done in black & white, can be inspiration for a quilt, as shown below.

Marisela also creates Zentangle inspired art, which means she uses Zentangle patterns to fill in a familiar or recognizable object.

Her portrait of Frieda Kahlo is an example of this. Here she also added some color. As mentioned before, true Zentangle is only black & white but Marisela calls her variations "quiltangles". Below is a close up of the dress portion.

Some of the design is achieved through stitching. The more solid blacks and grays are done with paint, marker or ink. She continues to experiment with different materials.

Marisela is a very talented fiber artist and teacher in Northern Virginia. She teaches Zentangle, free motion machine quilting, and other classes as well as being part of a studio fiber arts group at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton. Check out her website at You can also find her on Facebook as Marisela's Quilts & Tangles, and on Instgram at Marisela.Art.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Heading to Savannah

On Thursday Sue and Elizabeth are heading to QuiltCon east, presented by the Modern Quilt Guild and being held in Savannah, GA.  Usually at this time of year we are off to Hampton, VA for the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival.  But after so many years of the same quilt show, we decided it was time for something different, and made arrangements to attend QuiltCon instead. 
Like MAQF, there is a quilt show/competition, vendors, workshops and lectures.  We are not registered for any workshops, but plan to take in a few lectures.  We will arrive mid-day Thursday and plan to spend Friday and Saturday at the show.  That will leave Thursday afternoon and Sunday for sightseeing around Savannah, and then return home Monday.  Neither of us has ever been to Savannah, so this is a new adventure for us.  We look forward to seeing some of the historic sights in Savannah, including the Juliet Gordon Low birthplace.  Old Town Trolley Tours has several packaged tours, or you can pick and choose the things you want to see.  Downtown Savannah is home to one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the US.

Stay tuned to hear more about our adventures at QuiltCon and in Savannah!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Sheers and Discharge

Several students in our latest Basic Screen Printing class at Artistic Artifacts tried a variety of fabrics on which to print.  There aren't any special techniques for printing on sheers - the process is the same as for cottons.  Though it may be helpful to tape the edges of the sheer to keep it from shifting.  You could also try printing several layers at once since the sheerness will allow some paint to flow through to lower layers. Here are a few done on organza and another semi-sheer fabric.

Thermofax printing works well in conjunction with mixed media techniques and can also be done on paper, cardboard, wood, etc.  Any surface that has a bit of absorbency for the paint, so a non-glossy surface.  Highly textured surfaces may not produce a clear crisp image but there are times when that may not be the desired result anyway.  Experimenting to find out what works and what does not work is part of the fun.  A mixed media artist in the classroom was already combining screens on the fabric to create a background for future work.
DeColourant, a discharge product which was discontinued last May, was used on this green piece to discharge or take away the green leaving a lighter image of these pine branches and Queen Anne's lace. 
Jacquard has replaced and renamed their original discharge product deColourant; it can be purchased at Dharma Trading Company and Pro Chemical and Dye.

Belated Valentine from Elizabeth

I haven’t written a post in a while.  My day job is always busiest in January and February and I honestly haven’t felt very creative lately.  I find myself constantly reminding my brain that I must persist and honor any creative impulse.  You might remember from back at the new year that persist was my chosen word for the year.  With that in mind, I have been experimenting a bit on “SuperBaby” my Babylock Destiny sewing machine; while not really making projects I have made some stitch samples.  Honestly, they make me feel a bit melancholy because while I have always stitched out samples on my embroidery machines, I used to give them ‘by the bag full’ to my mother who made table toppers, pot holders, etc. from many of them.  She’s gone now, so I’m sometimes at a loss for what to do with my sample stash.

Here are a few things which have been under my needle, mostly Valentine Day themed.
A new design from a recent upgrade.
Some quilting motifs from AnitaGoodesign.

And a mug rug for my sister.

Having taught our printing class again at Artistic Artifacts recently and looking ahead to an open studio class in April, I hope to get back to using some paint on fabric again soon.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Latest Printing Class

Once again, we taught our Basic Screen Printing class at Artistic Artifacts on Saturday.  We had 6 great students who produced some amazing work, and stayed very busy printing as much fabric as they possibly could!
Here are a few of the pieces screened today.

It was a very productive day and these pieces certainly have potential to become parts of some amazing art quilts and mixed media pieces.

On Sunday, April 23 we will offer an open studio class.  If you've taken our class before, come spend the day printing with our screens and get assistance with any questions you might have.  Watch for details in the class listings.

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Quilt Revisited

Sue here. I thought it might be interesting to share a quilt that I made 20 years ago.  I'm currently spending a week with my mother; the quilt in question is one that I made for her 75th birthday and hangs in her living room.  Most visitors comment on it and are pretty amazed, say they've never seen anything like it.  (Of course, in the quilt world it's not so unusual.) It's a photo collage quilt, and features family pictures, including grandparents, aunts & uncles, my parents wedding, my siblings and I growing up, our marriages, and our children.
The part that amazes me, however, is how labor intensive this was, and how much easier it would be to make now than it was 20 years ago!  Twenty years ago, there were no EQ Printables fabric sheets, or any other brand for that matter.  Photos were still in print form, not digital.  It's hard to believe it's been less than 20 years since the digital revolution has so completely changed the way we do things.  

Here are some of the details.  There's a total of 76 pictures on this quilt!  Each one was transferred to fabric using a transfer medium called Picture This by Plaid.  I was a little surprised when I did a web search and found that it's still available. 
The process for transferring photos first requires a mirror image photocopy of the original photo.  If it's a color photo, of course you would need a color photocopy.  The transfer medium is brushed onto the photocopy, and the fabric you are transferring to is placed on top.  The photo needs to be evenly covered with the medium and the fabric smoothly layered.  Then it is left to dry; the medium transfers the ink from the photocopy to the fabric. After they are dry (I recall letting them dry over night, probably 24 hours), the paper needs to be removed.  That means soaking them in water and carefully rubbing off the paper as it softens.  Sometimes you get a perfect transfer, others may not turn out quite as well, and sometimes the paper doesn't wash off completely.  So some may have to be done over.  At any rate, I think by the time  I got to the end of the 76 pictures I had ironed out the wrinkles in the process!
As you can see, there are 5 traditional quilt blocks mixed in with the photos.  Each has some significance.  The spool block obviously represents a connection to sewing; my mother is an accomplished seamstress and spent most of her working life doing piece work in factories and was also a sample maker.  The shoo-fly block is literal - we are of Pennsylvania Dutch heritage and making shoo-fly pies was part of the weekly Saturday baking agenda.  The tulip block represents my mother's green thumb and love for flowers and her garden.  The Fox and Geese block had to be included because our family name is Fox.  And finally, a Dutchman's puzzle block because, again, the PA Dutch thing.
It's fun to look at all the pictures and reminisce.  Some before I was born, some when I was a child, and then pictures of my own children and their cousins as they were growing up.  A family history in a quilt.
There are also a few embellishments added - bits of lace around some of the photos, some crocheted pieces that my mother did that were languishing in a linen closet.  In the photo below is a butterfly done in an ombre crochet thread.
When I think about it, I'm not sure I'd tackle a project like this again, at least not using this method of photo transfer!  I would definitely use printer ready fabric sheets if I did something like this again.    This was definitely a labor of love!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Next Quilting Generation?

Sue is very proud of her daughter for completing her first quilt - a baby quilt for a friend.  She made other pieced or quilted items growing up, but with plenty of help.  This is her first solo project as an adult, with mom giving instructions but her doing the work.
 It's made with 60 degree triangles, so one-at-a-time piecing was called for.
This photo was the decided upon layout - each row was stacked and labeled for sewing.
Above is the finished quilt.  The colors were the new mom's choices for the nursery.
This grey flower print was chosen for the backing.

Sue looks forward to more quilting projects together (hint, hint)!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Upcoming Class - Printing with Thermofax Screens

In a few weeks we'll again be teaching Printing with Thermofax Screens at Artistic Artifacts!  Join us on Saturday, Feb. 18 from 10 AM to 3:30 PM for a fun day of printing with our extensive collection of original screens.  Many images are elements of nature based on photos we have taken.  Others are more graphic designs.  We will work with textile paints, discharge products and thickened dye.  Bring as much fabric as you like and build your stash of custom printed fabric!  You will also go home with a small screen of your choice, and learn to tape the edges for ease of use.  Go to the AA site for more information and registration.  Below are samples of Sue's work.
And here are some pics of student work from our class last fall.

 Come join us and learn to create your own unique fabric!