Monday, October 21, 2013

Why I don’t just paint

I’ve been asked a lot lately why I don’t just paint. It usually happens when I show people my wholecloth painted quilts before I threadsketch or quilt them. Believe me, I’ve thought the same thing myself. “Gee, it would be a lot faster if I just did this on canvas, and called it a day!”

I do think they are great in their unstitched form. Here’s an example of a small piece (about 7" square), called Suffolk Sheep #1, which I painted last month but have not yet stitched:


And here is a similar small piece, Suffolk Sheep #2, that I have just finished quilting:


For me, the stitching is where the real magic happens! Here is another version, Suffolk Sheep #4, which is much larger, about 20" square:



So that’s why I’m a fiber artist, and not a painter!

Book giveaway: 1,2,3 Quilt


1, 2, 3 Quilt 

I have a book to give away this week! 1, 2, 3 Quilt: Shape Up Your Skills with 24 Stylish Projects (Chronicle Books, $24.95) is the latest book by Ellen Luckett Baker (author of 1, 2, 3 Sew, fabric designer for the Japanese company Kokka, and blogger behind TheLongThread.com).



The book is organized by quilting shapes – squares, triangles, hexagons, circles, flowers, stars and diamonds – and includes 24 projects that help you build your own quilt design skills as you sew. I think it would be ideal for beginner quilters ,or for intermediate quilters who want to polish their skills. 

It definitely has a modern quilt feel, as the fabrics and color schemes are very contemporary and clean. There are lots of diagrams to make each project simple to follow. 

The spiral-bound format makes it easy to use, since it lies nice and flat, and 12 of the patterns are included in a pocket in the book.  

GIVE-AWAY!  I’m giving away my copy of this book. Leave a comment after this post and tell me why you want it. I’ll pull one name at random at noon, Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Note: If your comment does not show up right away, please don’t freak out. Please post only one comment. I now have to moderate/approve all comments, because I was getting a ton of Japanese porn spammers leaving comments on my blog! I’m a busy person, so it might now show up for a while, but I’ll approve it as soon as I can. I promise. 

We have a winner! Jill Schlageter has won the book. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I have an article in Machine Quilting Unlimited



The current issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited (the November/December 2013 issue) contains an article I wrote about the two biggest quilt festivals in Australia and New Zealand.



I was lucky to teach at both in 2013: the Australasian Quilt Convention in Melbourne, Australia, in April; and Taupo Symposium in Taupo, New Zealand, in August. 


The 2014 Australasian Quilt Convention will be held April 10-14 in Melbourne. You can get more information and sign up for classes on their website now. 

The next big symposium in New Zealand is Quilt Symposium Manawatu, Jan. 16-21, 2015 in Palmerston North. Information is on their website; more will be added as the event draws closer. 

If you have ever dreamed of traveling down under, why not take in some fabulous classes and a quilt show while you are there? I highly recommend these two events!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Come see me in Houston at International Quilt Festival




If you are coming to International Quilt Festival in Houston, please come and see me at one of my Open Studios sessions. I’ll be there from noon to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31 (my birthday!) and from 2 to 4 p.m Saturday, Nov. 2.

Some of today’s top quilters and fiber artists will be working and explaining their techniques at Open Studios, sponsored by Craftsy. Four artists will be working simultaneously under the categories of “Quilt,” “Stitch,” “Embellish,” and “Paint.” This specially constructed area is located on “Main Street,” near the food court.

The schedule is subject to change, but I guarantee you’ll find something fascinating going on!

Here is the lineup:


THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31
10 a.m.-Noon
PAINT: Pokey Bolton–Everything but the Kitchen Sink: Printing with Found Objects
EMBELLISH
: Julie Creus–Fabric Flower Brooch
STITCH
: Frieda Anderson–Machine Quilting the "Home Sweet Home" Quilt
QUILT
: Judy Coates Perez–Machine Quilting for Art Quilts

Noon-2 p.m.
PAINT
: Maria Shell–Four Nifty Ways to Cut Fabric
EMBELLISH
: Sue Purdy–Spray Painting with Stencils and Embellishing with
Crystals
STITCH
: Marlene Glickman–Creative Fabric Collage
QUILT
: Susan Brubaker Knapp–Thread Sketching
2-4 p.m.
PAINT: Jamie Fingal–Stencils, Fabric, Paint-Go!
EMBELLISH: Cheryl Sleboda–Cartooning for Quilters
STITCH: Timna Tarr–Paper Piecing
QUILT: Leslie Jenison–Free-motion Quilting

4-6 p.m.
PAINT: Ana Buzzalino–Coloring Fabrics with Inktense Pencils
EMBELLISH: Catherine Redford–African Folklore Embroidery
STITCH: Anita Grossman Solomon–Make it Simple® Cutting & Piecing Tips
QUILT: Sarah Ann Smith–Free-motion Quilting 


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1

10 a.m.-Noon
PAINT
: Enid Weichselbaum–Simple Silk Screening
EMBELLISH
: Barb Forrister–Creating 3-D Floral Patterns
STITCH
: Debby Brown–Blended Thread Free-motion Embroidery
QUILT
: Catherine Redford–Wrapped in Scraps 


Noon-2 p.m.
PAINT
: Victoria Findlay Wolfe–Painting with Scraps: Making Your Own Fabric
EMBELLISH
: Sue Purdy–Spray Painting with Stencils and Embellishing with Crystals
STITCH
: Andi Perejda–Hand Quilting
QUILT
: Maria Shell–Artful Machine Quilting

2-4 p.m.
PAINT
: Leslie Jenison–Monoprinting with Stencils
EMBELLISH
: Marlene Glickman–Hand-dyed Silk Greeting Cards
STITCH
: Timna Tarr–Appliqued Circles
QUILT
: Jamie Fingal–Free-motion Quilting

4-6 p.m.
PAINT
: Judi Hurwitt–Monoprinting with Gelli Plates
EMBELLISH
: Laura Wasilowski–Hand Stitching Fused Art Quilts
STITCH
: Liz Kettle–Free-form Embroidery
QUILT
: Ebony Love–Die-cut Foundation Piecing


SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2


10 a.m.-Noon
PAINT
: Judi Hurwitt–Creating Your Own Stamps
EMBELLISH
: Becky Navarro–Using Found Objects and Everyday Tools for Embellishment 
STITCH
: Ebony Love–Stitched & Painted Quilts
QUILT
: Judith Trager–Machine Quilting

Noon-2 p.m.
PAINT
: Susie Monday–Water-soluble Crayons for Screen Printing
EMBELLISH
: Ruth Chandler–Modern Hand Stitching
STITCH
: Maria Shell–Piecing with Prints
QUILT
: Diane Doran–Layered Imagery & Stitch

2-4 p.m.
PAINT
: Susan Brubaker Knapp–Whole Cloth Painting
EMBELLISH
: Maria Shell–Artful Applique
STITCH
: Kristin Rodriguez–Photo Transfer to Stitched Art
QUILT
: Wendy Butler Berns–Embellished Postcard Quilts

4-6 p.m.
PAINT
: Cyndi Souder–Block Printing with Wooden Blocks
EMBELLISH
: Cheryl Sleboda–Light Up Your Quilts!
STITCH
: Debby Brown–Blended Thread Free-motion Embroidery
QUILT
: Liz Kettle–Using Specialty Threads in Quilting


SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3 

10 a.m.-Noon
PAINT
: Pokey Bolton–Layered Imagery
EMBELLISH
: Linda Hardy–Mixed Media Collage
STITCH
: Catherine Redform–YoYo Ma! 
QUILT
: Cheryl Sleboda–Experiments in Dimensional Sewing for Quilts

Noon-2 p.m.
PAINT
: Cyndi Souder–Block Printing with Wooden Blocks
EMBELLISH
: Judi Hurwitt–Make Your Own Beads
STITCH
: Janelle Girod–Silk Fiber Explorations
QUILT
: Diane Doran–Layered Imagery & Stitch

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Quilt Scene magazine 2013/2014


I have a project in the new issue of International Quilt Festival: Quilt Scene magazine! It is a stenciled and stitched passport cover – very easy to make. It’s a mini version of my sketchbook cover.




Here they are up close:

 
I made this one (below) for my husband this summer, when we were headed to Great Britain. I made others for my daughters and myself. It made it so much easier to sort out whose passport was whose!






Quilt Scene will be available at International Quilt Festival in a few weeks, and on newsstands soon. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

A little bit of fall


I love autumn… have you noticed? I took a little time today to visit a great farm stand near me, and took these photos. The shapes and colors of gourds and pumpkins make me swoon. How I wish I had time to make quilts from some of these photos right now! But I don’t, so for now, I’ll enjoy the photos. I hope you do, too.










Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cosmic Cosmos


This piece, which I am calling “Cosmic Cosmos,” is all stitched and ready for facing. I am donating it to the International Quilt Association’s Silent Auction, which will take place at International Quilt Festival in Houston later this month. If you are going to Festival, please bid this baby up!

Here are some detail shots.



This is a wholecloth painted quilt (which means I started with white cotton fabric and painted the design), quilted with Aurifil Cotton Mako 50- and 40-weight thread. 


It is based on this photo I took on my iPhone while out walking my dog one morning last week. I post these photos regularly on Facebook; I call them “Beauty on my Morning Walk” because I look for lovely and interesting things that make me feel happy to be alive. (If you are not my Facebook friend and would like to be, please send me a message and a request!)

“Fall Color” takes a first place at MQX-Pacific!

Fall Color by Susan Brubaker Knapp (2013)
15" x 20"



I just found out that my piece “Fall Color” took first place in the Small Wallhanging category at MQX – Pacific Northwest 2013! The event is being held this week and weekend in Portland, Oregon. 

I made this piece using fusible applique, then heavily threadsketched it to add all the detail before quilting it. It was featured earlier this fall in AQS’s American Quilter magazine.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Workshop at PRO Chemical & Dye


I had a really amazing teaching experience a few weeks ago at PRO Chemical & Dye. This is the company that makes my favorite paints for wholecloth painting, PROfab Transparent Textile Paints. I was invited to teach here by Vicki Jensen, who picked me up at the airport and immediately took me to beautiful Horse Neck Beach and then for a tasty seafood meal. An auspicious beginning!





PRO Chem has its manufacturing and distribution center in this cool old building in Fall River, Massachusetts. I flew in through the Providence, Rhode Island, airport. From there, it is a short drive to Fall River.



The company has a spacious classroom, and offers great fiber arts workshops throughout the year. For next year's classes, check out the schedule here. Vicki has asked me to submit a proposal for 2015, so I hope to be teaching here again then.Vicki is a fiber artist herself, and teaches some great classes at PRO Chem, too.



We started out the first day by working from one of my photos of botanical subjects. This gives students the opportunity to learn color theory basics, and how to mix colors, shades and tints, and understand my basic process and techniques. Here is Cheri, working on a croton leaf, but improvising the color scheme:





On the second and third days of the workshop, students created original work. I really love it when I can teach a multiple-day class, because it takes a day for students to learn the basics and be ready to push themselves a bit further into the slightly uncomfortable zone of doing original work. 

The students at this workshop really accomplished great things. Some were confident, and some were anxious. Some had previous painting experience, and others did not. It is always interesting to me, as a teacher, to see how much our “issues” – our fears and insecurities and anxieties — play a role in creativity. I really believe that if you can learn to put these things aside and allow yourself to learn and play and – in the words of Nike –  just do it, you will be amazed at what you can do. When I can convince students of this, truly beautiful things start to happen. Let me show you what I mean. 

DONNA
Donna came with several wonderful photos of a seagull that had been taken by her father. She had large, clear photographic prints, and we spent some time choosing the best shot, talking about the colors she wanted for the sea, and determining how to crop the photo for the most impact.


After tracing her image onto PRO Chem’s bleached mercerized cotton broadcloth – a fabric with a high thread count that is wonderfully smooth for painting — Donna started working on the parts of the gull she found least intimidating.



I painted a bit of the feathers while Donna watched, so she wouldn’t be afraid to take them on. And then she was off and soaring!


Her piece is going to have a lot of negative space to the right of the gull; here is a section of it painted and ready for stitching. I think it is going to be stunning.


EMILY
Emily was working from a photo of a red-eyed tree frog. She only needed a little bit of guidance from me, because she is a trained artist. She combined the Transparent Textile Paints with some of PRO Chemical & Dye’s Pearlescent Paints, which have a lot of shimmer to them, and are great for portraying light or sheen on an object. 




Here are the Pearlescent paints on black fabric – spectacular!


MARCIA
Marcia finished two original pieces, partly because she chose two photos where the sky and water were dominant, and she could paint in large swashes for them. 


First she did a small piece of two trees on a beach in South Carolina, where the beach is slowly eroding. I think she did an especially nice job on the shadows of the tree on the sand. 



Next, she worked from a photo of swans. She had done some work in a photo-editing program to make a more dynamic composition before she enlarged the photo.



Here is the piece as she is adding in the grass on the left side. I think she did a nice job creating depth by paying attention to the color variations and values in the water. And again, her shadows are very nicely done.


CHERI
Cheri had a nice shot of a poppy, but the colors were more subdued than she wanted. She was able to use more saturated colors by paying close attention to the values in the photo. I encouraged her to make the pollen a different color (yellow) so that it would stand out and make the composition more interesting.




Ooooooh, lovely!



PAULA
Paula experienced something that a lot of my students do when they are about half way done: she was frustrated and afraid that it didn't look right. And she was right. It doesn't look right until it looks right! It doesn’t look right when it is halfway done, just the way a cake doesn’t look right – or edible – when it is halfway cooked. You have to have the patience, the faith, and the perseverance to keep on keeping on. Don’t throw in the towel at this point. You have to block in the main color areas before you can get the details right. And it is the details that are so critical to making it look realistic.

This is something that I have experienced over and over. Now I know that when I hit that point, it is okay, and that soon, it will look the way it is supposed to look.
 




By the time we were ready to take photos near the end of the last day, Paula was feeling relieved and happier with her giraffe, because it was starting to really look like a giraffe. Here, she makes a giraffe face while posing with her piece!


SUSAN
Susan worked very quietly and methodically on her pinecone. It was tricky because it had fairly similar colors, and so much depended on getting the values right.




To make her piece a little livelier than the muted photo, she chose some chartreuse and aqua colors to add on some of the needles, and a robin’s egg blue for the background.




HOPE
The colors in Hope’s photo were amazing. Even more incredible: she took this photo with the camera on her phone, and somehow, it turned most of the leaves gorgeous shades of blue and purple! She rearranged some of the flowers to make the composition more interesting and move the eye through the piece. The color combination made me swoon!






ANN
The biggest challenge in Ann’s piece was the intricacy of all the leaves on the trees in her photo. She decided to work fairly small, about 8x10", and painted in the sky first.
 


It was a tedious slog for a while, but it is going to be spectacular when it is done. 


Here’s Ann with the hibiscus she painted (based on my photo), and her original work (the trees) well underway:

 

PAM
Pam has done  a good deal of watercolor, and it shows in her attention to detail, and the way she blends her colors. Just beautiful!





Each student started off with the 12-pack Painters Palette of transparent paints. If you are thinking about trying wholecloth painting, this kit is the perfect place to start. 


Many thanks to all the folks at PRO Chem, and to these wonderful students for a great three days!