Thursday, August 28, 2008

I’m teaching on!

I’ve been really excited about this for a while, but didn't want to say anything until all the details were firmed up ... I'm going to be teaching online this fall through!

Here are some photos of the projects I'll be teaching in "Tyvek: Explorations for the Creative Stitcher." First, a small quilted piece with Tyvek leaves:

A bracelet made from beaded Tyvek pieces (flat view):

The same bracelet (shown connected):

A practice sample showing the same technique used on the maple leaf quilt above:

And a few pins made with Tyvek embellished with thread, perle cotton embroidery and beads:

"Tyvek: Explorations for the Creative Stitcher" will start on Wednesday, November 5, 2008, and will include four lessons for $40. Here's the class description:

Curious about how to use Tyvek® in art quilts and crafts? In this class we will cover safety instructions for working with Tyvek; painting Tyvek; melting it with an iron and/or heat gun; ways to manipulate Tyvek before heating to change the effects; making beads, and embossing Tyvek with rubber stamps.

The focus is on exploring the many ways this versatile material can be manipulated to create beautiful textural embellishments. You will be encouraged to experiment and share your work with fellow students in the class.

You will need to be a confident free-motion quilter to complete the maple leaf quilt; the other projects involve only simple embroidery and beading.

After you learn the techniques in the first two lessons, Susan will provide detailed instructions for making a small art quilt with Tyvek maple leaves; a bracelet; pins; beads; and small Tyvek embellishments for art quilts, artists’ trading cards and postcards.

If you don't know about Joggles, and you are an art quilter, fiber artist, or do mixed media art, you need to know about it! Joggles carries an amazing number of fabrics, beads, charms, tools, books, magazines, clay, doll supplies, fibers, and other cool stuff than your credit line can handle.

Joggles also has some wonderful online classes, including one I took over the summer on working in a studio journal. Taking this class has really changed the way I work and the way I create. It was a great way to experience learning from an accomplished, internationally known instructor. I think online learning is going to transform our lives in coming years, and since I teach locally and love it, my first thought after taking an online course was "I want to teach this way, too!"

Of course, nothing can take the place of learning face-to-face from a good instructor. But for people who live in rurual areas, or for people who want to study a subject that is not available in their area, online learning is ideal.

If you've never taken an online class, here's how it works (on Joggles, at least): You pay for the class by purchasing it on the Joggles website. A week to 10 days before the class, Joggles sends you a supply list and more information to get prepared.

On the first day of class, you receive an e-mail with the class web page URL, your User ID, and a password. You also receive a link to a PDF you download and read and/or print out. These documents are like the instructor's lecture, only with photos and specific how-tos, including exercises and instructions. You can work on the lessons at your convenience. You don't have to do anything on any particular day.

If you have problems, questions, or want to talk with other students in your class, you can log on to the class forums, which are like chat rooms or online groups. You can do this as much or as little as you want. The Studio Journals class I took had a huge number of people commenting and posting photos, and it was so much fun to see everyone's work, hear their ideas, and share constructive criticism.

To take part in an online class, you do need to have basic computer and internet skills. You have to know how to download and save documents to your computer's hard drive. For more details on all this, make sure you read the "How Online Classes Work" on the Joggles website.

You can check out the fall classes, including mine, on Joggles' class schedule here. Come join my class in November!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Barack on arts education

Nancy Cook, a friend and fellow fiber artist (who, by the way, gave a fabulous presentation to my local guild, Lake Norman Quilters, last night), sent me a link to an interesting YouTube video of Barack Obama answering a question about reforming the education system at a town hall meeting in Wallingford, PA, in April. He made an especially insightful comment at the end:

"Part of what arts education does is it teaches people to see each other through each others' eyes. It teaches us to respect and understand people who are not like us. And that makes us better citizens and it makes our democracy work better.… And that's one of the main reasons we need to promote the arts."
– Barack Obama

Obama was talking about how the "No Child Left Behind" program had resulted in fewer art and music programs in many school districts, and the negative effects that has had on young people.

You can see the video clip on YouTube by clicking here.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Barnful of Quilts 2008

I'm pleased to announce that I will be participating in the sixth annual Barnful of Quilts on Saturday, October 11. This event, started by quilter Valerie Fox as a way to raise money for the Waxhaw Presbyterian Church, is a wonderful celebration of quilting, with a special emphasis on fiber arts and art quilts. There are lots of great quilts to look at and buy, and great shopping for fabrics, quilt patterns and original art. It is held in a spectacular barn on the Fox Family Farm in beautiful Waxhaw, North Carolina, south of Charlotte.

My friend and art quilter extraordinaire, Ellen Guerrant, is the featured contemporary artist this year!

To see photos from previous shows and get more details about the show (including directions), go to the Fox Family Farms website here and click on the photo albums. You can also check out some of my photos from last year's Barnful of Quilts in my October 2007 blogpost here.

Mark your calendar, and come see me in my stall!

Journal Quilt Project II

I found out this week that my piece "Running Deep" was accepted into the Journal Quilt Project II. It will be displayed in Houston at the International Quilt Festival. There were 155 entries from the online QuiltArt group, and 48 were accepted. QuiltArt has been on fire since the acceptances were announced with people who were excited and others who were disappointed.

Virginia Spiegel was one of the exhibition's jurors. If you have ever entered a juried or judged quilt competition, her latest blog post should be required reading. You can check it out here, on her blog.

Virginia does a wonderful job of explaining her job as a juror for this exhibition. Her respect for each entry and each artist is evident, and the tips she provides are very valuable. I know that I will be keeping her comments in mind each time I prepare an exhibition entry in the future.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bohemian Bouquet Block #8

Bohemian Bouquet, my mystery block-of-the-month quilt, is moving right along. Here is how it looks so far:

… and here is the new block, number 8, featuring a crafty fox:

There are only three more block designs to go!
To order patterns for this quilt, go to my website by clicking here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I’m in Quilting Arts Gifts magazine!

My “Classic Evening Bag” is going to be featured in Quilting Arts' Gifts issue, which will come out September 16! It is a huge issue jam-packed with seasonal projects for arty quilters to make. Look for my project on page 106. You can pre-order it on the Quilting Arts website here for $13.49 (which is 10 percent off the newsstand price). Quilting Arts magazine subscribers save an additional 10 percent. And if you like art quilting and you are not a subscriber, what are you waiting for? I find it to be an incredible source of information and inspiration each time it lands in my mailbox. I'm really honored to have my project included!

Monday, August 11, 2008

My “Four Pieces Project”

Yesterday, my friend Lushorn brought me the last piece of my fern (the part on the far left) for my Pandora’s "Four Pieces Project." (The Pandoras is an art-quilt group of which I am a member.) I just love it! Thanks, Lushorn!

The pieces were made by (from left:) Lushorn Millsaps, DeLane Rosenau, me, and Grace Howes. The two on the left do not have finished edges yet; that's why they are a bit larger than the other two. Here's the photo we started with:

We each chose a 4x6" photo, blew it up to 16x24" and split it up into four equal pieces (horizontally, vertically, or criss-cross) and then gave out the pieces to the members of our group. Every two months, we have a deadline to complete one person's project. (DeLane's was due in July, and next month, Grace's pieces are due.)

Each peron's job is to recreate their section of the photo using a technique they want to try out. The color is to remain fairly close to the photo, since it would be too jarring if the colors varied widely once the photo was reconstructed. It is really fun to see how the pieces come together.

If you are interested in doing something like this, check out the brand new book by Linda Chang Teufel called Quilting Party! Group Quilting for Celebration, Commemoration & Charity, or Just for Fun! It is published by Dragon Threads. Linda shows how bigger groups used this technique for some spectacular art quilts. We started this project before I read the book. I wish I had read it before we started, as it offers some wonderful ideas, tips and planning lists.

I met Linda in a gift shop in the Portland Airport last May as I was leaving Quilt Market. My mom complimented her necklace and we started chatting. Turns out she is the publisher of Dragon Threads, which publishes beautiful art quilt and fiber art books, several of which I already owned!

Painting fabric with the Pandoras

At the meeting of the Pandoras (my art quilt buddies) this morning, we altered fabric using Jacquard Textile Medium and Lumiere fabric paints, and a whole bunch of "stuff." I made this piece using a circle cut from a pool noodle, and a piece of plastic from the bottom of a nursery flat (those plastic bins that hold the six-packs of flowers); I wet the fabric first so the designs would be a bit blurred:

The one below is also my piece. The big squarish dots in the upper right are made by painting on top of a plastic sink liner (the ones that are supposed to keep you from chipping your dishes when you wash them in your sink). I bought it for $1 at the Dollar Store.

This is Grace's piece next. You might not be able to see the beautiful subtle marks left by her running a brayer with paint on it over the fabric, with a piece of plastic canvas underneath:

Here is Grace using part of a construction fence to stamp her fabric. She started out with green fabric, and added some marks with a stamp, the construction fence, and the little liner that comes on the bottles of Lumiere.

This next one is mine, made using the plastic canvas stuff. I unevenly applied paint to the brayer before rolling it over the fabric; that's how I got the cool stripes.

Lushorn used my Cedar Canyon rubbing plates (which I usually use with Shiva Paintstiks) under her fabric to add a nice leaf motif to her yellow flowered batik fabric:

Grace and I have both been reading Rayna Gillman's fantastic book, Create your own hand-printed cloth: Stamp screen & stencil with everyday objects, and we tried out some of the techniques she outlines in Chapter 2 today. I'm eager to try out some of the other techniques in her book on another day.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Magic Beans

I've just finished this little 13" square piece I call “Magic Beans.” I made it for an online challenge group called The Baker's Dozen. Every few months we choose a theme and sign up. This time, the theme was caffeine.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rusted I

Here’s what I made out of my bottle-cap rusted fabric. I’m calling it Rusted I. While brown is not a color I usually work with, I'm liking these orangy-brown rust stains. I think I'll probably be making more pieces from rusted fabric in the future. This may get some additional embellishement, maybe buttons or embroidery...

I used a new kind of batting, EcoCraft by Mountain Mist, in this quilt, and I liked it very much. (I requested a small batt when I was at Quilt Market in Portland in May.) It contains Ingeo™ fiber, which is made from corn! Here's what Mountian Mist's website says about Ingeo™: "It is also known as PLA, a polymer is made from lactic acid, which is a natural product. Lactic acid is made from fermentable sugars, sugars that are found in plants and more specifically corn. This process is both revolutionary to the textile and fiber industry and patented by our partner, Nature Works LLC."

The one problem I had is that I usually iron my batting to get it smooth before I layer my quilt, batting and backing. When I touched the iron to it, it stuck slightly, and left a residue on my iron. So I just steamed it heavily with my iron and patted it flat instead.

I probably won't be washing this piece, so I can't give you my opinion on washability. Perhaps I'll use it again in a small project, and test that out sometime later. The company recommends washing in cold water and laying flat to dry.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

“Home Planet”

Since the 2009 Quilting Arts calendar is now out, I can reveal my piece, "Home Planet,” which was selected for the month of April, because Earth Day falls in that month.

12" x 12"
Cotton fabrics, cotton and rayon threads, fabric paint, Angelina fibers, watersoluable wax pastels, Tyvek, cotton batting, machine thread painted and quilted.

You can see the Tyvek (gold mountain ranges) and the Angelina (wispy clouds) in the detail shot above.

Cloth Fiber Workshop

I went with some friends, Cathy and Michele, to see the Asheville Quilt Show this weekend, and after that we wandered down to Cloth Fiber Workshop, which offers workshops and classes, sustainable and organic materials and supplies, home furnishings and wearable accessories. Cloth’s owner, Barbara Zaretsky, was there, and we enjoyed talking to her about her shop, and the classes offered there. Here is Barbara with some of her beautiful work for sale at Cloth:

It is a very nice retail space, with lovely art and art supplies to purchase. (I came home with some Indigo dye, a special button and some gorgeous wool embroidery thread.)

Next to the retail space is a large classroom, with lots of wonderful art exhibited on the walls.

If you are visiting Asheville, make sure you don't miss Cloth!

Cloth Fiber Workshop
51 Thompson Street, Suite D
Asheville NC 28803

Foothills Quilters Guild

About two weeks ago, I spoke to the Foothills Quilters Guild of Shelby, North Carolina (a wonderful, friendly group, by the way), and I started out by telling this story:

I was going in to do a presentation at a guild meeting, and overheard two women having a conversation that went like this:

"Do you know who the speaker is tonight?"
"No, I didn't look."
"I hope it's not one of those art quilters again!"
"Me, too..."

I explained that I hoped that no one at this meeting felt that way, and assured them that I loved traditional quilts AND art quilts, and that I made a lot of traditional quilt patterns. After the meeting, a woman named Leah Day came up and introduced herself. Leah is an internet marketer as well as a quilter and pattern designer and teacher. I later discovered that she had posted about me on her blog (and you can read her comments about my presentation and her thoughts on art quilt/traditional quilt issues here).

I also met Harriette Grigg, who showed me a photo of her art quilt, "Baskets – Two" and told me that it was going to be displayed at the Asheville Quilt Show. It was gorgeous, and I told her that I thought she would win a ribbon. Sure enough, when I went to the show on Saturday, her quilt had a blue ribbon on it, a first place prize in the "Art Quilt, Established" category. Hoooray for Harriette!

Here's a photo of her winning quilt: