Friday, July 31, 2009

2009 Quilting Arts Gifts available for pre-order

Several of my friends have projects in the 2009 issue of Quilting Arts Gifts! It is now available for pre-order on the Interweave website here. The price is $14.99. Get yours now, and you’ll have tons of time to whip up hand-made gifts for all your friends, and learn some great new techniques before December.

Kathy Mack’s “Christmas Tree Hot Pads,” which are just too cute, are on the cover! They are foundation pieced with bright, contemporary fabrics. Kathy also designed a holiday door hanger you can use to welcome friends to your home during the holiday season. Check out Kathy’s other designs on her website and blog. Her company, Pink Chalk Studio, has a wonderful selection of whimsical fabrics and patterns.

Take a look at my friend Janet Lasher’s gorgeous silk batik scarf (far left), made from eco-friendly soy wax and textile paints. I took a soy wax batik class from Janet earlier this year, and it is very fun and easy to do. What a special gift this would be.

The 148-page publication features 14 seasonal decor ideas and
20 gift projects, including a “glam-bag” to carry your iPod by Lyric Kinard, 3-D fabric sugared fruit by Jane Dávila (above right), and a nametag purse by Melanie Testa (above center) just to name a few. I can’t wait to get my copy!

NOTE: All photos by Quilting Arts.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Shiva Paintstiks on Tyvek

I’ve just started teaching an online class on It’s called Tyvek Explorations and it teaches ways to use Tyvek as an art material... to create textured embellishments, to stitch through, and to make beads for jewelry. Today, one of my students asked if I had used Shiva Paintstiks on Tyvek, and I hadn’t. So tonight I got out my materials and gave it a try.

One of the great things about teaching is that you learn so much from your students!

I started with a piece of a Tyvek mailer, and scribbled lightly with green and blue iridescent Paintstiks. I melted by hovering an iron with the Tyvek under parchment, paintstick side down. One one piece (on the right, below), I pressed a bit, and it has a lot of holes and disintegration.

After they cooled, I used silver Paintstik on top of one of the pieces to cover the areas that were still white. (You can see this most clearly on the detail shot.)

The paint was still smeary when I finished. It really needs to air-dry before or after the ironing to be permanent, I think. These are oil based, unlike the acrylic fabric paints I'd used before.

A more solid appearance could be achieved by smearing the colors onto the Tyvek before heating. But using them this way gives an interesting pebbled or crayon-y appearance to the Tyvek pieces.

Interested in taking my Tyvek class? I’ll probably teach it again in 2010. I’m working on a new class (a fiber art project that does not include Tyvek) that will be offered this fall… stay posted.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Great giveaway at Two Creative Studios

Drawings and logo by Terri Stegmiller

Have you heard about Two Creative Studios? It is a website by Terri Stegmiller and Sue Bleiweiss, two amazing artists who have teamed up to offer online classes in mixed media, surface design and fiber arts; free projects; and a store (books, fabric, patterns, class kits, art prints, and Etsy shops).

Both have work that is often featured in Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors magazines, and I've admired it for a long time. Terri works in fabric and thread as well as paper and paint. She’s famous for her whimsical, expressive faces (that’s her above at the left). Sue (on the right) does a lot of 3-dimensional work – boxes, vases, journals and sketchbooks. Both do a lot of surface design work. They also have great blogs; you can read Terri's blog here, and Sue's here.

I wanted to let all my readers know that Terri and Sue are having a huge giveaway! All you have to do is to sign up for their fun newsletter by clicking here and your name will be entered in the drawing. Here's what you can win:

Prize #1: A free online class at Two Creative Studios.
Prize #2: A goody package of Terri and Sue's hand dyed fabrics.
Prize #3: A goody package of a book from Sue and a Giclee Art print from Terri.

The winners will be chosen on August 15; Sue and Terri will notify them by email.

Good luck!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Planning for Halloween

After I returned home this afternoon*, my 12-year-old daughter presented me with plans for her Halloween costume. Good thing it is July... this one is going to take some work. It’s a character from Avatar, one of her favorite TV shows. I was really impressed with her sketches. She is very anti-anything-trendy, and hates fashion and most things “in” in pop culture, so we tease her a bit about showing signs of becoming a fashion designer!

* I was at the AQS Knoxville Quilt Expo, and had hoped to share photos with you here, but AQS has a policy that you can’t post photos taken at the show unless you get both their permission and permission from the quiltmaker. I always post the name of the quiltmaker and the quilt anytime I post photos from a quilt show on my blog, but there’s no way I have time to track down all these people. Sorry, dear readers.

Monday, July 20, 2009

2010 Quilting Arts Calendars are here!

I just got my copies of the 2010 Quilting Arts Calendar in the mail today! The photography is excellent, and they are really beautifully done. My work was chosen for the cover and for the month of October:

Autumn’s Bounty (2009) 12 x 12". Hand-dyed and commercial cotton prints; batting, cotton and rayon threads, water-soluble crayons. Thread-painted and machine quilted.

Citrus Slices (2009) 12 x 12". Hand-dyed cotton fabrics, batting, interfacing, cotton and rayon threads, Angelina, water-soluble crayons. Thread-painted and machine quilted.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A great storage solution

The stacks of quilts in my house had started to resemble the Leaning Tower of Pisa. So when I found this old cabinet for sale at a local printing company that is converting to an AlphaGraphics, I knew exactly what I could use it for.

Our house is 1916 (that’s original wainscotting on the wall), and I like furniture with some history to it that suits the age of house. This cabinet, originally used to display merchandise in the store, is 4' long x 2' deep x 3' high, with glass on all sides and bevelled glass on top. It has two sliding doors, so it’s easy to get the quilts in and out. It’s tucked back in a corner of a room, away from the windows, so the fabrics won’t fade. It holds most of my collection of traditional quilts, keeps them from getting dusty, while still allowing me to see and enjoy the quilts.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dye party 2009!

My friend Grace Howes has hosted a dye party at her house every summer for the past few years. She does a lot of dyeing, and is great at guiding newbies through the process. We work in her garage, which was pretty steamy today (we got a huge thunderstorm overnight and there was a lot of moisture in the air). She has a utility sink and three big tables she sets up where the cars usually are.

When you work with Procion dyes, you have to don a dust mask and safety goggles while you mix up the dye solution. I hate that part. But with a lot of people, you can share the task and it goes much faster.

Here’s Alisan pouring some soda ash solution on a piece of fabric:

These are Grace’s. She added some dye to one end of the fabric and put it in a bucket (on hte left side) and then put some darker dye in the other bucket (on the right) and let it seep up into the other color:

Not sure who was working on this piece, but it sure looks pretty in that blue bucket:

Trish loved those hot, steamy rubber gloves!

I was all about the blue-purple today. Here are my containers steeping in the sun:

This is my piece of cotton/linen drying on Grace’s yard:

I’m very pleased with how it turned out. Here’s a closeup of that same fabric:

Grace is so wonderful to host this party. I had to duck out a bit early to pick up one of my kids at a day camp, and didn’t do much in the way of clean up this time. (I owe you, Grace!) Here she is man-handling a table into storage:

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Village Quilters of Loudon, Tenn.

I just got back from presenting and teaching at The Village Quilters of Loudon, Tennessee. Wow! What a great guild! My mother helped found The Village Quilters about 12 years ago when she moved to this community south of Knoxville. They started out with 10 members and now have 257 members, making it the largest in the Knoxville area. In the past few years, they’ve brought in some world-renowned speakers, so I was really flattered that they wanted me.

Originally, they asked me to speak and then teach my “Start with a Photo” workshop in the afternoon. Apparently it filled up quickly, and my mother found herself on the waiting list! (Pretty funny, I thought.) So I got a call asking if I could teach it again the next day. What a fantastic group. Everyone was so friendly, interested and enthusiastic. The program chair, Sharon Clayton, even invited me to dinner at her beautiful home on Friday evening, where I got a chance to get to know some of the members better and feast on their contributions to the dinner. Quilters are so great!

Here are some shots taken during the classes, held in a spacious, well-lit and wonderfully furnished classroom in one of the community’s two recreation centers:

This is Pam George, who brought in some of her needle-felted creations to show me:

They are the cutest critters! She has quite the menagerie. Pam is going to teach a class later this year (and gee, I wish I were a member of their guild so I could take her class!)

Lots of The Village Quilters are going to be volunteering at AQS Knoxville Quilt Expo July 22-25, so you might meet some of them if you are going (I am!). A group of their members also made a drop-dead gorgeous quilt featuring Tennessee symbols and landmarks that has been added to the convention center’s permanent art collection. I saw photos of it at the meeting and I’m going to make sure I see it in person when I go.

Many thanks to The Village Quilters for making my trip so enjoyable.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Orchid #1, continued

I made a lot of progress today on my first orchid piece for the Fiber Art Options’ project we are hoping to turn into a traveling exhibition. After heat setting the paint with an iron, I trimmed out the painted orchid and hand appliqued it to a black background. I then layered it with batting (wool/poly) and an upholstery-weight backing, and pin basted it. You can see all the layers here:

Then I started machine quilting it, using 50 weight Aurifil Cotton Mako thread, which I love for this kind of work.

I added a slight suggestion of leaves in the background, but left it pretty much alone. I’m trying to decide if this is enough detail in the background. If I get up tomorrow morning and it still looks okay to me, I’ll finish it up and face it.

Here’s how it looks now:

This last photo was taken outside, so the colors are pretty true.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

My first orchid piece for FAO

This is the start of a new piece I am working on for a group exhibition with Fiber Art Options, a group of fiber artists from the Charlotte, NC, area. All the pieces will feature orchids. We are hoping to turn this into a travelling exhibition when we finish early next year.

Several of us in the group took hundreds of orchid photos at several locations, and shared them with the group. Together, we picked this photo to use as inspiration or a jumping-off point for each of us to create one 12x18" piece:

I chose to zoom in tight on the amazing color and pattern on the orchid’s petals. I started by cropping a photo that showed the petals from a more straight-on angle on my computer, then sizing it to the required 12x18", printing it out on paper, and putting it on my light board. A piece of white Kona Cotton fabric went on top, and then I lightly traced the lines (using very soft lead in a mechanical pencil) from the photo onto the fabric.

Next, I taped it to my kitchen countertop (which is ancient laminate and can be easily scrubbed clean) and painted with Jacquard Textile Color, brushing the lines in with thick paint, and then with a brush loaded with lots of water to create the bleeding out and blotchiness. I used the same hot pink color on everything, but watered down in some spots, except for the tiniest bit of yellow on the edge of the lip.

The open areas will be another color, something dark. I’m very eager to get this under my sewing machine needle and thread paint it!

I have always loved orchids for their exotic looks. They seema curious mix of exquisite beauty and delicacy and something darker, more dangerous. Don’t the mouth parts look like they could open up and chomp you? (Well, maybe I watched “Little Shop of Horrors” too many times!) But I stopped having them in my house after a beloved cat ate some of the bark chips that they grow in, and developed Histoplasmosis, an infection caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum that can live in decaying plant matter. By the time we discovered what was wrong, it was too late, and I had to have him put down.

When I work on a piece based on something in the natural world, I usually do some research on it, so I can understand it better. It makes the whole creative process more meaningful. According to a great website called Beautiful Orchids, the orchid family has 35,000 species and 60,000 registered hybrids, and has “far more diversity and specialized pollination methods than any other flowering plant.” Vanilla is made from the seed pods of one variety.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Quilting Arts TV!

I’ve been invited to tape a short segment for an episode of the Quilting Arts TV show! Pokey Bolton, editor of Quilting Arts magazine, is the host. I’ll be going to Cleveland, Ohio, to tape my segment in early September; it will air in late 2009 or early 2010. Should be really fun!