Art Quilt Journal 2

This is the last series of quilts for the project. They are enclosed in a piece of lightly inked canvas. The image was printed on iron-on inkjet printable fabric. I didn’t need to but I stitched it down with some variegated thread.

I am so happy to have completed this self imposed creative assignment. I learned many things along the way and got to use some supplies that were just languishing in my studio.

art quilt journal 2

art quilt journal 2

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Art Quilt Journal 1

I used fabric glue and attached eight of the mini quilts (including the cover which was the first quilt of the series) to a strip of canvas in order to create the first journal. I had to cut the quilt that I used for the cover to size and redo the edges with the zig zag stitch.

art quilt journal 1

art quilt journal 1

art quilt journal 1

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Art Quilts 14 & 15

These two quilts are the last of the project.

14) “445”

stones, sun printing, thread painting

Cotton fabric
Felt batting
Golden Fluid Acrylic – ultramarine blue
Piece of foam sponge
Sea stones
Metallic thread – gold
Polyester thread – copper
Found objects – old keys, metal no.4

To create the sun printed quilt top, I spread the paint out on the muslin with the sponge, making sure the muslin was highly saturated. It was a nice sunny day so I put the fabric outside on the grass and placed the metal number and the keys on top. When it was fully dry I removed the objects and added the felt batting. I thread painted inside the little openings within the object’s shapes then hand stitched the stones onto the quilt. Added the cotton fabric backing.

Tip:  Metallic thread is iffy when machine stitching. I used a metallic needle and the thread still broke intermittently. Stitching slowly helps.

15) “puffy pear”

“puffy pear”
tie dye, transfer (digital), trapunto, trim

Cotton fabric
Felt batting
Jaquard Textile Color – golden rod, olive green, sky blue
Rubber bands
Plastic container
Beaded trim
Polyester fiberfil batting
Polyester thread – copper
Transfer Artist’s Paper
Royalty free image – pear
Inkjet printer
Latex gloves

After randomly tying the rubber bands around the tightly squeezed muslin, I put the fabric in a plastic container and squeezed out paint on top of it, purposely leaving some white spaces. I squished it with gloved hands to work the paint in and left it to dry overnight. Somehow the green took over but the tie-dye effect was a success. The pear image was printed on Artist’s Transfer Paper, cut out and then ironed onto the quilt top. The fiberfil batting was put under the pear shape and I stitched an outline around it to create the trapunto effect. I then trimmed of the excess fiberfil and made the quilt sandwich. I free motion stitched around the pear to bring out the puffiness. The trim was added to the bottom.

Tips:  Although many paints nowadays are non-toxic, if your hands are going to be dabbling in a lot of paint, as a precaution it may be best to wear gloves. Regarding, trapunto, it is best done using polyester batting. It creates more dimension than cotton batting.

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Art Quilts 11-13

These next three quilts have some fun embellishments.

I love the resin trapped pressed flowers on “preserved beauties.” Sequins are not something that I intend to use often but they give “wandering ginkgo” it’s brightness. The shisha mirrors add some dimensional whimsy to “goddess of thought.”

11) “preserved beauties”

“preserved beauties”
paper, printing/painting using found objects, resin

Tea bag paper
Cotton fabric
Felt batting
Gesso – white
Dynaflow – chartreuseteal
Polyester thread – copper
Golden Gel Medium (Gloss)
Ice Resin trapped pressed flowers
Flex Shaft Drill
Foam brush
Found objects – foam comb, gridded foam pad, wood dowel (from a broken foam paint brush)

I painted the tea bag paper and sealed it with the gel medium to create the quilt top. The found objects were lightly dipped in the gesso and I painted on some abstract designs. Using the drill, holes were made in the resin to allow for stitching. I added the felt batting and hand stitched the flowers onto the quilt top. Added the cotton backing and assembled the quilt sandwich.

Tips:  When working with Ice Resin, be sure not to stir it quickly. Too many bubbles will form. Also, take all safety precautions if using a Flex Shaft Drill. I use industrial grade leather gloves and protective eyewear.

12) “wandering gingko”

“wandering gingko”
resists, rubbings, sequins

Cotton fabric
Felt batting
Gingko rubbing plate
Watercolor paint – yellow
Paint brush
Canvas scrap
Polyester thread – copper
Floral stencil
Blue painter’s tape
Glue gun

The rubbing plate was taped down and I taped the muslin down over the top of it. I lightly but firmly rubbed the paintstik over the muslin. The area around the gingko design was painted yellow in order to bring out the leaf shapes. The floral stencil was held down over the canvas scrap and I put hot glue in the empty spaces of the stencil to create a resist. The stencil was removed and watercolor paint was spread around the hardened glue. Free motion stitching was added to outline the floral shape on the scrap. I cut around the stitching to create the motif.  The quilt top was put on top of the batting and I hand stitched the motif, sequins and beads on. The backing was added.

Tip:  When working with a glue resist and stencil, try to work quickly. The glue dried with the stencil on top and I wasn’t able to achieve a detailed resist because I had to tug at the stencil to remove it. Some pieces of hardened glue pulled away from the canvas therby allowing some of the paint to seep into areas that would have otherwise been covered up.

13) goddess of thought”

“goddess of thought”
shisha mirrors, stamping, stenciling

Batik fabric
Cotton fabric
Collage stencil
Abstract stencil
Rubber stamps
Gesso – white
Staz-On Ink Pad – black
Foam make-up wedge
Shisha mirrors
Polyester thread – purple

I stamped and stenciled the quilt top in a frivolous yet balanced kind of way then added the batting and hand stitched the shisha mirrors on it. The backing was added and the quilt sandwich was assembled.

Tip:  Shisha mirrors scratch easily. Be careful to not let your fingernails scrape them.

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Art Quilts 8-10

Continuing to adhere to the project list — three more abstract notions in the form of mini art quilts:

8) broken record

“broken record”
masking, mica, monoprinting

Cotton fabric
Felt batting
Mica splitting
Sheet music scraps
Lumiere – pearl turquiose
Golden Fluid Acrylic – ultramarine blue
Golden Gel Medium (Matte)
Cotton embroidery thread – turquoise
Cotton thread – variegated
Glass sheet
Blue Painter’s Tape
Paint brush
Clay shaping tool
Water in a spray bottle

I taped the CD (folded the tape unto itself and put it under the CD) to the top of a glass sheet to create a mask. I spread out the paint on the sheet and placed the muslin on top of it to creat a monoprint. After carefully removing the fabric, I then removed the CD, painted it and laid it on top of the circular white spaces that the mask left on the muslin; cut out and glued the music scraps to the painted CD spaces using the matte medium as glue. Some water accidently spilled on the quilt top and made a tiny discoloration on the dark blue background so I decided to spray on a little more water. Hence the batik look of the background. The quilt top was placed onto the felt batting. I made holes in the mica using a very sharp, pointy clay tool to allow for stitching. I hand stitched the mica onto the quilt top and then carefully machine stitched the quilt top and batting to the cotton fabric backing.

Tips:  Mica is fragile. Be sure and use a light hand when working with it. It’s a great material for protecting delicate papers.

9) blowsy scraps

“blowsy scraps”
natural dyeing, over-dyeing, painting

Painted canvas scraps
Cotton black and white fabric
Felt batting
505 Spray and Fix (fabric adhesive)
Burdock Root
Coffee grounds
Acrylic paint – yellow, black
Plastic container
Foam brush
Polyester thread – copper
White vinegar

I prepped the muslin for dyeing with vinegar and water, boiled the burdock root in water and drained it to get a deep rich coloring. I dipped the muslin and simmered it for over an hour. Well, the results were less than stellar. It was much too pale. No more burdock for me. I should have used blueberries or red cabbage. To reach some type of acceptable hue, I put the fabric back in the pot, added some coffee grounds and let it sit on a very low simmer for an hour. After rinsing, a nice soft beige was achieved. The over-dye job was more successful. I put some diluted yellow paint in a plastic container and scrunched the black and white fabric down in it. I made sure to leave a little of the original fabric undipped to show the contrast. I flicked some black dots on top of the already painted canvas scraps using a toothbrush, to meet the “painting” requirement on the list. Placed the pieces of over-dyed fabric with it’s 505 sprayed, haphazardly arranged canvas scraps on the muslin background. Added some free motion stitching and assembled the quilt.

Tips:  Use perseverance when dyeing with natural materials. It can be difficult to get a rich, vibrant coloring. Also, be scrap happy. Save small scraps. They come in handy for a myriad of projects.

10) floating lotus

“floating lotus”
painting fusible web, paint mediums, paintstiks

Cotton fabric
Felt batting
Golden Fabric Medium
Golden Fluid Acrylic – phthalo blue (green shade)
Stencils – lotus, abstract design
Stencil brush
Fusible web
Lumiere – pewter
Polyester thread – copper
Piece of cut foam sponge

The fluid acrylic was mixed with a small dollop fabric paint medium then spread on top of the muslin leaving some of the fabric’s original white color visible. After it dried I stenciled on the lotus and abstract shapes using paintstiks a stencil brush. I had previously painted a scrap of fusible web and cut out some abstract shapes. The shapes were ironed onto the quilt top, the top was added to the felt and backing.

Tips:  Don’t let unusual color combos scare you. I discovered that I love the uniqueness of blues and dark brown together. Regarding fusible web, if you decide to iron on painted fusible, don’t leave the iron sitting on it too long. I did that and it darkened the paint and took away the original glittery look of the paint.

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Art Quilts 5-7

The next three mini quilt samplers:

5) all dressed up

“all dressed up”
fabric manipulation, fabric paper, foiling

Hand dyed cheesecloth
Fabric paper scraps
Cotton fabric
Foil sheet – rainbow stripes
Foil glue
Felt batting
Tissue paper
Elmer’s glue
Mod Podge Fabric Glue
Sharpie – dark green
Glass beads
Thread – variegated
Bone folder

The fabric paper quilt top was made by saturating muslin with diluted Elmer’s glue then topping it with strips of tissue paper and cheesecloth. I ripped and randomly placed both the paper and cheesecloth in a way that allowed some of the paper to show through. Unpatterned placement in art tends to add interest and texture. After it dried, I made the quilt sandwich and free-motion stitched for additional texture and color. The dress is canvas that was colored with foil using foil glue and a bone folder to rub it on. The dress was outlined with a dark green sharpie to give it some dimension. I manipulated fabric paper scraps I had in my scrap bag and made the pin and apron. Making the pleats in the apron and the gathers in the pin was not an easy feat. The paper tore but I didn’t mind at all. In fact, it turned out to be a happy accident because of the textured look it created. I’m into texture, wonky and messy. Can you tell? But I digress. The apron was machine stitched to the dress. The fabric paper pin and glass beads were hand stitched on. The last step was gluing the dress to the background using fabric glue.

Tip:  Outlining an element or motif with a dark or contrasting color can really add dimension and interest. If you find your piece is looking flat or washed out, trying outlining.

6) gold speckled heart

“gold speckled heart”
gel medium, gel printing, gold leafing

Felt batting
Golden Fluid Acrylics – burnt sienna, phthalo green
Golden Gel Medium Coarse Molding Paste
Gold leaf flecks
Ornate heart stencil
Text stencil
Gelli plate
Rubber brayer
Palette knife
Polyester thread – copper

After covering the Gelli plate with paint using a brayer, I placed the text stencil on top of it then carefully laid the muslin on top. The same was done for the heart and bands of color. I placed the heart stencil back over the initial heart print and stenciled on coarse molding paste that I mixed with gold leaf flecks using a palette knife. After everything dried, I made the quilt sandwich and free-motion quilted the heart.

Tip:  Gold leaf flecks tend to float around a lot. They are beautiful but not all that easy to work with. Work slowly and deliberately with the medium.

7) marked up

“marked up”
hand stitching/embroidery, jewels, markers

Cotton fabric
Felt batting
Plastic jewels
Fabric glue
Pearl Cotton embroidery thread #5 – yellow, orange
Sharpie markers
Alcohol (spray bottle)
Cotton thread – variegated

The little girl who used to love her new box of crayons and coloring book resurfaced within me when I began this sampler. The markers took on a life on their own and I just began drawing shapes, filling up with muslin with color. I sprayed it with alcohol which causes the inks to bleed and merge into each other. The fumes were pretty strong. The smell eventually dissipated as it dried. The muslin was put on top of the felt batting and I added the embroidery. The jewels were glued on and the quilt was assembled.

Tips:  Use gloves and protective eye glasses when working with alcohol. Also, work in a well ventilated space.

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Art Quilts 2-4

Quilt number 1, 3D applique quilt do more was actually made before I decided to use a combination of three methods on one piece. I’m going to use it as the cover for the first of two art quilt journals. Here is a link with some background information on how this project metamorphosed.

Project art quilt samplers 2-4:

2) enso love

“enso love”
applique, batting, block printing

Warm n’ Natural low loft batting
Lumiere – pearl turquoise
Golden Fluid Acrylic – black
Open Circle Brushstroke wood block
Cotton fabric scraps
Cotton thread – black
Foam paint brush
Foam make-up wedge

The quilt top is painted batting stamped with a wood block dabbed with acrylic paint. Three little rectangle scrap appliques were unevenly placed to give a sense of movement. It’s actually only two layers, batting and backing so I’m not sure if it’s technically a quilt. I cheated a little there.

Tips:  When using a wood block with a fast drying acrylic paint, push down firmly on the block but only hold it down for a few seconds so that it doesn’t get stuck to the surface. The paint should be cleaned off of the block as soon as possible using a mild soap and warm water.

3)water lily moon

“water lily moon”
burning, clay, collagraphy

Dynaflow – chartreuse, teal
Gesso – white
Felt batting
Modena Soft Air Dry Polymer Clay
Rubber moon face mold
Elmer’s glue
Golden Polymer Medium (Gloss)
Cotton thread – variegated
Heat gun
Walnut Hollow Versa Tool

The quilt top is lutradur and was painted with a light wash of colors. Placed on top of a gesso filled collagraphy plate. After it dried, I put the Lutradur on a sheet of glass and cut out the triangular shapes around the lily using the Versa Tool. Placed it on top of the felt batting and free motion stitched along the faint lines of the design created with the plate. If I had used thicker cardboard, the glued down shapes would have produced a more prominent design and it would have been easier to trace with the stitching — or perhaps if I had added some rich color to the gesso, that may have made a difference as well.

The heat gun created the lacy holes in the Lutradur and the felt. I held it about 8-12 inches away from the fabric and kept it moving in a circular random type motion. I assembled the quilt before hand stitching the clay moon face on the top. In retrospect, I should have added the clay piece before adding the backing. All hand stitched embellishment work should be done before the quilt sandwich is assembled so that the stitches are hidden under the backing unless the preference is for the stitching to actually show.

Tips:  When using any heat tool or any mediums, use proper ventilation and/or a mask as a safety precaution. Use all safety measures at all times. I don’t recommend using the heat tools that I used for this piece on cotton — it will just burn. Synthetic materials work best for me. About Modena Air Dry Polymer Clay — it is fantastic to work with! Just make sure there are no little dust particles around your work area. The clay seems to be attracted to dusties.

4)alien pear

“alien pear”
devore, drawing w/pen & ink, embellishments

Cotton fabric
Micron pen 01
Felt batting
Pearl Cotton embroidery floss #5 – red
Glass beads
Cotton thread – black
Polyester thread – red

I traced the pear design onto the fabric. Made little surrounding circles with the Devore to create holes so the black felt batting would show. Removed the Devore melted fabric with a wet toothbrush. Ironed the quilt top until it was dry. Placed the top over the batting and doodled on some accenting pen work. I added embellishments by stitching on some beadwork and embroidering a few x’s on the stem. The backing fabric was added.

Tips:  Use a lightbox to trace a design onto the fabric if the fabric is not sheer enough to see through or if you would rather not draw on your own. I used the sun by placing the fabric up on the window and tracing for most of the pear. It was not easy. I might invest in a lightbox. Also, if using Devore, follow the directions to the letter.

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Techniques and Elements Project

The project is finally complete. Time surely flies when life happens.

I made fourteen sample mini art quilts in addition to the initial 3D applique technique quilt.  Each one is 6″x 8″ and has three techniques and/or elements from the list except for the last one which has four. They are all bound with a zig zag stitch, have raw edges and a cotton fabric backing. Any applique work was also done with raw edges. Here a is link to how the project changed from it’s original intent.

I will post them in a series of three quilts at a time and include a list of the supplies I used, a summary of each piece, and some tips for anyone who might want to try a little mixed-media.

This exercise was so much fun but it was challenging at times. I learned a lot about what works for me and what doesn’t. For instance, I will probably never do fabric manipulation using fabric paper ever again. The paper was too stiff and difficult to work with. The results of spraying alcohol on fabric in order to create a marker bleeding effect was not worth the fumes. I also learned some new techniques that I absolutely love and will incorporate again and again in my pieces. Low loft batting looks amazing painted and sealing tea bag paper with polymer medium yields a cool leathery look.

Playing with unfamiliar materials is a great way to experiment and ease out of your comfort zone as an artist. Sometimes we can get bogged down in repetition using only the supplies we’re used to and get stuck in a creative rut.

Perhaps I would have never uncovered any of the useful lessons I learned had I stayed in my little artistic cove of fear — afraid to open my bottles and jars which were moving closer and closer to their expiration dates — standing there wondering about my mysterious unopened packages of colorful painting tools. I finally, bravely ventured out. One of the greatest things an artist can do.

A mish mash of some of the supplies I used.

A mish mash of some of the supplies I used.

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During the process of reinventing my ways of creating, I discovered fun again. Simply working from my heart rather than spending a lot of time researching color trends or focusing on impressionism because “it’s what sells,” has been so liberating. Making art should be freedom personified.

One of the reasons I love mixed-media is because it’s so forgiving. Anything and everything goes — I had forgotten that. Treating my supplies with a tentative preciousness. Keeping everything neat and sedate rather than just diving in, making mistakes and making an artistic mess, all the while learning and creating heartfelt pieces of art.

It’s a good thing mixed-media fiber art is not all about perfection. I’m the Jackson Pollock of stitching. But I like haphazard lines and raw edges. The handmade look carries with it an authenticity which I aspire to.

I haven’t posted for a while. Feels good to be writing again.

It’s the first day of Spring!

new seedsThis image is from Vintage Printables. They have a beautiful of selection of public domain pics. I photoshopped this one to give it the rainbow sun.

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There are probably a million posts around the web with the title “change.” Such an overused yet important word. I’m in the thick of that very process. Creating art has been less than fulfilling for me lately. I’ve figured out why. I’ve been trying to produce “product.” Stuff that might sell instead of creating from my heart. Vowing to work from that still and wise place inside, I will work instinctively from here on out.

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