Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I apologize for the right-hand column duplications. I'm still figuring out this blogging thing.


I don't have any yet. Is there anything you've seen here that I've done that you'd like me to tutorialize? Just click on the comments link, let me know, and I'll work on it.

Experimenting with Photographs

Photo on Fabric Series -- 11/17 TO 11/22

This past week I made four art pieces, experimenting with photographs on different material.


Sequoias From Below - 15.5" x 18.5"
 This copyright-free photograph was so inspiring when I found it that I HAD to display it. It is printed on Lutrador through my inkjet printer. The Lutrador was melted around the edges and lightly in spots. I purposely chose a neutral (beige) fabric to stitch it on, so that the focus is totally on the trees. The fabric is a shiny, thick-strand, loosely-woven silk and rayon material that I picked up in the remnant section of the home design or upholstery section of Joann's. I love that it ravels at the edges, giving it a natural look, so of course I did not bind the edges. I made hanging tabs out of beige linen and inserted a twig from my backyard to complete the scene. The only thing I did to the photograph itself was to follow and fill-in the tree lines with a sepia-colored micron pen. Oh, and I outlined a few of the trees with monofiliment thread. The same fabric is on the back, with a high-loft poly batting in-between.

Here is the detailed view of the sequoia photograph. See if you can see through the Lutrador!

Sequoia detail - 6" x 9"

This colorful autumn photo was printed on regular cotton. I used monofiliment thread to attach it to a piece of black organza and to outline the trees and branches a bit. I also used this thread to embroider the outline of a maple leaf on each side. The interesting part of this piece is the batting -- what I usually use is high-loft polyester batting, but it was ruining the effect because it was white glaring through the black organza. So I used Lumiere paints and painted the batting with the autumnal colors from the tree. I put it in the dryer after it dried, to set it and fluff it up before the quilting part. I went plain on flat black binding.

Gorgeous Maple Trees - 12" x 12"

Here is a close-up of the photo part:

Gorgeous Maple Trees detail - 6.5" x 6.5 "

Piece #3 -- MY PEONY

This is a picture of one of my peonies from this past spring; you can see my hand holding it in the lower right corner (just in case you were wondering what that was). The photo was printed on Extravorganza in my inkjet printer, and stitched on fuschia organza. Hahaha -- extravorganza on organza! The photo is unenhanced -- the combo of the white poly batting and fuschia organza brought out the colors of the peony just as it is/was. Again I only used monofiliment thread to outline the parts of the flower. To add to the delicate nature of this piece I used hand-dyed 7mm silk ribbon to outline both the photo (very light pink) and the serged edges (a variegated fuschia)

My Peony - 16" x 13.5"

Piece #4 -- FOREST PATH
This piece is kind of a combination of methods described above, and the last in this series of work. My husband sent me this copyright-free beautiful photo and I couldn't resist. The picture is 6.5" x 9" and the whole thing is a relatively small (for me) 11" x 13.5". The autumnal photo was printed on plain cotton, stitched on, and only highlighted in a few places with monofiliment thread. It sits on yellow organza with the poly batting, and framed by a bronze colored binding. These last three photo-on-organza pieces would look fabulous together on a wall...or maybe just the two autumnal ones because the colors are more complementary.

Forest Path - 11" x 13.5"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Copper Fleur-de-Lis


This simple design was taken right out of an online tutorial; sorry but I forgot to write down the web address of the tutorial. Anyway I used 28 gauge copper foil, traced my fleur-de-lis design, and etched it using a wooden skewer; I re-etched it once I turned it over so the tiny circles would stand out; I painted with Adirondack alcohol-based ink; lastly I lightly sanded the edges just for looks. As you can see I stitched it with turquoise thread to match the hand-dyed fabric. The fabric itself is beautiful alone -- this summer I sundyed it with shades of green and blue and laid cheesecloth over it for a subtle pattern. You might not be able to see it in the large picture but it is quilted over two layers of poly batting with a fleur-de-lis pattern. I did this using a purchased embroidery file and of course machine embroidered it. After I did the binding I thought it was too boring and needed something. So instead of throwing it in my UFO pile, I added the strips of fusible bias tape. Do you like it or no? Does it still need more or is simple enough?

Fleur-de-Lis - 16" x 16"

Fleur-de-Lis - detail of center medallion 7" x 6.5"

Fleur-de-Lis - detail of quilting

Please feel free to leave comments -- good or bad. Love you guys!

Small Landscape

DELLA'S COTTAGE - 11/14 to 11/15

On Sunday I took a class at my local quilt shoppe and we began a landscape quilt from a kit -- "Della's Cottage" copyrighted by Columbine Designs. Our instructor was Karla Wilsey, an attorney who makes beautiful landscapes when she can. Even though I now have an arsenal of techniques for my landscaping I DID learn a few things, so it was totally worth it. For anyone who has ever seen this (very small) landscape, I put down the basics but veered off the pattern for my own highlights and embellishments.

Della's Cottage 20" x 22"

As you can see, the landscape portion is small - only 7.5" wide by 9.5" high. I found this wonderful landscape fabric in my stash and I thought it went perfectly with the colors and the theme, so I made a large border. My extra embellishments include puffed-up batting on the snow, angelina on the river, snow on the mountains, and extending the pine tree into the border.

The two things I learned in this class that I didn't know before are:
 1. Cording. We made the tree using several strands of crochet thread (that you can get at Michael's or Joann's). The thread was zig-zagged over with a matching/coordinating thread and voila you have a cord. Four of these were sewn together onto the foundation muslin to make the tree and cut-up pieces as the branches.
 2. Another way to make snow. The instructor gave us a shiny piece of poly-something, we ironed MistyFuse onto the back and when it is still warm, we scrunched it up to make the drifts. Very cool. As I mentioned above, I then sewed down some fluffy poly batting with Monofil thread, and fluffed it to cover the stitches.

Here's detail of the landscape portion:

Della's Cottage - detail of landscape 7.5" x 9.5"

Oh no, I see a jump thread right there on the pin needles. I'll take care of that. I used variegated green thread to make the smaller evergreens, and a darker variegated green for the large tree's pine needles. I outlined the clouds in a variegated blue & white thread, used Pebeo Expandable Paint on the mountains, Angelina on the stream, and gave some definition to the chimney with black thread. For everything else I used monofiliment thread -- to outline the shapes and in the quilting. I thought the borders had enough elements without adding another color with thread. All the clouds on the top, the trees down the sides and the water on the bottom were free motion stitched with the monofil. I used two layers of poly batting to get these elements to really stand out. Hope you like it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Little Humor

True Story:  I do a lot of my beading work sitting on the daybed in my guest bedroom / sewing room / studio. You know how they get everywhere. About 2 weeks ago a container of the tiny 11mm beads practically exploded when I opened it. I tried to clean up as best as I could.

Don't you know, last weekend my son came home for a quick, unannounced visit from the Army. When he comes home I usually take a whole day to clean up my studio for him, but no time this time. The next day he says to me, "Mom I think you need to wash those sheets. I had the heebie-jeebies all night, thinking something was in there with me. You probably have bed bugs or something." I just said, "Hrmmm, I'll take care of it". After he left that day I took the covers and sheets off and lo-and-behold all of these beads flew out. I thought I got them off the quilt, but apparently some made their way into the sheets. It makes me chuckle just to think about it.

Here's a shot of my three "boys" (they'll always be my boys, even if the older two are grown up) and my hubby. The Army son referred to is on the right.

My YOUNG men

A relative sent me a link to this cool site with old, new, funny, editorial, and lots of other comics on it; check it out at http://www.gocomics.com/ .

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Charity Work

I belong to a group of ladies who sew quilts for local charities; we get together once per month. In addition I've created a number of quilts for Quilts For Kids ( http://www.quiltsforkids.org/). This is a wonderful organization that provides quilts for very sick children in hospitals in the USA. They are all crib size; sorry if they don't look that way hanging on the clothesline.  Here's a few:

Boys quilt - all batiks

Baby Quilt

Farm quilt for a child - front view

Farm quilt - back view

Experimenting with Lutrador


I've had 3 packages of Lutrador in my studio for months now, so I finally decided to take the plunge and check out this product. I've seen some interesting and beautiful things done to it. Here's my first piece using Lutrador, I call it "Hidden Flowers"

Hidden Flowers
 Lutrador is a wonderful textile (is it a material or textile). It has a light hand and melts nicely when heated. I started with four squares of Lutrador and painted them with alcohol-based paints in 4 different darkish colors. When dry I free-motion stitched flowers randomly on the Lutrador, using a heavy, glittery, showy black thread. Then I took it outside and put the heat gun to it -- that was really cool. I made it burn away at the ends and have lots of semi-holes in it, so you could see what was underneath. In the meantime I fused a bright flowery piece of commercial fabric to stiff interfacing. I tacked down the Lutrador just at the flowers, so it looks like it might fall off; but it won't. Then I made pouffy flowers out of multiple layers of colorful batik; I chose batik because both sides would be seen. These are also placed somewhat randomly. The winding line represents a winding garden path with something new to see around each bend. My flower garden has paths and little rooms too. There are also very small, stitched-on copper flowers hidden here and there. Bet you can't find all the flowers!

To finish I stitched a beautiful sheer ribbon to the heavy interfacing (Paltex 72F) and then glued the 19" by 19" piece to a piece of foamcore board and affixed a regular hanging bar that you use on pictures. Here is a closer look:

Hidden Flowers -- detail

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Chocolate and Turquoise Series

CHOCOLATE AND TURQUOISE -- yummy color combo

One of my favorite color combinations is chocolate brown and turquoise blue. I went through this month-long phase this summer and created a series of works in this color scheme. All the cloth is hand-dyed and the tree stamp was carved by me. My accents are mostly in copper (paint, wire, foil, ribbon, etc). In #1 there are also tiny pink flowers. They are all (except for the needlefelting one) made as quilted wallhangings with high loft poly batting. The quilt patterns are freehand and interesting. Anywhere you see leopard, this was handmade cloth made from muslin and a napkin from the grocery store.

Here they are, hope you like something:

#1: 21" wide by 19.5" high

Choc-Turq series #1

#1 detail showing the tree stamp, a little pink flower, one of the swirls with copper beading, a piece of leopard with a turquoise bead and the swirly stitching.

Choc-Turq #1

#2: 19" wide by 19" high

Choc-Turq series #2

#2 detail showing the tree stamp again with copper inside edging painted on; painted centers with a chain stitch consisting of 10 beads -- they look like they are popping out of the tree; brown and goldish copper vertical stripes with mixed gold and copper beading and one of the pink inspirational quotes painted.

Choc-Turq series #2

#3: 22" wide by 21" high. This has a lot going on and I love it! You can never have enough embellishment in my book! I had just bought a paisley-shaped Fiskars stamp and used it here on copper foil and fabric, which when placed together look like the yin and yang symbol. Most of the copper has been painted or textured. The swirly/paisley blue down the center is a commercial stamp. Minimal stitching was done as you can see: the blue thread emphasizing specific elements.

Choc-Turq series #3

#3 detail showing the elements described above

Choc-Turq series #3

#4: 20" wide by 20" high. Many of the same elements as the previous but with a heavy emphasis on the leopard. The funky strip down the middle and top/bottom inside the border is actually the quilt base fabric which was a botched attempt at doing some resist in my dyeing. Two more new elements are the foil daisies running down the aforementioned strip and a matching paisley stamp which set color perfectly using Adirondack alcohol-based ink (no seeping).

Choc-Turq series #4

#4 detail showing everything. The color seems to be off; I'll have to re-do this shot. What I wanted to highlight was some pretty intricate flower paisley stitching. Free motion sewing continues to be a struggle.
Choc-Turq #4

#5 9" wide by 12" high. A needlefelted piece also shown in the "Needlefelt" page of this blog.

Choc-Turq series #5

There will probably be more added here. I saw a dress yesterday that was chocolate and turquoise, but the accent color was lime/citrine. Loved it! I wish I was a seamstress...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Learning and Inspiration

This quote from Guila Greer on the QuiltArt forum is exactly how I feel:

"As a relative newcomer to art quilting I'm still finding my way - right now I feel like I'm all over the place. So many of the artists that I admire have work that reflects their style and appears cohesive.  I'm very interested in learning how to proceed.  I'm thinking that it's just a matter of doing a lot of art and it'll develop?  Or are there concrete steps to take to get there? Right now I'm concentrating on learning new techniques so that they'll be available to me to use or not to use in a particular piece."

I've gotten some feedback on working in series and concentrating on design and composition. Thank you to all who have given me feedback so far on my art.

For other newbies like myself I'd like to list what has helped me the most in my learning journey. It's a great journey for I love learning new things. Anyway maybe this will help someone:

- Forums (like QuiltArt) and groups (like Yahoo's Surface Design group)
- Magazines - I love Quilting Arts and Cloth/Paper/Scissors the best
- Nature and my surroundings - just observe
- Other people's art
- Other people's blogs, especially the ones who take the time to create tutorials. Thank you so much. The "Tutorial Tsunami" was extremely helpful.

And here are the books I've purchased, devoured, and learned from. The order of the list starts with those I loved best, although I love them all.
- The Complete Guide to Textile Art, by Susan Stein, 2010

- Fabric Embellishing: The Basics and Beyond, by RUth Chandler, Liz Kettle, Heather Thomas, Lauren Vlcek, 2009

- Dancing With Thread, by Ann Fahl, 2010

- ART CLOTH: A guide to Surface Design for Fabric, by Jane Dunnewold, 2010

- COMPLEX CLOTH, by Jane Dunnewold

- Surface Design Essentials, by Jane Davila, 2010

- Art + Quilt: Design Principles and Creativity Exercises, by Lyric Kinard, 2009

- Watercolor Landscape Quilts, by Cathy Geier, 2006

- Machine Embroidered Woodlands, by Alison Holt, 2009

- Accidental Landscapes, by Karen Eckmeier, 2008

- Luminous Landscapes: Quilted Visions in Paint and Thread, by Gloria Loughman, 2007
- Points of View: Landscape Quilts to Stitch and Embellish, by Valerie Hearder, 2007
- Beautifully Embellished Landscapes, by Joyce R. Becker, 2006
- Landscape Quilts: Create Stunning Fabric Paintings, by Nancy Zieman, Natalie Sewell, 2001
- The Art of Landscape Quilting, by Nancy Zieman, Natalie Sewell, 2007
- Impressionist Quilts, by Gai Perry, 1995
- Quick Watercolor Quilts, by Dina Pappas, 1999
- Exploring Color, by Nita Leland, revised 1998
- Next Steps in Altered Photo Artistry, by Beth Wheeler, 2009,
- The Art of Stitching on Metal, by Ann Parr, 2008
- Simple Silk Ribbon Embroidery by Machine, by Susan Schremph, 2008
- Cutting Garden Quilts, by Melinda Bula, 2007
- Fabric Art Collage: 40+ Mixed-Media Techniques, by Rebekah Meier, 2009
- Machine Applique for the Terrified Quilter, by Sharon Pederson, 2008
- Living the Creative Life, by Rice Freeman-Zachery, 2007
- The New Beader's Companion, by Judith Durant and Jean Campbell, 2005
- Fabulous Fabric Beads, by Kristal Wick, 2008
- Stitched Jewels, by Marthe LeVan, 2009
- Create Your Own Hand-Printed Cloth, by Rayna Gillman, 2008
- Silk Unraveled, by Lorna Moffat, 2008
- Metal Craft Discovery Workshop, by Linda & Opie O'Brien, 2005
- Needlefelting Magic, by Margo Duke, 2007
- Design Magic for Paintstiks on Fabric, by Shelly Stokes, 2010
- Bold and Beautiful: Artful Quilts from Just One Fabric, by Judi Dains, 2009
- 30-Minute Landscapes, by Paul Talbot-Greaves, 2008
- Heartfelt: 25 Projects for Stitched and Felted Accessories, by Teresa Searle, 2006
- Creative Paint Workshop for Mixed-Media Artists, by Ann Baldwin, 2009
- Flowercolor Inspirations, by Linda Glantz, 2009
- Mastering Machine Applique, by Harriet Hargrave, 2001
- This Lustr'd Cloth, by Alison Midgelow-Marsden, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Totes and Purses

In my spare time I make large totes and small messenger bags and sell them locally. This is to get some money for my ART supplies, as my allowance is quite small :-(

Sample purses: 8"wide x 9"high x 1.5" deep

Large Totes

2010 Gallery of Fiber Art

This year I've made some nice progressions in my technique. I learned how to dye and discharge fabrics, needlefelt, work with metal, bead and use wire, and generally add to my embellishments (you can never have too many of those).

As 2010 closes, this shows a compilation of almost all of my finished work this year.

Autumn in the Forest

Bountiful Apple Tree

Child's Farm Scene

Fort Niagara

Inspirational Daisy

Inspirational Daisy detail
Joyful Ribbon Tree

Bon Voyage

This original piece is in my living room. The experimentation here was the oak trunk which was thread painted, hand-dyed background fabric and the water - on which I used Texture Magic.It is mounted on an artist canvas. The quotation says "He took also of the seed of the land and planted it in a fruitful field; He placed it by a great waters and set it as a willow tree. I was an oak, now I am a willow...I can bend".

Wisdom of the Willow

The piece below was inspired by a watercolor painting I purchased of a real place in South Dakota. I loved the print so much I re-interpreted it in fabric.

Lanville, SD
You'll definitely recognize this one. It was on the cover of Quilting Arts April/May 2010 issue, made by Susan Brubaker Knapp. I handpainted it mostly with Lumiere paints. I used different stitches than Susan because I didn't want to completely copy HER work. Then I beaded the stalk part of the feather for some surface design. I bordered it in gold lame. In person it really stands out and shines!

Peacock Feather with Beads

This piece hangs in my doctors office; I made it as a gift for helping to save my life in the past 10 years. It is a completely original design: she wanted a tree and muted but bright colors. It is all applique and quilting. She loved it so much she had it archival glassed and framed because she got sick of people touching it all the time.

Rose Under a Tree
 The piece below hangs in another doctor's office; he too was instrumental in saving my life and getting me through my toughest times by being so very supportive. I gave it as a gift. It is a small piece, about 12" x 12" and was done using a stencil over hand-dyed fabric. I had to re-paint pretty much everything that was stenciled because it wasn't vivid enough. Thank god for my stash of Lumiere paints. I covered it in ecru tulle and then quilted straight lines as the sun's rays. Other embellishments include thick yarn around the clouds, gold leaf pen outlining and much beading. I did not want a border on this one, so I again serged the edges and then stitched a rainbow-colored silk ribbon around the edges. Since it's in his office I wanted to make it easy to hang, so instead of the usual sleeve, I reinforced the top back with a wooden dowel hand stitched in, and attached braided yarn. He loved it!

Tree of Life

The piece below is an original design. It is my interpretation of the Autunmal for a FAMM challenge. Of course it didn't win, but I like it anyhow. As you can see the left side is the tree in autumn with the fiery reds, gold/oranges, and rust colors. By the way that is the only time we see hummingbirds on their trek South, so I embroidered him on. The right side is the same maple tree in it's glory of full bloom and lots of green leaves, green grass, and flowers underneath. The pivotal part is the sun which is really a full moon in autumn and full yellow sun in summer. The leaves were outlined with a stencil from Cedar Canyon and painted many colors. The quilting is also different on the right than on the left. Right connotates the downward fall of leaves; left is echo stitching of existing elements. The tree was appliqued using my favorite wood cloth and enhanced a little with markers. Different kinds of beading are in use -- look at the detail pics and also a beaded string is just inside the black border.

Autumnal Equinox

Autumnal Equinox detail

Autumnal Equinox detail

This piece is handmade fabric from muslin, a paper napkin, tissue, and lots of watered down glue. I enhanced the colors by painting the background with citrine dye-na-flow, and Lumiere pinks (3 shades of pink) for the flowers, and micron pens for the stems. Then I beaded the center of each flower with a green bead. I quilted it of course. To finish, I serged the edges and sewed on 3 strands of satin strands, using microfiliment thread. I gave it to my hand surgeon who fixed my carpal tunnel on both hands this summer. Without her, I couldn't do any more art because I was on the edge of permanent nerve damage in both  hands. She is a miracle worker and she marveled at the piece. She hangs it in her office so she can look at it every day.

Cherry Blossoms

Here is a pic of the detail

I hand-dyed some cotton which turnout this funky color of gray/brown. It alone inspired me to create a series of "Vintage" art. Both pieces below are about 12"wide by 15" high. I used the cloth-glue-ephemera-glue-tissue-glue technique to make my own cloth. I put in vintage (copyright free) images, quotes, leaves, and some unique stamps that are hard to see. There are also leaf, coin, and key charms sewn on. One is quilted horizontally and one vertically.  I bonded this to stiff interfacing and used the same fabric on the back. I edged each wall hanging with vintage, multicolored ribbon. Oh almost forgot... I gilded and antiqued elements, used gold foil, and on the first one I had to enhance this stamp's (the lady's profile) look with markers, carefully placed paint, and what worked best was custom stitching. She's got a lovely face profile if you can see it. The "cat glasses" from the 40's and 50's are really cute...I thought they added a nice unexpected touch.
Vintage series

The piece below is very colorful, is it not? It's fun to look at and it was fun to make. I had previously learned how to make fabric ribbons over straws, but couldn't find the right place for them. I made the colorful cloth this summer, painting dye-na-flow in swatches and placing those kidz crazy bandz - in the princess package- on top.  It came out really well so I decided to make a piece for a little princess. I outlined the princess's crown, sceptor, ring, shoe, etc. with a gilded marker. I embroidered adjectives (in multiple colors) for a princess on wired organza and tacked them down. I didn't want to sew them all the way down, again trying for that 3-D look, so I put lightweight beads on the top and heavy ones on the bottom of each organza strip. Of course before the organza I quilted it in a meandering stitch; nothing distracting. The fabric beads were fun; I used all solid colored swatches from all my fabric dyeing and tied each one with "fun yarn" that was already rainbow colored. If I had a little girl, this would be in her room. Maybe I'll save it for a granddaughter. HAHAHAHA -- I'm too young for that, but you never know with 3 boys, 2 of which are in their mid-twenties.


detail of above

The posting my leaf montage below (and all the others these past few days) makes me realize that leaves and trees are a reoccurring theme in my work -- good to know. Maybe I should concentrate on those for a while in different techniques. BUT...I really love, love, love flowers. I have been a home gardener for 25 years and was even a paid landscape designer for a few of my friends, plus I belong to several garden clubs. I think I've been afraid that if I get into flowers, I won't be able to get out and everything will be too girly.

Okay enough pondering, here's how I made the leaf montage. I sun-dyed some PFD (prepared for dyeing) cotton with a couple of green dye-na-flow paints, using fabric leaf cut-outs on top. Then I put those same leaf cut-outs right near its lighter green counterpart. Then I just had fun making and using up any leaf pieces or ephemera from my stash. I painted, and glittered and just filled everything up w/leaves. This was before I began any beading or those would be on my piece too. I have a large leaf quilting stencil that I penciled on the back and used high loft poly batting. You can kind of tell that the quilting is in a leaf pattern. I bound it the regular quilter's way and added a strip of pretty, semi-sheer, green ribbon on the stitch line.

Leaf Montage

My aunt is/was an artist. That is, she was educated in fine arts and created many works of painting and drawing. It didn't last too long after she married in the late 1950's. She always figured she'd take it up once she retired from work, but now that she is in her 70's (and healthy, thank The Lord) she has no desire to be "Grandma Moses" doing plein air painting. Long story short she lives out West in AZ and was surprised when I tentatively told her I thought I was a fiber artist or something. I told her mostly about my landscape work. I told her to give me a cherished landscape photo and I'd make her something. She GAVE me her Janome MC11000 that she had gotten 5 years ago and never used! Whoa, what a generous gift.

This piece took me a good three months in the design and execution. Usually I can crank one out a week. It is definitely the most complex I've ever attempted because of the mountains in the background and especially the snow. First, here is the original photo she sent me. It is a picture of the Grand Canyon from Big Bear where they used to live:

Big Bear & Grand Canyon photo

And here is the landscape art piece that I was able to make:

Big Bear scenic vista of the Grand Canyon

detail of the tree -- the focus of the piece

When I sent it to her a couple of weeks ago she was thrilled and actually used the word "genius". Boy is it nice to get some feedback from artists. Please anyone who takes the time to see my work, any and all feedback is welcome!

From the Fun With Fiber blog page: