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Archive for the ‘Fiber on a Whim’ Category

Milkweed No. 2, Part 2

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

A few days ago, I shared with you the happy news that Milkweed No. 2 is heading to Australia and New Zealand to be a part of “A Matter of Time,” and exhibit curated by Brenda Gael Smith.  Brenda is blogging sneak peeks on the blog.

Milkweed pod, seeds and silks detail

Milkweed pod, seeds and silks detail

SASmith.MilkweedNo2.Detail2_DSC3256 I thought I’d share a few more bits of my process, especially because I will be demoing and teaching a class at Houston that incorporate these techniques.

In an effort to reduce the labor-intensive process of quilting the surface of my works at 1/8" apart over nearly the entire surface, I've started adding some surface design.

In an effort to reduce the labor-intensive process of quilting the surface of my works at 1/8″ apart over nearly the entire surface, I’ve started adding some surface design.

A couple years ago, I designed some Thermofax screens and had them made by Jan and Kristen at Fiber on a Whim.  They asked if I would be interested in selling the designs, and I quickly said Yes!   Here are three of my favorites:

On the photo above, I have used textile paint and my "celery" screen to help blend the collaged batiks and hand-dyes

On the photo above, I have used textile paint and my “celery” screen to help blend the collaged batiks and hand-dyes.

My alphabet screen was used on some rather plain brown hand-dyed (by me) fabric then cut into bits to use in the quilt in addition to using batiks.

My alphabet screen was used on some rather plain brown hand-dyed (by me) fabric then cut into bits to use in the quilt in addition to using batiks.

I mixed up some transparent textile paints--I use both Jacquard and ProFab--to screen print over the already collaged/fused background pieces.

I mixed up some transparent textile paints–I use Versatex, Jacquard and ProFab–to screen print over the already collaged/fused background pieces.

Next came the second round of screen printing, using my Squiggles screen, putting a darker green over the yellow-green I used for the celery.

I simply adore this screen. Add this to the top of any fabric--a plain tone on tone, hand-dye or batik and you've got great texture that can be blend or contrasty as you need.

I simply adore this screen. Add this to the top of any fabric–a plain tone on tone, hand-dye or batik and you’ve got great texture that can be blend or contrasty as you need.

I’ll be teaching some of this process in the Saturday Sampler where I will demonstrate working on your own personalized cloth as well as in my “Nest” class (you can see a bit about that here).

I also did a bit of stenciling using freezer paper and two colors of white.

I also did a bit of stenciling using freezer paper and two colors of white.

If you’d like to order those screens, visit Fiber on a Whim! Better yet, if you can come play with me in my classes at Quilt Festival in Houston this coming autumn!

JAM-SASmith

 

Milkweed No. 2 is headed to Australia

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

I’m delighted to share that my most recent art quilt, Milkweed No. 2, has been selected to be in Brenda Gael Smith’s current exhibit, A Matter of Time, and is en route to Australia!  Brenda is giving us all sneak peeks at the artworks in her blogpost series called “Just a Moment”  here.

Milkweed No. 2 has been juried into A Matter of Time and will be touring in Australia, New Zealand, and possibly points beyond in the coming two years. I'm thrilled---just wish I could fit inside the envelope and travel with it!

Milkweed No. 2 has been juried into A Matter of Time and will be touring in Australia, New Zealand, and possibly points beyond in the coming two years. I’m thrilled—just wish I could fit inside the envelope and travel with it!  Click to view a little larger.

Apparently I mostly forgot to take in progress photos (!!!) while I was making Milkweed No. 2, so I will share one or two in progress shots from the making off Milkweed No. 1 (which I have not yet shared in public…stay tuned for that in a few weeks) in this and in a second post about my process.

As usual, I began with an idea (more like an obsession with milkweed pods) and dyeing fabric.  I had plenty of batiks and some of my own hand-dyes but needed more for the sky.  I decided to dye some cotton duck for the backing, as well.

Backing and sky fabrics I dyed specifically for my two Milkweed quilts.

Backing and sky fabrics I dyed specifically for my two Milkweed quilts.

I use the cotton duck as a stabilizer.  It helps reduce shrinkage and the artwork hangs beautifully, although it isn’t as easy to handle under the needle as a lightweight fabric.  It is worth the trade-off!  I wrote an article about my process for Machine Quilting Unlimited and blogged about that here.

The top side of the cotton, is on the left. The right side shows where the dye pooled on the bottom (cloth was dyed flat on a surface).

The top side of the cotton, is on the left. The right side shows where the dye pooled on the bottom (cloth was dyed flat on a surface).

Next, using Mistyfuse (by far the softest hand, easiest to use, never “ages out”) adhesive / fusible web, I prepare my fabrics for collaging.  My video workshop (here on my site and available as a download here from Interweave) shows this part of the process, plus a lot more.  Anyway, I use my “stash” of fused pieces, but always end up adding more bits for a given piece.

Sorry about the shadow on the left---here I've got fabrics out for fusing and am sorting them into colors using carry-out dish lids (that I've been using for at least the past 7 years! that restaurant has been out of business for eons)

Sorry about the shadow on the left—here I’ve got fabrics out for fusing and am sorting them into colors using carry-out dish lids (that I’ve been using for at least the past 7 years! that restaurant has been out of business for eons)

Next, I start the fusing process.  In this shot, I’m working on the sky for Milkweed No. 1 (larger, landscape orientation), but I used exactly the same process on this piece.

Working on the sun-glow in the sky. This is totally a collage process. I tend to cut chunks to go into the various trays, then use as is or submit while collaging.

Working on the sun-glow in the sky. This is totally a collage process. I tend to cut chunks to go into the various trays, then use as is or submit while collaging.  The drawing you see is a piece of paper underneath my non-stick ginormous press sheet with my sketch.  I ordered this one from Valerie Hearder in Canada, but Mistyfuse now sells the Holy Cow Goddess sheet which is 36×48 inches.   Really helps with my process–I just cover the entire “big board” and get to work.

I then did a bit of surface design including stenciling and screen-printing using thermofax screens (details in my next post).  Finally, I quilted my piece.  Aren’t the colors just glorious?  And yes, bright purple works in a seed pod!

Quilting on one of the milkweed pods, using variegated thread from Superior Threads.

Quilting on one of the milkweed pods, using variegated thread from Superior Threads.

A second detail shot that shows some of the sky--I just love those days where there is a bright glowing spot in the sky where the sun is behind the clouds.

A second detail shot that shows some of the sky–I just love those days where there is a bright glowing spot in the sky where the sun is behind the clouds.

I’ll be back in a few days with more on the processes using paint!   Remember, visit A Matter of Time here and the “Just a Moment” previews blogposts about the various artists and artworks here.

 

 

Quilt Festival Houston 2014: where to find me and my work

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

It’s that wonderful time of the year again, Festival!  When you say “Festival” to a dedicated quilter, they know there is only ONE Festival that counts, the Big One In Houston.  Same thing–if you say Houston, we all know what that means–FUN, Friends, Quilts, all under one enormous roof.   I’m teaching again this year and will have four quilts in the exhibit area, plus two small pieces in a booth.  Read on!

Learn to make the painted fabrics in this project in my mini-Whimsy class at IQF-International Quilt Festival Fall 2014.

Learn to make the painted fabrics in this project in my mini-Whimsy class at IQF-International Quilt Festival Fall 2014.  See Thursday and Friday October 30 and 31.

Sunday, Oct. 26:  Travel from Maine to Texas.  Provided all goes well, I will not only have time to check in to the Teachers’ Room, find my shipped items and get ready for my first class on Monday, I’ll be able to get to the International Quilt Market show (already have my credentials!) to visit some friends who will be there only for Market.

Nourish the Body, Nourish the Soul, in the 500 Traditional Quilts exhibit. (c) Sarah Ann Smith.

Nourish the Body, Nourish the Soul, in the 500 Traditional Quilts exhibit. (c) Sarah Ann Smith.

Monday, Oct. 27:  I’m teaching Let’s Machine Quilt, my intro to Machine Quilting class.  Class runs from 9-5, with a two hour lunch break which I plan to spend on the show floor making more contacts at market.  When online registration closed, I think there were a couple spots left in this class.  If you’re interested, sign up at registration at Market.

Insalata, (c) Sarah Ann Smith 2014.  First major presentation in public at lecture, Tuesday, How Did She Do That?

Insalata, (c) Sarah Ann Smith 2014. First major presentation in public at lecture, Tuesday, How Did She Do That?

Tuesday, Oct. 28:  I’ll be giving my lecture, How Did She Do That?  It is a virtual trunk show of what I do and how I do it, supplemented with at least half a dozen real live quilts.   These lectures are in HUGE rooms so there is always room for more people.  I’m hoping to attend the lecture before me at 10.  Then at noon, I’ll be going to the luncheon and lecture (as will be many of the folks in my lecture).  Tuesday is the day the Market-only booths pack up and depart and the Festival-only booths arrive and begin setting up.  So I figure either the lecture will be full or empty (with folks having chosen to go off into the city or busy with booth set-up/take-down).  DO come–it’s so much more fun to talk to a room with people in it!

Haleakala Sunrise, (c) 2004 Sarah Ann Smith.  In the 500 Traditional Quilts exhibit.

Haleakala Sunrise, (c) 2004 Sarah Ann Smith. In the 500 Traditional Quilts exhibit.

Wednesday, Oct. 29:  Teaching Birch Pond Seasons, my third year in a row for this intro to art quilting and fused collage.  This is a no-sewing class and I’m thrilled to report it filled during online enrollment!  It’s my third year in a row teaching this class at Houston–so glad it works well for so many.  I encourage students to do their own thing–no copy-the-teacher stuff in my classes!

And some art cloth--this is SO not my typical, but I could see playing with surface design, a lot, to make more fabrics to use in my more typical style.  I wanted to have something totally "not me" though so that students get to try both representational and not!

And some art cloth–this is SO not my typical, but I could see playing with surface design, a lot, to make more fabrics to use in my more typical style. I wanted to have something totally “not me” though so that students get to try both representational and not!

Thursday, Oct. 30:  One of six presenters at Machine Quilting Forum (sold out) from 9-Noon.   Attending the lecture and teacher appreciation luncheon Noon to 2.  From 5-6 I will be teaching a mini-Whimsy Class at the Fiber on a Whim Booth, #144.  For more info, see  here and  here and here   There is no advance sign up–the first 8 people in line get in.  All supplies are provided by me.

In progress shot from The Nest, (c) 2014 Sarah Ann Smith.

In progress shot from The Nest, (c) 2014 Sarah Ann Smith, part of Sarah’s Whimsy Class.

Friday, Oct. 31:  From 11-Noon I’ll be teaching my mini-Whimsy Class (see Oct. 30 info and links).  Then from 5:30 to 7, I’ll be “on duty” in the Inspired by the Beatles exhibit.  In the evening, I’ll be enjoying diner the company of the marvelous artists in the Dinner@8 group.

Two of Us (c) 2013 Sarah Ann Smith.  Inspired by the Beatles challenge and exhibit.

Two of Us (c) 2013 Sarah Ann Smith. Inspired by the Beatles challenge and exhibit.

Saturday, Nov. 1:  almost first thing, I’ll be in the Machine Quilting Unlimited booth for an interview (who me?)!  I’ve written for them quite a bit back in 2008-9 and over the past 16 months.  This is one of the best magazines out there, especially if you love machine quilting, whether traditional, contemporary, modern, art….it’s a keeper!   Then I’m officially “OFF DUTY” and get to race around and see everything and everyone.

I’ve shared photos of my works on display throughout this post, but here they are in a list:

500 Traditional Quilts exhibit:

  • Nourish the Body, Nourish the Soul
  • Haleakala Sunrise

Dinner@8 Reflections exhibit:

  • Eli, Cross-Country 2013

Inspired by the Beatles exhibit:

  • Two of Us (blogpost here)

Fiber on a Whim booth #144

  • The Nest
  • White-Gray-Black-Red-Gold artcloth

See you in HOUSTON!  WOOOOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!

 

 

Intentional Printing by Lynn Krawczyk and giveaway!

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

The drawing is concluded.  Any comments left now (after 5 pm Saturday) will be appreciated but won’t be in the drawing.  The lucky winner (chosen by a random number generator on the internet) is comment number 16, Sylvia!  I’ll email you directly.

Sometimes the right book comes along at the right time.  For me, Intentional Printing by Lynn Krawczyk was that book. Lynn is funny (love her Facebook posts), creative and has been able in her book to get me (and hopefully you) to just “fling some paint” and have fun making cloth you will actually USE.  So I’m going to tell you a bit about her book.  Then I’m going to send you over to her website and blog:  if you’d like to win a copy of her book, comment here by 5 pm East Coast Time on Saturday, October 18th (that’s SOON), and tell me something that you liked about her website and/or blog.   Here’s her site, Smudged Textiles Studio and her blog.  Read on!

Lynn Krawczyk's Intentional Printing

Lynn Krawczyk’s Intentional Printing.  Here’s a link to Lynn’s website page about her book, complete with a fun video of her telling you about the book and showing her printed cloth.

For years now I’ve been buying books about dyeing fabric and surface design, yet I do precious little (almost no) surface design in my own work.  So WHY do I keep buying the books?  There must be some deep desire to make my own cloth in a way that goes beyond dyeing fabric.  Many of the books I’ve purchased are intimidating:  so much to do, so many options, too many supplies, too much set up and clean up time.

With Lynn’s book, which is about paint (not dye),  all of a sudden I got up and started DOING.  No fuss, perhaps some mess (the fun kind), and productive work that has got me to develop a whole new workshop that combines the best parts of a class I used to teach (and eliminated because I hated teaching the other parts of the class) with Lynn’s approach to paint on cloth.

Lynn discovered that the pieces she made just didn’t quite work, didn’t fit what she wanted to do.  So she figured out how she could work to create pieces she wanted to use, was inspired to use, while keeping the spontaneity of the process intact.   The chapters of the book are:

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1:  Exploring Intentional Printing
  • Chapter 2:  Tools and Materials
  • Chapter 3:  Fabric Printing Techniques
  • Chapter 4:  Handstitching
  • Chapter 5:  Layered Printing
  • Chapter 6:  The Projects
  • Templates
  • Acknowledgments, Resources and Index

Inspired by this book, I worked up two pieces that you’ve seen recently on this blog, The Nest and my X and O (Hugs and Kisses?) pieces that I’ll be teaching in the Fiber on a Whim Booth at International Quilt Festival in a mere two weeks!   Here’s a link to more information about my mini-class and to my thermofax screens blogpost (and to Fiber on a Whim where you can ORDER those screens!)   Once you see the inside of the book, you’ll see Lynn’s X and O piece, which must have been in my subconscious when I made mine!

Learn to make the painted fabrics in this project in my mini-Whimsy class at IQF-International Quilt Festival Fall 2014.

Learn to make the painted fabrics in this project in my mini-Whimsy class at IQF-International Quilt Festival Fall 2014.

And some art cloth--this is SO not my typical, but I could see playing with surface design, a lot, to make more fabrics to use in my more typical style.  I wanted to have something totally "not me" though so that students get to try both representational and not!

And some art cloth–this is SO not my typical, but I could see playing with surface design, a lot, to make more fabrics to use in my more typical style. I wanted to have something totally “not me” though so that students get to try both representational and not!

What I really liked was that Lynn’s approach can work for the way I use fabric.  So many of the surface design books are by people for whom the fabric and the process are the be-all and end-all.  Once the cloth is done, no more needs to be done.  But I don’t like abstract stuff very much, and I don’t think the cloth is the artwork (for me! if it is for you, that’s great, but it’s not what I want to do), it is something that goes into creating the art.  With Lynn’s book, the cloth can be the goal and the finished product, OR it can be a component that goes in to the artwork.

In The Nest, for example, I used a couple techniques Lynn covers in creating the background fabric, the nest, and the eggs.    In a quilt that I will share with you next week, Insalata, I dyed the fabric for the background but it just wasn’t quite enough.  So I used paint and a couple stencils to create background texture that got the fabric from “pretty good” to “just right.”  That’s exactly what Lynn’s book is about:  getting the fabric you need for the idea in your head / the project you want to make.

For novices to surface design, this book is a great start.  For folks like me who have tried it some but just weren’t jazzed, this book is a great way to help focus random flinging of paint into a process that will give you something with which to create (instead of a pile of “what am I going to do with that now?” cloth).  HIGHLY Recommended!

So if you want to WIN A COPY, here’s what to do:  go to Lynn’s website and blog,  Then come back here and  leave a comment  by 5 pm East Coast Time on Saturday, October 18th (that’s SOON), and tell me something that you liked about her website and/or blog.   Here’s her site, Smudged Textiles Studio and her blog.  I’ll post the winner probably on Sunday–Eli has a Cross Country meet that will last all day Saturday.   ENJOY!

And thank you Lynn for offering a copy of your book…I LOVE IT!

Thermofax screens galore!

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

I promised I’d share more of the thermofax screens I have designed and that Fiber on a Whim is making and selling, so here they are.  You can order these online or buy them at International Quilt Festival and other shows where Fiber on a Whim has a booth.

Onions is one of my favorite designs.  I used a small white onion to stamp, then fiddled with the print in photoshop to create this screen.  It makes a fantastic background print.

Onions is one of my favorite designs. I used a small white onion to stamp, then fiddled with the print in photoshop to create this screen. It makes a fantastic background print or part of a  layered piece of complex cloth.

I’m teaching two mini Whimsy-Classes in the Fiber on a Whim booth on the show floor at Quilt Festival, and we’ll be using the onion screen for oen of the two small projects in the classes.  For more information on this, visit here.  There is no advance sign up–come to the booth and the first 8 in line 15 minutes before the classes get in.  The modest $10 fee covers the kit fee–I provide everything you need.

The screens are so new I don’t even have some of them yet!

Squiggles thermofax screen by Sarah Ann Smith at FiberonaWhim.com

Squiggles thermofax screen by Sarah Ann Smith at FiberonaWhim.com 

Woven, thermofax screen design.  Sometimes you just want a bit of something.  This is a full-size screen  so you can print as much or as little of the screen as you like.  With the somewhat irregular edges, it is easily overlapped.

Woven, thermofax screen design. Sometimes you just want a bit of something. This is a full-size screen so you can print as much or as little of the screen as you like. With the somewhat irregular edges, it is easily overlapped.

One of FoaW's best-selling thermofax screens is an old French ledger, so we thought we'd try an alphabet, hand-written by me in a brush pen.  Again, a good background design, which is what I was going for with most of my designs.

One of FoaW’s best-selling thermofax screens is an old French ledger, so we thought we’d try an alphabet, hand-written by me in a brush pen. Again, a good background design, which is what I was going for with most of my designs.

Another vegetable--this time celery!

Another vegetable–this time celery!

The dagger-drops screen is a smaller size because you can easily repeat it.  It will be fun to play with this, alternating the direction of the print 90 degrees or at diagonals or every which way.

The dagger-drops screen is a smaller size because you can easily repeat it. It will be fun to play with this, alternating the direction of the print 90 degrees or at diagonals or every which way.

The Queen Anne's lace is from a photo I took, modified in photoshop elements, then scaled into three sizes.  We will use this in the mini Whimsy-Classes project you can see in this blogpost.

The Queen Anne’s lace is from a photo I took, modified in photoshop elements, then scaled into three sizes. We will use this in the mini Whimsy-Classes project you can see in this blogpost.

Another onion print, a full size (9x12 inch) screen, that I call Tossed Onions.

Another onion print, a full size (9×12 inch) screen, that I call Tossed Onions.

Grasses, a full size screen with two ends to use.  Kristin of FoaW requested this one--I had ordered it earlier for one of my own projects.

Grasses, a full size screen with two ends to use. Kristin of FoaW requested this one–I had ordered it earlier for one of my own projects.

And last but not least, another great background print design, corn!  Yep, I sacrificed an ear of corn on the cob for the sake of art.

And last but not least, another great background print design, corn! Yep, I sacrificed an ear of corn on the cob for the sake of art.

In a few days I’ll do a review of Lynn Krawczyk’s great new book, Intentional Printing.  It will give you TONS of ideas on how to use thermofax screens and other surface design techniques.  Stay tuned! Here’s a link to Lynn’s website in the meantime, and she’s a ton of fun and on Facebook here.

And just in case you don’t feel like scrolling to the top but want to see the website where the screens are sold, here’s the link one more time!  I can’t wait to go to Quilt Festival, but I’m also looking forward to returning to my studio and playing with paint and thermofax screens!