Archive for the ‘art quilting’ 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!

 

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.

 

 

Teaching at IQF Houston 2016!

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

As you might guess by the deafening silence here on the blog, I’ve been rather busy but I have various bits of good news to share, and I’ll start with the most recent:  I will once again be on the Faculty for International Quilt Festival in Houston in October/November 2016!   And, drum roll, I’ll be teaching a few new things….yippeee!   Here’s my schedule, which stretches from the Monday of Quilt Market (a closed trade show for industry professionals) through Saturday of Quilt Festival.   On Sunday I get to PLAY—provided I can put one foot in front of the other and still see!   For details about each of the classes, please visit my Classes page which has descriptions of all the classes, class supply lists and, when available, hotlines to blogposts from previous versions of these classes so you can get a feel for what to bring.

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 new class The Nest–Surface Design Exploration for Beginners at IQF-International Quilt Festival Fall 2016.

 

  • Monday, October 31:  Decorative Stitch Appliqué, in the Janome classroom, All-Day class
  • Tuesday:  a day off–I’ll probably be IN a class!
  • Wednesday, November 2:  Fine Finishes–An Album of Techniques (bindings and more), in the Janome Classroom, All-Day class
  • Thursday, November 3, morning:  Machine Quilting Forum–Fun and Fancy Thread, 9-Noon
  • Thursday, November 3, afternoon:  The Nest–Surface Design Exploration for Beginners, 2-5, kit fee
  • Friday, November 4:  Tame Fussy, Fiddly Threads for Machine Quilting, in the Janome Classroom, All-day, kit fee for a range of threads etc
  • Saturday, November 5, morning:  Saturday Sampler–Screen-Paint the Perfect Fabric, 10-Noon
  • Saturday, November 5, afternoon:  Easy-Peasy Inside-Out Bag, 2-5, in the Janome Classroom
  • Sunday:  PLAYTIME–to see the exhibits and shop and collapse, in that order!

I’m totally good with having stayed home this past year as it was our younger son’s senior year in high school, but I so missed seeing folks.  I’m thrilled to be back in Houston and on the faculty. Thank you IQF and students!

 

Hot off the press: Descended is in MQU

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

I am absolutely THRILLED with how my article for Machine Quilting Unlimited’s January/February 2016 issue turned out! I don’t think I’ve been this thrilled since the first time I was published, so thank you editor Kit Robinson and MQU Magazine!

The opening spread on my article about creating Descended From the Stars

The opening spread on my article about creating Descended From the Stars

 

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Cover of the January/February 2016 Machine Quilting Unlimited (MQU) magazine with the article on the making of Descended From the Stars

In my last article for MQU about The Fourth Layer, Stabilizing the Quilt Sandwich (when doing intense quilting and/or threadwork), published in the  issue, I mused at the end that I might try to use my preferred choice, cotton duck, as the backing (the third layer) instead of as a fourth layer.  When I did just that in my quilt Descended From the Stars, I wrote editor Kit Robinson to share the results, thinking that readers might enjoy a quick update to the article.  Instead, she asked if I would write an article for their “Challenging Quilts” series!  You betcha I would, and now it is just published.

The quilt was made for the current Dinner@8 exhibit Affinity, and you can read the call for entry in the photo above, just to the right of the full-page image (and wow am I thrilled my photography looks so good and accurate on the page!).  At the top right of the right hand page you can read the quote written on the quilt, but I’ll also close this post with the quote which is fitting at this time of year.

The article takes you from the initial seed of an idea, to the call for entry, and through the creation process:  developing the working sketch, ideas abandoned, dyeing fabric (sometimes twice on the same cloth to get it right) and more.   I hope you will enjoy reading it; I certainly enjoyed making it and look forward to having it home.  And maybe entering it into shows or even selling it!  Yes, it would be hard to part with it, but a girl’s gotta make a living.

Squee!  On the first page of the Table of Contents!

Squee! On the first page of the Table of Contents!

As soon as I get the pie, cranberries and stuffing made today, I’m going to treat myself to a good sit-down and cuppa tea with this issue.  I always love Margaret’s articles and her posts on FB–she is simply a brilliant quilter.  She can take an already-outstanding client top and make it over-the-moon fantastic.  And I am REALLY looking forward to (and trying out) my friend Lisa Walton’s article on painting on your quilt after doing the quilting.  I wanted to win her donation quilt in the last SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) auction, but missed out to someone with a larger budget than mine.  Good for SAQA, but sad for me.

And here’s that inspiring quote from Mirza Khan, the Religious Studies Director at my old High School, San Domenico:

We have descended from the stars.  We have risen through the forms of thousands of animals.  We have passed through the lives of our ancestors, our grandparents, and our parents.  And now we have been born into the moment of our supreme existence.  We have a life.  What will we do with it? –Mirza Khan (used with permission, and with great thanks)

Welcome back to the light now that solstice is passed (and I’ll get caught up on my Foto Fridays that have been missing since the demise of the old laptop) and on to the peace and joy of the season, and a long winter for making art!

Janome’s 100 Blocks in 50 Days project!

Saturday, October 31st, 2015

Oh what fun!  Janome teamed up with Michael Miller and asked the folks in their Artists/Teachers loaner program as well as staff and educators to make 100 Blocks in 50 Days for a free online quilt project that debuted this past week.  You can sign up for free daily reminders from Janome so you can download PDFs of all the patterns (or just the ones you want).  I had so much fun,  asked if I could make extra blocks (ended up making six), then made doubles of each so I could have my own set, and as you may have read in my lengthy Skyline S7 review (here), made yet another block that will fit with these projects.  I’m sharing that block below (again) since it was at the end of such a long post.  I’ll have five more blocks which I will share as Janome publishes the links to them.  Some are easy peasy, some involve a lot of fun stuff with thread!

Michael Miller and Janome selected a set range of colors from Moda’s unbelievably silky-soft-delectable-heavenly Cotton Couture solids line.   Each participant got fat quarters in each of the colors.  I am planning to make even more blocks, then quilt them up into a wall hanging to use when teaching decorative stitching.   Or just to be pretty and colorful on the wall!

I was thrilled when my embroidered circles was one of the first two blocks featured!    Here’s a picture and a hotlink for the circles block which has the PDF (from Janome’s website):

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Circles block (c) Sarah Ann Smith

The second block I will share with you is an “extra” which came from the Skyline S7 test-drive.  I’m calling it Embroidered Leaves (guess why…duh Sarah!):

Using the built in stitches on the Skyline S7, I made this block.

Using the built in stitches on the Skyline S7, I made this block.

You can find a PDF by clicking on this link or visiting my Resources page (here or use the link on the menu bar above).  Once on the resources page, scroll down to Tutorials and find Embroidered Leaves in alphabetical order.  There’s lots of other fun free stuff there, so browse around!