Archive for the ‘Surface Design’ Category

QA TV Series 2000, including me, is now on air!

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

Hi everyone…a quick pop-in to share that Quilting Arts TV has begun airing.   Check with your local PBS station to find out when it will air in your area.  In Maine, it will be on Maine Public’s Create channel (I think).  If you’re like me and don’t have access to a PBS station (grumble) that airs it, you can download the episodes or series at Interweave, here.  I’ve even got a new badge:

Sarah’s on Quilting Arts TV again, Episodes 2001, 2007 and 2012.

 

I’ll be talking about my journey from hobbyist to professional in the industry (Episode 2001), how to get crisp corners when facing art quilts (Episode 2007), and  my way of using thermofax screens to blend collaged fabrics prior to quilting (Episode 2012).  I hope you’ll enjoy the journey with me–nothing of mine is earth shattering, but not much in life is.  It’s the little tweaks and changes that make the difference, and I hope my tips and techniques will improve your quilting and life.

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She persisted (ocean quilt) at IQF Chicago

Friday, April 7th, 2017

So if you’re going to International Quilt Festival in Chicago this weekend (2017), please do see my quilts!   Thank you SO MUCH to Becky Navarro, Special Exhibits coordinator for Quilts, Inc. (who put on the shows) for sending me these two photos of “She persisted in her quest to reach the shore and sing the anthem of the sea.”

On the right is my newest work, She persisted in her quest to reach the shore and sing the anthem of the sea, on display at International Quilt Festival Chicago 2017.

The 45th (!!!) Anniversary of the Quilt Festival is coming up and they will be celebrating with the Sapphire Celebration  from 2019 (45th year) to 2022 (sheesh that sounds almost impossible as a year!).  To learn more about entering, go here and scroll down.  They want traditional, art and modern quilts, size 50 x 50 or larger.  The size is a challenge for art quilters who tend not to work so large, but I was thrilled to have the chance to work so large.  And REALLY glad I have a Bernina Q20 sit-down machine now–the LONG, tall harp makes such a difference in working on such a large piece.

Another view of the two quilts promoting and encouraging entries in the new exhibit.  On the right is my newest work, She persisted in her quest to reach the shore and sing the anthem of the sea (c) SarahAnnSmith 2017.   

Quilts Inc. is giving you plenty of notice so put on your creative hats and get to work!

Umbelliferous:  Queen Anne’s Lace No. 1 is also on display in the Patterns exhibit curated by Dinner@8, then will go to her new home with a private collector (I am still stunned and thrilled–thank you!).

Umbelliferous: Queen Anne’s Lace No. 1 by Sarah Ann Smith (c) 2016

Now, I need to go to the studio to work on my next piece!

Photoshop–Finding the Stamp Tool, Thermofax screens

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

WAHOOOO!   I’ve discovered something almost as cool as the holy grail!  At least if you want to make thermofax screens…..and yes, you may liberally share the link to this blogpost so that others may learn and play with paint.

If you want to find out how to do this the easy way, keep reading!

So I was on a quest for my next project:  creating thermofax screens using my new (to me) thermofax machine.  I remembered a tool I loved in Photoshop Elements (PSE), but it wasn’t in Photoshop (PS–full thing).  How could that be?  So I opened up my 2010 PSE software and discovered the tools I liked were called Stamp and Photocopy, in Sketches under Filters.   So I googled around to find out how to create actions in full PS to do what those tools did.  Turned out I didn’t need to–Adobe included those tools but then HID THEM.   So here is how to find and use these awesome tools.

Note:  I realize this will sound like gibberish unless you are into PSE or PS….if you aren’t, just skip!  But this is SO AWESOMELY COOL AND USEFUL for those of us who want to make Thermofax screens and use Photoshop! So if you are interested, read on!

First, you need to install all of the Filters in the Filter Gallery.  Yeah right.  Not as hard as it sounds.  Under Photoshop, find and click on Preferences.

First you need to find Plug-Ins and load the Sketching filters.

That will cause a pop-out to appear; look for and click on Plug-Ins:

The flip-out widow reveals Plug-Ins. Click on it.

When you click on Plug Ins this window opens up.  Check the box to show ALL Filter Gallery Groups and names.  Sheesh….why was this not the default?????

This window will pop up. The box at the bottom of the arrow will be blank. WHY Adobe? WHY? Check it and the wonder and joy of more filters will appear in your PS workspace.

Here’s a colorful photo I use in my Quilting the Garden workshops.  NOTICE the COLORS in the Foreground and Background boxes on the bottom left corner.

Let’s pretend I want to convert this image to black and white to create a Thermofax screen.  Take note of the little Foreground/Background boxes at the bottom left.  They are important.

Boxes are important!   The next step is to USE the Stamp tool.  Look across the top of your PS window.  Click on Filter, then Sketch, then Stamp.

To use the Stamp tool, go to Filters (on the menu across the top), select Sketch, Then Stamp (see arrow).

When you click on Stamp, the following window opens.  But I ended up with Grey and Black.  WHY?  It used to be black and WHITE, right?  So what was I messing up?

This was not what I had in mind. Then I had a lightbulb moment (who me? I know, rare, but it does happen sometimes). Remember those BOXES?

YEP…..the Foreground color, due to something I’d done not so long ago, was dark grey, not white.  Aha!  A glimmer of light (pun totally intended).  Groan.  Remember, Boxes are Important!  I switched the foreground color from dark gray (above) to WHITE.  And lookit what I got!

Drum roll……stamp is once again black and white!  Notice the arrows on the right:  use the sliders or the number boxes to adjust the level of black/white and the degree of detail.  Now isn’t it a whole lot easier to get to this point in a hurry, THEN fine tune with the eraser tool to clear out extraneous yuck?

Those arrows on the right point to fun things to play with to adjust the amount of black, white, detail, etc.  But the realization that the foreground/background colors could make a mess make me think….hmmmm……COLOR!  What would happen if….

BUT, one more tidbit about what you see in the window.  The one below looks like a lot of nothin’, right?  That’s because is it at 100 percent, which doesn’t fit.

Then I realized I could play with COLOR. When you open this window, however, it opens at 100 percent. I prefer the “Fit In View” option, so check out the arrow once again.

If you click on the little down arrow to the right of 100%, you can switch it to Fit In View or whatever you like to use.  For my pea-brain, it’s a whole lot easier to figure out what I’m doing when I can see the entire picture, like this:

Then you can create a really bizarre two-tone hot pink and green image. Just what you always wanted, right? Not! But you can see the potential, right?

Let’s just say I am ridiculously happy.   I asked for help on FB today and got it…THANK YOU Lynn Krawczyk, Lyric Kinard and Leslie Tucker Jenison among others.   Then I — having learned this lesson before — googled around for online information, including the forum at Adobe, which is where I found the clue that the Sketch filters WERE in full PS.   But I didn’t know the terminology (like where to find the Line tool to create an arrow to illustrate these screen shots), so YouTube search box to the rescue.

SQUEEEEE!     I don’t need to use my antique PSE, I can use full PS and not have to move between the two, AND (best of all) I have my easy-peasy Stamp tool back!   Time to CELEBRATE!  Lynn, I may just have to fling some paint!  And now that I have written this up to share ASAP in thanks, I am going to celebrate, perhaps with chocolate! Or maybe Talenti.  Or some culinary Venn diagram that involves the intersection of Talenti, banana and chocolate.  SQUEEE!

And a PS, thanks Whiskers for asking the questions:  Hi Whiskers!  Yes, I will do a blogpost eventually on thermofax screens.   Not sure when, so the quick response is the Thermofax machine is the predecessor to today’s photocopier.  They were used in the 50s/60s in the office to copy stuff.  They are no longer made (consequently they cost a fortune, it has taken me a decade to save up and make the purchase, $1350! If you buy one be sure you get one that works with the mesh, not just the purple ditto masters!)…but folks have figured out if you use an image with carbon in the ink (laser printer, some inkjet printers, carbon ink, lead pencil) and you run it through the machine with a plastic-backed mesh, the plastic melts where there is carbon.  When you separate the two sheets (paper and plastic mesh) you end up with a screen.  Tape up the edges, then push the paint through.  I actually just taped a segment for Quilting Arts TV on this!

 

Teaching at Quilt Festival Houston–sign up soon

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

Online signups for classes at International Quilt Festival in Houston end on October 7th !!!!! I’d love to see you in one of my classes.  Here’s my very busy line up!

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 4.39.58 PM

I’m thrilled to be so busy and hope to meet many of you.  Here’s a blogpost about The Nest, a new and totally fun half-day (or full day if a guild wants a full day) class, it’s a blast and the extensive kit/materials provided make it easy to prep.  I’m also teaching my intermediate/advanced Tame Fussy, Fiddly Threads for Machine Quilting class for those of you who want to learn more about the “cranky” threads–that really aren’t cranky if you just learn how to use them!

Houston has revamped the catalog a little bit. There are now (yeah!) pictures in the catalog (not just online) and there are weblinks so you can go to my website for the FULL supply list and handouts.   To shorten the process, if any of the above look good to you, you can go to my class listings page here for info about my classes.  Each description has a hotlink to the pdf Supply list.  If I have blogged about a class, that also is in the description.  You can also find all my supply lists in one place on my Resources page.  If you click on “Resources,” Look at the jump links at the top.  Click on Class Supply Lists and it will jump you down the page (instead of having to scroll down).

Here are some more blogposts about the classes I’m offering in Houston:

Decorative Stitch Applique here and here

Easy-Peasy Inside-Out Bag here

Can’t wait to see you in Houston!

 

The Nest: a new approach to surface design

Saturday, July 30th, 2016

For most folks who are in to surface design, the surface design is the goal.  For me, the surface design is to create cloth to use in my collaged artwork.  Rather than hunt (and hunt and hunt) for fabric that works, I make my own, using both my own hand-dyed fabrics and commercial fabrics, especially batiks.  In my new class, The Nest, I teach this project as a way to learn several surface design techniques and get you started.  I’ll be teaching this class for the first time (officially) at International Quilt Festival, Houston (class link here) on Thursday afternoon, Class 496.

The main class project for my class The Nest:  a new approach to surface design.

The main class project for my class The Nest: a new approach to surface design.  Right click photo to view a bit larger.

I provide a kit (with a fee) with paint, brush; hand-dyed floss, perle cotton and cheesecloth; Sarah’s custom thermofax screen (yours to keep) and more.  You provide the fabric and willingness to play!  The class can be either half or full day; in Houston, it is a half day class.
Since Houston is THE big quilting event in the world, it pays to prepare, so thanks to my local peeps, I did a “test run” on the class to work out timing and make sure everything was clear.   THANK YOU to my Coastal Quilters for helping me out…you were great, and the class helped me immensely (like I can only fit two projects, not 3, in a 3-hour class!).

aside

A detail of the project, and some intermediate steps

Step one in the class is to get your paint!

Step one in the class is to get your paint!  You can see a thermofax screen soaking in the basin.

Step one is to print your plain cloth with my custom Queen Anne's Lace screen.

Step one is to print your plain cloth with my custom Queen Anne’s Lace screen.

You can go wild and make this project totally your own

You can go wild and make this project totally your own

Or you can follow the project.  This student is on her second layer, starting to create her nest.

Or you can follow the project. This student is on her second layer, starting to create her nest.

While the paint dries on the Nest, you work on a “free play” exercise, then switch back and forth as the layers dry.  You can make your own stamps (supplies provided), use materials I bring to share, or bring your own from home.

Student stamps.  I think I need to make a flying geese stamp!

Student stamps. I think I need to make a flying geese stamp!

I LOVE this student piece.  It would work perfectly as a background or cut and used in a naturescape.

I LOVE this student piece. It would work perfectly as a background or cut and used in a naturescape.

And another layer.  You can go as simple or as busy as you like.

And another layer. You can go as simple or as busy as you like.

Jim Vander Noot is an experienced art quilter and I LOVE this layered piece.  He began with writing, then added the thermofax screen of keys (from Lyric Kinard, LyricKinard.com, she also makes custom screens)

Jim Vander Noot is an experienced art quilter and I LOVE this layered piece. He began with writing, then added the thermofax screen of keys (from Lyric Kinard, LyricKinard.com, she also makes custom screens)

Jim added more layering, and here's the last time I saw this.  LOVE IT.

Jim added more layering, and 

here's the last time I saw this. LOVE IT.

here’s the last time I saw this. LOVE IT.

My thermofax screen designs are available at Fiber on a Whim, I’ll have some for sale in class, and Jan Girod and Kristin Rodriguez (who are Fiber on a Whim) will be vending in a booth on the show floor at Houston.  Artists have my complete permission to use my screens in their artwork, including works that will be sold or exhibited (but of course you can’t copy my designs and sell them…you know how it works!).

Student 1

Student 1, work in progress–if any of my CQ peeps remember whose work this is, please let me know so I can attribute it!

Student 2, work in progress

Student 2, work in progress

Student 3, Linda Satkowski finished her nest!

Student 3, Linda Satkowski finished her nest!I love the fluffy white wool bits that totally look like feathers.  One student even suggested you can BUY feathers–they are readily available at stores that supply fly fishermen.  COOL idea!  Thank you so much Linda for finishing this and letting me share it.  GREAT job!

So I hope you’ll be inspired by my local quilty friends–I sure am!   And I hope you’ll be able to join me in Houston (or have your guild hire me to come to teach YOU at home!).  See you in November!