Good Morning! I realized I forgot to follow up on my post from 11/9/16: Free Webinar: CREATIVE QUILT CHALLENGES and provide to those of you who did not get to attend, the link to the presentation and handouts.
My friends Pat Pease and Wendy Hill provided a wonderful presentation based on their book, Creative Quilt Challenges, published earlier this year, that will spark your creative art quilting fire. If you are not a quilter you might find something interesting it in it also. In a future post I am going to talk about how non-quilting related books and resources inspire my ideas for art quilt design.
Ah, I am starting to ramble without providing you the link, so here you go:
In addition to the video of the slideshow and presentation and the class handout, the link above also provides the answers from the Webinar Q&A.
Today I begin a 5-day holiday break from my pay-the-bills-job (two of those days are courtesy of my employer, one is a vacation day and two are the weekend!). I am so excited I am not sure what to do with myself…oh wait, I should probably start working on my backlog of projects…
Ohio Shifted (2016) has returned from its road trip to the Pacific International Quilt Festival (PIQF).
Wendy Hill and Pat Pease, authors of Creative Quilt Challenges(C&T Publishing, 2016) invited me to participate in their Shape Shifting Challenge, an exhibit-within-an-exhibit at PIQF – October 13-16, 2016, in Santa Clara, California.
Here is the piece which has now returned home and will become part of The Wardrobe Meets the Wall Collection:
When Wendy Hill returned my piece to me, she also gave me a copy of the PIQF 2016 brochure and the placard that had my Artist Statement and an image of what the piece looked like before I “shape shifted” it!
Here is a photo of what the piece looked like before it’s makeover:
It was not bad in its original form, it just seemed very boring.
If you would like to read about the road trip adventures of Wendy Hill and Pat Pease on their road trip from Central Oregon to Santa Clara California and their PIQF experience, check out Wendy Hill’s blog at: Wendy Hill’s Blog (wendyhill.net).
Here is the description of their Special Exhibit in the 2017 PIQF Supplement: Creative Quilt Challenges – Wendy Hill & Pat Pease
Pat and Wendy have been working together for 8 years exploring color and design through a series of self-designed challenges. These quilts show their differences and similarities in personal style and fabric choices. View in-process photographic displays of their work, and also a group challenge from quilters from the USA and Canada. Their 2013 exhibit at PIQF led to their new 2016 book Creative Quilt Challenges (C&T Publishing). You’;; want to Take the Challenge Too!
I was invited by Wendy Hill and Pat Pease, authors of Creative Quilt Challenges(C&T Publishing, 2016) to participate in their invitational exhibit: Shape Shifting.
Creative Quilt Challenges is a Special Exhibit at the Pacific International Quilt Festival (PIQF) , October 13-16, in Santa Clara, California. Shape Shifting will be an exhibit within their Creative Challenges exhibit. Please be sure to stop by Pat Pease and Wendy Hill’s exhibit at PIQF if you are attending and tell my friends “hello”!
For my piece in this invitational exhibit, I had decided to actually do some “shape shifting” and transform an existing art quilt piece that I was not too sure about, into something that actually made me smile.
I began with this existing piece, Ohio, which I last discussed in the post Update: Ohio
Something about the piece was displeasing to me and the piece felt kind of “blah”. So I removed the borders using with some very careful seam ripping (the piece is made of recycled silks; and then sliced apart a couple sections of the piece.
Then I played around with a border of BRIGHT fuchsia-pink raw silk that a friend picked up from a thrift shop and shared with me:
The selvage of the bright fuchsia raw silk had the name “FOUWAH, HONG KONG”. Some “googling” revealed this piece was likely a vintage fabric from Fou Wah Fabrics of Hong Kong:
Here is the final design of the piece, which I am tentatively naming: Ohio Shifted (I will have to create quite the Artist Statement on this piece to explain to the viewer where I got the name from…I might rethink the name…we’ll see…)
I selected this fabric for the back of the piece:
The piece is now ready for quilting. I am going to “put my big girl panties on” and quilt this art quilt myself. I need to be able to give it to Wendy and Pat by September 15th and I need to keep challenging myself to go to places (my own art quilting) that I do not want to go, so I can grow.
Initially I was going to go buy some bright fuchsia thread to quilt it with but I have selected a soft gold thread (the one on the left) that mirrors the colors in some of the blocks. I might also another another thread color, still deciding.
(Note – I did do a 1/8 an inch stitch around the edge of the piece using a 2.0 stitch length to stop the raw silk from fraying any further than the edges).
I am going to practice what I want to do as far as quilting on the quilt on a scrap silk “quilt sandwich” before I quilt on my actual piece. A couple of months ago I did quilt an entire art quilt myself for a piece for another invitational exhibit that I will post about in the future.
In March, I did participate in a Blog Tour to celebrate the release of the art quilting book, Creative Quilt Challenges by Pat Pease and Wendy Hill.
If you would like to read my post for my part of the blog tour, where I discuss working with “unlikely materials” (recycled silks, denim, wool) in making quilts please see the link below:
At the end of this post I will pose a discussion question, please post a comment to automatically enter a drawing for a copy of Creative Quilt Challenges. The random winner will be selected and notified around 04/07/16.
CHALLENGE #3 – UNLIKELY MATERIALS
In Creative Challenges, Pat Pease and Wendy Hill invite readers to flex their quilt-making creative muscles by experimenting with different “Challenges”. In Challenge #3 – Unlikely Materials, Pat and Wendy invite readers to stretch their creative muscles by working with materials other than traditional quilting cottons!
Transitioning from Cotton Material to “Unlikely Materials”
Four years ago, I would have looked at you as if you were insane if you suggested I use anything other than high quality quilting cottons, purchased from a quilt shop, for my quilt-making. Then in 2012 my friend and mentor, Betty Anne Guadalupe of Guadalupe Designs invited me to work on a collaborative project involving making art quilts out of recycled silks and linen samples from garment manufacturing. These samples had been saved from the trash heap by someone working for an Italian silk manufacturer in the 1990s and stored away since then.
At first I was terrified of working with anything but cotton for quilting. Cotton is so crisp and stable. Silk is slippery, delicate, and…well…terrifying!
One of the first skills I learned when working with silk was how to back delicate silks with interfacing. The best interfacing I have used for backing silk is “French-Fuse“. I learned about French-Fuse from Betty Anne, who learned about it from another art quilter, Grace. This interfacing provides much needed stability to delicate silks and makes them easier to rotary cut and to piece.
Here is one of the early pieces I made with recycled silks – Silk Landscape:
The Wardrobe Meets the Wall
Betty Anne and I both became hooked on using the recycled silks and linens to create art quilts. We formed a collaboration which eventually became The Wardrobe Meets the Wall: A collection of art quilts created from recycled garments, manufacturing remnants, and samples.
We have a blog, The Wardrobe Meets the Wall (we are working on evolving this into a a website, “Art Quilts by Guadalupe & Hogan”). See our page The Collection if you would like to see a samples of art quilts all made with “Unlikely Materials”.
Our collection includes quilts made from mens ties, recycled silk and linen samples, scrap wool from clothing or blanket manufacturing, recycled denim, and general recycled clothing.
Once You Start Experimenting with Unlikely Materials, You Might Get Hooked!
Betty Anne already had many years experience working with “Unlikely Materials” and before I knew it, she had me experimenting with using recycled wools and denims to create art quilts.
Here is my first experiment with working with recycled wools (from wool mens suiting manufacturing scraps and wool blanket manufacturing scraps) and denims (recycled jeans) – He Dresses Up, He Dresses Down:
Basically – if you can sew with it, we will now try and make an art quilt with it. There are so many unlikely materials we have yet to try out. We enjoy recycling.
I was intrigued that in the Creative Quilt Challenge book, Pat Pease makes an adventurous art quilt with “hair canvas interfacing“. I bow my head to that level of creativity with “unlikely materials”!
(Disclaimer: We still love and support our local quilt shops and still make many quilts with traditional cottons. There are so many beautiful fabric collections to choose from and our new fabric stashes mysteriously continue to grow despite our obsession with recycled materials.)
Tips for Working with Unlikely Materials
I will not deny it – working with “unlikely materials” for the first time is scary. Here are some tips I have learned over the past 4 years. I am still learning and growing in my knowledge and comfort with using “unlikely materials”.
Do not be afraid to experiment and play: You do not have to create a great work of quilting art your first time working with a new “unlikely material”. I played with silk for a while before piecing it into an art quilt.
Check your sewing machine manufacturer’s website for tips on working with various materials and fibers.
Search for YouTube videos on working with a particular fabric and sewing tips on handling that type of fabric in your machine.
Network with other crafters that have experience working with a particular textile you are interested in trying. For example if you know a seamstress who has worked a lot with silk, you could ask her/him for tips.
Determine if a fabric/material needs to be interfaced in order to stabilize it for sewing. As I mentioned earlier, French-Fuse (which can be purchased at sites such as Annie’s Craft Store) is wonderful for backing delicate silks. It makes them so much easier to cut and piece. There are also YouTube videos on using French-Fuse.
If you are using heavy weight materials such as denim and some wools, consider pressing open your seams, and using 1/2 inch seams (like in making garments) as opposed to 1/4 inch seams. A trick that my mentor Betty Anne taught me is to run a tiny (1/8″ inch or less) seam along the front of the seams (front of your piece) to hold down the pressed down seams. This will be helpful if you have your piece professionally long-arm quilted so that the thick seams do not flip and catch the needle when being quilted.
If at first you don’t succeed, don’t give up! I have had several “unlikely materials” piecing/sewing disasters (bad words were said, not suitable for repeating). Some disasters were so bad I had to put them in the trash, I could not even recycle them into another project. Speaking of recycling a disaster into another project, see the post A Very Successful Rescue! about a piece made with recycled silk that was destined for the trash but was recycled by another quilter into a wonderful piece!
Warning – your other quilter friends who only enjoy using cottons, may at first give you a lukewarm response on your pieces made with “unlikely materials”. Do not be discouraged – art is a private and personal thing and you cannot control others reactions. (I love the saying: “It’s not my business what others think of me”…or my art!). I am sure I have quilter friends who thought at first I had lost my mind working with recycled silks and linens. As you grow in your experience with working with “unlikely materials”, your confidence will grow as will your adventurous spirit.
Working on My Latest Piece with Unlikely Materials
The timing of this blog tour post is great, as I am currently working on a new piece for a group exhibit I am participating in, called “Doors” for the local SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) group I belong.
Designing the piece: Selecting the “Unlikely Materials”
I decided to use a photo of a door for inspiration, and located a wonderful collection of unique door photos on an Australian door and window manufacturer’s website Brisbane Timber .
I wanted to created a semi-realistic version of one of their doors, using recycled textiles (“unlikely materials”) and name the piece Recycled Door.
Here are the materials I selected:
Recycled Corduroy Shirt
Recycled Corduroy Pants
Recycled Tweed Wool Jumper
Bag of Recycled Jeans
Shiny Gold Home Decor Fabric
(List clockwise from top)
Recycled Corduroy Shirt
Recycled Corduroy Pants
Recycled Tweed Jumper
Unusual shiny gold home decor fabric (this fabric was given to me by the very talented art quilter, Dianne Browning, who primarily uses the unlikely materials of home decor fabrics and decorator samples in her art – you can check out her incredible art at her website Art Quilts by Dianne Browning)
Recycled Denim (from my bag of recycled jean sections)
The Piece in Progress
Below is a photo of Recycled Door in progress. If you like, for fun, you can go to the Australian door and window manufacturer’s website Brisbane Timber and see if you can figure out which door inspired this piece.
Are You Ready to Experiment or Have You Already Experimented?
Now it is time for you to weigh in on your experience with using “Unlikely Materials” or whether you are interested in experimenting with “Unlikely Materials” in the future in your quilting projects.
Always listening to audiobooks and podcasts while going on walks or crafting, I wanted to share some interesting recent listens.
I constantly listen to audiobooks and podcasts and wanted to share my recent favorites.
I am fortunate to have a wonderful public library system and use the free Overdrive app to download audiobooks to my phone. Check out my older posts under the category “Audiobook Recommendations” if you would like to see my previous recommendations. Here are my recent favorites:
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald – I understand why this book has received all sorts of accolades. An introverted female British historian loses her beloved father and deals with her grief through training a Goshawk. The author reads the audiobook (I always love this) and weaves the story of her journey through her grief with the history of falconry, the experience of training a hawk, and the story of T.H. White – a falconer who wrote The Once and Future King and The Sword In the Stone (King Arthur/Camelot stories). It was an amazing listen – engaging, interesting, and profound in its beautiful exploration of loss, grief and recovery.
Think Like a Freak by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner – this book by the same duo of Economists who wrote Freakanomics was highly entertaining and eye opening. It was read by one of the authors Stephen J. Dubner. It was a “Malcolm Gladwell” type of book blending sociology, economics and psychology. Economics is not as boring as it sounds when discussed by these authors!
Ah, the magic of free podcasts! I usually download them from iTunes; and for some podcasts you can listen for free on various websites such as NPR.org. Here are my current favorite podcasts:
TED Radio Hour – This podcast is more than listening to a TED Talk. Each week an engaging topic is presented and discussed by weaving together snippets from related TED talks and interviews with TED talk presenters, experts, and everyday people’s perspectives. Very engaging podcast that always ends too quickly! I have to thank my friend Michele for turning me onto TED talks years ago. I never tire of watching TED talks or listening to this podcast featuring excerpts.
The Moth Podcast – Incredible podcast featuring live storytelling. When I listen to The Moth Radio Hour while walking, sometimes I stop and pause to reflect, laugh out loud, or wipe away a tear. Powerful and engaging story telling. Thanks to my friend Pam for introducing me many years ago to “The Moth”.
The Minimalists Podcast – I love these guys. My friend in Austria introduced me to their website/blog theminimalists.com and I have been hooked! You may realize from my earlier posts that I am working on scaling back my life and focusing on experiences over things. I am very inspired by these two young thirty something guys who realized at an early age that living a meaningful life with less stuff is one of the keys to happiness. A lot of the stuff they discuss I already know but I enjoy the reinforcement.
In addition to podcasts, I am current listening to TWO audiobooks at once (I put them both on hold from the library and they both became available at the same time for a 21 day lending period):
SuperBetter by Jane McGonigal
Good Gut by Justin Sonnenburg
I am enjoying both of them so far and just alternate my listenings!