Saturday, May 29, 2010

Exciting Mail! ATCs are here...

The envelope, please! These five ATCs arrived in the mail this weekend. They're the swaps from The Mixed Mania book study at mmartfriends group on Yahoo. I showed you the five cards I made to trade in this post.

What fun to see the variety of techniques and design concepts depicted in these small cards. About the size of a baseball card, the ATCs (artist trading cards) provide an opportunity for group members to try out painting, sewing, collage, beadmaking, stamping, embellishing, doodling... you name it.

My thanks to group leader and swap coordinator Belinda Spiwak. You can see her work on her blog, and in many issues of Quilting Arts and Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazines. And of course, many thanks to my swap partners. Just take a look at their work! I'm inspired to make more of these now that I've had a chance to study some new techniques for making them. Above- top, by Jennifer Elliott; above-bottom, by Sue in South Africa. Below left, by Jennifer Lyons; below right, by Elle Pukalo; bottom, by Joyce.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Fabric Jewelry?!?

Yes, indeed. While browsing the shelves at the local library, I came across this book- "Fabric Jewelry" by Teresa Searle (2007, St. Martin's Griffin, NY). What an intriguing concept! So I signed the book out, and found it's packed with more than 20 projects for making creative jewelry pieces from fabric. What fun.

I'm unsure as yet which of the jewelry pieces I'll make, but I had to at least try making a couple of the elements. The author's one-of-a-kind Filigree necklace is made using fabric flower motifs and machine embroidery sewn on dissolving film. When the film is washed away, the flowers and some lacey looking threads remain. My first two efforts are shown here. One has too little stitching, and the other has too much. I'm confident that next time I'll get it "just right." Also discovered that using variegated thread created a milky look that I would avoid next time.

Other simple elements are the twisted lengths of fabric that make up the Corded Necklace. I had some narrow (1"-wide) strips leftover from making the fabric-covered rope baskets. Twisting a strip while sewing with a zig-zag stitch results in a thin cord. Several together can be used in a bracelet, or other embellishment. I'm not sure what the ones above will become, but I like the raggedy look and the texture of the threads.

In a bit of serendipity, I picked up a copy of Country Living magazine, Feb. 2010 issue, from the "pass-it-on pile" at our sewing group. Look what I came across in the Fresh Picks column! Pretty fabric necklaces available from several designers. Timely!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Scenic Watercolors on Fabrics... a Class Act

Teacher Debra Johnston brought these class samples to inspire the 12 students in the recent One-Day Getaway: Watercolor on Fabric event. We gathered at The Crystal Ice House in Trenton, FL. It includes a classroom and is part of a complex known as The Suwannee Shops.

We began with color photos, post cards, or other scenic images. Snapshots of former homes that held fond memories were a popular subject. Students transferred elements of the images to paper and then to fabric. And, oh yes, that's a menu Betty is holding, below. We also began by placing our lunch orders!

Debra provided watercolor crayons, pencils, and markers and explained the different effects each would give to the work. Students then experimented on extra squares of muslin before beginning their masterpieces. They took to it quickly and their work was varied and lovely! Just take a look.

Our only problem was one student who lacked confidence and kept disappearing from the class. I found her hiding out in the ladies room, and finally got her to rejoin the group.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Watercolor on Fabrics..

This piece is my first effort from a class on watercolor paints on fabric. Quilting teacher Debra Johnston held a trial class at her home with just three students. Debra has an art background and she provided all the necessary items... watercolor crayons, markers, pencils, and paints. That meant we could try the various methods without buying lots of supplies.

We began with a landscape-style photo or picture and a piece of bleached muslin. Mine is a courtyard in St. Augustine. After creating a black-and-white photocopy version, we traced the major elements from the picture onto the muslin. Then we filled them in using watecolor paints, and added details with watercolor markers. After heat setting the image, it's now ready to incorporate in a crazy quilt block, or other project.

It was so much fun, that we decided to schedule a special event for our quilt guild, The Country Road Quilters. So next week, she and I will "hostess" a One-Day Get-Away at The Ice House, a beautiful new classroom at The Suwannee Valley Quilt Shop in Trenton, FL. We'll have the watercolor class and a luncheon at the cafe for 12 participants.

Debra is the brains and talent behind this event, so I'm helping out with the lunch arrangements, preparing the fabrics, and other details. I stitched these mini-notepads to put in the class packets along with a brush and muslin pieces. To make them, I cut dollar-store paper to size, and then added the fabric strips as toppers. It was a chance to try out a few of the fancy machine stitches and to use up some fabric scraps. These were strips cut from interfaced fabric leftover from the Jane Sassaman class and project.

Should be a fun day. I'll get pictures to share.