Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Art Quilting Feeds Artwear

Two Inspiring DVDs by Barbara Olson and Barbara Shapel
The folks at Ninepatch Media sent me two DVDs. You might remember the article in the archives about how they make their dvds. I don't have time to sit long enough to watch them in their entirely now, so I thought I'd give them 5 minutes each. Yah, right! I had to remind myself to stop and turn them off because I was fascinated. First was Barbara Olson presents Jumpstart Your Creativity. My reaction to Barbara Olson, whose work has intimidated me so much over the years: so that's how she does it! That's not so hard! And it sure is a burst of freedom to work her way. Of course if you're like me you'll ponder each fabric that you apply and never get done. She's one of those people that has a special talent at combining prints and colors, and in designs that are truly art in any medium. But maybe I could pick fabrics with my eyes closed and just add them (only kidding). I can see doing this on the back of a coat or jacket and on the front too, then cutting it up the middle. This is definitely a chance to play and see what happens when you simplify her technique. Her DVD includes a PDF file of her Wild Child pattern so you can practice what she teaches. If you don't know who Barbara Olson is: Her work will knock your socks off!

The second DVD is Barbara Shapel presents The Art of Machine Quilting. She explains how she taught herself machine quilting over a period of 4 years. She didn't know all the rules--like don't cross a seam more than once. So she teaches what she's figured out. This is another person teaching us new creative ways to work. It's all inspiring and interesting. I have to spend more time with this Barbara too so that I can internalize her ideas and use them. Small point that becomes big for me was to watch Barbara prepare for quilting--how she slides the quilt under her arm and positions her body. Her work is striking too! Have a look at her gallery:

Go to to order your copies. There's nothing quite like highly creative women to get your juices flowing!

72 Ways Not to Stipple or Meander
Dijanne Cevaal writes a blog about her experiences, with dyeing and particularly with sewing and quilting her pieces You really should take the time to read her blog and look through the archives. Obviously she's travelled to exotic places that have brought special flavors to her work. I'm talking about the vases, the pomegranates, the colors, and themes that make me think of Morocco and Egypt and Syria. When you look closely, even on a computer screen, you'll see the fine quilting she does to enhance her fabric "pictures." Dijanne has put together two self-published books about her quilting designs: 72 Ways Not to Stipple or Meander and 72 More Ways Not to Stipple or Meander. You can also get them on CD which costs less. I got my copies the other night and had to look right away. I tend to quilt with any design that evolves as I move the fabric in the sewing machine. But Dijanne has given me some great ideas that stretch my horizons. Not only do I want to use some of these for quilting, knowing they will add a richness to my work, but also I can see that I could create new fabric for garments. Instead of painting on designs, I could stitch them on the surface. I'm quite intrigued by the effects. She also has a cd about working with Lutradur. That's next on my list. Dijanne is in the process, or has just moved to France for a year. So if you don't get an immediate response, be aware that she's in transit and in transition, but she did tell me she has prepared to fill orders for the CDs no matter where she is.

More Whiffs Glimmers & Left Ouevres
Another blog I read regularly is More Whiffs Glimmers & Left Ouevres written by Deb Lacativa. I get a kick out of her wit and the whimsical art she stitches by hand. Deb dyes fabric--any kind of fabric that comes her way. She experiments and that stimulates me to try things outside the box. But she stimulates me another way. Once in awhile I order scrap bags from Deb. It's a wonder how by holding the scraps someone else has dyed and cut, you learn something. I haven't sewn down my latest foray through her fabrics, but there were all kinds of bits and pieces that broke some of my barriers when I set them into my design. I'll show you when I get them stitched. I'm thinking of doing them by hand like Deb does.

Yvonne Porcella Lecture
As I mentioned before, I've become editor of the Textile Arts Council newsletter and as such I'm privy to their upcoming program. I don't want to steal their thunder but I do want you to know that Yvonne Porcella is going to lecture about the development of the art quilt. I suppose that means she likely won't be lugging her kimonos to display on that stage, but Yvonne makes fabulous wearable art so you can't help but learn by hearing about her work and that of others. The lecture starts at 10 am at the de Young Museum, Koret Auditorium, January 16 in San Francisco. As an added treat, look at her wearable art here:

Fiberarts Magazine
Today I got my copy of the annual Wearable Art issue of Fiberarts magazine I haven't even looked inside. As usual the cover is eye-popping.
I had always thought to applique little bits of fabric onto foundation fabric of a garment. In the same or a gradation of the foundation color, this looks so rich! I've done it once with many multi-colored squares. It was the project I was working on when we decided to move so now it's a UFO in a bag in the studio. What surprised me was that I used multi-colored thread, hand-stitched the squares and all that work sort of disappears. I have to do more stitching with floss or I have to whip it down with machine stitching. Soon. But it still won't look as elegant and rich as that cover photo.

Of course I had to look inside the magazine, even briefly. There are some surprises. There are still articles for what I call the museum crowd, but what's this?--a small competition for fibers--felting etc. Hmm, and then there's a purse with patchwork applique. That's unusual for this magazine. There were even how-to instructions on how to care for vintage clothing and how to do reverse applique. Now that is very different. So I went to the front and I see that Patricia Bolton who co-founded Quilting Arts magazine with her husband, is now Editorial Director of Fiberarts. I presume she at least influenced editorial decisions. I was going to drop my subscription to Fiberarts. Now I'll stick around to see what happens.

Slav European Art Books
I've been paging through the eBay site of Slav European Art Books. I've mentioned Jan's bookstore before. I have gotten to page 17 twice and by that time my eyes give out. I need to be able to see the rest of his pages because there are such riches there. It's like going to a library to do research, only few libraries have this wealth of information about costumes and embroideries in one place, I'm pretty sure. I've been stopping only at embroidery books and mostly only Polish ones--not Greece, Turkey, China, Japan, India, and barely Russia or the various countries of the former USSR. He provides sample photos/pages from these books and when you look at so many, you can't help but get a sense of the cultures. Imagine when everyone made and wore a national costume complete with traditional embellishments and adornments. I can't help noticing what's the same and what's different. I wonder why some of the countries are heavy on using cross-stitch, and others have many more designs heavily filled in with satin stitch. Things to find out. I suggest you spend some time at for some rich cultural lessons or at his store on e-Bay. You're going to want some of these books!

J Hittle Wholesale Sewing Supplies
I've discovered a discount place for notions: J Hittle Wholesale Sewing Supplies No doubt there are others but this is what I found readily. I get an email every week listing what is discounted for the week. Sometimes I find things I didn't know existed. Other times I find what is no longer in local stores--like large black hooks to close my vest. Sometimes you have to buy in quantity, but as long as I'm paying shipping, I'd just as soon get a lifetime supply of something practical. This time I found Mesh Transfer Canvas from Clover. I finally tried the old copying trick where you trace a design onto netting, lay the net on the fabric and trace with chalk, thus transferring the design. It's a little rough though it works if details aren't fine. This sheet of plastic with lots of tiny holes looks to be more stable than the net. I'll try it out soon.

Top Down Sweaters
Someone asked me about top-down knitting and I pulled out a book I'd gotten from That Patchwork Place Top Down Sweaters, Knit to Fit from Top to Bottom. Doreen L. Marquart. Martingale & Co, 20205 144th Ave. NE Woodinville, WA 98072-8478. ISBN 978-1-56477-697-6 The patterns in this book are basic and practical. A couple have the wow factor for me. When and if I finally sit down to knit, it has to be a challenge--I hate knitting miles of plain "fabric." I especially like puzzle patterns, and there are at least a couple of them in this book. I'd like to try them via crochet too, The book incudes a capelet, variations on pullovers with textured designs appearing toward the waist, vests, sweaters, and my favorite, a modular jacket in garter stitch. Knitting techniques and assembly instructions start the book. The more I look at it, the more I'm tempted to try something there. Till next time, enjoy the season! Rosalie

No comments: