Sunday, April 15, 2018

Art Quilt Collage with Beagle and Lab!

I love dogs! I was delighted to donate some 6x6 small art quilt collages to the Craft Napa fundraiser. I posted them on Facebook and a high school classmate really loved this one.

Since it wasn't available to purchase, she commissioned me to make one like it -- but 12x12" and with her two dogs. How fun is that?

She wanted this same color palette and composition, but in order to make it interesting at the larger size, I'd definitely need to add more fabrics and stitch motifs.

So, I began by pulling these possible fabrics.

Fun, right? I knew I wanted some handwriting surface design (which was also in the original small piece), so I created that piece at the top. Just light blue fabric with the blue Sharpie Stained fabric marker. You can see I was also thinking about how I might use a selvage edge.

It took me a long time to figure out the right fabric and shapes for the dogs. I ended up painting fabric specifically to look like a beagle and a gray lab. Here they are!

Even though I pulled all those fabrics, I settled on these for the final fabric layer.

I was leaving lots of space for stitching by machine and by hand, but adding those fussy cut flowers also filled in the space nicely and framed the dogs.

And here's the finished piece.

I fussy cut and spliced the selvage of Leslie Tucker Jenison's fabric to include the word "love." 
And you can see the embroidered purple sprouts and the more-subtle free motion quilted sprouts. 

Orange Y stitches as in the original.

The dogs got just a bit of contour stitching. You can also see the wavy, hilly, gentle lines stitched in the teal background. (I stitched them and then fused the dogs on top.) 

So, there you have it. Dogs! I am so happy to say my friend was thrilled with the result.

Also... here's my dog, Lincoln. He's smiling!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Super Fun (and cheap!) Art Lessons from Cloth, Paper, Scissors

I was thrilled to create two Art Lessons for Cloth Paper Scissors. These are digital products that include a 19 page pdf document with tons of images and step-by-step instructions for the project AND links to how-to video tutorials. It's an amazing combination of a magazine article, mini-workshop, video lesson, image gallery and inspiration board! They are only $3.99 -- a great deal, I think.

Here's Expressive Surface Design.

These are the three art quilt collages I created for the art lesson.

Want to see close ups?

The art lesson covers creating surface design with handwriting and stamps...

*I love those Sharpie Stained markers!

also tips for creating a pleasing composition...

and even ideas for free motion stitching motifs.

Seriously, it's full of tips, inspiration and instruction that you could use in all kinds of mixed media art. I hope you'll check it out.

And here's Tiny Textured Treasures.

I created decorative plant stakes for this project... but you could use these sweet ornaments in lots of ways.

This lesson includes ideas for selecting a fabric palette...

and suggestions for composition...

plus tutorials for some of my favorite improvisational embroidery stitches!

I'd love to see what you create with inspiration from either of these Art Lessons. Show me your handwriting, stamped patterns, free motion quilting, art quilt collages and tiny embroidery stitches!

Monday, February 05, 2018

Big Blue Tree Art Quilt is Done!

Ever Arise Eventide, 44x40"

Way back in October, I was itching to start something new and I wanted some new work to enter in the Quilters Guild of Dallas show... and the Studio Art Quilt Associates new exhibition Dusk to Dawn. Each year the Dallas show includes a category called "show chair theme" and this year it is Tree of Life. So, I got it in my head to make a quilt with a tree in a nighttime setting that would fit both calls for entry. I decided the tree should be dark blue, so I went shopping.

Looks like someone had an accident -- at least they were in the appropriate color section.

I ended up buying these three pieces of fabric, the blue for the tree, the gray for the background and the stripe because I thought it would be an interesting accent piece. (I was wrong. It never worked itself in.)

Next I set about drawing the big tree.

I put the sketch up on the design wall to get a sense of scale and proportion that I couldn't see on the table top. You have to be able to step back. (True for art making and for life in general.)

Then I cut it out. (The blue fabric already had Misty Fuse fusible webbing applied to the back at this point.)

As I cut, I carefully preserved the negative thinking it could make a good background for a second big tree quilt. (My trusty iron should give you a sense of scale. It's a nice iron. And it's green!)

Ok, so I've got the tree. Now what? I made a few notes and sketches to help me move on to the next step. It was important to consider the size requirements of the SAQA call for entry. (Looking back at these notes, I see I didn't follow through with adding any new surface design techniques, but I did keep in mind "less is more.")

Not too many pictures from the next few steps, but I must have done lots of auditioning, considering, folding, pinning, scrunching, considering and reconsidering before I eventually ended up with this.

Next I needed to design a moon. I considered these fabrics.

I really liked that piece with the handwriting, but the scale was too large. So I added some smaller, tighter handwriting to a new piece of cloth and eventually cut out this moon shape. (Here is my video tutorial for adding handwriting to fabric from my YouTube channel. It's also covered in my Art Lesson Expressive Surface Design. Here's my favorite pen.)

So, here's the background with the moon. (That swirly gray print on the left by Leslie Tucker Jenison is beautiful, but definitely wasn't working here.)

I worked through several different ladder designs and finalized all the background fabric details. Then I fused the top to batting. (I like Hobbs Premium 80/20.)

I always add hand stitched details to my art quilts. Those stitches go through just the top and batting, so here I'm auditioning various thread colors.

Because this quilt is so big, I often had to lay it over the red loveseat in my studio to decide where the next stitches needed to go.

After the hand stitching was complete, I fused on a backing fabric. I love this stage when it starts to feel nice and flat and the backing gives it more structure and it's ready for free motion quilting. (Sitting on the ironing board is my workbook Head, Heart and Hands: Developing Your Creative Voice. I swear, this isn't deliberate product placement. I'd just come back from teaching at Craft Napa and unpacked items were strewn everywhere. But if you'd like to check it out, you can find it in my Etsy shop spiral bound or pdf download.)

I wanted to create a bit of a glow around the moon, so I sketched some possible quilted motifs.

Here's what I ended up with.

Once all the free motion quilting was done, I squared it up. I didn't actually use the floor tiles to measure, but it's nice to see it lined up and straight.

And here is the finished quilt (same picture from the top of this post).

Ever Arise Eventide, 44x40"

I think the glow around the moon turned out quite nicely. Can you just barely see it in this picture? That's how it's supposed to be!

Here's a detail shot where you can see the sprout stitches and the Y stitches. (There is a video tutorial of both of these stitches in my Art Lesson Tiny Textured Treasures with Cloth Paper Scissors.)

I was also really pleased with the wavy, contour lines in the gray background area. They add really nice texture, but not too tight and stiff. They also suggest rolling hills which emphasizes the idea of a contemporary landscape.

Here's a detail of the top section including a perfect stripe from Turtle Hand Batik.

I took my time with this quilt, a full four months from start to finish. There were lots of things happening during that time. (I taught at Quilt Festival in Houston, Thanksgiving and Christmas, teaching in Nebraska and at Craft Napa, another trip to California to see my sister, and you know... just everyday stuff.) But, I enjoyed each step in the process and the pace felt just right.

I hope you're looking up in the evenings and noticing the shadows of the trees and the cycle of the moon -- and the cycle of ever moving upward.

(Note that all Amazon links in this post are affiliate links which means that if you click through and purchase the product I get a small percentage of the purchase price at no additional cost to you. Thank you.)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

All The Art Quilts I Made in 2017

It's not likely I'll finish anything else in the next three days, so here's the collection of art quilts I made in 2017. I'm posting them here without much commentary, review or introspection. Not all the pictures are great. It's just a tally.

At the very end, I've included what I consider small, medium and large and how many I made in each category.


White Dog with Purple Sprouts, 6x6

White Dog Under A Green Sky, 6x6

White Dog with Orange Posies, 6x6

This White Dog series will be available at the "Think Pawsitive" fundraiser at Craft Napa in January.

In A Moment, 12x9

To the Light, 12x9

Everything At Once, 12x9

This series of bowl quilts were made to illustrate an upcoming article in Quilting Arts magazine.

A collection of 5x7s made throughout the year

Several of these 5x7 pieces will be available at the Artist Market at Craft Napa in January and in my Etsy shop after.


Flourishing Framework 1, 12x12

Framing Flourish 2, 12x12

Framing Flourish 3, 12x12

These three pieces were made as part of the Cloth Paper Scissors Art Lesson Expressive Surface Design which includes a video tutorial. (It's only $3.99! Check it out here.)


Spiral and Seedling, 18x18

Beetle Pincushions

Several of these will also be available at the Craft Napa Artist Market.

Small Favors, 20x20


Tiny Treasures, 3x5

These small decorative fabric collages were created for the Cloth Paper Scissors Art Lesson "Tiny Textured Treasures" which includes a video tutorial of some of my favorite embroidery stitches.

Sun Rises. Tree Grows. Door Opens., 20x20


Eight Design Guides program example, 8x10

This small piece was made for a program to illustrate how I use the Eight Design Guides from my book, Art Quilt Collage: A Creative Journey in Fabric, Paint, and Stitch.

Rising Resting, 40x40


Nourishment, 6x6

Moonlit Grove, 18x18

Cultivate, 7x5

Nourish, 7x5

These two pieces were made for a fundraising auction for the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show.


Wiggly Tree, 8x8


Wings and Leaves, 8x6

Cup of Comfort, 8x5

These two pieces were part of the Spotlight Auction at the SAQA Conference.

Captivating Compositions workshop samples, 6x6

I don't really consider these "finished" art quilts, but it's a great teaching tool and definitely something that got "done" in 2017.


untitled, 12x12

Light as a Feather, 16x20

Both of these pieces were made as demo samples for my appearance on The Quilt Show.

Cultivate and Climb, 20x20


Cup of Kindness, 48x32

38 Small -- Less than 9" on all sides

13 Medium -- 9 to 30" on all sides

2 Large -- greater than 30" on any side

Total: 53, not including the beetles!

Other statistics I could tally, but not right now...

How many were made for specific calls for entry or publication
How many were made mostly to sell
How many am I really really pleased with
How many do I consider very weak
How many have sold
How many were made for charity