Sunday, May 30, 2010

Using Lutradur

I promised I'd show the progression of "Celtic Roots" from start to finish. It all started with this package of Lutradur. I bought it last Fall with not a clue what to do with it. But as you know by now, I love to experiment with just about anything I can get my hands on.
Lutradur is a Mixed Media sheet that you can cut, paint, fuse, stamp, fold, stitch, ink, run through your printer and who knows what else. It feels and looks almost like very stiff dryer sheets

So with my idea to create a sort of 3D tree with Celtic knots for roots and lots of plaids as foliage, I got busy drawing my design.
To make the "tree", I began by using a small amount of fusible web to fuse two slightly overlapped sheets of the Lutradur together so that I would now have a large enough continuous piece. (All of these photos should be large enough to see some detail when you click on them) Can you see where the pieces are joined? I drew my tree and roots onto the Lutradur and then roughly painted the trunk, roots and earth. No need to be all that careful as I knew I would be cutting it out and adding stitching later.
The Lutradur is painted and ready to be trimmed to the finished shapeFabric selectionBeginning to build the layers........each foliage piece overlaps the one before it

Everything is pinned in place to see how it all will work out
The Lutradur tree is folded out of the way so that I could easily quilt the sky (which is my own hand painted fabric)
As I hand appliqued the foliage, I left openings for the branches to be tucked into

Filling in the "earth" area with lots of stitching using a very dark brown thread helps to make the roots really stand out

Above is a look at how the tree branches tuck into the foliage, I had to quilt a section, tuck in a branch, quilt the next section and so on.

With the piece being an irregular shape I knew the binding would be a bit of a challenge. I felt that the bindings would need to match the various areas to get the effect I was after. It was a little tricky to do but if you leave yourself lots of "wiggle" room you can manipulate it so that it goes exactly where you want it to. Below are close up shots of the binding. Notice how the angle changes as it wraps the to the back.

and finally the finished piece. Celtic Roots is roughly 16"x 21" made for the Wee Quilt Challenge, This years theme, was Celtic Connections. Since no matter who you are, we all are connected to family (for better or worse) I chose to do a family tree of sorts and asked how many plaids you might find in yours. Some wild thread colour was used in the quilting of the foliage to represent those "colourful" family members we all have. ( as with all Wee Quilt challenges, use of plaid is a must)
These challenges are great fun and I almost always learn something new with each new piece I create.
It should be noted that you can cut very intricate patterns in Lutradur with a heat/stencil cutting tool, but for this piece I chose to keep my entire Lutradur piece intact, and instead get a raised appearance with the heavy stitching in the background.
I hope this answers many of your questions, but if you have more, just ask.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Doodle and Wonderful Surprises

Jaye at ArtQuiltmaker is still hard at it providing us with weekly prompt words. Have you gotten involved yet? Give it a try, it is a fabulous way to get inspired. There are now a list of 60 plus words, so no least a couple have to spark your interest. You can do as many or as few as you like. Click here for more info, here and here for the lists of words.

Prompt word # 68 is Oval.
It occurred to me that safety pins are kind of oval in shape

A little while back Jaye was having a giveaway and I was one of many who were to receive some beautiful silk pieces she had acquired from a tie factory that used to be near her. I thought I might get a few pieces but OMG, just look at what I received in today's mail. I had to show you both the right and wrong sides of these fabrics. What will I do with them??? Don't know just yet, but I will for sure try to use these in something fabulous. oh.......and more ovals????
Click on the photos to get a better view.

This is turning into a pretty great week. Yesterday I attended the Scottish Tea/ artist reception at McDougall Cottage in Cambridge, Ontario, where the 8th annual "Wee" Quilt Challenge is being displayed until Labour day. Once again, the artist's have outdone themselves with their gorgeous interpretation of the theme "Celtic Connections"
These "wee" quilts can be no larger than 24"x24" and must include is absolutely amazing to see what can be done with such little real estate.

I am completely delighted to tell you that my piece "Celtic Roots" was awarded an Honourable Mention
Here it is hanging at the show.
In the next day or two, I will show how this original design progressed from a tiny little sketch to the final quilt. It was a great learning experience and I enjoyed working on this one all the way through.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

First and Third

Nope, not talking baseball. Do you remember this hockey guy I appliqued?......... well he was created to enter a block contest and was chosen as the 1st place winner.
The theme was "Snow on the Roof....Fire in the Hearth" My block represents the guys who play in a local senior hockey league age 55 and up into their 80's who play 3 times a week, they actually play 90 minute games.
So even though they have "snow on the roof" there is most definitely "fire in the hearth"

I would love to show you the process on this one but can not find the photos so a description will have to do. I began by creating this drawing based on an old hockey trading card, then broke it down into small sections. The striped effect on the socks and jersey were created using red SetaColour paint on white cotton. The face detail was drawn with pigma pens and colour pencil. He is entirely hand appliqued with dimension added to the hair by thread painting using white and pale grey thread. Some simple embroidery takes care of details like skate laces and blades.

Each year the Joseph Schneider haus Museum in Kitchener has a quilt block contest with a different theme. Blocks are entered, a quilt is made and then raffled off as part of their Fundraising efforts. Yesterday was the Quilting Bee, where these lovely ladies got together and spent the day deftly laying in all those beautiful hand quilted stitches.
Here you see the quilt right as it came off the rack.

Last year's quilt was also on display, it's theme was "Wash Day Blues" and it is a gorgeous quilt. I also have a block in this one which earned a third place.( middle row, second from the right)

And yet another third place award came at this years President's Challenge held at my guild. We were asked to do a 12" square finished quilt depicting something that represents London, Ontario. The idea is that we can display them as a "welcome" at next May's CQA event Quilt Ontario 2011. I choose to do the logo design as my entry, you can read about the process here and see some of the other fabulous entries here
(I think some of the ladies were to shy to have their photos taken.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Paint, Inks, Gel and a doodle

This week's prompt word is Leaf............and I am Canadian eh!

My last couple of posts have raised a number of questions that I will try to answer here.

What textile medium do I like? Well, I have tried a few of the ones on the market and so far, the one I like best is the Jo Sonja's and although it does not make the fabric "stiff" you can still tell it is there. If you are using a paint not recommended for fabric this one is a good choice.

With paints or inks that are recommended for fabric, I am really liking the clear Aloe Vera Gel. I wanted to see what happens after it is washed.
I was asked what pens I use on fabric. I have a couple of brands of pigment or Micron pens which are waterproof and fade proof archival ink, but I also sometimes use Sharpie Markers. For this experiment I used the same Sharpie marker that I use in my sketchbook when I doodle.

I started by redrawing that flower from a couple of weeks ago. The pencil I LOVE, is General's Sketch and Wash all surface graphite. It goes on fabric effortlessly. Use a light hand and it washes right out.
tip....Freezer paper ironed to the fabric's wrong side acts like a stabilizer
I then used a Sharpie marker to completely doodle on the white fabric and only added a few details on the other which would next be painted.

So another question asked, was if I mixed the ink or paint with the gel first. The answer to that one is yes and no. I have tried both ways and I have to say that with the all purpose inks I like to mix my colours first ( the inks are very thin and fluid) but with the paints( which tend to be thicker) I prefer to brush the gel over the surface of the fabric and then load my brush paint. Either way works, so I guess it is personal preference. I am not a painter by any means.

I also wanted to know could the gel be left overnight if I happened to be working on a larger project. I found that it was fine even after a couple of days. I had slipped my palette into a plastic bag which seemed to keep everything from drying out.

Once I had added colour with paint, ink and gel I also added more details using coloured Sharpie markers. Both pieces were heat set and then it was time to do a wash test. They were washed in warm water and regular laundry detergent. I found that nothing bled, I lost no colour, the marker stayed stable and best of all the gel rinses right out leaving nothing behind on the fabric. (Most textile mediums do change the "hand"of the fabric to some degree.)
I should note that Sharpies are not recommended for fabric. I have not had any problems with them yet but then again I am not creating heirloom pieces either.

So not only did I learn a few things, I also have a couple of Thank you postcards ready to put in the mail.

Friday, May 14, 2010

and Even More Graffiti have you had enough yet?
Here are more pictures of the progression of this piece.

This is my first painted piece and in working on it, I have learned a great deal. For one thing I learned that not all textile mediums meant for fabric paint are the same. The one used for this is very thick and it was difficult to get a nice smooth flow with the paint. I have since tried a few others that work much MUCH better.
Once the central portion was all drawn, I began to paint from the center out. Some doodling inside the lettering was done prior to adding paint and some was done after.

Once I finished painting the "circle" I still needed to decide what I would do with the corners.

Yup, that is the way I work, I never know exactly what I am doing with a piece until I am right in the thick of it. I thought it needed some sort of a "flourish" but I wanted it to still relate to the design. Since the quilt's design is asking a question I decided that these stylized curly Q Question marks were just the thing. Extra stone and brick separates them from the central message.

When it came time to figure out what I would use for backing and binding I took a piece of that painted background fabric and painted little squares of each paint colour I had used (sort of made my own selvage dots) and took that with me to shop.
I came across a batik with the exact colours I was looking for and I think the binding compliments the piece very well.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

More Graffiti and a doodle

Let's start with the doodle. This week's prompt word is Home and since it is Baseball season I thought I would do........ home plate.

I promised I would show how my piece "Graffiti" evolved. ( see earlier posts)
I began with a fairly simple idea. I wanted to use text to create an interesting design but also have a message.

My first task was to figure out not only what I wanted to say, but also how to do lettering that had a graffiti "feel" but still be legible to the viewer.

I played in my sketchbooks until I thought I had something usable. I drew one section and photographed it, I printed 2 the right way around and the other mirror imaged. By printing 6 of each of these, cutting and taping them together.....I was then able to see the secondary designs that developed.

So here are some photos of the progression............Click on any of the images to get a better view.

The piece of fabric you see on the table started out as plain off white cotton. I used Setacolour paint to colour the background on which I would do all of the pen and brush work. It is almost a lime green in the centre and works it's way from there through yellows and into oranges.

Here you see the very early stage of the pen work on the fabric.

I plan to continue to show more of this in coming posts.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Off The Wall

I attended yesterday's opening reception for The 2010 Grand National Quilt Show.
Not only was it a wonderful afternoon spent gazing at some incredible fiber art but I also had the opportunity to speak with so many fabulous artists who were on hand.

This show has no funding and the members of the organizing committee are all hard working, dedicated, volunteers without whom this show would not be a reality. In the face of several challenges they have once again presented yet another impressive,"must see" exhibition.

Awards are made possible thanks only to incredibly generous sponsors such as The Toyota Motor Manufacturing Company, and Janome Canada (who is awarding a Janome machine to this year's "Award of Excellence" winner as chosen by the judges and at the close of the show they will award an Elna Machine (division of Janome) to the viewers choice winner

In addition to The Grand Prize, and Award of Excellence there are 2 Curators Choice awards, a new award for "Innovation" and honourable mention. Additional sponsors are The Waterloo County Quilters Guild, Triangle Sewing Centre, Creative Sisters ,Greenwood Quiltery and A Needle Pulling Thread Magazine
I certainly hope I have not forgotten anyone.

As one of the award recipients I really want to express a huge thank you to everyone involved, I am thrilled and deeply honoured. It is amazing just to have a piece in the exhibit.
and yes "Grafiti" earned a Curators Choice Award..........did I mention I am thrilled????
The photo above, was taken during the awards presentation........the room was so full, many guests have spilled out into the foyer and other gallery rooms

Okay so in my last post I told you that I would be showing you how Graffiti evolved. I told you it had a message and asked if you could decipher for now I will show you the message.
Here is a close up of one of the 12 sections. Can you read it from the center out? below is a diagram that spells it out for you.

The idea was to have a piece that at first glance simply appeared to be an interesting, somewhat abstract design, but intriguing enough to draw the viewer in for a closer look.
Graffiti is likely one of the most controversial of all art forms and while yes technically it is vandalism when done without the property owners permission................In many cases it is also undeniably ART.

So I promise in my next post you will see Graffiti's skeleton.

..........and check this out. The Quilt Rat is being featured on this site as her "Blog of the Week" Thank you Carol......gotta love the quilt blogging community!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


The 2010 Grand National Quilt show opened today. This year's theme is "Off the Wall"

I am thrilled to say that my piece titled, "Graffiti" was accepted into this juried show and I am really looking forward to attending the opening reception being held tomorrow afternoon at Homer Watson House & Gallery in Kitchener. Maybe I'll get to meet a few of you there.
The show runs until June 13th so if you are in the area, I do hope you'll get a chance to attend.

I have always been inspired by some of the remarkable graffiti I see, so this piece is making a statement.....well asking a question really.

I am not sure if you will be able to decipher what it is saying from this photo but just let me tell you that this quilt design is made up almost entirely of lettering, there are 12 sections or "pies" with every other one being mirror imaged that repeat the message, it reads from the center out. This piece is a whole cloth, hand drawn and painted quilt.
Can you tell what it says? I'll explain more in my next post

I really enjoyed quilting this one so click on this photo for a bit of a closer look at the stitching.

In the next few posts I will be showing how this piece progressed from start to finish so I hope you will want to follow along.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Yup.....that is the most recent Creative Prompt Project word..........Arches.
It would seem that Jaye likes to keep us on our toes. So, here is what I came up with........nicely arched stilettos, placed back to back to form "arches"
The CPP is always looking for more participants, click on Clara the Cow on my side bar to learn more

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Trial and Error

For some time now, I have been wanting to try using inks and paints with Aloe Vera gel as a medium to blend colours in painting on fabric. I don't like to feel as though I am "wasting" time or supplies.......but you know how it is......if you wait for the right project to come along it may never happen.
So I took that same doodle from last week and drew it on fabric again, changing it slightly each time I traced it. I used a brush to apply the clear Aloe Vera Gel ( the stuff you use for sunburns) onto my image.

Then began applying the paint or ink to each one. I photographed the results with text showing each medium used below it so you could see the end result.
Each one ( ink or paint) was used straight from the bottle and applied with a brush. I found that I had the most control with the paints as the ink is very thin and you have to be extra careful that you don't get "bleeding"and even though I was extremely careful I still got some colour bleed, I know that it would not bother most people but it really bugs me when it happens, and too me, ruins the piece....... ah, but not really.
I used it as an opportunity to do something I had not originally intended. So with the ruined piece I pressed some paper backed fusible to the wrong side, cut it out and put it onto a red background for a completely different look.
Copyright Jill Buckley