Monday, November 6, 2017

"Cracked Mud" Scarf class in Houston

We had an amazing felting class Wednesday at the show, the "cracked mud" scarf. I had seen this technique using wool on wool, but I put my spin on it and developed a technique that can be used on a silk chiffon scarf. The girls did an unbelievable job, each scarf was truly unique! I was so busy hopping around helping folks I didn't get many pictures, here are just  few of their beautiful work. They'll be even more glorious when they're actually dry!
 I love the touch of teal peeking up from the edges of this pretty purple scarf!
 Olive green on a royal purple silk chiffon base, just lovely!
 Teal and purple are always a winning combination, and the silk fibers set it off beautifully!
 Love these complimentary colors and asymmetric shapes!
Beautiful magentas and reds on a royal blue base, gorgeous!
 And this was their sample/inspiration piece for their scarf, I had so much fun making this piece!

Silk Scarf-dyeing class in Houston

Friday afternoon we had a silk scarf-dyeing class, everyone had a blast and made absolutely gorgeous scarves! Again, kudos to all my students who braved facing the downtown traffic of the Houston Astros' celebration parade after they won the World Series (go Astros, yay!) Downtown Houston was packed with over half a million fans, they even closed the schools for the day! But we were oblivious to all the chaos as we had a big scarf-dyeing party in the convention center. Here are a few of the beautiful works of art created by my students.

 The black dye is always a surprise as you can see in the above scarf, beautiful!

"Needle-felt a Masterpiece" class in Houston

My last class in Houston was Friday night, and truly, I was just impressed that the gals made it to class as crazy as downtown Houston was after the Houston Astros' celebratory parade that afternoon! One brave student had to park a half-mile from the convention center, yikes! But fiber fanatics are a determined bunch, and we had a wonderful class. The students each started with a silk crepe de chine sheet printed with a classical painting; they had their choice of Van Gogh's "Starry Night", or one of Monet's "Water Lilies" series. They got to choose from my assortment of wool fibers along with some silk, curly mohair, bamboo and Angelina fibers, and needle-felted to their heart's content. I also brought some hand-spuns and yarns for Van Gogh's trees in his piece, which worked beautifully. Here are some photos of some of the works in progress.

The last one was the piece I did as a sample for the class, this was such a fun and easy project! And it was very relaxing to sit and chat and needle-felt with other folks after a busy day.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Water Lilies

Next week is my fashion show at the PA National Quilt Extravaganza, and I can hardly wait! I love creating artsy clothing, and I am always inspired by the classics. A few years ago I had the privilege of seeing a phenomenal Monet exhibit with my daughter Maxi and her friends at the NC Museum of Art, and I was just blown away! The showing included a lot of his work, from the early years with sketches, to his later years when he painted his "Water Lilies" series with failing eyesight. One thing that really struck me was not only the talent of this man, but also the sheer size of his works. I never realized how huge some of these pieces were; it's hard to tell sometimes from a 2" picture in a textbook. I absolutely fell in love with his "Water Lilies" paintings, the soothing and refreshing colors, and impressionistic shapes, I'll never forget the beauty. And so of course I had to include a piece in my fashion show that was inspired by one of these paintings; fortunately, I have a couple of Monet's prints hanging on my wall, so I didn't have to look too far! Here is the piece that inspired my jacket:
Now it happened that I had snow-dyed a pretty celery green linen wrap skirt this past winter with some leftover blue dyes, and it had turned out really nice. I loved the finished colors and textures, but the style wasn't something I'd really wear much. However, as it was a long wrap-skirt, there was quite a bit of fabric to upcycle into something else! I browsed through my patterns and found a simple kimono-style jacket; when you're using fabric with lots of visual interest, you don't need a busy pattern style too. I laid it out and decided I had enough for the short version of the jacket, but not the lapels and cuffs. But- when I laid it next to some wool I'd marbled, the colors of the inks harmonized beautifully with the snow-dyed linen hues in blues. So, I spent an evening doing some marbling, I had just enough wool in a nice soft ivory flannel for the lapels and cuffs; here is what I did:
I used Ultramarine Blue and also a nice seafoam green and lime green, which I mixed.
I love this little area above, don't they look like little tropical fish? Angel fish or something. Anyway, this is the same technique of "Marbling on Wool" that I'll be teaching at the PA National Quilt Extravaganza next week, and also fom the article I wrote about in the June/July 2017 issue of Quilting Arts magazine.
After I marbled the wool and heat-set it, I cut everything out and started sewing. Everything worked pretty well, I had just enough fabric for the body of the jacket with very little left. There was a couple of nice squares left, and I decided to make a pocket out of one of them, as it was such a pretty area - too nice not to use.
And it's nice to have a pocket to throw your keys or lipstick in, right? Plus this piece just begged to be a pocket, I just had to hem it up again. (I had taken out the lower hem to give me an extra inch of fabric.) All in all, I was pretty pleased with how the jacket turned out; it will look great thrown over a pair of black pants and top for a dressy look, or equally good over a pair of jeans. Or even some cream linen pants. And it looks nice with the tote bag I created for the magazine, too.
Above is the simple yet functional pocket I added, such pretty textures!
I also happened to have these accessories on hand that coordinated perfectly: a nuno-felted scarf (I'll be teaching that at SAFF this fall in Asheville), a funky wet-felted greenery cluster, and this flower that was a sample I'd made when developing my #209 "Wooly Flower Basket & Wall Hanging" pattern. The piece needed a little shot of pink to tie in with the original Monet work, and this simple flower filled the bill beautifully, here's the pattern I used:
I'm excited to see my models for the show! This loose-fitting jacket will look great on a variety of figures, and the scarf and pin can be worn either around the neck or we might do a head-wrap thing to enhance someones hair, we'll see! I'm looking forward to opportunities to help all my models have a positive, uplifting experience, and the audience too!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Inspired by Klimt

I'm preparing for my fashion show September 14 at the PA National Quilt Extravaganza at the Oaks, and getting so excited as the time draws near! I hope to bring a positive message of unity and acceptance of one another, and inspire each attendee and model to soar in their creativity and outlook on life and themselves. I am so inspired by not only nature, but the art of the masters, and one of my favorite artists is Gustav Klimt. I love the color, beauty, and exuberance in his work! And so naturally, in my fashion show "Celebrating Art and Fashion", I had to include an ensemble that was inspired by his art.
This was my inspiration painting! I love her dress, scarf and hat, and the happy colors and shapes in the background. I knew I could make a pretty ensemble inspired by Adele's, and I knew a lovely young lady from my church that looked so much like Klimt's model. The background, however, was a bit more of a challenge!
I dug into my stash, and found the perfect colors for the background. I also found this great leaf print fabric; there was no way I was going to try to duplicate Klimt's artsy images from the top of his print!
 I pressed a fusible web (I like to use Pellon Wonder-under) to the wrong side of my cotton leaf fabric. Then I cut out the leaf shapes and fused them to National Nonwovens Woolfelt, shown in the lower left corner. I then cut around the leaf shapes, leaving a 1/8" margin around the perimeter of the leaves. I love using this "no-fray" technique, and have used it a lot in my wall hangings!
Next to tackle the middle and "floor" of the background. I knew the perfect friend from the Art Tarts group to help me! Pat has such an artsy edge and eye for color, and agreed to help me in this project. We spent the day cutting out flowers and circles and gluing them together. Then, with the help of my mom, I sprayed Aleene's Tacky Spray on the backs of every applique; that way, they would be movable (and in the end, removable too.) It was quick, easy, and now I can use my background fabrics later for other projeccts! The Woolfelt was a lifesaver too, no fraying and gorgeous colors.

The "floor" of the background with funky applique shapes!
 My next quest was to find a venue to set up for the photo shoot. Amanda from my church generously agreed to let us do it in the back of her beautiful shop, Blush in downtown Kernersville! I couldn't resist taking a few pictures of her gorgeous store, she has some awesome clothes and accessories!

I was also thrilled that Morgan agreed to be my model for the photo! I finished the ensemble which consisted of the dress (instructions on how to make the dress included below), hat (made from my #166 "Sun 'n Fun Hat" pattern in Black 100% Woolfelt), and scarves (samples from my silk scarf-dyeing classes), we met at Blush and set up for the photo shoot. Thank goodness we had lots of room for lights etc.; but my photo did need a little editing help with the background. Hooray for my daughter Maxi to the rescue! She helped tweak the lighting and borders, and made the photo a little more professional. And beautiful Morgan did a fantastic job modeling with her sunny smile, you can't hide her joy and happiness! Here are some of our finished shots, and yes, I do plan to wear this outfit in the future!
Morgan looked gorgeous in this ensemble, I really love the hat on her!
 Beautiful Morgan with her infectious smile!
Morgan's hat, made of 100% black Woolfelt rom my pattern #166 "Sun 'n Fun Hat". I added a bit of lace to the front brim and tied my marbled silk scarf from my scarf-dyeing class around the center band. The resist-dyed scarf at the bottom is also from this class. I really love this hat! And it's super easy to make, only 3 pattern pieces. The 100% Woolfelt really helps it hold its shape too, although I did add a fusible interfacing as well.

The dress was also easy to make! Most folks know I am all about quick 'n easy, and this dress is no exception. I started with a white linen shirt and several harmonizing prints of lightweight dress fabrics, silks and drapey polyesters. I used a 12" x 8-1/2" ruler to cut lots of squares, which I then sewed together to make a skirt of 27 rectangles: 3 long rectangles long, x 9 rectangles wide.
As you can see, I had a nice variety of prints in different sizes, shapes, and coordinating colors. Kind of like a quilt! I matched up the seams pretty well, but the good thing about prints? Camouflage!
I tried on my white linen shirt and marked where I wanted the waist seam to fall. Then I gathered up the upper edge of my patchwork skirt and sewed it right sides together to the shirt. I did have to add a placket (shown below), and I used the same technique you would use for a man's shirt cuff placket, leaving one of my center front skirt seams open for the top 6", and sewing a 1-1/4" placket there (so I could just slide the dress on when the shirt was unbuttoned.) Once that was done, I trimmed off the extra shirt fabric (shown above) and finished off the seam.
I then found the perfect trim at our local Joann's fabric store, doesn't this look like the original Klimt picture? I hemmed the lower edge of the skirt and sewed this great black trim on top.
So, at that point the basic dress was done, and it was easy-breezy comfy! But - it needed the belt. I had the perfect fabric in my stash, a beautiful rich royal blue brocade, I just needed a belt buckle. Keeping in mind that I had requested models of all shapes and sizes for my fashion show, I wanted something easy to make but adjustable. So I headed to the thrift store to see what kind of buckles I might find there.
I found exactly what I was looking for, an oversized d-ring buckle on a ready-made belt. I cut that baby off, cut a long sash of my blue fabric 9" wide x 48" long, and sewed up a belt with a slightly diagonal end. Then I sewed the other end to my d-rings, and, voila! The perfect belt to accent any girl's waist.

The last thing my ensemble needed was some jewelry. I remembered a wet-felted wool bead necklace I had made for a magazine a few years ago with an abalone shell pendant, it gave just the right look to my finished outfit! And these gorgeous shell earrings  hand-made by my friend Ileana of Maleku Jewelry in Greenville, NC added the perfect finishing touch!
So, I hope you'll try your hand at making a dress from an upcycled shirt and some fabric squares! I can see so many possibilities in this: wouldn't some batik rayons be beautiful in some autumn colors, maybe with a knit shirt? And don't forget the hat on those cool autumn days, my "Sun 'n Fun Hat" #166 is quick 'n easy to make!
I'll also be teaching a "Marbling on Wool" class at the PA National Quilt Extravaganza September 15, and silk scarf-dyeing at Sawtooth School of Visual Art in NC December 9 as well as Houston Quilt Festival November 3 with lots of these great techniques!

Hope to see you at my fashion show in PA on September 14 or at a class in the future!

"Art Tarts" Mask Class

A few weeks ago I had the good fortune to enlist the help of the awesome "Art Tarts" art quilt group on Concord, NC for  a special project - fun accessories for my upcoming fashion show! I had seen images of beautiful Venetian masks, very elaborate creations, and I guess they do a parade every year in Venice complete with costumes and masks celebrating their history. As my upcoming fashion show for the PA National Quilt extravaganza at the Oaks is pretty close to Halloween (Sept. 14), I thought it would be fun to include some whimsical masks in our lineup of accessories. But - I knew I would never have time to make them all, I'm showing 20+ ensembles at this show as well as teaching and vending. I immediately thought of the "Art Tarts" art quilt group. I've known this great group of gals for years, and they are not only nice but super-talented, artistic, and fun! So I contacted them and we did a little "bartering", and they agreed to give me a hand, woo-hoo! Here are the results and I couldn't be more pleased. I hope the audience in PA enjoys seeing these funky creations as much as we had making them!
 Carolyn checking her trim out for size and color, love that green!
 Barbara choosing her embellishments from my "embellishment buffet" of goodies I brought.
 Pat chose the perfect ensemble to coordinate with her artsy mask, lots of color!
 Beautiful! The mask at top is perfect for "City Lights", inspired by 1920's Chaplin movies.
 Love these!
 The beautiful white collection for the prairie aprons, and some gorgeous gold ones.
Some of the fabulous Art Tarts group! (Not all, some had to leave early.) And they have other talents too - here are a few of the beautiful nuno-felted scarves from our class last month, wow! They did an awesome job. Huge thanks to this talented group of gals for all their artsy help!