Thursday, November 20, 2014

My First You Tube Video Interview!

Vicki Anderson of Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine interviewed Val and me at Quilt Market last month.
The video came out great!  Thanks, Vicki~

Here it is...(click on the link below.) Allie and Val at Quilt Market

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Surface Design Essentials for the Printed Quilt, A DVD by Sue Reno

I have been an admirer of Sue Reno's work for many, many years--long before we became acquainted via Facebook and our blogs.  I've always loved her botanically based quilts...and the highly evolved design aesthetic she has developed while working with the prints she makes on fabric. 

But I never knew how she did it until now. In her new instructional DVD from Quilting Arts, as Sue says,

I distill my years of experience with four favorite surface design techniques—cyanotype, heliography, collagraphy, and thermofax printing—using clear and concise demonstrations.  There are examples of how I use prints in my work, as well as chapters on the basics of quilt design.  Whether you are new to surface design, or want to add to your existing design toolbox, there’s something here for everyone. 

I am absolutely new to surface design: it has never been remotely part of my repetoire.  I have bought supplies now and again at quilt shows, inspired by the demos and samples in the booths, but rarely used them.
With Sue's encouragement, I pulled some out and put them to work.

Before I show you what I did, I want to say what a pleasure it was to watch someone who has mastered her craft, is so clearly in her element and so obviously enthusiastic about it.  She doesn't waste a word--but gives great detailed advice and logical explanations for everything she does.
As an online teacher myself, I can also tell that the preparation she did for this DVD was extensive, thorough, and meticulously organized.  You will not find a better introduction to printing on fabric with these techniques than this.

That said, if you look at the view out my kitchen window, you will see that now is not the time to try either Cyanotype or Helliographic printmaking.  There will be no sun around here in SW Washington for about 5 to 6 months.  Those techniques require sun and heat, and what we have is rain, rain, and then more rain.

I do not have the supplies or a screen for Thermofax printing either.

This left the Collographic technique, which is essentially building a collage on a flat surface and using it to print with.
Sue describes this technique as freeform, playful, and unexact.
That's for me!  Plus I had some acrylic paints, textile medium, and brushes on hand.  Stripped down to its essentials, the Collographic technique doesn't require any more than these basic supplies to try it out.

And I had a purpose to print for too.  I'll be making a 36" X 36" quilt for an invitational show, and needed some sky fabric as well as some brightly colored, vivid flowers.  It's going to be a garden quilt.

Before I began making actual prints, I warmed up, so to speak, by painting some flowers, some that had been fussy cut from printed cotton, and some that were pre-made by M & S Schmalberg

What a difference a little paint makes!
Already, Sue's DVD has made a big difference in my coming quilt...I'm glad I tried something new. (These flowers will be raw edge appliqued eventually.)

Then it was time to take the plunge and make my first ever in my life print.

My goal for the sky was to create interest and movement, almost like the wind.  I had this idea....

...that I would use a piece of the very textural lace I have in my stash as a stamp.  I didn't have the Gelliprint or breyer or other supplies Sue mentioned for the collograph technique, but I knew I could make a print by just loading the lace with paint and....

I made several prints, adding some water to thin the paint down, doing multiple prints on one piece of fabric...

or using a finer piece of lace....

In the end I had a nice assortment and had had a blast printing, too.

I felt that Sue was right there with me while I worked.
Below is a screenshot I took from the DVD.

And here is me, having big time fun.

I started laying out my sky on a muslin foundation...early days, just playing with the elements I made, plus some other hand-dyed fabric my friends Val and Stacey made.

I'm thinking that quilting around that printed lace is going to be very wind-like.

The flowers are going to be extra special with their added pigments, too.

I  am going to paint some more flowers.  Can't imagine NOT painting them anymore.

At the end of Sue's DVD she shows in many quilts how her deep immersion in the techniques she presents is put to committed purpose.  Her body of work is truly inspiring.  One technique she mentioned towards the end, when she talked about the importance of the actual quilting to the overall design of the quilt....she quilts in two layers sometimes!  First she echo quilts, then goes over that with another layer, in heavier thread, in a different design.
Never ever would I have thought of that concept...but you'll be seeing it in my sky....

I have one minor quibble with the DVD, because I am such a newbie to printing.  I would have really appreciated a Supply List and Materials Resource list.  What was required for each technique went by pretty fast, and I wasn't familiar with most of it. Even a list put up on the screen so I could pause the DVD to write it down or take a screenshot would be a big help.  At the very end of the DVD they flash a website,  Maybe they sell everything....if they do, putting together "beginners' supply kits" would be helpful.

But any internet savvy shopper can find what is needed, so this is a minor point.

When I was at Quilt Market last month, I took the time to search out Sue's quilt, "Silk Mill", in the Tactile Architecture exhibit.

Now I have a much more informed idea of the skill and vision that went into the creation of this art.

Sue invited some other quilt artists on this Blog Tour, to offer their response to her new DVD.  The schedule is here:

11/5/14: Sue Reno
11/6/14: Susan Brubaker Knapp
11/7/14: Allie Aller
11/8/14: Diane Doran
11/9/14: Vivien Zepf
11/10/14: Virginia Spiegel
11/11/14: Cynthia St. Charles
11/12/14: Natalya Aikens
11/13/14: Lyric Kinard

I can't wait to follow along.

Thank you, Sue, for unleashing a whole new form of energy into my work.  It was fun, and I am grateful.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Quilting the New Classics by Michele Muska

What a great book!

Quilting the new Classics by Michele Muska  is absolutely packed with information and fresh inspiration for all quilters. Ten traditional quilt patterns, such as Yo-Yo's, Bear's Paw, and Crazy Quilts are featured in both classic and modern presentations, complete with instructions for each of the 20 quilts, by 20 different working designers. Therefore, this book is a great introduction to quilting as well as a tremendous new resource for the seasoned quilter.

Michele's philosophy on creativity that fed the concept and execution of this book is worth noting:  In all her artwork she strongly believes in working in the moment, and quilting is no different. She enjoys the process of creating as much as the end result. That is what Michele believes her new book "Quilting the new classics" will do for her readers. Her hope is for readers to take liberties in the creative process once they learn the basics. It is also why she gave the designers in her book free reign to design a quilt based on the pattern they were given.

I was honored indeed to be asked to contribute to the Crazy Quilting Section, being given the task of creating a "modern" crazy quilt.  And I surely took some liberties!

Now, then, how did I do that?

Crazy quilts are by nature over-the-top, busy concoctions of stitching, fabrics, and embellishments, all in a somewhat random design.  Not what I think of as "Modern" at all.  To me, a modern CQ would have to bestripped down to what I perceive is the essence of the genre: random piecing, some seam embroidery, a mix of fabrics. Nothing extra, just a bold and graphic take on the pure form of crazy quilting.

So that is what I tried to do, and I loved every second of my quilt's creation.

There is a brand new construction technique that Michele's free rein allowed me to explore.

Full instructions are in the book!

And it is the same from all the designers: beautiful traditional renditions of time honored quilt patterns are juxtaposed with their modern, liberated interpretations.   (Valerie Bothell created the traditional crazy quilt in her exquisite Victorian manner.)

Plus.....the book's design itself is absolutely gorgeous. You will get so much value for your purchase.

I will be hosting a give-away of one copy of this marvelous book, drawing one name from the comments to this post exactly one week from today.  So you will have until Sunday night, November 9th to enter.  Please make sure I have a way to reach you!

Other stops on the Blog Tour for this book are below.  You'll be able to see how others have contributed and what their process was like.

21--Leslie Tucker Jenison
22- Jannken Smucker
23--Valerie Bothell
24--Kaari (French General) :
25--Elisa Sims Albury :
27--Victoria Findlay Wolfe
30-Pat Sloan

2--Kristin Omdahl
FG, IG Newsletters:
22-- Marie Bostwick

Thank you, Michele, for this awesome opportunity to create something new, which for me was very exciting.  I know readers will find so many great ideas in this book's pages.