Saturday, September 15, 2012

Introducing Art Quilting to Teens

I can say two things for sure: Teaching teenagers art quilting fundamentals is FUN !!! and… Teaching teenagers art quilting techniques is EXHAUSTING !!!
I just finished up 3 days of workshops at Baron’s Sewing Center in Woodland Hills with a group of bright and talented young women.  They were eager to learn and to put their new skills into action.

Day One:

We started off with a lesson in Sun printing using Dyn-a-flow Paint from Jacquard.  The plan was that the pieces would dry in the sun while we went on to the next topic. Well, Betsy and I knew they’d enjoy the process but hadn’t realized that this technique would be the hit of the day!  All they wanted to do was to Sun Print!!!  And I must say some amazing work was produced by these budding artists. 

Prepared Panels Drying In the Sun

The girls used all kinds of things to create their patterns – plumbing washers, nuts, bolts, coins of all sized, keys, decorative flashings from keyholes – sequin waste and decorative cutouts of their own design.
The session on painting techniques continued with stencilling paint on fabric and using rubber stamps to apply acrylic paint as well as pigment or dye ink from stamp pads.

Day Two started with a unanimous request for MORE SUN PRINTING !!

We were glad to oblige but made sure we got to the new stuff as well.  Our students learned the use of Fusible web to apply designs to their quilt tops and how to assemble the layers that would give them a foundation for quilting their pieces.

It was exciting and gratifying to see how quickly these girls caught on to the concept of free motion quilting. And although mastery of this technique takes many hours we saw some commendable first timer results here.

Day Three commenced with yet more requests for painting.  I promised they could do that after we talked about a couple of other things.  I reminded them how excited they had been with the idea of applying glitter to their quilts and took a few minutes to demonstrate how easy it is to do that.

We also went over the many uses of angelina fibers (one teen asked, “What about Brad?” and my response was “huh?”)

They had all decided that they wanted to turn their quilted panels into pillows.  So I proceeded to show them how to assemble a removable pillow cover using the pieces they had just created.  Here they are digging into the scrap bag looking for suitable pillow back fabric.

looking for that perfect piece to back their pillow with

Here is some of the work produced by this talented bunch.

Original drawing from one of our talented teens
And More Creativity on Display

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Rag Quilt Tutorial - reblogged -

The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking: Easy, Thrifty, Pretty Rag Quilt {Tutorial}: For Christmas I made my 3 year old  daughter a rag quilt for her bed.  And in my very imperfect fashion, I left it a little late.  Like, um...

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Demystifying Ink Pads

 I’ve been using Ink Stamp Pads forever. Remember as kids when you’d get hold of an old stamp and stamp pad and brand everything in sight including the back of your hands? 

Many years later I tackled scrap-booking then journalling – again making use of those tempting rubber stamps and lovely inky pads. In those days it was pretty straightforward. If the color called my name I used the pad and didn’t care if it was Dye Ink, Pigment Ink, Solvent, Archival, or whatever.

Now with art quilting there’s more to the selection and more risk in selecting the wrong type of pad. It’s got to transfer cleanly to a very porous surface. And of course you don’t want fading. 

You may also be concerned about the image staying put AND crisp and clear after washing or if you’re planning to use wet media over the image. I have NOT included the effects of washing on these samples and will do something on that another time. 

Oh I got so confused!!!  Everywhere you look – known and trusted online sites/blogs, manufacturers’ sites or craft shop advice sites you get someone else’s opinion. And often these opinions are at odds with one another.
So I decided to take matters into my own hands and go back into my mad scientist mode. 

I lined up ALL the different types of ink stamp pads that I had on hand, chose a rubber stamp that would print well (not too much detail and deeply carved stamp ridges) on fabric and went to work. 

1. I washed, dried and pressed the fabric first: some bleached muslin. (you’ll get a slightly different color cast using the unbleached.)
2. One by one I inked up the stamps, stamped the fabric, and recorded what was used. 

3. In a couple of instances I also documented the Surface that I stamped on to see if that made a significant difference. For instance whether it was a hard surface or a cushiony one – including batting. 

4. After making sure all impressions were completely dry I pressed with a hot iron. 

NOTE: Because I’m going to be using these in Art Quilts I did not wash the fabric again after stamping it. So this is NOT a test for washability, simply a comparison of how well the inks did visually on the fabric. I was looking for vibrancy, clarity and crisp edges.
Here are the photos of my first go-round.

    In my opinion the best performers were the dye inks from the Recollections and Memento (Tsukineko) lines. I stamped with Recollections with and without batting under the muslin and definitely got a crisper edge without the batting. 
I also was pleased with the Dye Ink in the Distress Ink Line from Ranger. (That’s the one in the group on top in the upper left hand corner.)

The solvent ink from Staz-on and Archival Dye Ink from Ranger were both excellent. The downside with both is that they are limited in color choice and are quite pricey. 

The pigment ink from Colorbox left a smudgy outline. I tried it on a lightly padded surface, over batting and on a hard surface. The hard surface was best but still not as distinct as the Dye Inks. 

The pigment ink from Versacraft was acceptable but not as crisp as Memento.
*A note about Versacraft: it is widely accepted as a good choice for fabric stamping as it has proven to stay put after washing. So if that’s your need it’s definitely a consideration. 

Further test:
I further tested the Dye Ink from Recollections with a larger stamp to see if I could repeat the good outcome. I am partial to this particular pad because of availability and lower cost. However I haven’t seen it in a wide array of colors.

I retested the Memento as well. Both were excellent. Memento has a broad choice of colors available. It’s a little pricey in the larger stamp pad but is available in a smaller more economical Dew Drop size.

And here is the Dye Ink from Ranger (Distress Ink) This comes in a wonderful array of colors.


Next I will be testing my collection of brush markers with stamps to see how they perform on fabric so stay tuned.

Please pretty please leave me a comment – especially if you have had experience with any of these and would like to add your observations. That would be grand and thank you!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My New Blog Site

A note to all the 'followers' of this blog.   In order to expand my blog and merge it with my website I have switched to another blog host:    You can now find me at:    

Guila's New Blog and Web Site

 ( )
Thanks for all of your support!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Very Special Shopping Trip

I got to do something last night that was pretty ordinary for most but deliciously special for me.  My oldest granddaughter (14) was complaining that she had no one around to help her with cosmetics – choosing makeup and the like.  The immediate issue was that today is picture taking day at her school (entering high school) and she had a big ole blemish developing on the side of her nose.  She complained that her mom had no knowledge and no interest in makeup (true – my DIL has rarely used any).   I haven’t been using much either for the last few years but there was a time that I was and like riding a bicycle you don’t forget how to apply eyeliner.
Of course, at 14 she doesn’t need any makeup but she’s so keen on it and such a girly girl.
So I took her shopping and we bought everything from Clearasil to liquid eyeliner.  And did a lot of talking.  I shared little bits of grandmotherly wisdom and we had some laughs too. 
Today I will take her to her new school and we will go on the tour.  When it’s her turn for the picture taking she will be confident and ready.
You can’t create special times like this – they just happen when they happen.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Haiku Art for August 2011 - Prompt Word is Journey

I had been thinking about the change that I made a couple of months ago to working full time on developing my art and wondering if this was something I should have done years ago.  Since making this decision I have been so energized.  Not only is creating art something that I WANT to do but I feel that it's something that I HAVE to do. I feel that I'm really in my element now.

Should I have done this i.e. made the switch - years ago?  I could write pages about why not but the short answer is - No.  Do I regret all the years spent doing other things?  Was the time wasted?  Absolutely not. 

And here's where the August prompt word makes its appearance in such a timely fashion.  The word is "Journey".  I thought of Life's Journey.   About how EVERYTHING that we do has an impact on us.  How everyone we meet leaves their mark.  How we may look at some events as distractions or detours from our chosen path but that ultimately all these experiences (positive or negative) contribute to who we are.  And often they equip us with the emotional skills that we need to forge ahead.  I have confidence now that I didn't have 20 years ago; I have certain practical skills to handle the business side of art; I have a sack full of life experiences to draw upon and I have gained perspective and understanding about what is important to me - especially at this time.

Here is the Haiku - Journey

detours? distractions?
unplanned stops, uneven road
part of the journey
 Techniques for "Journey"
  • color wash
  • random stamping using household utensils and distress ink 
  • road map collaged on
  • manila tag painted and overpainted with distress inks
  • attached to page with ribbon and brad
  • messages in ink on art paper applied randomly to tag and page.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July Haiku Art

Balance - what comes into your mind when hearing this prompt word?  I thought of my 10 year old granddaughter Abigail balancing on her unicycle and of the determined look on her face as she struggles to maintain her balance on the low wire.  I thought of commonly used expressions such as "balance your checkbook" or "eat a balanced diet".
Ultimately - what balance means to me these days is the attempt to put the mind and body into a balanced or integrated state as we do through Yoga practice.
This is the 2nd of a series about Yoga practice.  It incorporates the words: "Shanti" which means peace and "so hum" .  This is a mantra that we use for focus while doing deep breathing.

The Haiku
close your eyes breathe in
jasmine scented air swirling
find your center - stay

Shanti 2