Guest Artist: Prolific!

kathy4When I teach a half-day class, my students receive a pre-fused fabric kit so they can get to work right away. One of my students, Kathy, has sent this image of all the small designs she made from that one kit. Aren’t they wonderful? Here’s what this prolific artist says about her work: Once I got home I couldn’t stop making little fabric drawings.  It was very freeing to cut and steam. I had to use up every crumb of your delicious fabric…. soon to be embroidered quilts. Thank you for sharing your work with us Kathy!

A Tiny Birdhouse Part 2

commission67The shape of the small birdhouse is now on the fabric through the miracle of Pattern Transfer to a Fused Fabric! Using a really sharp pair of Karen Kay Buckley scissors, small areas are snipped to reveal openings for the birdhouse.

commission68It’s a tiny birdhouse for very tiny birds.

commission69After trimming, a white batik fabric is slipped under the birdhouse shape. This fills in the openings. Should I make black dots for the holes into the birdhouse? No! Why, you ask? Because it looks like a bunch of eyeballs staring out at me from the birdhouse.

commission76Three more birdhouses are created and fused to the quilt top. This commission quilt (detail of center panel above) is coming along but there is a lot of machine work to do. Hope to show you more on that later.

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A Tiny Bird House in Fabric

commission75One of the many elements in the design of the commission quilt I’m working is a purple martin house. This image was sent to me by the people who have requested the quilts and plays a part in their family story. 

Heres how I translated the birdhouse image into fabric.

Using the Photo Shop Elements program on my computer, I converted the photo into a black and white image, enhanced the contrast, and sized it to measure about 1.25″ wide by 1.5″ high.

commission62After it was saved as a jpeg, I printed it on paper and colored in the areas that will be green fabric. This becomes the pattern for the birdhouse.

commission63The first step in transfering the green shape to fused fabric is to trace it on to silicone release paper or parchment paper with a black marker. 

commission64The drawn or ink side of the paper is placed on to the glue or fused side of the green fabric.

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The paper is ironed into place with a hot iron.

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After cooling, the paper is removed. See how the lines transfer to the fabric? This method of transfering shapes to fused fabric is so easy and fast. Try it at home! 

More on making the bird house soon.

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Learning as You Create

commission60Usually I’m making small art quilts all the time. But since early January, I’ve only worked on one project. Why only one project? Because the one project occupying all my time is a commission quilt. Or rather, three commission quilts.

A lovely family has requested three panels measuring about 32″ x 48″ that tell stories about their family and places dear to their hearts. Here you see the sketches and color swatches submitted for the commissioned pieces. In the process of making these three panels, I’ve learned new methods of constructing a fused art quilt and how to translate other people’s stories into fabric.

commission71I’ve also learned that documenting the creation of a work of art, hampers the creation of that art. So I’ve taken very few photos of the panels in process. But there are a few things I can share with you. Like how to make a purple martin house. Get your fused fabrics ready and stay tuned!

 

Spring: Fact or Fiction?

grantwood

Young Corn (1931) by Grant Wood at the Art Institute of Chicago

Here is Illinois the weather has been unusually sunny, warm, and very Spring-like. Now as a hardy mid-westerner I know this can not last. But as an optimist, I can image it lasting forever. And that is why I love this painting by Grant Wood called Young Corn. It is a lovely ode to the promise of the greening of Spring.

greenfabricWhich leads me to collecting this set of green fabrics. It’s time to construct something fresh with lots of green fields and the promise of Spring. Wonder what it will be.

What to Do with Cheesecloth

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Small World #7   by Laura Wasilowski

One of the more unusual things I dye is cheesecloth. Lately I’ve been dyeing it for the April IQF Chicago and AQS Paducah shows. You may well ask “how do you use this loosely woven fabric in your fused art work, Laura?” Thank you for asking. I use it for texture. Here you see it as the sun in the sky. Don’t you love that checkered texture?

Here’s how to prepare cheesecloth for fusing:

cheesecloth11. Apply fusible web to one layer of the cheesecloth. I recommend Misty Fuse, a light weight fusible web that won’t clog up the gaps in the cheesecloth with glue as much as other fusible webs. Use parchment paper to transfer the glue to the fabric.

cheesecloth22. After the fabric cools, remove the parchment paper. Place the fabric back on the parchment paper and fold and squish the cheesecloth as much as you want.

cheesecloth33. Apply another piece of parchment paper to the top of the fabric so it is in a sandwich of paper. Fuse the folds in place using a hot iron.

cheesecloth44. After it cools remove the papers from the cheesecloth. cheesecloth5a5. Cut the cheesecloth into shapes or place the whole piece onto another fabric background. Cover it with parchment paper and fuse into place. Isn’t that texture terrific?

You can see all the colors we have in stock at the shows. Give it a try!

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