A Secret Life

Did you know I live a secret life? Yes, I am one of those crazy people exploring the mysterious world of ceramics.

Not ceramics made on a potter’s wheel. No, no no, I’m a hand builder. Once I tried throwing a pot on the wheel and the clay flew off and splattered all over the studio. Hand-building is safer for my fellow students.

Like other art forms you’ve probably explored, working with clay is like working with textiles. Both mediums let you create texture, and shape, and explore favorite themes like houses, birds, and trees. But most importantly for me, hand-building lets me improvise and create whimsical pieces like this tiny home with a hole in the roof for dried flowers.

Once in a while I make sewing related items like this handy pincushion with a loop for holding your small scissors. Now that you know about my secret life as a ceramicist maybe it’s time for you to explore other avenues of creativity too. Do you have an secret artistic life?

Please check out my recent ceramic creations here.

Hoopless Embroidery Finishing

Working without a hoop when making free-form embroidery has its advantages. It may be easier on your hands if there is no hoop to grip while stitching. Improvised designs are more organic and less stiff-looking. And you can use fabrics like felt and wool that would be marked by the hoop leaving creases.

Fine Line Tree #15 by Laura Wasilowski

But there are also disadvantages when stitching fabrics without a hoop. The most obvious is that the fabric will become distorted like this example on wool called Fine Line Tree #15. Intense stitchery in the area of the fields pulls the blue wool fabric skewing the edges. While less intense stitchery in the sky area maintains the original squared shape. My solution to square it up upon completion? Stitch it to a rectangular piece of green felt.

Bayeux Garden #2 by Laura Wasilowski

Here you see Bayeux Garden #2 another embroidery on wool that ended up with uneven edges. If the piece had only been slightly skewed, I could have flipped the embroidery over onto a thick felt pressing mat and tugged and steamed the edges square. Instead, I embraced the wonky and stitched it to a rectangle of yellow batik fabric that is backed with batting and later machine quilted.

So why not embrace the wonky? By embracing the wonky nature of the piece you acknowledge the “handmade” nature of the embroidery. No machine created these pieces of artwork. Human hands brought them into being.

Suffering from Silkaphobia?

Do you suffer from silkaphobia the fear of silk fabric? Does it scare you to use it in your art work? Want help in overcoming your silkaphobia? Then please join me on May 17 at the online Layered and Stitched event on Creative Spark where I’ll show you how to make the silk art quilt, Fine Line Tree above.

My presentation, Creating Silk Art Quilts, is about taking the fear out of working with silk. I’ll talk about what types of silk to use, show you how to paint white silk for a sky, assemble a fused design, and add hand embroidery to the small silk art quilt.

Layered & Stitch: An Art Quilt Experience

The Layered & Stitch: An Art Quilt Experience is a two-day live, virtual event with fourteen expert quilting instructors. You’ll find a lineup of engaging sessions covering quilt improvisation, techniques, tips, materials, and beyond. Learn about landscape quilts, surface design, how to use fabric scraps and silks, finding your creative voice, and so much more!

Come for the mini masterclasses and stay for the giveaways and a virtual swag bag. (I’m giving away a Resources Page with a pattern for the Fine Line Tree above.) Watch live or recorded. By securing your spot, you’ll have lifetime access to all sessions and can revisit your favorite moments whenever you please. 

It is time to overcome your silkaphobia! Sign up here and get $20 off!