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Artistic Alchemy: A Tahoe Retreat for Creative Sewists and Quilters, September 5-9, 2016

Let’s Customize a Purse/Totebag with Your Favorite Fabrics!

by HEIDI EMMETT

I’m calling this FUN FRIDAY! So keep reading and enjoy this post!

Awhile back I did a guest blog post for Imagination International(they license Terial Magic).  I changed things up a bit (added more pics) and want you to see this fun idea.

Take one Cross-body purse and one tote and  add some pizzazz! These are easy, peasy to make and are great idea for gifts too. And perfect for beginner sewists and advanced alike.

I would pick out the purses/totes FIRST, and then go to your stash of small to medium sized prints in 100% cotton. 1/4 yard each of 4 or 5 prints should work just fine.

Hi Rubix, No I’m talking about cats at the end of this post. I know you want to help, but…..

The fastest way to treat your fabrics with Terial Magic for this project is to lay a piece of muslin (big enough to cover the ironing board)onto the ironing board. Working with one piece at a time, lightly spray the fabric piece. With the iron on the dry setting, iron it dry. If you notice a few places that have no “Magic” spray them and keep ironing.  Just like a piece of paper now! LOVE this!!
After they have all been prepped I look for glasses with the right size for my circles. Each finished piece has only 2 layers. This larger circle is 2″ in diameter. Mark around the glass, I used a pencil.
The smaller of the circles are approx. 1 1/4″ in diameter. Mark and cut these out too.
Now it’s play time. Stack them any way you wish. If any of them feel  a little limp, another spritz of Terial Magic and that dry iron again, will do the trick.

Whirr….whirr…start sewing from the center, and work your way out to the edge. Use a regular sewing foot, no glue or pins needed. Very light touch on your fingers on the outside edge. Looking good.

The next step is to glue the stiffened, sewn circles onto your purse/tote. I use, quite often, a product called Fabri-Tac. It’s clear and super tacky. Make sure you put the glue on the outer edges. Fabri-Tac is expensive so make sure you close it up tightly when done using it.  ENJOY YOUR FUN, AND FANCY NEW BAGS!

O.K., now for the dog part. This came off of a tea towel I purchased for a friend. I think it’s hilarious.

And now for the cat part.

 

Canopy Cat Rescue is a site YOU MUST LOOK AT! I tried to get a picture to bring over to my site, but I couldn’t get it to work. I saw this group on the Hallmark Family show. Oh my gosh! Two guys climb 175 ft. trees to rescue cats. Did you know that Washington state has the tallest trees in all the lower 48 states. And a slow month is 30-40 cat rescues. Whaaaatt! That’s incredible. Go and see what they do. It will make you feel good (even if you don’t like cats that much).

Thanks for stopping by today. Things are shaping up for our Artistic Alchemy retreat. Check it out here.  I have just a few spots left in my workshop, and Jane has some in her workshop as well.  As I keep saying, “Make it up, make it fun, and get it done! Hugs, Heidi

P.S. My next post on Designsbyheidi.wordpress.com will be June 21st! My yard and veggie garden need some major attention.

The SAQA Conference and Pine Tree Show!

by Sandra Bruce

I’m still coming down from the last few weeks…from Empty Spools, to a sewing retreat in San Juan Bautista, to the SAQA conference, to being Featured Quilter at the Pine Tree Quilt Show earlier this month. Throw in a little teaching….ALSO… there’s a quilt I’ve been working on but I can’t show it to you yet. I was invited to participate in a show and the rules prohibit me from showing the work until the quilts that are traveling are selected. But…..plenty else too chat about!

First…my Material Matrix workshop in Zephyr Point at our retreat is full, with one on the waiting list. Those of you who are in my class will be hearing from me in the next few days. Jane and Heidi still have space….hurry! There’s time to sign up!  🙂

The SAQA conference was in San Jose, CA this year so I had to go. If you don’t know, SAQA stands for Studio Art Quilts Associates. It is an international organization of art quilters and the annual conference is always in a different city in the world. I am a JAM member, which means Juried Artist Member. We are juried in with a portfolio and strive to be professionals in the art quilt world.

I drove down with my friend Trish Morris-Plise and we were both newbies, although there were lots of people there we knew or at least had met before. There were 200 in attendance, from as far away as Australia!

As soon as we walked in we spotted Heidi Emmett and Terry McFeeley…there was an area where artists were selling their wares, and Terry came to promote her product “Terial Magic”, along with Heidi’s help. There were lots of beautiful things to be sold in the afternoon that the art market was set up.

The main wonderful part about the conference was meeting and sharing with quilt artists from all over. To see old friends and make new ones. And take silly pictures! Here is Trish, myself and Jane Haworth. Jane and I both were presenters in the “Lightning Talk” segment of the conference, where we gave a 6-minute talk on a subject accompanied by 20 images that changed on the screen every 20 seconds. Jane was first (of 8) and I was last…my topic was “fear”, as it relates to being a quilt artist. I may turn it into a regular lecture on my circuit.

Here’s Pat Porter and Jan Soules…so many smiles and good karma spread around the room!

 

Mel Beach was in charge of the opening night’s entertainment, we played ice-breaking kind of games so we could get to know each other.

There was a fantastic lineup of speakers over the 4 days. They are all so diverse and had much to say. I think my favorite was the Social Justice Sewing Academy.

Their mission statement: ” Piecing together youth voices, textile art and community in a 21st century sewing circle”. There were 3 young people on the panel who spoke about their lives, and what the Academy meant to them. They had made quilts, and most of them had never held a sewing needle, much less made a quilt before! They go into high schools with their program, all over the country. They need volunteers to embroider, quilt, and donate fabric. I handed my card to them after their talk and as a result I have already quilted 6 pieces that they sent to me to finish. I wholeheartedly support this venture, it is a wonderful and constructive way for young people to be active in the art quilt community and speak out about causes they believe in. KUDOS! http://www.sjsacademy.com

I ran into Vivika Denegre at the conference, she is the editor of Quilting Arts Magazine and I met her last year when I was a guest on Quilting Arts TV. We hugged and she handed me a little paper bag. She explained that instead of distributing media at the conference, she made up miniature sewing “kits” to hand out, that consisted of small bits of fabric, a needle, and a couple lengths of thread. On the bag was this quote: “I believe that hand stitching is good for the soul. #makesomethingawesome.” This task was so much fun and helped me deal with the withdrawals I was having of not having sewing to do! Here’s what I made (it’s about 3″ across):
Thank goodness I ran into Marylee Drake who had a pair of little scissors, as I was using nail clippers to cut thread 🙂

A highlight of the conference was a tour in downtown San Jose, the first being the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.

https://www.sjquiltmuseum.org

There was an exhibit of SAQA work, called “H2OH!”, about water, of course. There were several quilts that I liked very much, and in writing this post I noticed they all had circles in them…yes I do love circles. Here’s “Fishing” by Barbara Watler:

And another, by Linda Colsh, “Past is Present”…do you see the little figures in it?  

One more, by Liz Kuny, “Boiling Point”. So clever…212 degrees is the point where water boils, she she put 212 “O”s into the quilt.

We got a special tour of the back of the Quilt Museum, where I was fascinated by the storage methods of all the quilts they own.

Another stop at Works, a downtown gallery that had another SAQA exhibit. This was my favorite piece, by Carla Stehr, titled “Diatom 8”. (I really must be in love with circles!)

The afternoon did catch up with us…do we look a little tired? (well, I do!)

Towards the end of the conference there was an auction of small pieces made by SAQA members…it raised over $17,000 for SAQA! I’ll be sure to enter a piece next year.

At the very end was a Studio Tour of several local artists, one being Therese May, a longtime friend whom I credit for introducing me to the world of quilting, as she was my next door neighbor 35 years ago (lucky me!). Trish and I went to see Therese before the throngs began. I took this picture of Therese in front of her house where she hung one of her fabulous quilts.

Therese is a founding member of SAQA, and has greatly helped promote the art quilt world, to which we say, “thank you”!!!

Before I stop, a couple of quick words about the Pine Tree Quilt Show. Artistic Alchemy had our usual booth, where we got to talk to attendees and sell our wares, not to mention promote our Zephyr Retreat in September!

Being Featured Quilter I didn’t have any time to spend in our booth, but the other 3 carried on and it was a success :-). I enjoyed seeing most of my quilts up all together for the first time. My favorite part was talking to people, especially about my Matrix quilts.

Speaking of Matrix quilts, I just yesterday mailed a letter to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, telling her about the quilt I made of her, and I enclosed a photo of it. Fingers crossed that I hear back from her!

And if you are thinking about coming to Zephyr, remember…..

Bye for now!  I’ll be posting my new Matrix quilt after June 30th. 🙂

Painting on fabric, a new skill!

by Sandra Bruce

 

Greetings from Grass Valley, where Spring has sprung and we’re waiting for blue skies and sunshine. This photo of my dogwood tree is from last year, but I am patiently waiting. Dogwood is the state flower for Virginia where I am from, and it always makes me nostalgic when I see dogwoods blooming here. I favor the white ones.

First, a word about our Zephyr Retreat…in my workshop I only have a couple of spaces left, in case you’ve been contemplating a Matrix experience in beautiful Lake Tahoe 🙂  Jane and Heidi have spaces left as well, so think about it and check out the info on our “Retreat” page.

Today I’m going to show you the results from a workshop I took at Asilomar at Empty Spools in March. It was my first time going.  I met Susan Brubaker Knapp when I was a guest on QATV last year. It was great to meet her, and I became intrigued by her technique of painting on fabric. She taught at Empty Spools so that enticed me to go. I have not painted on fabric, except for making highlights on eyes of my Matrix portraits, and painting on fabric seems like a good skill to have. Before I left I assembled the items on the supply list, including the photo I selected to paint, a photo I took in the Japanese Gardens in Seattle last year of koi fish. I knew I wanted to finish it in the workshop, so I chose to work fairly small, about 13″ by 15″. Here’s the photo and some of the threads I selected.

I started out tracing my image onto PFD cotton. We all used the windows of our classroom for a light source.

I have some painting experience with watercolor, but not much with acrylics. It seemed a bit foreign at first, but I pretty quickly got into the swing of things.The fabric is taped onto foam core.  I started with the fish.  My palette was so colorful!

The water came afterwards. I tried to improve upon the water where I thought it needed it.

Here’s the finished painting…it took a bit less than 2 working days in class. It was fun!

Next was stitching. It’s a bit weird to stitch through paint. But you get used to it.

Trimming was SO satisfying.

Here’s the finish, next to the photo:

And the back….Susan has a finishing technique I have not tried before, so I did it on my piece.

Here’s a few of the other students’ work. As you can see, foliage was popular.

Susan is a great teacher, and we all really enjoyed her class. Below she’s helping my table-mate Roberta work on hers.

 

Asilomar is a very beautiful location. I loved being near the ocean, which I miss, living inland. I look forward to trying some painting on fabric in my work. Stay tuned!

Before I go, a quick note: I am the featured quilter at the Pine Tree Quilt Show here in Grass Valley, CA May 4-5 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. I’ll have about 28 quilts on display! Hope if you are in the area that you’ll stop by and say hello.

Look at This!! From the “Wearable Creativity” portion of Heidi Emmett’s Workshop!

by Heidi Emmett

A look at what you can make in my workshop: Upcycling, Wearable Creativity & Fiber Jewelry!

Take one really unique vest pattern (fits so many sizes and shapes and heights) and pair it with one of Mary Boalt’s famous one-of-a-kind hand painted canvases. Hint: Mary might have some of these beauties for sale at the Artistic Alchemy Store. This store is only open to Artistic Alchemy students. Buy a panel for FUTURE use at home.

Make your first vest in the workshop as it shows on the pattern (this way you can plan ahead to find the right choices of fabrics for you).

Here are a variety of women who have tried on  the same Off the Grid Vest and their honest comments:   5″6″ tall-classic pear shape, larger hips, not much of a bustline: “Love the length, it covers my hips but isn’t too long to feel bulky. If I fold the collar back a little and no front buttoning, I will feel very comfortable in this.”

One more: 5’9″ tall-classic apple shape, hips, waist, and bust are all similar measurements (and on the larger size), “I didn’t think I could pull this off, but I like the rectangles, they make me feel thinner, if that’s possible. I feel like I might need more width on the front and back pieces.”    More comments are in the pattern package.

During this segment of the workshop, I will be there for YOU to create your own one of a kind “Art to Wear” piece using any of my Designs by Heidi sewing patterns. Off The Grid Vest is a perfect choice for Zephyr Point as the retreat setting allows for plenty of time to get this vest really going and possibly, finishing it while there.

Here is Mary’s beautiful hand painted and stitched panel (with silk organza covering the whole piece). The stitching holds down the organza and gives this piece a real WOW factor.

I had to be really careful how I cut this panel into pieces.

I deemed the piece above (right below the canvas) to be the lining of my new vest. AND I’m using the wrong side of it.

The piece above (from JoAnn’s) called a “Scuba” fabric is used for the side panels and the back piece. There is no batting in this vest. I did stitch the Scuba fabric (diamond shapes have netting inside) to the lining fabric to hold it all together. There is a hint of the lining showing through and I think it adds a bit of mystery.

Deciding  which piece will be the binding for the vest.

Hands down, it is the “Grunge” by Moda (at least 50 colors to choose from this one is black)

Slices of polished Agate found at a Gem and Mineral show.

Ohhh, these pieces of Agate look yummy on the hand painted panel piece.

And here it is, Taa Daa! My newest, sophisticated looking (in my opinion), OFF THE GRID VEST! I keyed everything about this vest with Mary’s Boalt’s “perfectly painted panel.”

Off The Grid Vest pattern using really unusual fabrics. DesignsbyHeidi.wordpress.com

Side view of my newest Off The Grid Vest. Scuba fabric on the side. DesignsbyHeidi.wordpress.com

Close up of the front of Off The Grid Vest. An Art to Wear sewing pattern by Heidi Emmett.

Such an interesting combination of fabrics, beads, and stone.

Every bit from Mary Boalt’s hand painted canvas was thought out before cutting into it.

There is diagonal stitching on the back piece to hold the lining to the Scuba fabric.

Another wired piece of Agate for one of the side closures.

This panel was a piece of artwork on its’ own. It was hard to make that first cut. But worth it in the end.  Thank you for creating this one of a kind piece for me to create a unique Off The Grid vest,  Mary Boalt.

InstagramAA Logo1Pinterest-Pinnedetsy

Buy this pattern 3 easy ways:   1. contact me personally at hmemmett@gmail.com and I can send one out to you using Paypal payment of $16.00, 2. via Bluprint.com /sewing patterns by Heidi Emmett in a digital format or 3. my Etsy shop (Look under sewing patterns/Heidi Emmett) for a hard copy.

I do LOVE how this piece of Agate for the front closure turned out.

Sunrise  this past week. Lot’s of storms equal more sewing and creating time. Love that!

My workshop: “Upcycling, Wearable Creativity & Fiber Jewelry” offers, days of getting your creative juices really going. There are many demos., handouts, and personal help from me. I want you to experience a different type of quilting, and one that you can make,  enjoy creating, and enjoy WEARING it too. Please read all about my workshop and if you have any questions, fill out the questions tab( on the home page) and I’ll get back to you.

Thanks for stopping by. Make it up, make it FUN, FUN, and GET IT DONE! Hugs, Heidi

RBG and Matrix News

by Sandra Bruce

The registration form and information about our 2019 retreat (our 6th) is out and we are rolling! The forms are arriving in the mail and we are excited to receive them. Congrats to Donna from Canada for being my first sign up!

You all know how beautiful it is at Zephyr Point, don’t you?You only have to look out any window there for an outrageous view. I love being there and teaching in this special place.
Friendships form there. Last year I had 2 Canadians in my workshop who did not know each other, Rejeanne and France, but they sat side by side and enjoyed getting acquainted (and chatting in French, naturally).And speaking of Rejeanne, she finished her Matrix quilt from an earlier retreat and sent it to me to quilt for her. It’s of her husband, Gene, who has come to our retreat too, and been an asset to our group. Rejeanne sent me this very charming photo of her, with her completed quilt, “Focus”, on the wall of her home. Love it! Great work, Rejeanne.I have enjoyed every workshop I have taught at Zephyr. I learn from my students as much as they learn from me. From last year, here’s Ellen, sharing her project.Learning a totally new technique….it can make you smile.

I hope you will consider coming to take my workshop if this intrigues you at all.

So….what have I been working on? Any of you who follow me on FaceBook or Instagram will have seen some of these images. I enjoy posting them in progress. (Sandra Bruce Creative on Facebook, sbruce1955 on Instagram).

I am in the process of finishing up a quilt of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, from one of her official photographs from the Supreme Court, with permission from Associated Press, who owns the photo. I am so fond of her, she has been very instrumental in the advancement of women’s rights, dating back to the 60’s. The films out now about her, “RBG” and “On the Basis of Sex” both tell the stories of this amazing woman. The other day in the gym I was in the middle of doing a plank and while thinking of how hard it was, I decided, “if Ruth can do this at 85, surely I can do it too”.

I changed the background of the photo to make it dark red. Dark reds are hard to find in fabric these days.

The eyes…..yes, challenging, but in a very satisfying way.

Eyes on the ironing board.

On my display wall, coming together.

Orderly 1/4″ seams on the back of the quilt.

A funny thing happened. 2 friends were holding up the finished top in front of my kitchen window and it created almost a stained-glass effect, so I took a picture of it. All the “outlines” are my very small piecing seams!

On to the long arm. It is 50″ by 73″.

So…….I’ve been ruminating for some days now about the finishing of this quilt, which I have named “The Notorious RBG”. My original intention was to attach one of her famous collars to the quilt with either beads or hand-applique. I’ve been around and around, with starts and stops, pencil sketches balled up in the trash, and lots of thinking about it. My decision is not in stone yet but I am leaning towards leaving it just the way it is, without any collar. Every time I started one it took away from her face and was distracting. I feel sometimes the best artistic decision is……..to leave it be.

I’ll post a photo in my next blog post of the final image.

Now, just for fun, I’ll share these 2 photos. The first, a picture from 1999, of me in my studio with my baby son clinging to my leg under my sewing table. I have this image in my slide lecture and it always gets a laugh. We mothers can all commiserate! I’ve had the urge for a while to recreate the picture, with my grown son now 6’3″. Second photo: same sewing room, different Bernina, older me, older son. It is funny! Thanks to my son Matteo for being a good sport and helping me make it happen.

That’s all for now, hope you’re staying warm and dry in this blustery winter, and have lots of creative time. Feel free to email me if you have any questions about my Zephyr workshop. All the details are in the “Workshops” page of this blog. Bye for now!

Announcing our 6th Annual Artistic Alchemy Retreat, Sept. 2nd-6th, 2019!

Welcome! Please peruse all the drop down boxes on the Menu bar. Any questions you may have, fill out the form in the Contact link on the menu bar.

We hope to see YOU this year at Lake Tahoe for our  6TH ANNUAL ARTISTIC ALCHEMY RETREAT!

From the team, Heidi, Sandra, Mary, & Jane.

 

We Are Almost Ready to ‘Go Live!’ for Our Artistic Alchemy Retreat 2019.

All of us at Artistic Alchemy (Heidi, Sandra, Mary, & Jane) welcome you to our site. We are finalizing all the details for our 6th Annual Artistic Alchemy Retreat. It will take place  September 2nd-6th, 2019, at Zephyr Point Conference Center, which is located on the south shore of beautiful Lake Tahoe, on the Nevada side.

Next Friday, February 1st, revisit this site to see what all of us are offering in our workshops for this year’s retreat. Each of our four workshops promises much creativity, learning, and fun. All this is in a peaceful, blissfully quiet (we are usually the only large group on the entire 128 acre site), exquisitely beautiful Alpine lake view property. We are a small retreat on purpose. Each workshop has a student limit of 10-12. We strive to have the BEST student to teacher ratio. We teachers LOVE what we do and want to give you the BEST experience possible.

Our retreat also offers short evening programs, with a chance to learn more about the teachers, as well as to enjoy the creativity of the students through “show and tell.”

Every evening there is a chance for you to continue stitching/sewing/creating as LATE as you want in your classroom. Also, every evening, after the short program, you can make new friends and/or do some handwork together in the large room (complete with couches, comfy chairs, and a fireplace) in the foyer.

The four of us teachers will have an Artistic Alchemy “store” with many one-of-a-kind items (just for our retreat guests) as well as our own patterns, accessories, fabrics,etc, for sale.Our store is open every day of the retreat (pay up on the last evening). There will also be two visiting “stores” on two different days this year! There will be a scissor sharpening service available. And there will be several days filled with opportunities for massages.

The following Lake Tahoe pictures are to get you excited for the views you will have as you travel on the Eastern shore of the lake to Zephyr Point, the home of the retreat.

You HAVE ARRIVED! at your destination! Zephyr Point. Deep breathing of the delicious sights, smells and rarefied air will have you relaxed and ready for your time at our Artistic Alchemy Retreat.

Sew, MARK your calendars. Next Friday, February 1st, visit this site and reserve YOUR spot at our 6th annual Artistic Alchemy Retreat. And one last important note: Lakeview rooms are LIMITED! So if a beautiful, Lake Tahoe view outside your sleeping room window is important, sign up sooner than later (we give room assignments according to the postmarked date of deposits).