It’s a Late Fall Day….

by Heidi Emmett

Welcome to all who our new Artistic Alchemy blog sign ups! Check out my bio on the home page. I am the “Art to Wear” workshop teacher when you come to our retreat in September at Zephyr Point, Lake Tahoe.

Below is a picture that my friend Sara (who LIVES at Zephyr Point) took from her living room window. Can you even believe how gorgeous this is? The hot air balloon was just inflated and is sitting on the barge that follows the balloon around Lake Tahoe.

I am working on what my workshop will be for 2018. It will be Art to Wear,of course, but exactly what…. still sewing, planning…. I enjoy creating so many things that all relate to the Art to Wear Theme.

Upcycling is soooo popular.  I want to show you one simple upcycling thing you could do today.

Yesterday was the perfect day to stay indoors. Here in Cedar Ridge, CA , we received 6 inches of rain. On days like that, I have to wear “Cozy Clothes.”  Below is what I picked. I made this pullover hoody with kangaroo pockets in 1989! Yes, 1989. I had Heidi’s Fabrics then and I could not keep PolarTec in stock during the fall and winter. “Polar Fleece” fabrics were created by Malden Mills out of Massachusetts. They are the company that started the Fleece craze. They had the BEST quality fleece on the market. At least 4 weights, 6 types, stunning prints, solids, and never EVER pilled. So sad, the mill burned to the ground in 1995 and as so many textile mills in the USA, gone for good. 

I used a Kwik Sew pattern. Oh my gosh, I just added up the years, and I have kept it for 28 years! It has truly been my “go to” cozy, comfy, feel better, pullover. All the other cozy clothes I own, and I keep pulling out this one.Who knew?  I’m certain that YOU own some cozy clothes too. Look at a new piece with the eye to, “Can I upcycle this garment? (make certain to use one that is an Extra Large and Roomy for the best “Cozy” factor) to make it your new, go to, Cozy piece.

Here’s mine. Ha, ha,in fact,  I’m WEARING it as I write my post today. I found a Tommy Bahama, mens X LG , super quality French terry- like, cotton knit.  

Most important for me, a kangaroo pocket. I used Marcia Derse fabrics and used a super light weight batting (to show off the quilting), small amounts of all my fav’s so I can wear any color turtle neck underneath. I purposely lined the simple rectangle pocket (take a pattern from one you already have) with muslin, and wanted it to show as I am rolling up the sleeves. I stitched the K.P. down the middle and a few inches up the side openings so my chocolate stash or whatever, won’t fall out.

I added extra little pieces here and there, one on the back, and one on the front, to tie the whole thing together.

I’m feeling so cozy right now, excuse me while I go make a cup of coffee and have a piece of pumpkin pie. Be right back……

Ohh THAT was yummy. Since I spoke about Marcia Derse fabrics (check out her website of the same name, or go to Ebay for older prints), I want you to see the Terrific Tabard vest I made out of this panel fabric, one of the few panels she has created. 

Email me: hmemmett@gmail.com if you are interested in purchasing this Art to Wear vest sewing pattern. I will mail it to you for $16.00 (includes tax and shipping).

A little bit more on creativity and how meeting as a group or in a workshop is so inspiring. I belong to a group called SWAG (Sierra Wearable Art Group).My brain starts churning out so many different ideas when I’m there and I scramble to write them down.  What I want to do for you in the next workshop I teach at Zephyr Point is: Let’s think outside the box together and create a unique piece of Art to Wear that will fit and you will want to wear.

Here is a sampling from our last meeting: 

Patty P. first made a dress from this DROP DEAD GORGEOUS (super expensive but worth every penny) wool fabric she purchased at Britex Fabrics. She didn’t care for the dress, so she cut it up again and re-purposed it into this stunning vest. She loves it now.

Joan C. is at it again with her great fiber jewelry. Stunning what pieces of silk from silk scarves will do to make a great look. How about those old scarves you can’t bear to get rid of but you just don’t wear anymore, hmmm…. 

The beginnings of my fall set up on my front steps. Can you spy the fake pumpkin? There is one in this picture. In fact, when Thanksgiving gives way to Christmas, and “fake” pumpkins go on sale, I buy. I mix them in with the real deal to make for a stunning (in my humble opinion, ha, ha) display. With the real pumpkins, no matter how hard I try to pick the best, I will have a casualty now and then. Pumpkin mush is a mess to clean off  brick steps. I spy the fake pumpkin, it’s the little white one. I used a felt pen to make a more realistic stem. Isn’t the large red orange pumpkin gorgeous? These are called “heirloom pumpkins.”

Chinese lanterns picked at their peak. Will add these to my Thanksgiving table. 

A Red maple with sunlight coming from the back. Stunning!

Thank you so much for stopping by everyone. Don’t forget to visit my personal blog, an all things creative blog: Designsbyheidi.wordpress.com  Have a Happy Thanksgiving. We all have much to be Thankful for. Hugs, Heidi

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

My Semi Yearly Shot of Inspiration Fall 2017 Part 1

 

Having just returned from what is now my semi annual sewing retreat with my tribe of like minded sewists, my mind is full of new ideas and my cabinets have a whole boat load of new fabric in them. Because we have so much fun, share so many wonderful garments and jewelry creations, and infuse each other with fresh ideas, another retreat was added last March. Yay!!!!!!!! Twice a year now!

Although it’s only been seven months since our last retreat, the racks and tables were as full as ever. Here’s just one of the things we look forward to: everyone is invited to bring fabric and/or garments to give away or sell. On Sunday night after check in, we “shop” the garment racks and put our name on the tags of items we would like to buy. If more than one person has their name on the tag, a drawing is held the next night. After dinner, we all gather in the large sewing room in eager anticipation and then applaud the winners good fortune. Here are some of the racks of clothes. Shoes, belts, scarves, etc. also are offered.

And yes, Terry got the Kantha cloth coat she is admiring. It’s reversible! And it looks adorable on her.

The “freebie” table includes all manner of fabric. Scraps, patterns, yardage, patterns, decorator samples, patterns, vintage linens, patterns, old clothing, patterns, a huge container of old buttons, patterns, and then there were some more patterns! One participant moved this year and decided to thin out her collection of patterns. It was divine! Thanks Sharon!

That little corded basket was part of the gift exchange this year and it worked perfectly for gathering a stash of buttons.

Since there is no copyright on clothing, we spend quite a bit of time tracing off garments. What we can’t accomplish on our own, lovely Jenny makes the patterns for us (and anyone else who wants them). These are some of the ones I considered ordering from the box. It probably represents about a quarter of what’s available. And after last week, there will be about five more coming. Thank you Jenny.

Thanks to Janet, this was another year to enjoy her offbeat jewelry making. She uses everything from rubber bands to fabric covered wire to hair ties.

My sister and myself.

These are fabric covered wire balls/flowers. They can be manipulated into whatever shape you’d like.

Aren’t these the cutest lime green rubber bands?

The following picture is a necklace made of rubber bands and three great beads. My sister and I saw the same exact necklace MINUS the beautiful beads in a high end boutique in Berkeley for 79.00!

Who doesn’t like a black and white mix of patterns?

Lisa brought some huge rusty pipes along with some smaller rusted items, a big spray bottle with vinegar and some plastic tarps so we could try our hand at rust dying. No tetanus shots required. It was so simple and because it was quite warm, we got quick results. Terry’s shirt is a good example. Does her husband know that he “donated” that? 

Isn’t that yoke awesome?

It’s really appreciated when ones who have taken classes during the year share the results of what they’ve learned. Although eco dying has been featured before, I thought this was such a beautiful example and Lisa used the best part of it in this knit t-shirt.

This is just so beautiful. It looks 3D.

A huge thanks to Gayle who took a marbling class from a  “Master Marbler”. Who knew there was such a thing. She said that after following the teachers old world technique, she broke out her own esthetic. I love this. The colors, the large print, the garment, the asymmetry. It just looks like the person wearing it is having way more fun than I am.

In my next blog I will share with you some of the wonderfully creative garments that were made while we were there, some made straight from the scrap table! Stay tuned for Part Two in my next blog.

The last pictures are before and after pictures of Victoria’s painted canvas that she made while at Zephyr.  I love what she did with it after she returned home. Please excuse the blurry pictures.

Such a clever idea for a fabric container. Nice work, Victoria. Couldn’t you just see a few of these in your creative space?

Wishing you all fresh sources of inspiration whether it be rust, wire or rubber bands. Carry on and create!

Magical Fabrics, Color Mirage

by Christine Barnes

First up, a big welcome to all our new followers—we are delighted that you’ve joined us! If you aren’t familiar with our Artistic Alchemy blog, we take turns writing about our latest work, our sources of inspiration, and our creative processes. It’s fun for us, and we love seeing your comments in our Inbox. It’s my turn this week, so without further ado . . .

I have a confession: for years, yes years, I’ve been guarding my collection of Elin Noble hand dyes. From what? From whom? Really, it’s ridiculous! But when you look at these photos (the camera is for scale), I think you’ll agree that they are magical, precious fabrics, to be cut only for special projects. They remind me of a mirage, a color mirage.

In truth, I’ve used some of these gorgeous fabrics over the years, but I’ve never combined them with solids and—drum roll please—stripes or plaids. It was past time. I began by isolating an area in one fabric with my 6-inch ruler, then marking the area, which was slightly larger than needed, with chalk.

For each block, I played with three solids and one stripe or plaid that had color connections to the hand dye, but didn’t necessarily match. The Kaffe Fassett stripe in the mock-up below was too dark, but I liked the idea of a skinny B&W strip as an accent.

For my second try, I went with a slightly darker orange, and another wonderful Kaffe stripe. I liked the combination, but I wanted to save the stripe for another group of fabrics.

Enter an ikat plaid, along with a rich yellow-orange in place of the dark orange above, and a darker yellow-green Grunge. Now there were variations in values and textures, plus a few bonus colors in the plaid. Done!

This block needed a bit more punch and a skinny strip.

Replacing the light blue-violet strip with a slightly darker version made the difference. (it’s hard to see this in the photos; trust me). Here’s the block sewn.

Earlier I made two blocks with Peppered Cotton solids and buffalo plaids. In the block below I see layered transparency where the light area of the plaid touches the center square and the yellow-green strip. The light blue-green strip on the right is an Oakshott cotton from the UK, another magical fabric.

I will probably unsew this block and insert a skinny strip. This is just a raw strip laid on top of the block.

I’m not sure this block will make the final cut. The stripe and buffalo plaid compete and take attention away from the awesome center square. It may need a makeover . . . . (Hey, so do I!)

I enjoyed the mess . . .

And the cut ingredients made for a colorful image.

I’m excited about making four more blocks, and of course I’ll show you the finished top. Thanks for following along with my audition-and-edit process.

Finally, the four of us are set to launch an ongoing “Studio Sale,” where we offer things we’ve created, fabric we love (but may never get around to using), and other treasures. Because of deadlines and teaching schedules, our first Studio Sale will happen soon, just not today. My apologies to those of you who tuned in to see what we have. It will be worth the wait, I guarantee!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Polymer Play at Zephyr

by Sandra Bruce

Our 2017 Artistic Alchemy Retreat is over for another year, and a great time was had by all! I decided to teach polymer clay this year, a change from Material Matrix. It was so wonderful to have a nice stretch of time to teach it, play with polymer, and enjoy the 10 ladies who came to learn about this versatile and amazing craft. It just made me smile!!

I was blown away by what everyone produced. This, on Day 2, from someone who had never used polymer clay before, my student Sandra. Such enthusiasm is contagious! Sue is an accomplished quilter, and will incorporate polymer buttons into her quilts. I can’t wait to see what she does. Look at the periwinkle pieces she’s working on.
We did a “cane exchange” so everyone would have a variety to work with.
It’s great when roomies became friends! Penni and Shelley.
Several ladies were new to polymer and took to it quickly, as it is an easy medium to work with. Here’s Cecilie, becoming familiar with the pasta machine.Janet, below, came with her friend Sandra, and both of them went to town making jewelry pieces.
Sandra with her polymer creations. Woo-hoo!
Trish, although not new to polymer, learned some new tricks and made some great pieces.

Mukhya was determined to get some gold polymer conditioned. She persevered!

Linda shows us her polymer beads. She is a jewelry maker too, and I’m sure will be making some fabulous things with her beads!

We always enjoy Show and Tell. My student Cherie, who came to do polymer this year, had been with me before at Zephyr and made a beautiful Matrix quilt top which she brought to share. I was thrilled to see what she had done, and to hear she will have me quilt it, can’t wait!Here are Marti and Paula, who came this year to do Christine’s class. They took my Matrix class last year, and look what they made and brought to Show and Tell!

On the last day I got out my jewelry making supplies and we made earrings, drilled holes in buttons, and finished a few pieces.I can’t leave this story with giving credit to our helper this year, Kathy Spoto, who took all the photos in this post. she was a great help and was super fun to have with us all week. Thank you, Kathy! Here’s Kathy on the right, with Trish and myself.

 

Our annual group shot, happy ladies after a week of creativity, friendship and learning.I would like to make a bit of an announcement….starting with our next blog post, we will be posting every other week, to accommodate our teaching schedules, and give us even more time to create new techniques and designs.  Along with our posts, we will be having a virtual studio sale! That’s all I will say for now, but you’ll want to check in and see what goodies we have in store.

Thanks to all the participants of this year’s retreat, and for the surveys that you filled out for us. We always strive to make your experience with us a great one, and welcome your feedback.

And last but not least, I will be returning to Material Matrix next year, for those of you who have been asking :-). Here is my latest class sample, “Junior Cardinal”, which is an abbreviated version of “Mr. Cardinal”. I’m happy to have him join my cache of class projects. Bye for now!

 

Is That a BEAR?- Exciting and Creative Times at our Artistic Alchemy Retreat 2017

September 4th-8th, I was busy, busy,  at Zephyr Point, Lake Tahoe.  Two mornings into the retreat, my friend from Portland, Oregon, Linda & I were enjoying our early morning coffee (7:15a.m.) at the edge of Lake Tahoe. I turned to see another student about 20 ft. away. Started to say hi, and saw a bear about 20 ft. behind her. OMG!!!!! Wha’ do we do? Wha’ do we do? The pictures of the teenage bear are courtesy of Marti (another student at her second floor window). We took off at a very, very, fast walk and so DID THE BEAR! We have lived to tell the tale. And I didn’t spill a drop of coffee in the race to the door to get inside. Ha, ha, ha. In fact, I didn’t need anymore coffee the rest of the day!

The clearing where we were enjoying the view. The bear entered, stage right, from behind the boulder. We were to the left of the “Portal of Prayer” sign (my prayers were short, and to the point, “Dear Lord, HELP!). 

Now,back to some creative fun. Candace, one of my students,  was very productive. In fact, she was the first of ALL the students in the whole retreat who started and completed her first project, less than half way through the 3 full days retreat! She even brought her serger to speed things along.

My workshop was called “Pick a Pattern.” Each student brought two different patterns from my collection, or my new book. We discussed fabrics for each project via emails. My students had so much creativity on their own. I was there to help with fit and design ideas that would make it, their very own “Art to Wear” piece. Candace’s first piece was the Rafiki Skirt.

We hung her Rafiki skirt on the design wall and after an afternoon swim, she got started on a second project, Whisper Blouse.

Each one of my students gave me, GREAT ideas that I had NEVER thought of.  Candace had a marvelous way of putting the tie into the skirt. A buttonhole goes in the front. Make the tie belt and thread each end in the buttonhole. 

The tie belt must be threaded in a circle first. The circle fits right under the top edge that will be folded down to form the casing.

She folds the casing right over the tie making certain that the piece is out of the way when she stitches down the casing all the way around the skirt. Sooo simple! Thank you Candace.

Here is Patty, another student. Patty wanted to create her own “Earthy colored” Terrific Tabard vest for her first project.

Patty has been ALL OVER THE WORLD! She has amazing stories to tell. She has promised to show me her photo albums. I love seeing and traveling with others through pictures and stories. When we spoke about her fabric choices she said, “Oh, I have silks from my travels to India, Vietnam, Asia, and I just picked up a beautiful batik when I was in Morocco.” WOW, wow, let’s see what she creates. 

Isn’t it beautiful? She was very happy with her creation. Patty celebrated by going for an early afternoon kayaking break. When she returned she whipped out the cutest purse with her vest scraps.

Oh, then she decided to make the cutest fabric earrings  from more scraps. Silk is perfect for these “frayed” earrings.

Carol, another one of my creative students wanted to use a picture panel that she had saved for something special. She decided to make my “Simply Super Vest” pattern from my new book, Fashion Quilted Accessories. This is the pattern,on the cover. It is a unique way to use your favorite picture panel piece. 

Here’s Carol with the back of the vest and one front piece up on her design board. 

I encourage everyone to get their projects up on a design board and stand back to get a good view of what they are creating. Carol has such a good eye for placement. She tells me that she used to teach math and it shows in the great care she took in measuring and placement.

This vest is really coming along……then her trusty, older Singer started giving her problems. And then she began suffering from a terrible case of Vertigo. In spite of how badly she felt, she was determined to continue to work on her vest AND wanted to discuss her second project, her version of Rafiki skirt.  

Below is Candace’s second project (almost done out of silks that a family member brought back from Hong Kong 30+ years ago). 

We also had lightening, thunder, and rain almost every afternoon. After all the heat we had all suffered through, the rain, oh the blessed rain, and drop in temperature was such a relief. 

Here are the teachers from another successful year of workshops at our annual Artistic Alchemy Retreat. From the left, Mary Boalt, Sandra Bruce, me, Heidi Emmett, and Christine Barnes. 

Maybe YOU will attend next year! Please visit and sign up for my personal blog: Designsbyheidi.wordpress.com  for more creative ideas,  My mantra, “Make it up, make it fun, and get it done!” Hugs, Heidi

Craftsy-Logo InstagramAA Logo1Pinterest-Pinnedetsy

Another Zany, Zowie, Zingy, Zesty Zephyr Retreat

Mary Boalt

…has zipped on by. And what an awesome, inspirational time we all had. Some participants dove into their fabric stashes and completed garments. Others went out of their comfort zones and tried a new medium to express their artistic voice, whether polymer or paint. And still others expanded their education in the ever fascinating world of color. In the end, we all came away with some new talents, knowledge, garments or way of expressing ourselves. Isn’t that what we love about the creative process?  And we meet the most interesting people too!

My students are especially brave. Many have not played with paint since grammar school. This is an opportunity to engage with new toys like stencils, stamps, screen prints and Gelli plates. These women continue to amaze me with their abundance of ideas. Let me introduce you to them and show you some of their work.

Here’s Kari, a returning student who’s extremely helpful and creative, and Beachy Pat discussing design ideas. Everyone is so generous in bouncing ideas around. Beachy Pat was one of our brave souls jumping right in and putting paint to canvas.

This is Pat number two!  She is an amazing seamstress with a great design eye. She’s the most pleasant person to meet and to have in class.

Terry really took advantage of all the tools in the toy box. She can screen print like a pro! And she went to work right away, not wasting any time.

Gracie and Victoria were both “noses to the grindstone” and turned out some beautiful pieces. Gracie had some home dec projects in mind. And you could see a quilters hand in Victoria’s designs.

This is Patty a few weeks later showing off some of the finishing touches on one of her three canvasses.

And this is my hard working sister, Patty, who helps me out by washing all the stamps, stencils and screens for the students.  She also helps me set up and tear down. I don’t know what I’d do without her. Last year she completed the steam-a-seam project. This year she was able to complete a canvas.

…in desert colors where she now lives.

After only a few days these very ambitious women made all these canvasses.

A few years ago I gave my sister a painted canvas. I just love the bag she made from it.

We all had such a good time getting to know each other, watch one another’s creative abilities blossom and applaud their successes. What a great group of supportive women! We hope this inspires you to join us next year at beautiful, peaceful Zephyr Point, the place where creative breakthroughs are achieved.

 

 

 

What a Week!

by Christine Barnes

Retreat 2017 is now history, and what a great week it was. Let me begin with my intrepid, up-for-anything students—you were wonderful, one of the best classes I’ve ever had, and your blocks and projects prove it. You were fun and brave and always cheerful. Allow me to show off your work!

We began with four mock-block exercises that illustrate the adage that “Value does all of the work, and color gets all of the credit.” Contrasts in value create two important effects in quilt design: 1) they add a sense of depth (dark shapes seem closer, lighter shapes farther away) and 2) they establish the design (a dark star shows up on a light background).

When the values (lights, mediums, and darks) are somewhat similar, differences in pattern and color can differentiate the shapes, as in these Boy’s Nonsense mock-blocks. Paula combined two very different patterns to establish the design.Barb’s modern background fabric makes her block light and lively.Marti’s intense center square contrasts with the somewhat duller ombré rectangles.The Granny Square block is a great format for playing with light, medium, and dark values. In Lisa’s block, there’s even “accidental transparency.”The way in which Patti used the linear prints is smashing. (I want this block. 🙂Gale had an assist from her sister Mukhya in pasting up her Best Friends block. A bright print for the outer triangles makes the design even bolder. See how well the dark skinny triangles stand out against the red-orange half-square triangles.A busy Alice in Wonderland print separates nicely from the background and the dark skinny triangles in Susan’s block.An op-art, black-and-white print gives Gail’s block movement.I’m loving the vintage/modern vibe here, with contemporary fabrics and a Featherweight machine. Yes!Color therapy!Gail auditions fabrics for Laurie’s Spumoni blocks.That’s Susan behind her Urban Sunsets quilt top. It’s difficult to see in this shot, but the black-and-white swizzle sticks have an undulating design (check out the upper right block).Jane’s Urban Sunsets units are wonderfully different in value, color, and pattern.Variations in value, color, and pattern make for an elegant, minimal design. Lisa’s block, I believe.Cindy working on her Urban Sunsets blocks.Another one of Cindy’s blocks in progress. She’s bordering her center units with a green Gelato ombré instead of the gray. (I can’t wait to show you the finished quilt!)Gail went to town with Kaffe fabrics for Spumoni. See how the different values affect the look of each block.Isn’t our class wall colorful??? There was even more to see, on moveable design boards.These Farmer’s Wife blocks, done the morning of the last full day, really show the growth in everyone’s work. Well done, ladies!

Green Grunge triangles flank the nine-patch unit in Ellen’s block. Dark-value corner squares advance and give the design a strong sense of dimension.Though there is some blending in the nine-patch unit, I’m loving the colors and prints in Gale’s version.

Lisa’s clicked when she positioned the leafy squares in the nine-patch unit so the values contrast with the greeny-brown triangles.The color in Laurie’s block is a bit off in this photo, but wow, it sure works! The nine-patch unit advances because the values are darker than the gold triangles.OK, not our best look, but hey, it’s the last morning and we were weary. We had 12 students in all (Gale, Patti, Susan, Ellen, and Jane are missing from this pic). This photo, taken by our phenomenal assistant Kathy, says it all. There is no other place on the planet like Lake Tahoe.But wait, there’s more! Gail and Laurie, my students from the Dakotas, rode around the lake, all 72 miles of it, in the “Tour de Tahoe” on Sunday. Congrats, ladies, on ending your week with a bang. I told my young hair stylist about your ambitious ride, and she paused and said, “Well, that sure changes my idea of what quilters are like.” Too funny!With that I’ll sign off. Thank you for looking at my students’ amazing work. And thanks to my students for making my week so memorable. As I’ve said many, many times, “You make this job so rewarding and so much fun!”

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save