Kicking Off 2021 with Creativity

This is Jane. Happy New Year. 2021 is finally here, yeah!

Hoping everyone is well and staying healthy. Going forward we will need patience as we keep wearing our masks while waiting for the vaccine program to roll out and hopefully politics will take a backseat in our lives.

The start of a New Year

Leading into 2021 we have been in contact with Zephyr Point Conference Center and are planning our retreat, September 6-10th 2021. Finally here’s an event we can anticipate and get excited about after so much time sheltering at home. We should be able to gather, maybe still wearing our masks but share this beautiful and creative environment. As usual our retreat information and reservation forms will come out at the beginning of February. So be looking for that. We are all excited to make our announcement for the September retreat.

Playtime using my new Gelli plate

Christmas time rolls around and my family asks me “What would you like for Christmas?” I really don’t need anything but usually I will buy items that can be gifted to me! This year these included a knitted beanie, quilting books, and some art supplies. I was caught by surprise as my son James bought me a Gelli plate and two brayers for printing. The Gelli plate by Gel Press is the biggest one I have seen! Its 12″ x 14″

Getting to play with my new Gel Plate

After watching a few Youtube videos, I went outside gathered some leaves and weeds from my garden, organized my supplies and started printing. I used acrylic and fabric paints I already had. Tip: I did buy expensive Golden fluid acrylics but found they worked no differently than less expensive craft paints. I tore up some white muslin into 13″ x 15″ pieces, which I sprayed with Terial Magic to stiffen them. I also gathered some sketchbook paper and covered my table with newsprint in preparation.

With my daughter Lucy to help and all the supplies around, we ended up making about 10 panels of fabric and about the same on paper. Many of the prints have three layers using three different colors and a variety of leaf shapes. Some layers were made using the the paint off the plate and others came off the ghost print that was under the leaves after the initial print.

The question I ask myself and I am sure my family does too, is what will I do with them? They are all unique, some more successful than others but beautiful and unexpected art. I have a few favorites and some of these are on paper. I plan to copy these using my inkjet printer onto fabric sheets.

My workshop for the 2021 retreat will again be a combo class of mark-making and collage. So if you wish to play with fabrics, papers, printing supplies and paint then this could be the workshop for you. As I think about using these panels I could cut and piece them together for a great background for my collage.

Starting some fabric collage using succulent imagery

The two books I “bought myself” for Christmas were The Painted Quilt by Laura and Linda Kemshall and Botanicals by Uppercase. I have also been watching videos on DesignmattersTV which is fun and relaxing, inspiring all things surface design and quilting.

Using my new iPhone to take a picture as I work

This year some of my goals include finishing some of the collage quilts I have made but not quilted or finished. Above I am working on finishing one such quilt which I need for an online class next week. I am teaching my class Little Frank Fabric Collage for Craft Napa Uncorked. Other goals include using my stash of fabric, drawing and painting in my sketchbook, being more experimental in my work and writing another online, on-demand workshop on Coursecraft. Check out more of my work and patterns etc I have for sale on my website

Another new product I have been using is called Applipops These are a variety of different sized metal rings, that you use in pairs, to make simple pressed circles of fabric. I have been using them in the hand stitched Japanese Rice Pouches I’ve been stitching. The pattern I use for the above bag is from KZStevens and is very simple to make. I’m on my sixth one! My current hand stitch, meditative stitching project is this floral panel that I stitch in the evening whilst watching Hinterland on Netflix. This panel will be number seven Rice Pouch!

Work in Progress hand stitched, embroidery panel

So now you know what I have been up to in 2021 and I hope you too have been inspired and creative. So lets get through these crazy times by staying busy and staying home. As Heid says try to get in 15 minutes a day of creativity.

Until next time, Jane

Indigo Dying- You gotta Try This!

by HEIDI EMMETT

It was a bright, summer day. Perfect for playing with fabric and Indigo dyes. With very little experience with this process, I was ready to jump right in. And it is all the more fun with a large group of “like-minded” friends.

Our teacher, Ginny Lee, showing samples and explaining the process.
So, Indigo is the dye bath we put our item in after it has been manipulated in some way with Shibori techniques.
Here is an example of Kumo Shibori. Love it, and it is the first one I tried on a linen top.
Here is the wrong side and the right side (both are cool) of a Shibori technique that involves using wine corks (I always wondered what to do with mine, ha, ha) and rubber bands.
O.K., here goes my first attempt at Kimo Shibori using a linen top. Wrap at an angle, tightly, but not too tight.
Ginny is showing me how to wrap and pull down on those wraps (to fit the whole thing on the tube.
Here are some very interesting wraps. Notice the printed fabrics too.
I love all these really wild and different wrappings, foldings, and clothes pins! These pieces have been soaked in water and are waiting their turn in the dye bath.
Indigo is a plant. Yes, it is found in Asia, India, and I just learned this, there were large plantations of Indigo in South Carolina in the middle to late 19th century.  Not really a hard process to make up a batch of the Indigo.  Really messy though.
This is my linen top coming out of the dye bath. Whaaat? Why is it Chartreuse? Where’s the blue? It turns this green color in the dye bath and as it’s exposed to the air, it begins to change over to Indigo Blue.
I like this cotton shirt and floppy hat.
Taa daa! My linen top! There is still some green in one bottom corner. 5 min. later, blue.
This piece is so interesting. Ginny said to bring yellow or orange fabrics as a base fabric. Such an interesting piece all wrapped and folded with 1/2 moon shapes.
I think this T-shirt is really cool. There is the yellow and orange(tie dyed before) with a hint of Indigo here and there.
This T-shirt was pinched and pleated in the top area only using larger clips. What a cool design.
I sure wish this was my piece. Again, it started with a pale yellow fabric. I like the combo of styles within one piece.
I brought a baby quilt that I got at the thrift store. The quilting, HAND QUILTING, is so precise, and the stitching is so small. It had languished in my “what do I do with this?” container for years. It was white, well dingy white. It took awhile but I bunched up little poofs of fabric and held them in place with plastic stretchy hair ties. I really like how it turned out. I hope to make a vest out of it using one of my patterns. Maybe a “Mommy & Me & My Lace Vest” only it will be a quilted.
Someone brought this book.  I might need to own this. Filled with great pics and ideas.

It was suggested that we bring fat qtrs. to be able to try many different techniques. Brilliant idea. One student did that, and even went further by prepping some of her pieces at home with some of the more time consuming folding, pinching, whatever processes.
This same student took home 12 different techniques with just fat qtrs. I’m jealous!
Another pale yellow piece of fabric to start (a tablecloth actually).
A really fun day and I can’t wait to do it again, hopefully sooner than later.
I came home and went to the back deck doors and said, “What? ” Rex was sound asleep, thinking he was a dog? Trying to cool off? Pretty funny.  The 2019 Artistic Alchemy Retreat is only 29 days away. All the teachers are madly finalizing this and that to make it your PERFECT getaway. See you all soon.  Hugs, Heidi