Monday, December 22, 2014

Masterclass for quiltmakers, an online class with Elizabeth Barton

I have admired Elizabeth Barton and her quilts for many years. I have attended two of her classes at the former Quilt University and when her books "Inspired to design. Seven Steps to Successful Art Quilts" and "Visual Guide to WORKING IN A SERIES"  were published, I was not late to buy them.
When she announced that she was going to start an online Master class for Art Quilters, I immediately signed up.
The class started in January this year and now in December it is going to finish. 
Every month there was a new exercise to work with.
For example one exercise was about "Lost and Found edges". This was about to create the illusion of a place or a person, an object etc. in a limited two dimensional space. One of the most magical illusions is that of lost edges. It is magical really!
 The planning for the work was the same for every month.
1 to the 10th of the month we were asked to make a lot of sketches and then choose the 3 best.
11th  to the 20th of the month.
When Elizabeth had received all the designs she put them together into a blog with a critique for each design. She numbered them and did not use our names, so we were just Student 1, Student 2 etc. So we could feel free to be wild.
We had then ten days to block out the design we had chosen i.e. cut out the pieces in fabric and pin them together so that she clearly could see how the piece looked, but that alterations were possible.
When she had received the images she put them on a blog with critique for each one. No names.
21st to the last day of the month.
The finished quilts were published on the blog with a short evaluation, basically her overall impression and some things for everyone of us to ponder for the next piece, which was published on the first of the next month, on her blog, where she described the next exercise.
Elizabeth writes "Don´t worry if you can´t manage to do this (or any other exercise) - as long as most of you do it, we´ll have plenty of designs to look at and critique.
Reading her critiques for all the students sketches, block outs and the finished quilts have been very instructive and useful. There were lots of valuable things to learn about how to think when you make a design.
Below are two of my sketches inspired by the Swedish painter Philip von Schantz (I just made two sketches this month)

After some critique from Elizabeth I made a lot of changes and below you can se my blocked out design after Elizabeth´s valuable and honest critique.

                                         The blocked out design where you can see how the piece looked and  
                                         alterations were possible.


                                         The finished piece.

                                          Close up

The background fabric is sunprinted with different paper shapes of bottles, which acts as masks, then outlined with machine stitching with a variegated thread. On top of the background fabric a piece of white organza  is placed. 
The foreground shapes of bottles are made of organza, schrims and Lutradur  backed with fusible web and fused on top of of the two layers (background sunprinted fabric and the layer of organza). Some of the bottle shapes are then mashine quilted round their perimeter. 
Measurement 16 x 10,5 inch
This was a fabulous class and I´ve come away from it feeling much more capable and confident in my work
The Master Class blog is private but Elizabeth has a public blog and a website if you wish to check her out further.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

New format for Latitude in 2015

After we had complete our second year of 15 inch squares, it seemed like time to try a different format and size.

For 2015 we will all make 4 quilts instead of 6. They will be revealed at the end of February, May, August and November.

The size will be maximum of 24 by 17 and minimum of 20 by 15 inches, but each member can choose the exact size, and orientation.

Each challenge will be a design principle or style, not a thing or an idea.

Participants will have an overall theme for the year. This could be anything that has meaning for you - and it can be as narrow or wide as you like. This theme will unify each member's body of work, but each challenge will be interpreted as we have done before.

I was interested to see a challenge using a similar overall theme idea by Mix group - see, the dates from April 27th 2014 and the previous posts.

The first challenge was set by Lyuda and is the colour Green.

I am excited to see our group evolve their work this way, which will add a level of cohesiveness to each person's work that we didn't all embrace in the previous 2 years, though some members came close.


In a few days is Christmas and though we think it should be white, here in Bavaria it is warm, the sun is shining and the first spring plants are coming. Yesterday I went for a long walk with my camera. The main colour I saw was green, in many different variations.
If there is some red in the picture, the green will sparkle.

Here is old colour from graffitis mixed with moss, it looks fantastic.
In the end I arranged all my green fotos in one big picture. Now I can look for all my green fabric scraps and a little bit red and arrange them in the same way.

I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new Year!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Paper Lamination on Fabric

For my last challenge piece, 'Lettering', I was inspired to use a technique from the book  'Paper & Metal Leaf Lamination' by Claire Benn, Jane Dunnewold & Leslie Morgan. As my new pigment printer is now not working (another story), I wanted to find another way of 'printing' on fabric for the challenge. 

Going through some of my art DVD's one rainy afternoon, I watched the video that comes with this book and was immediately inspired. 

I started by printing out my selected images using a laser printer with normal copy paper. I then cut these images to the approximate size I wanted. I made sure I cut off all of the unwanted white edges, as, through my testing process, learned that you don't want to use any unwanted paper as you will only have to remove it later and may not give you the result you are looking for.

I then laid them out and played with them until I had my desired result. To make it easier to get the size I needed, I penciled a 15 x 15 inch square onto my working board and laid the images about a quarter inch over the edge. 

I then laid my piece of polyester sheer over the collage and pinned it, stretching it slightly so that it remained taut.

I painted the medium on the overlapping edges of the collage pieces first so that they wouldn't move once I put the silk screen over them, however, in the end I didn't use the screen to apply the medium, I carried on and used the brush for the whole piece as I was afraid the individual pieces would still move around. This worked out well and kept all of my pieces in place, however, the book does go through the process of using a silk or thermofax screen, both which have the advantages of laying down a smooth, even layer of medium and also pushing the medium onto the cloth more evenly. You can also use screens that have a design on them to create different effects. I guess it depends on the type of image you are using and the degree of accuracy you need from the design. 

Another thing I did was to use masking tape around the outside edges so that the medium didn't over run onto the fabric to far. This is may not be necessary, but I am still learning what works best and it gave me the result I wanted. 

I let the piece dry on the board for a while, then I peeled it off and pegged it up to completely dry. Once this was done, I heat set it using a dry iron set to a cotton setting and parchment paper between the fabric and the iron. You then plunge the whole thing into a bucket of water (!) and let it soak for at least 5 minutes, after which you rub off the paper. It took a few soakings, so don't be afraid to keep putting it back into the water and working it until you are happy.

The process itself is quite easy but really satisfying. I really loved using this technique and I am looking forward to experimenting more with it as there are so many more variations in technique that you can use.

Claire presents very well and I love watching their DVD's. Claire and Leslie also have 4 other books plus the 'Finding Your Own Visual Language' with Jane Dunnewold that Linden mentioned in her top ten book list. All are easy to understand and packed full of great techniques. I really am a big fan of their work.

Their website is:

Their book 'Screen Printing: :Layering Textiles with Colour, Textures & Images was listed on the top ten textile printing books.

I found their books on the Committed to Cloth website, Art Van Go here in the UK, Amazon, and Dharma Trading USA but there maybe others as well.

Happy creating!