Friday, January 29, 2010

It's about Time... for Artist Trading Cards (ATCs)

"It's about time..." was the theme for the FiberAntics January ATC (artist trading card) swap. The first swap of the new year came amidst a major snowstorm here in Chattanooga, but the local ATC artists managed a quick trade before roads became hazardous for driving. The weather forecast says we could be in for 4 to  8 inches of "wintery mix" by tomorrow afternoon. My resident "Nanook of the North" has been out shoveling the walkway, but with not much success as the snow just keeps coming down.

Here are the clever and timely interpretations of the theme. Top row l to r: "Time Flies," "It's about time... for Spring!!" and "Time Flies"

Bottom row l to r: "It's about time to finish those UFOs," "It's about time," "Time on my Hands," and, complete with its own pocket, "Its' about time... Grandpa got a new watch!" with a removable watch attached to the watch fob. (I love it when the cards are interactive!)

The card backs are just as interesting as the fronts and provide information on the materials and techniques used to create the cards. In talking with one of the artists at today's trade, she informed me of odorless mineral spirits (found at art supply or craft stores) that can be used to blend colored pencils (such as PrismaColor colored pencils). I haven't tried this technique. I guess I have some experimenting to do.

I hope these ATCs inspire you to experiment with paper, fabric, color and texture. ATCs are fun to create and even more fun to trade! Swap themes and registration dates are posted in the right-hand column above. Let me know if you want to participate in an upcoming ATC swap. You're invited!

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Round Robin Quilt Project

I belong to a small, close-knit and supportive group of women who enjoy quiltmaking. I guess you could call it a "bee," though I've never belonged to a bee, only to guilds. Several of the members were intrigued by a randomly-set quilt I made with a combination of contemporary and vintage quilt blocks of various sizes. "How did you sew these blocks together?" "How did you lay that out?" "I wouldn't know where to start," were some of the questions and comments.
    There's nothing like going through a process oneself to gain experience,  so...

Through a brain-storming session, we conceived and decided to work on a Round Robin project. Each person picked 3 fabrics, chose 3 words or phrases that described the "personality" of the quilt they wanted to make, and randomly drew a size for a quilt block they would make for each person. We can also add fabrics from our own stash when needed. To make it more interesting—and personal—I designed Quilt Journals for each member. The journals travel with the fabrics and each person writes in the journal during the time they are making a block.

The group meets monthly and the first month's results were delightful. Everyone was so thoughtful and creative with their choice of block designs and fabrics. We are on the second round and here is my 10" pomegranate basket block for Sandy's "traditional, Christmas, and holiday" quilt. The smaller blocks were Pat's contribution to Sandy's quilt. I saw the block that Camille made for my quilt and I love it! I can't wait to see this month's blocks at our next group meeting. It can't come fast enough.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wearable Art Vest Workshop

Is it yarn? Is it fabric? Is it woven? It's Yarn Fabication. 

On February 20, I'll be teaching my yarn fabrication technique at a workshop sponsored by the Riverbend Fiber Arts Guild.

In this workshop, we'll be doing an easy, no-knit stitching technique to create a soft-sculpt artwear vest like the one shown here. Yarn and a sewing machine is used to stitch up a "yarn-fabric" base to make the vest. Garment pieces are easily assembled using flat seams, and simple shaping is achieved with a slash-and-join method. Additional interest, texture and color can be achieved with contrasting yarns, trims, threads, embellishments, buttons or beads. This soft-sculpt vest can be customized for any occasion.

The vest workshop will be held at Alexian Brothers/Senior Neighbors, 10th and Newby Streets, in Chattanooga. It is a full day class from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost of the workshop is $45 per person. Make checks payable to "Riverbend Fiber Arts Guild." For additional information or to sign up, send an e-mail to

A black-and-white inkle woven shawl collar was added to the lime green vest.

The brown vest (below) showcases a novelty button for a front closure. Use your imagination to embellish and customize your wearable art creation!

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