I really enjoy working creating visual art. Vintage buttons, tattered cloth, well-loved quilts are items I try to incorporate, whenever possible, into my projects; polyester stretch velvet would never have entered my mind. While participating in the Susan Lenz class in May, 2019, at Woodland Ridge Retreat I learned to appreciate its many possibilities. The small item I am sharing today was initiated during Susan’s class.
Soft and fuzzy are adjectives used to describe, among other things, texture. The name chosen for this fiber art piece, Soft and Fuzzy, was selected because of the various velvets used. All five layers were adhered together with a fusible webbing. Unlike several of my previous items, this one was not covered with a layer of mesh which left exposed the soft and fuzzy feeling of the velvet; hence the inspiration for the name.
Soft and Fuzzy measures 7 3/4” x 9 3/4”. Staying consistent with the other members of this series, this item was framed with a black cotton border. Except for the nine French knots all of the quilting was added with my sewing machine. Since the velvet fabrics were fused together I saw no need for stitching over their raw edges. Soft and Fuzzy, the seventh of fourteen polyester stretch velvet projects, makes a wonderful addition to my portfolio.
If someone had told me I would use polyester stretch velvet in an art piece I would have thought them crazy. Now look at me; I’m about to share my sixth specimen. I guess stranger things could happen.
I began today’s art piece while in attendance at the Susan Lenz class at the Woodland Ridge Retreatcenter. Around the Square, AP # 101 measures 7 3/4” x 9 3/4”. Contained within are three layers of polyester stretch velvet. All were secured to together with a light fusible webbing then covered with a very fine mesh. Giving the three inner rectangles, as well as the outer black border, definition is a similarly themed stitch pattern.
Around the Square, AP # 101 is currently offered for sale at Raven’s Wish. If you are interested in making an inquiry you may do so by contacting either myself or them directly.
Ta Da! I’ve created my 100th fiber art piece! Time to dance a little jig. 🙂
Autumn Jazz was created during the polyester stretch velvet class I took in May 2019. Measuring 7 3/4” x 9 3/4” it is one of my favorite polyester creations.
I’ve always been fond of autumn colors. Many of the furnishings and fixtures in my home reflect that appreciation. When I combined the colors for this specimen it seemed only natural to expand on the warm color pallet often associated with autumn.
All of the polyester stretch velvet fabrics were anchored together with a light fusible product heated by an iron. Each of the small sections contains a minimum of at least two layers of polyester. To accentuate the finished structure I added geometric shaped lines of machine quilting. A black cotton border was added to all four sides. They too were quilted with rows of straight lines.
The warm and inviting appearance of Autumn Jazz has made it a wonderful addition to my portfolio.
When I hear the words, “follow the lines,” I am reminded of the instructions I received as a child. The phrase was uttered to encourage me to stay within the lines while coloring on paper. The meaning, in this instance, is much different. This installment in my polyester stretch velvet revelations will introduce you to an art piece I call Follow the Lines.
Art Piece # 99 was assigned the name Follow the Lines because of the added quilting. The angular movement, of the stitches, is reminiscent of a corn maze one would explore.
As was mentioned earlier, this 7 3/4” x 9 3/4” portfolio installment was constructed primarily from polyester stretch velvet. The various layers were secured together with a fusible web and an iron. Making the item appears as if it were shrouded by a curtain is a very fine sheet of mesh. Although the specimen had a unique quality of its own it still needed quilting to complete the process. Complimenting the perimeter of the polyester fiber art piece is a border of black cotton fabric embellished with rows of straight-line quilting.
Continuing in my series of polyester stretch velvet art is the addition of this little gem. Named Retro Vibes because of its jazzy appearance this 7 3/4” x 9 3/4” art piece is the third item in line.
Compared to Around and Around and Mint Shake this project involved very little melting. I primarily used an iron and a fusible product to meld the velvet sections together. To mimic the silver sequins, seen on the soft blue fabric, I added circular white buttons as well as silver beads. Three purple beads and a matching colored Perle Cotton thread were incorporated to echo the purple polyester stretch velvet. Also integrated was mint green Perle Cotton thread to bring more focus to the like colored stretch velvet. Rounding out the doodads is a very fine layering of fused sparkly threads. The last stage of this project was to add borders, quilting, etc.
Retro Vibes is a wonderful addition to my polyester stretch velvet experiment. Keep watching for the fourth member in this series.
Let’s celebrate! Well, not quite yet. Before we pop the cork on the champagne let’s turn the calendar pages back a bit.
Not too long ago I made the choice to turn the wheels of my art cart in a different direction. The course change meant giving up my customer-based longarm quilting business for total focus on my own endeavors. The decision, although very hard, was a longtime in the making.
As was shared in a previous visit, selling my art to fellow enthusiasts meant finding an outlet for the transactions to take place. The location I selected was Raven’s Wish. Just because I chose them didn’t mean they would mutually agree. On a very exciting day in January, my husband and I packed items from my portfolio into the truck of our car and headed to the gallery. Upon arrival I popped in to see if the owner, Alicia Reid, had time to visit. Alicia was currently visiting with an individual but was willing to divert her attention to my direction. After returning to my car, where my husband was patiently waiting, we retrieved my belongings and proceeded inside.
Shared with Alicia were samples of my small fabric art pieces, my meditative hand stitching items and my newly created greeting cards. Alicia carefully examined the items before her. As she pondered I presented my application and inquired about the jury process. With a smile on her face she announced that the jury process was complete. She was more than happy to display selected pieces of my art in her gallery and offer them up for sale. I’m sure you can imagine the elation I felt. How wonderful it was to have someone give value to my art. After mutually agreeing on pricing we entered into a contract.
Alicia now has nine of my polyester stretch velvet projects, four of my meditative hand stitchery pieces and three of my improv fabric art creations. All of the above are available for purchase on a commission basis. Purchased outright were twelve of my greeting cards.
During our discussion I mentioned the solo art exhibit I was privileged to experience at Blue Bar Quilts last fall. If Alicia was aware of the event I thought it would give her the opportunity to visit my blog and peruse the other items in my portfolio. At the mention of my previous event Alicia then offered me the opportunity to do the same at her gallery. After discussing several options we decided to schedule a show for the month of August. I think my heart skipped several beats when Alicia made the suggestion. Internally I was flabbergasted! I’ve been happily working with fiber arts for decades always wondering if it was worthy of appreciation. Having another well-known establishment acknowledge my endeavors was something I had never thought possible.
When I left Raven’s Wish, on that very memorable day in January, I believe I floated out the door. My decision to change course had been validated. Along with it came an even stronger desire to expand my portfolio. Alicia’s nod lifted my spirits and gave my ego the boost it desired. I know that life is not always filled with champagne bubbles and roses but for now I’m going to bask in the glow of this sweet, sweet experience.
Mention the phrase road trip to a fiber artist and visions of fabric stores, antique shops and anything other vendor that carries our supplies will come to mind. In this instance it conjures up a cozy, modern retreat/educational center in northern Wisconsin. In the very near future I am scheduled to pack my car to the gills with every possible project/supply I can imagine. Once I’m assured the tires and suspension can withstand the extreme weight (LOL) I will be off to my next adventure.
During my extended excursion I will immerse myself in endless sewing, stitching and conversation with my fellow enthusiasts. By the time the event has ended I will be so exhausted I’ll need a period of time just to recover. Keep your eye directed toward this direction for updates on my activities. It’s sure to be an interesting explosion of creativity.
Not too long ago I announced a change in my business. The shift in direction took my focus away from longarm quilting and steered it instead toward the marketing of my art. With more pieces in my inventory than I have room to display it seemed only natural to reduce my wares through sales.
Before I could make my first transaction I needed to research the available options both online and through local vendors. After treading through the maze I decided to initially direct my attention to the businesses around me. The business I chose is Raven’s Wish in Janesville, Wisconsin. Raven’s Wish is a locally owned gallery offering items for sale from 75 regional and national artists.
To become a registered artist Raven’s Wish requires a completed application as well as a review of the proposed works of art. In preparation for my visit I first scoped out their establishment to get a feel for the environment, then picked up an application. Even though I had the document in hand I still wanted to ponder all of the steps and ramifications a mutual sales relationship could/would entail.
I’ve been actively engaged in the creation of fiber art for a very long time. Until now all of the items have been assembled using a typical quilt sandwich (a quilt top, a filler/batting, and backing). Since I am dipping my toe into the retail world I thought it would be a great time to stretch my wings and offer a few other items.
Newest to my repertoire is the practice of meditative hand stitching and the creation of greeting cards. Meditative hand stitching involves the slow process of mindfully applying stitches to fragments of cloth. These items can vary in size as well as detail. My practice of participating in this form of stitchery produced towering stacks of finished pieces. Being emotionally attached to each and every one meant the thought of parting with them difficult to fathom.
My meditative hand stitchery (mhs) projects were not created with a quilt sandwich in mind. They consist of a base fabric, typically a 5” x 5” square of wool, along with additional fabric scraps and perhaps an embellishment or two. To secure the items together I apply a variety of stitches using several weights of Perle Cotton and Valdani threads. The lack of batting and a backing fabric mean the small items are flimsy in nature. In order to be able to market them to the public I began a search for suitable foundations.
After completing my research I decided to utilize 8” x 10” white artist canvases. I chose 8” x 10” because decorative frames are readily available for that size. I also chose them because they provide a sturdy area to stitch on and a great surface to adhere my previously created items. This is a sample of one of my completed MHS projects.
Let’s talk about greeting cards. Being an avid fiber artist I have an enormous inventory of leftover scraps. Those scraps were the inspiration for my cards. With a desire to pepper my pursuit of art with projects less involved I decided to try my hand at greeting cards. Using eco friendly card stock for the base I began sorting and organizing my scraps into pleasing combinations then stitched them directly to the paper with my sewing machine. Below is a sample.
I found the entire creative process invigorating. In less than a day I was able to make 24 cards. Each of my cards is accompanied by an envelope. The duo is protected inside a protective cellophane bag.
I’ve spent this entire time blabbing about my decision and my new direction in art but nothing in reference to whether I was successful at enticing Raven’s Wish to market my products. Guess what! I’m not going to reveal that answer today. Let’s save that discussion for a future visit.