Quite some time ago I participated in a class taught by Pam Beal at Woodland Ridge Retreat. The class Minimal Design, Maximum Impact focused on creating fiber art pieces that use a limited pallet of colors and/or design features. Today’s reveal has a limited color pallet but definitely not a limited number of stitches.
Testing 1, 2, 3 was assembled from test samples of four different construction methods: fabric strip manipulation, triangles, fractured circles and wedge piecing. All four were merged together to form this art quilt. The new creation was then surrounded by a border of black cotton fabric. Added for embellishment were four wool circles and a myriad of hand quilting stitches. Perle cotton was the primary thread used. To complete the fiber quilt an envelope of black cotton fabric was added to the back along with a hanging sleeve and a label with identifying features. Measuring 20 1/4” x 12 1/4” Testing 1, 2, 3 may be minimal in size but nowhere near minimal in impact.
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Creating art from polyester stretch velvet is very different; especially when 100% cotton is your fiber of choice. Over the last thirteen posts I’ve been sharing snippets of my love/hate relationship with this plastic material. This is my fourteenth and final post about the subject. Let’s take a look.
May, 2019 seems so long ago but that’s actually when this adventure began. Woodland Ridge Retreat was the location for the mind-bending class taught by Susan Lenz. While my anticipation was very high I never could have imagined the experience I was about to have.
It’s So Different, Art Piece 109 measuring 7 3/4” x 9 3/4” was assembled from polyester stretch velvet, felt and cotton thread. Details about the construction process can be found in my previous posts.
By the time I started this piece I was very familiar with Susan’s technique. My grasp of the concept made it easier to focus more on the desired outcome and as a result achieve a far more interesting product.
Some of the traits that make this item different from the other members in the family are:
Rather than similarity sized components this small art piece includes a variety of sizes and shapes and
Most of the felt was melted away which makes the cotton thread appear more predominant.
I am very pleased with with how this item turned out. To emphasize my appreciation, although it is not shown here, I have protected it inside a shadow box frame.
Reaching the end of a series is both exhilarating and sad; sad because it meant the Susan Lenz class had come to an end and goodbyes are always hard; exhilarating because I can finally move on and share newer accomplishments.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading about and seeing this unusual grouping of art as much as I have. If you feel inspired to share your thoughts, simply add a comment to my post.
After today there is only one more polyester stretch velvet art specimen to be revealed. This sequence has been sharing my most unusual art pieces thus far. Today’s focus will be on Art Piece # 108 Purple Coneflower. Links to the other members can be found here.
Started while attending the May, 2019 Susan Lenz class at the Woodland Ridge Retreat this is my thirteenth addition to the series . While most of the items I have shared thus far were self-directed, Purple Coneflower was a class assignment. The challenge was to draw a design on paper then convert it into a polyester stretch velvet project. I have a strong fondness for flowers, especially purple coneflowers, and as a result I decided to use that as the subject for my experiment.
Under the guidance of the instructor I put pencil to paper and converted my concept to reality. Once the image was ready I transferred the design to my preselected polyester stretch velvet. From there the process of turning my arranged fabric pieces into a finished item was exactly the same as the previously revealed items. You can read about the technique in the post I wrote about Neon Orange, Art Piece # 107.
I will admit that you might have to stretch your imagination a wee bit to visualize a purple coneflower, in the photo above, but I think you are totally capable. Achieving a realistic representation was never my intention; this was, after all, an exercise in abstract art. Once you are able to grasp my concept I believe you will see the resemblance. Purple Coneflower, Art Piece # 108 measures 7 3/4” x 9 3/4”. It was created using polyester stretch velvet, felt and cotton thread.
This brings to a close the story about the latest member added to my polyester stretch velvet collection. I now have only one more to reveal. Subscribers to my blog will automatically receive notice of the last posting in this series. If you are not a follower you may become one today by clicking on the provided button on my blog and then you too will always be up-to-date on my activities.
Here we go again with yet another fiber art quilt debut! This 7 3/4” x 9 3/4” work of art took shape during a May, 2019 Susan Lenz class I participated in at the Woodland Ridge Retreat. The class focused on the manipulation of polyester stretch velvet through the application of heat. The heat source came from heat guns and/or wood burning tools.
The above specimen was my second attempt at experimenting with the technique. Named Neon Orange because of the bright orange rectangles predominantly displayed, this item is certainly an unusual exhibit of what can result when testing out new methods.
As was the case with It’s Melting this small fiber art quilt began with stacked pieces of polyester stretch velvet. The stacks were arranged on a piece of felt then connected together with cotton thread via free-motion stitching. It was important to use only cotton thread because cotton will not melt when subjected to a heat gun. If I had used polyester I would have lost the connections between the individual components. Rather than have one art piece I would have ended up with twelve small fragments. Having twelve sections would have been disappointing but not the end of the world. Each of the fragments could have been turned into pins, necklaces, etc.
Using tongs in my left hand to suspend my sandwiched fabrics and a heat gun in my right I circulated the heat across the entire surface until the desired amount of felt had been melted away. If you refer to the photo above you will see that some of the black felt still remains. To remove the remaining pieces I could have applied the heat for a longer period. I also could have used a sharp scissors to carefully trim away the leftovers. However, I chose to stop because I was pleased with the outcome.
I am very proud to have this specimen of melted polyester stretch velvet as a member of my portfolio. I now have only two more items remaining in this series to share. Don’t miss out on their debut. Subscribe to my blog to receive updates. If you would like to read about the other specimens click here.
I’ve been focusing all my attention on finished art projects yet overlooked two very exciting accomplishments. The first occurred shortly before I left for my sewing retreat. Aside from the information I share on my blog I also post tidbits on Facebook and Instagram.
As I mentioned earlier, something very special happened before my marathon sewing extravaganza. After posting a photo on IG I received a private message from a friend. This amazing lady bakes and decorates cookies. By decorate I don’t mean she slathers a thick layer of canned frosting on top then sprinkles it with those itty bitty candies you shake from a bottle. No way! Her cookies are masterpieces. She painstakingly covers each cookie with unbelievably gorgeous images. Her cookies are a work of art. In fact they are almost too pretty to eat…but I wouldn’t go that far.
My friend’s inquiry asked about purchasing the item I had just posted. I’m sure you can imagine how ecstatic I was. After trading several messages the deal was sealed. With no time to spare, before I left for my northern extravaganza, plans were made to handle the sale after I returned home.
This is the item she purchased.
My friend is now the proud owner of this sweet little fiber art piece.
The other very unexpected surprise happened while I was at the sewing retreat with friends. In a previous post I talked of the many items I worked on. One of the projects was this one.
Part of the fun of being at a sewing retreat is being able to see the amazing projects of your fellow quilters. Cow On A Pedestal was one of the items I started while attending A Sue Benner class at the Woodland Ridge Retreat. I’m not going to give a whole lot of detail about it now because I have a future post dedicated to this specimen. What I will share is that one of my roommates approached me about buying the art quilt. She fell in love with it’s appearance and just had to have it for her collection. I was so honored. Shortly after we agreed on a price, money exchanged hands and so did Cow On A Pedestal.
Now how awesome is that! Right before and during my sewing retreat I made two sales! Who would have thought!
It seems only natural to mention at this point that many things on this website can be purchased. Items that are available for sale will have a section at the bottom of the post listing the purchase price, etc. along with links to available methods of payment. This is a new feature that I am slowly adding. My newer fiber art pieces will have the option to purchase added as soon as the post is published. Items that were shared in the past will be updated as time allows.
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! ~smile~
Art Piece 106 is the eleventh polyester stretch velvet project to have it’s debut on my blog. Links to the other members of the series can be found here. In May, 2019 I was a student in the Susan Lenz class at Woodland Ridge Retreat. I’ve had the privilege of attending a number of classes at the facility and this one was by far the most unusual.
Melting polyester stretch velvet was never on my bucket list of experiences to encounter. However, the teaser images used to gain my attention intrigued my curiosity. Most often when I complete one of Woodland Ridge Retreat’s classes I find myself returning home with multiple art pieces. For Susan Lenz’s class I carried with me fourteen different specimens. The item I am sharing today has been named It’s Melting, Art Piece 106.
Art Piece 106, just like the other ten, was created using a process of fusing and melting polyester stretch velvet. Stacks of polyester stretch velvet were adhered to a surface of black felt. Rows of free-motion stitching, with cotton thread, were added both for design and to connect the individual components together. The entire piece was then subjected to high heat using a heat gun as well as a wood burning tool.
The heat caused two things to happen: most of the felt melted away and the stacks of polyester stretch velvet fused together. As you will notice the black cotton thread remained intact. Cotton thread was used because it does not melt like polyester. If it had I would have ended up with twelve small sections rather than one finished piece. It’s Melting, Art Piece # 106 is similar in size to its other family members.
Perhaps someday you too will experiment with polyester stretch velvet and its melting properties. If you do I hope your adventures will produce amazing results.
Thank you for sharing in my passion for fiber art.
Known as Hide the Yellow, Art Piece 105, it measures 7 3/4” x 9 3/4”. The base of this item is a blue floral cotton fabric. Cotton is used because it doesn’t melt when the polyester is exposed to extreme heat. Several layers of polyester shapes were fused on top of the cotton. They were then treated to a warm zap by a wood burning tool. Even if you look closely I don’t think you can tell where the melting occurred since I tried very hard to camouflaged it.
The process of creating art with polyester stretch velvet was a huge experiment. While I was truly impressed with the items my instructor, Susan Lenz, had achieved, my outcomes were not quite so stellar. In this instance I had used a very bright yellow polyester for one of my layers. I am fond of bright and bold colors but for this project it turned out to be a bad idea; the obnoxious yellow took the attention away from the other elements.
To tone down the blazing yellow I fused a layer of webbing over the entire surface. Strategically placed teal and gold polyester shapes were adhered to the webbing. To distract the eye even further I embellished this specimen with hand and machine quilting as well as black and gold colored beads. All of this trickery inspired me to title this project Hide the Yellow.
Each time I begin a new project the outcome is a mystery. Sometimes I have happy endings and other times not so much. Thankfully my odds seem to fall on the positive side. While Hide the Yellow is a bit odd I have added this one to the successful column.
Time once again to add another finished item to my portfolio! This fiber art piece is the ninth in my series of 14 polyester stretch velvet creations. Links to the other members can be found here. Measuring 7 3/4” x 9 3/4” it was assembled from both polyester and cotton fabrics. To add interest rows of hand stitching was incorporated.
The layer of fabric directly beneath the teal velvet was the inspiration for Art Piece 104’s name. Although it would be nearly impossible to tell, the reverse side of the material was printed with a rather ugly floral image. To camouflage the disturbing design I decided to flip the fabric over and use the underside instead. This change in orientation inspired me to name my piece Hide the Flowers. Hide the Flowers is currently for sale at Raven’s Wish in Janesville, Wisconsin.
I always enjoy sharing new additions to my portfolio. Today’s specimen was the eighth miniature fiber art piece to be created while in attendance at the Susan Lenz class at Woodland Ridge Retreat in May, 2019. Links to the other members of the series can be found here. Known as Disco, Art Piece # 103, it measures 7 3/4” x 9 3/4”. Disco was created from polyester and cotton fabrics. To add extra pizazz I incorporated one gray and black bead along with hand and machine stitching. I named this item Disco because of its fluorescent colors. Their flashing neon presence reminded me of the era when polyester stretch velvet and disco balls were the “in” thing.