Friday, October 25, 2013

Whole Cloth Recent Work

For my show in September I did quite a few wholecloth pieces using various types of fabric as the base.

The first one is called "Rough Play" because the base fabric is a regular old burlap that I painted or did some "mark making" on using acrylic and fabric paints.  I just played around with color and line and didn't really try to make a masterpiece or anything.  After I got it bound and quilted I chose to add some hand embroidery using embroidery floss.  The quilting did not make much impact as the burlap seems to stay rather flat and not show the sculptural effect of the quilted lines.  The embroidery helped to add quite a bit of interest to the piece.  Not a showstopper, but a nice piece.

The next piece is a hand-dyed fabric that I quilted and then added beads.  I don't think the quilting is successful on this piece because it is too disjointed and there is no one strong focal point.  I did try to repeat motifs and design elements, but I'm not sure it is all brought together to be a unified piece in the end.  I do like the colors---love the deep dark red with the bold turquoise.  This piece is called "Turquoise and Blood".  The title was chosen because to me the style of the piece reminds me of American Indian art and the two elements, turquoise and blood, are part of their heritage/history.  I did the quilting completely on the spot without any planning, so the style of it is certainly not accurate Native American.  Just reminiscent of it.

So, that is two more of the pieces that I completed this summer for my gallery.  I have many more, but maybe I'll talk about something else in my next post!  Don't want to get in a rut!

I'm busy making beaded fiber ornaments for holiday sales.  I've completed almost 30 now and have more to go.  I'm selling them for $25-$30 which means at my 40% commission gallery I only get $15-$18, but if I sell them myself (already sold 3!) I get the whole shebang---much better deal!  So I drag them with me wherever I go and hope that someone wants to buy one.  Hopefully by January they will be all gone!  Pics to come...

Monday, October 21, 2013

More Fiber Art from My September Show

This piece is called "Making My Mark" (11" x 21") as it was a study in mark making using some fabric pastel crayons.  I did some machine quilting on a sandwich (backing fabric, batting, top) using Osnaburg on top (a rough sort of muslin type/utility fabric, but looser weave), and then did the mark making.  Next I added hand embroidery using embroidery floss and bound it.  This is a rather rough piece but I enjoyed the process.  

 This next piece is called "Echoes on Evening Waters" because the circular motifs remind me of the circles on a lake or pond caused by insects and the occasional fish and the colors are reminiscent of the evening light.  This was white Prepared For Dye (PFD) fabric that was soy wax batiked using fabric paints.  I added lots of machine stitching and added some beaded fringe at the bottom.   This was one of my favorite pieces in the show.  It is only 11" x 17" but quite effective at that size.  I will likely be doing more soy wax batik as I love the depth and interplay of color and design that you get with the layering process.  I did not, however, enjoy removing the wax although I hear that it is much easier to remove than other waxes. 

I am currently working on some of my beaded ornaments for the holiday season so haven't been producing any new fiber art.  The ornaments, of course, are fiber but they don't really count!  I'll show some images when I have some time to take pictures--and before I deliver them to my galleries to sell!  I will also probably share some more of the pieces from my September solo gallery exhibition.  Not much sold so I have lots to show!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I'm Teaching a Class!

I have finally decided to give teaching a try so my first class is scheduled and I'm ready to start recruiting some students!  The class is based on my recent article in October issue of The Quilt Life magazine on how to make "Strata Art Quilts".  Strata art quilts are long narrow wall hangings made of up varying height strips.  It is mostly a design class but the strata quilts are very simply pieced so the design process is not complicated.  It's all about choosing fabrics and deciding where to put them and how much of each fabric to use.   You should be able to complete your top in class and I will give some examples, hints, and tips about how to finish your piece including quilting, beading/embellishment, and binding.

Here are the details about the class:

Strata Art Quilts

Instructor:  Heidi Zielinski

Where:  Vicki's Quilts Down Under, 2425 W. Central Ave., Missoula, MT 

Phone:  728-9446

When:  10am-4pm Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cost:  $40.00

I'm hoping for a minimum of 5 people and the room can accommodate up to 8.  Vicki has a supply list for the class which has my phone number on it if students need help with the selection of fabrics to bring.  I plan to haul in my big bin of scraps which should have plenty of pieces big enough to use in this project. 

Here's an image of one of my strata quilts called "Sunny Disposition":

If you wish to sign up for the class you call Vickie's Quilts down Under (728-9446), or contact me if you have questions.  My e-mail address is

I sure hope there are some interested people out there--I'd love to have a full class!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Two New Pieces and New Techniques

For my recent gallery show I created many new pieces and experimented with some new techniques and many wholecloth pieces.  Here are two of the small pieces I had in the show which did not sell.  

This first piece, "Harlequin", is a black and white fabric that I painted using plain old watercolor paints and a brush.  I just played around putting the color on the fabric using water and not worrying too much about how the color flowed.  I wanted the colors to blend and move a bit--that's the beauty of watercolor.  I like the way it transformed the black and white fabric into something quite colorful.  I heat set the paint when I was finished.  I used the paint on a test piece of fabric which I then washed in soapy water and rinsed in hot water and the color seemed to hold well.

"Harlequin" - 9"x22" - SOLD

The next piece was the result of some experimenting with Nuno Felting which is a wet felting process where you are melding wool roving with fabric by layering the materials with bubble wrap and rolling and rolling and rolling and rolling...  It takes quite a while to get the roving to work its way into the fabric.  In the piece of nuno felting in the center of this piece I used a silk chiffon fabric and after the felting was done I used some coffee to color the silk and make it blend better with the roving.  This piece features quilted feathers on a linen background, and some beaded dangles for interest.  I hand tacked the nuno felted silk to the quilt.  I love the simplistic sophisticated feel of this piece.  Quite a contrast from "Harlequin" above!

"Native Song" - 12-1/2"x24-1/2" - $290.00

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Disappointment and New Opportunities



My most recent solo exhibition is now closed and I have banished most of the 45 pieces that were exhibited to their boxes in my home. Unfortunately the number of visitors and sales were very low, although I was pleased that those who did attend were very complimentary about the work. I was truly saddened that many of my friends and fellow art quilters did not make it to my show, but I would say that a good number of the traditional quilters who enjoy my work did make the effort---and it was much appreciated!

The location of this venue is not very good for traffic and they get very few drop in visitors during the week. Their best opportunity to sell anything is opening night and this one was rather slow. The weather was pretty good for most of the month so I don't think that kept people away. Busy lives and other priorities are probably the culprit.

The owner of River's Mist Gallery did a marvelous job of hanging my work and creating a beautiful exhibition. The front windows were beautiful and probably attracted some attention from passers-by. But, I think there is something about a nice looking art gallery that seems to scare some people and they are afraid to actually go in and look. I'm not sure why this is, but I have sat at the front desk and watched people look in the windows but never come in. I wish I could tell them there is absolutely no dress code, no minimum required purchase, and looking is free (and much appreciated!)!!

I now have a pretty good inventory of pieces to spread around to other shows and galleries so I guess that is a good thing!

I have had a lot of other success in the last week including a 2nd place award for my piece, “Heated Conversation” at the LaConner Quilt Festival in LaConner, Washington. I sent 3 pieces to a juried gallery fiber show in Whitefish, Montana, for the month of October and a number of pieces to a gallery in Billings that approached me about showing my work there. I have 2 pieces at this weekend's Machine Quilting Exposition (MQX) in Portland, Oregon. I received word that my 3rd article has been accepted and will be published in a future issue of Machine Quilting Unlimited. This weekend I was contacted by a company that markets a certain very popular fabric line at major quilt shows and wants to use one of my designs to create instructions/kits using that fabric. I will receive royalties on those sales so that is pretty exciting! All of this is keeping me quite busy checking e-mail, preparing images, and wishing I could be a fly on the wall at all of these places! My quilts get to travel and have much more exciting adventures than I ever do!

Locally our art group, Montana Bricolage Artists, will be showing our most recent group effort, “Reflections” at a local brewery for the month of November. Kicking off the first weekend is a city-wide art event with numerous venues around town featuring different kinds of art. So if you are in or near the Hamilton, Montana area do stop in to the Higher Ground Brewery and see this really wonderful fiber art show with our quite varied interpretations of the “Reflections” theme, and visit some of the other interesting venues around town. In particular there are approximately 100 artists who have been participants of a program to teach artists how to market and sell their work who will be showing their work at the First Interstate Building at the Hamilton Fairgrounds on the first Friday and Saturday in November.

I'm excited about all these opportunities that have presented themselves and all the success I am having with my work in some of these new directions. I wish I could sell more work locally, but I'm thinking that I better pursue the goal I have been pondering for some time of getting my work into some gallery venues outside my region/State—and in more lucrative markets!  Now to figure out how to do that!

Stuffed Turkey Thigh/Legs

Disclaimer: This is a cooking post not an art post!  But I will say that there is an art to boning, stuffing and baking this recipe--and it ...