Next Friday, August 7, I am holding my monthly class on Art Journal Quilts at Pioneer Quilts.
The Journal Quilt Project was started back in 2004 as a national challenge for quilters to form groups and create artworks in an 8 1/2″ x 11″ format to explore new techniques. Group members were to challenge themselves to try something new and then keep a journal about their projects. A display of many of these quilts was part of the International Quilt Festival in Houston every year.
Though this was the inspiration to start my two groups – one is at Pioneer Quilts in Portland Oregon on the first Friday of each month, the other is at Sewn Loverly in Wilsonville Oregon on the third Friday of each month, I have structured the groups a bit more casually than the national project. For one thing, I am not adamant that students stick to the 8 1/2″ x 11″ size, they can make their projects any size they wish though keeping them small is advised. I also do not insist they finish their project every month, the last thing I want is someone hesitating to come to class because they ‘did not do their homework'; it is enough for them to try the technique in class though they are encouraged to make something from what they learn. I also do not have them keep a journal about their projects; I wrote far too many ‘What I did on my summer vacation’ essays during my youth, that kind of regimented requirement would be enough to discourage ME from taking the class.
The ‘purpose’ of the class is to expose quilters to the more unusual and artistic side of fabric and fiber. The projects are small and the financial investment in the materials and the time investment in the project are minimal so you don’t end up with yet another expensive UFO floating around your sewing room.
My own personal motivation for this was when I decided to try my hand at machine made needle lace and I proceeded to prep a fairly large piece of a favorite fabric (now out of print – of course) and buy two medium spools of variegated machine embroidery thread. After a fairly small small section of the project consumed half a spool of $10 thread, I realized: A) I did not like the texture I had chosen to do, B) I should have used a double layer of wash away stabilizer AND should have hooped the work and C) finally seeing the small amount of coverage created by this densely stitched technique, I was going to have to purchase at least another $100 worth of thread to complete my project. I abandoned it about $50 poorer and minus the last of my favorite (out of print) fabric but much wiser. If only I had ‘tested’ the process on a small, page sized project, I would have figured out all the logistics BEFORE wasting time, materials and money.
Both shops have a lovely group of participants each month and in addition to the lesson, I share my current favorite art or craft book (the only place I can get myself into more trouble that a fabric store is on Amazon!). It’s nice to get a chance to thumb through a book before purchasing it. AND – we taste CHOCOLATE! I bring some unusual, sometimes exotic form or flavor of chocolate to share each class. Add a ‘Show and Tell’ for students to share their completed projects and there you have my Art Journal Quilt Class. There is room in both shops for more participants, contact the individual shops for more details.
Last week at Sewn Loverly, the class explored weaving fabric strips to create panels that can be embellished if desired (see my prototype ‘Little Treasures Left by the Tide” below). Next Friday at Pioneer Quilts we will learn to make 3-D ‘Pebbles’ to applique onto a pre-quilted background panel (see below). I’m already so pleased with my resulting prototype that I can’t wait to try this on an artistic table runner.