Missing the Workshops Already

It always happens — when the last workshop finishes for the year we are always happy to have the time off to relax and work on long put-off projects, but then around the end of the year, we start missing all of the fun and laughs that the workshops bring! So I’m counting down the days until the fun begins again.

The first workshop of 2011 will be with Melanie Testa. This will be a 3-day workshop, March 24 – 27, 2011, on creating your own fabric designs with soy wax and Procison dyes.

Melanie is the author of “Inspired to Quilt, Creative Experiments in Art Quilt Imagery,” Interweave Press, 2009 and graduated with a degree in Textile/Surface Design at The Fashion Institute of Technology.

Today, Melanie’s art explores themes of the human form, birds and nature. The first steps of her process often involve journaling on paper using paints, collage and pen and ink. She then interprets those drawings and paintings using Procion MX dyes on both cotton and silk organza. After creating these whole cloth quilt tops, collage elements are added, the layers are quilted in place and the work is bound and finished to hang on the wall.


Melanie has a wonderful blog where you can follow along with her design and inspiration process.

Gone Squirrely

We are having a blast in the studio and at the dinner table. Laughing, laughing, and laugh. Last night it was over American meanings to Australian slang. 😉

But in the studio we have turned to squirrels — as our subject matter.

The rabbits are mostly done — except for their final composition scene.

Leonie Lister’s is on the left and mine is on the right.


Leonie is well on her way with her squirrel.


While I’m tagging behind, as I was called away to the office way too many times!


In between working on the squirrel, Leonie has be trying to finish or at least get everything attached on her piece that she started in Esterita Austin’s workshop.


Lynda Long is at the stage where she is assembling the final composition. This is a photo just before she started stitching the components together.


There is no snow close by to where Leonie lives in Australia, so when a sudden snow flurry happened the other day, we all rushed out to get pictures before it all disappeared by the afternoon.


Fused Animal Figures

We are in the midst of our December retreat and the rabbits are coming together nicely.

We started out by creating the template patterns and enlarging them on the studio printer. (No one wanted to leave the nice warm studio to drive to Kinko’s!)


Then the fabrics were selected and cut to the template pieces and assembled into rabbits!. Linda did a running rabbit.


This is Leonie’s rabbit in process. Leonie is here from Australia!


And here is the rabbit I am working on.


Today we are stitching all of pieces down to finish them off. Linda is already creating the other elements for her overall composition – grass, cattails, and mushrooms – all made from some incredibly luscious hand-dyed fabric by Judy Robertson.

Leonie and I are having too much fun putting together animal figures, so we are going to next move on to squirrels! Leonie said that she loves squirrels.

In between working on her rabbit, Leonie is also working on completing the still life piece that she started in Esterita Austin’s workshop. It is really coming together nicely!


Mark, the chef, has been taking advantage of the small number of people here and is trying out some dishes for next year. So far we’ve enjoyed a Moroccan beef stew and some Lamb Tangine. Both were so, so yummy. We also got to sample a new dessert featuring almonds and philo dough. Very yummy.

Still Life in Fabric with Esterita Austin

Teri Austin is here teaching a 3-day workshop on creating a still life in fabric – with no sewing involved, just fabric, Misty Fuse, organza and textile paint.

This morning Teri gave a quick demo on painting an image to fuse onto organza. She starts with a line drawing of the object placed under a piece of release paper (shiny side up). Then using Lumiere textile paints from Jaquard, Teri showed how she mixes color to create the values for the painting, and then paints directly on the release paper.


Next, she lays a layer of Misty Fuse on top of the paint and then a layer of organza.


Then the extra release paper is folder over the image (or use another sheet of release paper) and the image is ironed to fuse the painted image to the organza.


The resulting image on the organza is a somewhat transparent image that can be sewn or fused into your still life composition. The image can be further enhanced by more paint or stitched lines.


Looked like a really fun technique. I think I’ll have to get some Lumiere paint and organza in stock!