10 Art Quilting Tips from “Quilting Arts TV”

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Art quilts for QATV Dvd

Download QATV series 2400 today for access to all of the episodes!

Remember those old sets of encyclopedias everyone had in their homes many years ago? My parents had a set that lined the bookcase in our family room. I used those books for research, browsed them for information, and even pulled them out for an afternoon of reading on long winter afternoons.

In my opinion, “Quilting Arts TV” is a lot like those cherished books: each series is full of hidden gems, just waiting to be discovered. We’ve pulled together a few of the special tips from the newest series for your enjoyment, but this is just a small collection of the treasure trove that awaits fans of “Quilting Arts TV!”

  1. Give your audience something to look at up close as well as far away. Just like a painting, your work should be interesting when it is viewed from across the room as well as when it is examined closely. How does art quilter Nanette Zeller accomplish this in her nature scape quilts? She adds elements that need to be examined up close, like bits of cheesecloth for moss, hand stitches for flowers, and machine thread painting for ferns and leaves.
    Art quilt tips from Zeller

    Nanette Zeller’s Cheesecloth and stitching add interest when viewed up close

  2. Make printing easier by stabilizing your substrate. Fabric is a surface that often folds on itself and stretches out of shape … at just the wrong moment. How does surface design expert Patricia Kennedy Zafred minimize these problems and create consistent clear screen prints? “(Freezer paper) is a great thing, even if you are printing with Thermofax screens,” she shares. Ironing your fabric onto freezer paper prevents the fabric from flopping around and makes it easier to transport once it is printed. What a great tip!
    Screen printed images on stabilized feedsacks for a quilt

    Patricia Kennedy-Zafred screen-printed these images on stabilized feedsacks.

  3. Keep good records. Artist Sherri Lipman McCauley uses several different types of paint in her work—frequently black—and it is hard to keep track of how the different brands look when applied to fabric. “I found when I make a swatch book (of all the different paints) I don’t have to keep testing them out each time I do my work.” Good advice, not only for paints, but also for any art quilting product or technique.
    Artwork by Sherri McCauley

    Artwork by Sherri Lipman McCauley.

  4. When painting on fabric, leave some areas of white to create a watercolor look. Host and artist Susan Brubaker Knapp either leaves areas of her fabric unpainted, or goes in later with white paint or pens. See how her work sparkles!
    Watercolor effect on this piece of art quilt

    Susan creates a watercolor effect on this piece.

  5. Use unique fabrics like denim. Look no further than your own closet (or a friend’s) for castoff denim jeans to add to your quilts! Sandra Johnson “deconstructs” work clothes by picking out seams, removing pockets, or even cutting pieces so the seams can become part of the quilt patch. Her best tip? Make sure your jeans are 100% cotton and have no ‘stretch’ component.
    Using denim in art quilts

    Sandra Johnson’s quilts use denim and even incorporate some of the seams from deconstructed jeans.

  6. Try another unique fabric – duck cloth! Deborah Fell shows how she uses this sturdy and versatile fabric in compositions small and large, and even as a batting. Who knew a fiber that is often used as tent material could also be used in an art quilt?
    Duck cloth as a quilt

    See how the duck cloth is used in Deborah Fell’s quilt?

  7. Texture is just a foot away … with your machine’s gathering foot. Heirloom sewing techniques you may have used for garments can be transferred to your art quilts as well! Cheryl Sleboda shows how to texturize fabric to make dimensional flowers, stems, and leaves with the gathering foot. Her tip? Make ruffled edge flowers by also stitching special designs as edge treatment on the fabric.
    Texture in a quilt

    Cheryl creates textural elements using a gathering foot.

  8. Take a realistic shape and make it abstract. Artist Lyric Kinard breaks down an image with a quick technique. Her tip? Start with tracing a recognizable object, like a pair of scissors, and then trace it again, this time changing something in the design (for instance, change all of the curved lines to straight lines, take something away, add something, etc). Lyric says, “In abstract design, you really can’t get it wrong because no one really knows what you started with.”
    Abstract art quilt design

    Lyric’s abstract scissors are still recognizable.

  9. Increase depth by changing scale or value. Artist Deborah Fell shows you how to take a flat image and make it pop. One of her tips? Change the scale or value of your fabrics, images, and quilt elements to add dimension.
    Dramatic effect of a dog in an art quilt

    An all white dog portrait is more successful if you add dramatic value changes to the face.

  10. Lastly, a tip from the sidelines: I had the pleasure of being an “assistant” to host Susan Brubaker Knapp as she demonstrated how to make twisted cording. She attaches the cording to her embroidery scissors, creating a unique fob that identifies her tools with a beautiful embellishment. I’ve started using twisted cording to attach my luggage tags to my suitcase. It’s pretty and functional!
    Twisted cord to identify quilting tools

    Susan uses twisted cord to identify her tools.

All of the artists on “Quilting Arts TV” are so generous with their knowledge. Each of them creates rich and innovative artwork and share their expertise with viewers around the world. Download “Quilting Arts TV” series 2400 today for even more tips and tricks. You’ll be glad you did! Each episode is full of great information, including free-motion embroidery, hand stitching, mixed-media techniques, shibori dyeing, embellishment, and more. Plus, visit quiltingartstv.com for episode previews, free downloads of instructions for selected episodes, and more!

Best,
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