Thursday, September 26, 2013

Art Quilt Design from Photo to Threadwork: a dvd workshop review

Recently, I had the pleasure of watching Sarah Ann Smith's new workshop dvd by Interweave:

DVD or download available at the Interweave website.

It always interests me to learn a bit about how artists work.  I feel that workshop dvds are quite wonderful because, not only do you get to learn about a technique that you might want to explore, you get to see a bit about how the artist thinks.  Sarah uses a wide variety of materials and tools to accomplish her transition from a photograph to a textile composition.  

The workshop is divided into basically three segments:  preparation of materials, creating the composition elements and fusing them together, and using thread to add more dimension with the quilting. 

During the preparation portion of the  workshop you will be able to see the technique she uses to pre-fuse her fabrics with MistyFuse (my fusible of choice, too!), as well as how she is able to "tack" her various pieces in place until she has finished her composition, at which time she fuses things in place more firmly.  
In addition to the choices of fabric for each element in the design she introduces some additional tools: Derwent Inktense pencils, textile paints, and finally, thread during the free-motion quilting portion of the workshop.  The Inktense pencils and paint are used to add highlights or shadows to each of the elements, and Sarah does a nice job of explaining how she makes decisions about where these should go.  She discusses the need for establishing where the light source is, which dictates how the highlights and shadows should be placed, and she also (and as a painter I think this often gets missed) talks about the reflection of light from below a spherical object that "bounces up" to create a lighter area on the lower portion of the object.  We don't always think of it, but when it is overlooked (on any piece of art) it lessens the dimension of the object.
One place where I differ slightly with Sarah is the use of water-alone with Derwent Inktense pencils.  This is fine when working on paper, and probably acceptable on cloth, but it IS a fugitive media, meaning it can "run" or migrate when exposed to moisture.  I guess I'm paranoid and thinking of accidental exposure to water:  yikes!   I tend to prefer using Inktense pencils with textile medium.  One still gets the watercolor effect but, when dry, the media is permanent on the fabric.  

During the "composition" portion, she carefully explains how she finds and traces the various color values of each object as well as how to enlarge the photo composition.  She explains her method of layering the various cut pieces to create a nice overlap.  I enjoyed all the little "tidbits" about her titanium iron, how to deal with removing fusible on the iron plate, and also what she does to keep her teflon pressing sheet clean (I use the same process).   I cite that as an example because those are the small details that are often known to artists but difficult to say out loud because they are such a part of our method we take them for granted.  It is so helpful to know these things because they make working with fusible so much easier!

When Sarah moves to the sewing machine and the viewer begins to see how much impact the thread color choices have on the dimension of the objects it is truly inspiring.  Having a nice palette of threads is essential when adding depth and dimension to textiles.  To me, it is our most essential type of "paint" and what really defines us as what I refer to as being a 2.5 D artist.  Quilted work is not flat, not fully 
3D, but somewhere in between.  

Lastly, I was touched to listen to music performed by Sarah's son, Joshua, at the end of the dvd.  I haven't met Joshua personally, but I have known about his music through his mother.  I think you will enjoy it, too.

I believe that this workshop is valuable to just about anyone who is looking to work from photos to create quilts.  Frankly, there is great info here, even if translating a photo into a quilt isn't your objective.  It is worth a watch, and I encourage you to add it to your library.

One way you may be able to do that is to leave a comment here.  I will use my iPhone "randomizer" to draw a name from anyone who comments.  Cutoff for the drawing is midnight, September 28th.  I will contact the winner to let you know.  If you are within the US you will be given a DVD, and if you are international you will be given instructions for downloading your copy from the Interweave website.

Thanks for stopping by!  Please take another minute to stop by Sarah's website:  she has a lot of great resources and you can look at all her lovely work!

Other stops on the blog hop route:
Sept 21 - Deborah Boschert    http://deborahsjournal.blogspot.com/
Sept 24 -  Vicki Welsh    http://vickiwelsh.typepad.com/
Sept 26 - Leslie Jenison  http://leslietuckerjenison.blogspot.com/
Sept 28 - Terry Grant   http://andsewitgoes.blogspot.com/
Oct 1 - Gloria Hansen    http://www.gloriahansen.com/weblog/
Oct 3 - Diane Perin Hock    http://goingtopieces.blogspot.com/

Oct 5 - Sarah Ann Smith  http://www.sarahannsmith.com/weblog/ 






51 comments:

  1. Sarah's demos helped me make better use of Mistyfuse. I found it to be the only solution for attaching Angelina, and Sarah showed me how to use it easily for fabric.

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  2. I often find the DVD's helpful.... in seeing a technique... even it it only gives one a jumping off point!

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  3. Nice review. I would love to have this DVD for free! Sarah is very thorough teacher and does provide those little details that are so "second nature" that some teachers overlook them.

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  4. Great review. > Can't wait to have a copy of this DVD by sarah

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  5. Great review - I'd love to win a copy!

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  6. This really sounds like an excellent DVD. And I do so love anything from QuiltingArts. Would love to learn and create with this DVD.

    SewCalGal
    www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

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  7. I would love to work on this technique more!

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  8. Would really like to have this DVD. I have just started exploring mixed media technics...it is so intriguing to me. Thanks for the chance to win the DVD!

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  9. Thanks for the great review of a DVD that would help me branch out into areas of design that I would like to try.

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  10. Loved the review and would love to win this DVD

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  11. I really like the piece on the cover of the dvd. Sounds like there is a lot of good information.

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  12. Everyone's reviews of Sarah's DVD make it sound like something I need to teach me some fab new techniques. Thanks for the give-away!

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  13. I'm a fan of Sarah Ann's and have her book. I'd love to learn from her DVD workshop. Thanks, Leslie!

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  14. Thanks for a chance to win this awesome DVD!

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  15. Leslie, Thanks for the opportunity and THANK YOU to Sarah!

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  16. I would love to check out the video.

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  17. Would love to win this DVD, I am entering at every blog and enjoying every blog

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  18. Sarah does some amazing work. She is part of a Janome internet group that I belong to also. She is always inspiring. I would love to win a copy of this DVD.

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  19. Thanks for all the good tips. The DVD sounds very useful!

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    Replies
    1. Jeanne, you are number 20, and the winner of the drawing! Congratulations!

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  20. Thank you so much for your beautiful artwork and for hosting this giveaway! And thanks for all the advice on art quilts! I wouls love to play with this book.

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  21. Love meeting your work and seeing how you create it. Blog hops are so good for helping us to learn so much now. Fingers crossed that your randomizer loves me best so I can download and fill my lonely south american retirement with heaps of new art.

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  22. I would be thrilled to win a copy of the DVD!

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  23. I am thrilled to have found this hop - I'm finding so many new-to-me bloggers and you are all really getting my creative juices flowing again.

    Sarah's book intrigues me - I've dabbled in thread paint, but it would lovely to have some guidance from "someone who knows what they're doing". :-)

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  24. Am inspired to learn more. Pls enter my name in the drawing. Carolyn (curtly6161@mypacks.net)

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  25. Am inspired to learn more. Pls enter my name in the drawing. Carolyn (curtly6161@mypacks.net)

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  26. The lucky winner (#20 on my Randomizer) is Jeanne Marklin! Jeanne, please contact me with your email address and I will forward it to Sarah Ann Smith, who will send you a copy of her workshop dvd! Thanks, everyone, for stopping by and commenting. Sorry I was a bit delayed in doing the drawing!

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    Replies
    1. Leslie, thanks so much! I've never won anything before so it's a big surprise and has me smiling! I've sent my snail mail address to Sarah. Thanks to both of you - Jeanne

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  27. Leslie: just came to check, I'll try to write Jeanne directly, too! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

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