Textile Art Retrospective – where did this all begin?

7 03 2016

I am in the process of finalising all the content for my first online comprehensive textile art class.  As I build the structure for the material, I find myself thinking back on the journey that bought me here.  Like many of you, I started sewing in my teens, did a lot of traditional hand embroidery and in the early 1990’s, morphed into patchwork when my babies came along.  In 2001, Unique Stitching was launched as a traditional patchwork business.  A number of issues brought me to the art quilt world.  First amongst them was a restlessness that made me want to try different things coupled with a strong sense of independence, demanding that I find my own style.  When I then could not find materials I wanted or if I found them the pricing was outrageous due to monopolies or restrained trade arrangements, I became determined to source and create my own products.

In 2005, I brought in Procion dyes and started dyeing ‘speciality’ fabrics: velvets, wools, silks and a world of different fibres.  At the end of 2005, I created my first sets of creative embroidery packs containing hand dyed velvet, silk jacquard, silk top, cocoons and thread.  I could have kissed the first person to buy one of my packs, such was my relief, at the Brisbane Craft and Quilt show where I launched that range.

In 2007, I launched the Art Quilt Collection (AQC).  This was the first time in Australia, and possibly the world, where there was a monthly mail out of textile art materials.  Each pack had a product, an explanation of that product and how to use it plus a simple project to create. Since that time, many have adapted my idea in different ways.  I had no idea what I had started, but it was clear that my future was definitely more on the art side of the page.  When I launched AQC, I hoped to get about 25 people to sign up.  In 2009, when we peaked at over 2500 participants and I was spending three weeks out of every four preparing the packs, I decided it was time to move on.

Since that time, we have expanded our ranges; I have taught around the world; been published in Quilting Arts Magazine; and been on QATV in the US.  It is a charmed life.  Now I want to spend a bit more time at home and the future for sharing what I know is increasingly teaching: face to face and online.

I hope that you can join me as this year will see lots of exciting online offerings, from me as well as a collective I am part of.  To find out more about my first Textile Art online class, go here:  http://tinyurl.com/z5ewlbg

Tomorrow I will talk about the Fiber Art Connection as it will be my day on our Blog Hop.

In the meantime, I want to share a few pieces of my first Art Quilt series.  This was part of my AQC work and mainly focused on manipulating and distressing fabric, with stress and heat.  This is now only one of many tools I use and each piece is a small, simple example, but it is nice to look back on.  This is not the full series, but gives you a sense.  It has an environmental theme.

AQC1 - Under the Watch of our Ancestors

Under the Watch of our Ancestors

AQC2 - Acid Rain

Acid Rain

AQC3 - Home in a Concrete Jungle

Home in a Concrete Jungle

AQC4 - Through Rose Coloured Glasses

Through Rose Coloured Glasses

AQC7 - Interconnectedness

Interconnectedness

AQC5 - Erosion

Erosion (the lighting on this is not very good, sorry)

AQC6 - Cellular Breakdown

Cellular Breakdown

 

 

 

 

 

 





art quilts in the making – it all starts with the backgrounds

5 12 2015

I seldomly have time to take photos when I am teaching. I don’t sit with my IPad or Phone at the ready and often get so absorbed in what I am doing that I get to the end of the day without taking any at all. When I do, I often don’t then do much with them. So I am going to try to rectify that. This post is about a three day class I did in New Zealand at One Tree Point with Kerry from Tulis Textiles.

The venue is fabulous. There is loads of space, inside and out; lots of tables and chairs; a full blown commercial kitchen and an enormous fire place – all of which we used.

The class was a three day class where we explored a huge range of surface design techniques with paint, foils, photo transfers, paper lamination, and so much more. We also looked at a range of what I call meltables: tyvek, lutradur, angelina, kunin felt etc. It was a lovely three days with the nicest people. I had a great time and ate way too much. I only seem to have taken photos on one day, but here are some photos of that days work.  You can click on them to make them bigger.

one tree 7  one tree 6  one tree 5  one tree 4

one tree 3  one tree 2  one tree 1  one tree 8





Adventure West! 2015

3 10 2014

I will be bringing two terrific International tutors to Western Australia between 27th February and 8th March 2015.  If there is demand and support for the workshops, we will be running 8 classes across three different locations:  Perth, Margaret River and Albany.  The tutors are Patt Blair from the US (www.pattsart.com) and Alysn Midgelow Marsden from UK/NZ (www.alysnsburntofferings.blogspot.com.au).

To book your place, go to this link:  http://tinyurl.com/okrnxaz or

http://www.uniquestitching.com.au/c/4538764/1/adventure-west—27-february-to-8-march-2015.html

 

Here are the details of the Patt’s classes:

Painting with Tsukineko Inks (being run in Perth on 27th Feb and Albany on 7th March.

Patt tigers_eyes

Description:  You will be amazed at what you can create using these flexible and easy-to-use pigment inks made by Tsukineko of Japan. These permanent inks are used to enhance commercial fabrics or to create an original art piece painted on clean white fabric.

Special fiber stick applicators make painting much simpler than traditional brushing techniques. Students are delightfully amazed and proud of their creations.

Paint a landscape, still life, or animal using TSUKINEKO Fabric Inks and special stick applicators. Bring your own artwork or choose from Patt’s drawings. You’ll love these inks.. They are surprisingly easy to use… It’s like crayons for grown ups.!

 

Media Mixer (being run in Perth 28th Mar and Albany 8 Mar).

media mixer

Description:  Can you believe this little quilt top is created using fabric, napkin and kleenex tissues, stamps ,stencils, marking pens and pencils. You will design your own whimsical version of what you chose to adhere to fabric. All will be beautiful. I will bring several types of napkins, tissues, and stamps for you to play with but I encourage you bring something you love too. You’ll chose items, lay them around on your fabric piece ’til you are ‘happy’, then adhere them to your art quilt top with my instruction.

 

Fun Faces with Tsukineko Inks (being run in Perth 1st Mar)

Patt faces

Description:  I’ll bring to class an assortment of face and torso shapes/eye/nose/mouth/hair shapes. You can mix and match into a collaged drawing to be used as a basis for a painted with ink caricature of yourself or a friend. Your result can be finished as part of a quilt, wall hanging, placemat,etc. You will have a ball!

 

Fusing to be Free (Margaret River 3rd Mar)

fusing

Can’t fuse because the quilt top becomes stiff or the edges lift? No worries! This clever fabric fusing method avoids both problems and will have you fusing and designing original work almost without effort. Its fun and freeing… kinda like grown up play time! You’ll be proud of your newly enhanced quilt top. No machine required, really!

 

Painting a Portrait Quilt (Margaret River 4th Mar)

portrait_quilts

This class is for anyone who wishes to learn the basic elements of portraits on fabric, and as importantly, capture an image of family or friend (2 or 4-legged ) in an engaging art medium using textiles and ink. Come to class with a tracing /drawing of your family or friend ( as outlined in pictures via http://pattsdrawingmethod.blogspot.com.au/), and you’ll leave with a portrait of which you’ll be proud.

 

Rubbings and Beyond (Margaret River 5th Mar)

bumble bee

Start by rubbing a textural pattern onto your fabric, use a range of paints, markers and more and then embellish layers to create a fabulous art piece.

 

Now here are Alysn’s classes:

Crown Jewels Gone Mad (being run in Perth 27th Feb and Albany 8th Mar)

AMM Crown Jewels Gone Mad

Description:  Exploit the textured surfaces which can be developed by fusing and melting the Angelina fabric.
Really go for it with bright, lustrous, over the top combinations of Angelina fibre, wires, beads, soldering, burning, hand and machine stitch to develop a wild embroidery by layering and stitching.

 

Golden Romance (being run in Perth 28th Feb)

gilding-2

Create a sampler collage which introduces the different forms of gilding we can use to apply onto textile backgrounds and stitch over, it throws in a little goldwork, then updates and twists the techniques to produce a sensual, subtle wall panel. The traditional is mixed with a couple of my favourite surfaces to stitch into which are waxed papers and felt from silk cocoon strippings. The stitchery is worked in delicate machine embroidery using viscose embroidery threads for their soft, silky sheen. If you are a hand stitcher, go back to traditional long and short stitch with floss silks, you will achieve wonders! (And it doesn’t have to be gold or traditional!)
Handmade Books – Make a Book without the Bind.  (being run in Perth 1st Mar and Albany 7th Mar)
Handmade-books-1
Description:  Have fun with a contemporary approach to bookbinding. Make your own special book which is also a work of art using the piano hinge style book binding giving a modern, flexible format.  Expandable, interchangeable pages are held in place with a clever technique using kebab sticks. The spine creates room for creating exciting sketch books and sample storage, or to use as a special occasion memory book with photos, writing, and memorabilia.  Best of all, there is (almost) no measuring!
Elemental Layers (being run in Margaret River 3rd Mar)

AMM Elemental Layers

Description:  Use silk, linen and flax fibres to create a textured surface, further developed using felt and stitch (hand and/or machine) which will then be treated with layers of paint, patina, verdigris and gilding to create a surface reminiscent of ancient bas relief carving or natural weathered and gnarled features.
Richly Stitched (being held in Margaret River 4th Mar)
AMM Richly Stitched
Description:  Velvet and metal are such perfect partners! In this workshop you will use machine stitching to create a rich, luscious, embroidered panel on velvet using metal and metal fabrics enhanced with a smattering of beads.
Mixed Media Layers (being run in Margaret River 5th Mar)
Mixed-Media-Layers-1
Description:  Use an exciting mixture of different paints, resists, glazes, and stamps. Embellish with embossing powders to create densely layered and textured background fabrics for stitching and beading later. Expect to get messy and finish the workshop with plenty of experimental surfaces and a piece underway.




Houston Bound

25 02 2014

Wow, I am teaching at the Houston Quilt Festival in October this year. I am excited, amazed and a little overwhelmed but it is going to be fabulous and I hope that the classes fill, so tell your friends! For ease of reference I will share the schedule, as it currently stands in this blog post.

So here we go:
Monday 27 October 2-5pm Monoprint, Mask and Stamp.

??????????

Monday 27 October 6-9pm Scattered Circles Table Runner

Scattered circles table runner sml

Tuesday 28th October All Day  Daffodil Art Quilt

??????????

Wednesday 29th October All Day  My Textured Garden

Textured Garden sml

Thursday 30th October 2-4  Mixed Media Miscellany  Stunning Surfaces with Man Made Meltables.  This is a session where a number of us are in a room and participants get to rotate around to see the ones that interest them.

Now that I have written this, it seems so real.





We are taking our Retreat on the Road to FNQ.

4 11 2013

Unique Stitching

Retreat on the Road

Friday 26th to Sunday 28th September 2014

In Townsville

Three days of surface design, mixed media, art quilt heaven.

This little retreat will be jam packed with fun, ideas and inspiration. Tutors have been handpicked for their sharing, inclusive and enjoyable approach, guaranteeing that you will not only learn heaps, you will have a ball doing it. Classes will be held in Townsville, QLD.

Each tutor will offer three one day classes, giving you a smorgasbord of six workshops to choose from. Class sizes will be small and intimate – numbers will be strictly limited – book early to secure your position. You can book for individual days or for the full three.

Ensure your place by paying the deposit, be first to see the tutors class list and get priority placement into the classes of your first choice. Deposit is fully refundable if your plans change, so there is no risk. This option is only available for the Far North Queensland Retreat as it is the first time we are running that event. Deposit registration will be available up until the time that the full class list is released at which time, those registered will be given first priority on class placements.

Tutors at the Retreat will be Jane Davila http://janedavila.com/ and Alysn Midgelow-Marsden http://alysnsburntofferings.blogspot.com.au/. Both tutors will provide fantastic classes and a great experience for participants

To secure your place go to www.uniquestitching.com.au and register your interest.  This tiny url will take you straight to the page: http://tinyurl.com/l9ztc92

Don’t miss out!





Three days of Workshops in Canberra September 2013 – Judy Coates Perez, Sue Dennis and Cecile Whatman

12 07 2013

Judy Coates Perez, Sue Dennis, Cecile Whatman

3 Days of classes

don’t miss out

Canberra September 20-22, 2013

This little retreat will be jam packed with fun, ideas and inspiration. Tutors have been hand picked for their sharing, inclusive and enjoyable approach, guaranteeing that you will not only learn heaps, you will have a ball doing it. Classes will be held in Belconnen in the ACT.
Judy Coates Perez will be coming from the US and Sue Dennis from Queensland. Both teachers have taught extensively and have numerous awards to their names. For more detail on all the tutors, see the Retreat Page at http://tinyurl.com/m6knmvk or on the menu at the left called Retreat Tutor and Class Descriptions.


Each tutor will offer three one day classes, giving you a smorgasboard of nine workshops to choose from. Class sizes will be small and intimate – numbers will be strictly limited – book early to secure your position. You can book for individual days or for the full three. A discount of 15% will be applied to all three day bookings. A 50% deposit can be paid to hold your places up until 30 August. After that date, full payment will be due prior to the classes. To pay the deposit only, use Deposit as the Discount Code at the point of Checkout. There is information on using a Discount Code online. Three day participants will get priority over classes as they fill.
To Book go to http://tinyurl.com/pnlhs2s.

I hope to see you there.




July News from Unique Stitching

3 07 2013

Hello!

well it is a cold, foggy, damp week in Canberra but there is a lot coming up that I want to share with you. We continue to have a range of new products every week, I usually forget to tell you about them and some never make it onto the website, so you can keep up with me on Facebook or see what is new at a Craft Show near you. The facebook page is www.facebook.com/uniquestitching


The first half of this year has gone by in a flash. We have done more shows this year than in many, many years and it has been great to see so many people all around Australia. Amidst constant negativity from our Government and the media about the perilous state of the world economy, it is lovely to see people face to face and talk to them about what they are doing, what they need and what they are buying. Retail is hard at the moment, but I continue to strive to provide fresh, interesting, entertaining workshops and classes to excite, engage and tempt you. So far this approach is working. So far this year, I have brought two International teachers to Australia – Judy Coates Perez and Jane Davila. This has been a heap of fun and I know those of you that have engaged with these two lovely ladies have had a ball. There is more on the cards and I am in negotiations with several amazing people for the remainder of this year and the beginning of next.


One set of new products I have created and launched at the Darling Harbour Show was the hand dyed wool felts. Oh my goodness, did these go OFF. I have now loaded these onto the website, but here is a sneak peak to tempt you. There are 30 colour ways in this range.

There are a number of reasons for Canberra people to be reaching for their calendars and for those of you interstate to plan a trip to your national capital (truely!). In chronological order:
Saturday 6 July 2013, 10.00 to 4.00 Unique Stitching Open Day / Garage Sale. Come by and browse. This is a rare occurrence when both the stock and I are at home. I don’t have everything, but I have most of it and I will have a heap of specials and demonstrations running all day.
August 3rd and September 20 to 22 2013. I have booked space in the Belconnen Art Centre to run some classes. On the September dates, I will have at least one International Guest teaching here. Keep an eye on this newsletter or Facebook for details as I confirm them.
May 2nd to 4th 2014. The Creative Fibre Festival. This is the old Textiles Show that was run in Brisbane and cancelled. It is back with a vengence and should be a fantastic, fabulous event. Again, I am currently negotiating with some awesome international teachers for this and AQC, but this will be an event not to be missed. It will also see me returning to doing a local Canberra Show, I still won’t be returning to the August Quilt and Craft Shows.
I hope that I see some of you on Saturday. If the event is a success, I will try to schedule two to four open days each calendar year.
On the issue of shows, I have a few coming up this quarter: Melbourne Craft and Quilt Fair – July 25th to 29th at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre on Southbank. My Pop Up class schedule is now available to book on the website here: http://tinyurl.com/n9olmmn For more information on the show itself and others attending please go to: http://tinyurl.com/m4d5e3j
After that, I have the Newcastle Stitches and Craft Show August 15th to 18th and the Hamilton New Zealand Craft and Quilt Fair September 5th to 8th. We will finish the year with the Townsville Stitches and Craft Show (3-6 October); Brisbane Craft and Quilt Show (16-20 October) and a return to the Adelaid Craft and Quilt Show (7-10 November). I hope to see you at one of these shows, near you.
In 2014, the calendar is a mess and I want to just highlight a few bigger changes.
AQC in Melbourne will be early next year, pushed to the 10th to 13th April but a very late Easter; The new Textiles Show will be in Canberra from 2nd to 4th May; International Events such as G8s or G20s or something are messing with the Melbourne Craft and Quilt Show, resulting in it being VERY early from 26th to 29th of June. YES JUNE! And what about Darling Harbour then?? Well, as all Sydney siders will now, the Exhibition Centre will be a demolished building site by then and the show will be at the new Glebe Island event from 9th to 13th of July. YES, JULY!
Confused? me too, but together we will work through it. 2015 apparently returns to something closer to what we have had for the past 15 or so years.
That will probably do from me for now. If you have someone you would like me to bring out to Australia for an event or classes, let me know. I will see some of you on Saturday and most of the rest, I hope at the shows or my classes over the next six months.
Bye for now
Cecile
PS OOH, I nearly forgot! My first attempt to import on a ridiculous scale – pallets of Gelli Plates – has almost come to fruition. The Gelli Plates are clearing Customs right now. This includes a huge number of the new big 12 by 14 inch ones. I hope to have them for the weekend, but it might be early next week. HOORAY!







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