Girl with a Red Bucket

Don’t you just love this painting?  It’s by Jini James and I just bought it.  Woohoo!

By Jini James.

It looks great in my living room.  The colors really pop against the brown walls.

Jini has many more wonderful pieces on her website.  I hope you’ll check them out.

Ellen Lindner

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Help Me Name This Class

I’ve had quite a bit of fun designing and constructing the class sample for my new class.  Here it is, nearly complete.

Click to enlarge
Dance of Joy, in-progress.  An art quilt by Ellen Lindner,

I think I’ll probably name this piece Dance of Joy.

But I’m stumped on a name for the class.  It features lessons on free rotary cutting and how to fuse little tiny pieces of fabric into one larger shape.  (I might call that last technique “Fussy fusing.”)

But what should I call the class?  Maybe “New Growth?”  That would elude to a young plant, as well as to the idea of learning new things in a class.  I sure would appreciate your suggestions!

Ellen Lindner
P.S.  See the quilt that inspired the class.


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SAQA Technique Smorgasbord

Yay, I spelled smorgasbord correctly!

But, on to the good stuff.  I belong to a wonderful organization called Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA.)  With over 3000 members worldwide, this group is a WEALTH of information and resources.  Here in Florida, we’ve divided our state up into regional “pods.”  Yep.  That makes us pod people.

Our pod is really awesome.  It’s filled with talented and enthusiastic women who love to share with and advise one another.  During the summer we had a meeting in which everyone brought an example of their favorite technique.  It was really interesting!  You’d think we’d all know these tricks by now, but there were several unique things, as well as others we wanted to learn more about.

Mary Dyer reminded us about painting on paper-backed fusible web.  (She used Wonder Under.)  The moisture makes the paper dry crinkly, which produces a neat effect.  Once dry, the paper can be peeled off and the fusible web fused to fabric.  It gives a subtle coloration.  There are lots of cool results shown around the web.

Click any image for a better viewTechnique smorgasbord.

Kay Smith showed us a very cool fabric manipulation technique. Not sure of the name.  Poofs?

Technique smorgasbord.

She even showed us how to do it.  I don’t remember the details, but the photo pretty much explains it.  Once “poofy” a lightweight interfacing is ironed on to hold the shape.

Technique smorgasbord.

Several of the presentations had to do with finishing or displaying our quilts.  Sherrill Pryor showed us how she’s been mounting finished work on deep painted canvasses.

Technique smorgasbord.

I explained how to understitch a facing.  It’s not very glamorous, but it really helps the facing turn to the back.  (Of course, I use it on quilt facings, not garments.  Who has time to sew garments after discovering quilting?)

Technique smorgasbord.

Mindy Marik got creative with thrift store yarn, leftover thread, and her cording foot.  She twisted up to five yarns together and zigzag stitched them.  This produced a lovely thick yarn.

Technique smorgasbord.

Which she uses as an edge finish on small quilts.  And to make baskets, coasters, and all sorts of things.

Technique smorgasbord.

Kathryn Robinson has become quite adept at manipulating images in her computer and printing them to fabric.  She showed us a couple of examples.

Technique smorgasbord.

These small samples started as photographs, but she has greatly altered them with Photoshop.

Technique smorgasbord.

Gabriele DiTota makes up new ways of doing things as she goes.  Her dragon was painted on black fabric, cut out, padded, and placed onto her quilt.

Technique smorgasbord.

Wow!  Do I have talented friends or what?

Ellen Lindner
P.S.  Learn how to face a quilt with instructions on my website.

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More Great Fiber Art in Jacksonville

Here’s some more great fiber art from the Fiber Artists Network (FAN) exhibit, in Jacksonville, FL.

Click on any image for a larger view

Many of the pieces on display were abstracts, like this one by Gretchen Jolles.

FAN exhibit 10-14.

Garden Pots 1, by Gretchen Jolles

Gretchen has really piqued my interest with this one.  Since I don’t “see” pots, I’d love to see her inspiration photo and sketches.  I LOVE how we all interpret things differently!

Of course, there were some realistic pieces, as well.  Perhaps Jayne Gaskin’s work should be called hyper-realistic.  She uses her own photographs, printed on fabric and then stitches the HECK out of certain elements for emphasis.  Here, it’s the pulley in the foreground.

FAN exhibit 10-14.

Reefing, by Jayne Gaskins

This detail shot provides a better view.  You MUST click on it to see ALL.  THAT.  STITCHING!

FAN exhibit 10-14.

Reefing – detail, by Jayne Gaskins

But, even the close up photo doesn’t show the final surprise:  Jayne’s work is 3D.  She’s used trapunto and other techniques, to make this pulley project way out.

Diane Hamburg had several nice pieces in the exhibit, several of them realistic.  This is her “Sweetie.”

FAN exhibit 10-14.

Sweetie, by Diane Hamburg

And this is her “Beach Combers.”  Can’t you just see those little birds scurrying around, flirting with the waves and hunting for food?

FAN exhibit 10-14.

Beach Combers, by Diane Hamburg

One of the great things about fiber art is the broadness of the category.  It includes spinning and weaving, baskets, felting, embroidery, quilting, silk painting, and a wide variety of mixed techniques and materials.

Materials like coffee filters.  They’re paper, right?  Carol Ann Rice-Rafferty put them to good use in her center garment, below.  The papers have been waxed and the garment is actually wearable!

FAN exhibit 10-14.

Dressing Gown to Filter Out Bad Chi, by Carol Ann Rice-Rafferty

Check out the detail shot.  Very cool, huh?

FAN exhibit 10-14.

Dressing Gown to Filter Out Bad Chi – detail, by Carol Ann Rice-Rafferty

Also notice the glimpses of the other two dresses in the earlier image.  They’re made from recycled plastic shopping bags.

These are just a small sampling of the great pieces on display.  If you’re in the Jacksonville area this month, I highly recommend that you run on over and check this out for yourself.

Also, there’s a video about this exhibit!  It shows ALL the pieces, and includes more about how Carol Ann Rice-Rafferty made her pieces.  Find it here.

Ellen Lindner


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Fiber Artists Network Exhibit in Jacksonville, FL

I recently visited the Fiber Artists Network (FAN) exhibit in Jacksonville, FL, and I was very impressed!  The exhibit was curated by Maya Schonenberger, which must have been a challenging task.  The pieces she selected featured a wide variety of fiber art techniques, from baskets to avant-garde for-display-only garments.

Although I only had my phone available as a camera, I hope you can still appreciate the artwork.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Click any image for a larger view

FAN exhibit 10-14.

Floating Poppies, by Amy Dove. An installation of felted “bowls.”

Amy Dove’s wall-mounted installation of red felted “bowls” was very intriguing.
All the pieces had undulating and irregular shapes.

101314felt bowl detail

Amy also created Anemone, below.

FAN exhibit 10-14.

Anemone, by Amy Dove

I’m not quite sure what materials and techniques were used in this piece.  Definitely some felting and manipulating of fibers.

FAN exhibit 10-14.

Anemone, detail, by Amy Dove

I didn’t catch the title of Pat Worrell’s piece, but I loved the protruding leaves and such.

FAN exhibit 10-14.

By Pat Worrell

There were several other baskets on display.  Unfortunately, the fuzzy photo I got didn’t reveal either the makers’ names or the titles of the pieces.

FAN exhibit 10-14.

Betsy Tabac created the colorful weaving shown below. I think it looks very much like an ocean view, although the description didn’t mention this.

FAN exhibit 10-14.

Playing with Color Part 1, by Betsy Tabac

Ann Rice-Rafferty had several pieces that caught my eye.  This sculpture was created with wire and then dipped in paper pulp.  The wire caused the paper to rust, producing wonderful colors.  Isn’t that creative?

FAN exhibit 10-14.

Better with Experience, by Ann Rice-Rafferty

These are just a small sampling of the great pieces on display.  I’ll show you a few more in my next post.  In the meantime, if you’re in the Jacksonville area this month, I highly recommend that you run on over and check this out for yourself.

Also, there’s a video about this exhibit!  It shows ALL the pieces, and includes more about how Carol Ann Rice-Rafferty made her pieces.  Find it here.

Ellen Lindner

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Around the World Blog Hop

A former online student, Diane Miller, invited me to participate in a blog hop.  How cool is that?  I love making connections online (and otherwise.)  The Around the World Blog Hop is a MUCH IMPROVED version of chain letters, where each participant “tags” a few more to join in.  You’ll see links to posts by my invitees at the bottom of the post, and Diane’s post here.

As part of the hop, each participant is asked to answer 4 specific questions.  So here goes.

What am I working on?

I love to experiment and today is no different.  Lately, I’ve been trying out printing an image on fabric and then quilting it.  It’s been working out really well.

Here’s a detail shot of my latest results, the second piece made with this technique.

Click any image for a larger view

Curly Crotons Mosaic, stitched digital print by Ellen Lindner.

Curly Crotons Mosaic

Perhaps you can tell I’ve abstracted the image before printing.  This appeals to me very much.  Then, I’ve added back definition with the stitching.

My mind is full of other things to try with this technique:
- Altering the image more before printing,
- Altering it after printing with water soluble crayons or pencils
- Adding hand stitching (running stich or full-fledged embroidery?  Hmm.  One of those fun questions to consider.)
- Cutting up the new fabric and using it in alternative ways.  Or maybe using the fabric as the background for something else.  Lots of options!  But, maybe I’ll hold off on that for a while, since I’m itching to return to my usual style and methods.

Thus, my variation to that question:  What do I USUALLY work on?

The bright colors, interesting shapes, and strong contrast of Florida foliage are extremely appealing to me.  Typically, I depict them very loosely, in a collage fashion.  Here’s a recent example.

Click any image for a larger view

Summer in the South, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner,

Summer in the South 41h x 38w, $1900

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

- I like to interpret my subjects very loosely.
- I use lots of jagged-cut pieces of fabric, layered to create a composition.
- I mix a wide variety of fabric patterns and scales.
- In general, I don’t use fusible web.

Ellen Lindner's design wall with work in progress.

Referencing earlier works, while creating grass for the top quilt.

Why do I create what I do?

Because my inspiration excites me and I want to show it off!  With Ti Plants A-Glow-Glow, below, I want to enthusiastically ask viewers:
- Did you notice the way the sunlight washes out parts of the leaves to pure white?
- And the stained glass effect of the veins when backlit?
- And what about the contrast between bright leaves and darker ones in the foreground?  Isn’t that dramatic?

All of these attributes were there in real life.  I just played them up and called attention to them.   It’s EXHILIRATING!

Ti Plants A-Glow-Glow, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner.

How does my creative process work?

My process starts with a photo that I take myself.  Often my subject is vibrant tropical Florida foliage.

Ellen Lindner's inspiration photo for Ti Party.

I spend some time cropping and editing until I find an arrangement that pleases me.  Typically, I create a rough sketch, either with Photoshop Elements or with good ole pencil and paper.

Ellen Lindner's sketch for Ti Party.

Working at my design wall, I cut and place fabrics onto a muslin base, building my composition.  Things are held together with a LOT of pins, and maybe some glue.

All of this gets layered with batting and quilted.  (I don’t create a quilt “top” first.  The stitching secures the pieces in place.)  I keep the quilting design loose, too, sometimes adding a double black line to create definition.

Garden Party, detail.  An art quilt by Ellen Lindner.
I really enjoy the flexibility of working this way.  I can easily audition changes all the way to the end.  (I’d like to tell you it’s speedy, but I do way too much analyzing for that to be true!  But, analyzing/designing is my favorite part!)

In addition to creating my own work, I get an immense amount of pleasure and satisfaction from teaching my techniques and concepts to others.

Ready to hop?  You’ll definitely want to “meet” Elizabeth Barton.  She has  a wonderful eye for what works.  She’s especially talented at looking at an image and extracting and exaggerating the essential elements.  And she teaches others to do the same!  I’m lucky enough to have one of her quilts hanging in my breakfast room!

Ellen Lindner

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“Ti Party”

My latest little quilt was one of the most fun I’ve ever made!

Ti Party, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner.

14h x 21w, $195

Click any image for a larger view

I call it “Ti Party,” because the plants shown are Japanese Ti (tea) plants. And it does look like a party, doesn’t it?

But, the label says “No politics.  Just vivid color.”

Ti Party, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner.

Why was this quilt so fun?  Because I was working loosely, which always gets my adrenalin flowing.  And I always enjoy working with such vibrant hues.

  It all started with a loose paper collage, and it went from there.  I like this piece so much I think I’ll use it as the inspiration for making a larger one!

Ellen Lindner
P.S.  Learn how you can audition this piece in your home.

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More Class Awesomeness in Lake Mary

Yes, I said AWESOMENESS!  The students in my recent “Design Your Own Nature Quilt” rocked it, and here’s the proof.

Here’s Mel’s inspiration photo.

Click any image for a larger view
Ellen Lindner's "Design  Your Own Nature Quilt" class.

And here’s her quilt, well under way.

Ellen Lindner's "Design  Your Own Nature Quilt" class.

Isn’t it going to be fabulous?  She did an excellent job of editing the elements down, making it both easier to construct, and more dramatic.  Can you see how the tiny slivers of white make the berries look reflective?  An important detail.  (The tiny dots of pin heads.)

Jeff had a challenging photo, showing fields in a wide variety of distances.

Ellen Lindner's "Design  Your Own Nature Quilt" class.

It took a keen eye, and lots of trial and error to get the perspective right.  But, Jeff persevered and it was coming together nicely at the end of day two.

Ellen Lindner's "Design  Your Own Nature Quilt" class.

Pat combined two photos, of flowers and undergrowth, to create her composition.
Ellen Lindner's "Design Your Own Nature Quilt" class.

Ellen Lindner's "Design  Your Own Nature Quilt" class.

She got a lot done in two days, and here it is, completely finished.

Ellen Lindner's "Design Your Own Nature Quilt" class.

Isn’t it bright and happy?  She used the size and placement of her flowers to show depth, and a printed purple fabric to suggest undergrowth.  (Psst.  Did you know that yellow and purple are complementary/opposite colors?  Using them together always adds drama.)

Donna combined several photos to get the image she imagined.

PHOto needed, right side up

Sorry for the glare in the photo above.  Click it to see the dark shadows in the lake beyond the trees.

Here’s her quilt in progress.  Don’t you love the way she’s added the skinny yellow edge to the plants’ leaves?

Ellen Lindner's "Design Your Own Nature Quilt" class.

Later, Donna added black tulle in the tan (water) area behind the trees.  (Her idea.)  This worked extraordinarily well!  Suddenly, the darker area read exactly like water, with dark reflections.  She stopped the tulle before the far edge of the pond, feathering out several layers.  This gave the water two areas of reflection:  the tan bank and the dark green trees.  And the edge between them was rather fuzzy.  Perfect!

Lynn selected a very spiky flower as the subject for her quilt.  I suggested jagged cutting for the little pieces and it worked beautifully.

Ellen Lindner's "Design Your Own Nature Quilt" class.

Ellen Lindner's "Design Your Own Nature Quilt" class.

Ellen Lindner's "Design Your Own Nature Quilt" class.

Didn’t she do a great job?  This photo was taken at the end of day two and Lynn had her quilt completely quilted and faced.  All she had left to do was to add a label and a sleeve.  Love that!

Whew!  We all worked hard for two days and it was exhilarating!

BTW, this class gets a gold star for use of tulle!  Three of the 11 students used it very effectively, for shadows, reflections, and streams of light. See what I mean about artistic courage?  They owned it!

My hosts and students were fabulous and I hope to work with them again.

Ellen Lindner
P.S.  Learn about the online version of this class.
P.P.S.  See more students’ results from this class.

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Artistic Courage in Lake Mary

The supply list for my “Design Your Own Nature Quilt” class includes artistic courage.  Fortunately, the group I recently taught in Lake Mary was very brave!  None of them had ever designed a quilt before, but they all had wonderful art quilts at the end of day two.

Laura’s mountain quilt rocks!  She used tulle to get the reflection in the water, and Angelina in both the water and mountain peak.  (It’s ready for facing, below.)

Click any image for a larger viewEllen Lindner's class "Design Your Own Nature Quilt."

Here’s a better in-progress image, (although Laura later removed the pink stitching.)

This was her inspiration photo.

Ellen Lindner's class "Design Your Own Nature Quilt."

Dead on, right? Her photo was very pixelated, which is actually helpful when trying to interpret something loosely.

In this two day class, Laura was able to COMPLETELY finish her quilt.  It was faced, ironed, and the sleeve was even attached!  The only thing it still needed was a label.

Susan worked from a tiny photo.

Ellen Lindner's class "Design Your Own Nature Quilt."

But that didn’t slow her down.

Ellen Lindner's class "Design Your Own Nature Quilt."

She created a very nice piece with tulips as the main element.  (Before quilting, below.)

Ellen Lindner's class "Design Your Own Nature Quilt."

Julie’s photo had a pretty nice composition, but the colors were a little dull.

Ellen Lindner's class "Design Your Own Nature Quilt."

No worries.  She kicked up the colors and got to work.

Ellen Lindner's class "Design Your Own Nature Quilt."

Even though she made her quilt larger than most, she was still able to finish the quilting and trim it.  Maybe you can tell (if you enlarge it,) that her palm fronds have a lot of texture.  She stitched them only in the middle, so the fringed edges flare up.  No photo can do that!

Ellen Lindner's class "Design Your Own Nature Quilt."

Betty’s photo posed some challenges, but she was willing to take them on.  The plan?  Use tulle (bridal netting) to strategically darken and lighten.

Ellen Lindner's class "Design Your Own Nature Quilt."

Here’s her base quilt, well under way.

Ellen Lindner's class "Design Your Own Nature Quilt."

Can you visualize how the tulle will transform this piece?  She’ll use several layers of black to add the foreground shadows, and white tulle to represent the streaming sunlight.  We played with samples in class, and I think it’s going to be extraordinary!

Isn’t Carla’s photo great, below?  But we knew it would be challenging for a couple of reasons.  1 – The tiny parts at the center of the flower.  (We were working at about placemat size, to give you and idea.) 2 – She’d need the perfect gray fabrics to depict the shadows in the water.

Ellen Lindner's class "Design Your Own Nature Quilt."

She really knocked it out of the park, though.  Here it is glued, ready for quilting.

Ellen Lindner's class "Design Your Own Nature Quilt."

Awesome, right?  Notice how she added a light edge to many of the petals.  This was critical to making them show up and to get them to read as individual flower pieces.

Aren’t you impressed with these quilters?  And that’s only half of them!  I’ll show you another six in the next post.

Although it’s hard work, I thoroughly enjoy teaching this class!  I’d love to do so for your Florida or South Georgia guild.  Or, get advance notification about the next time I teach it online.

Ellen Lindner



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“Dancing Toward the Sun”

Here’s my latest quilt, “Dancing Toward the Sun.”  I’m quite happy with it.

"Dancing Toward the Sun," an art quilt by Ellen Lindner.

50h x 19.5w, $895

Click on any image for a much larger view

I love the personality of the piece.  To me, the little sprout is moving and
grooving as it basks in the warm rays of the sun.  You can see that, right?

"Dancing Toward the Sun" detail, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner.

In addition to being pleased with the look of this piece, I also enjoyed the process.  I tried some new techniques that were a little bit faster and it all came together easily.  (Which is often not the case!)

A few local friends have seen this piece in person and they have really loved it.  Based on that, and the ease of construction, I’m thinking about offering a smaller version of this project as a class.  I’d call it “New Growth.”  Because of the imagery, but also because of the potential for artistic growth as students try new things.  What do you think?

Ellen Lindner
P.S.  Read about the making of this quilt in the three previous posts.
P.P.S.  Find out how to audition this piece in your home.

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