Revamping Artificial Flowers

I have a white “silk” orchid that was very realistic looking when I purchased it several years ago.  Over time, however, it has yellowed badly.

Revamping Artificial Flowers. Ellen Lindner,

Revamping Artificial Flowers. Ellen Lindner,

I considered several ideas about how to best revamp these pretty petals.  Eventually, I decided just to paint them, with ordinary acrylic paint.

Revamping Artificial Flowers. Ellen Lindner,

This worked well.  I left the fiddly centers yellow and was happy with the results.

Revamping Artificial Flowers. Ellen Lindner,

Revamping Artificial Flowers. Ellen Lindner,

Not bad, right?  No one’s going to think they’re real, but they’re definitely pretty.

What have you painted lately?

Ellen Lindner
P.S.  What I really wanted to do was to decoupage black and white fabrics onto the petals.  It only took a little experimenting to realize that would be too difficult.  But if I ever create some from scratch?  Who knows.


Some Eye Candy

Here are some interesting links for your enjoyment.

First, a gallery of wonderful quilts made by  the Front Range Contemporary Quilters.  You’ll love them!

Ova Nova, an art quilt by Louisa Smith

Next, check out the beautiful and subtle work of Cas Holmes.

Textile installation by Cas Holmes

Finally, something a little different:  painted pebbles.  I was intrigued by these because some of them looked almost like they were embroidered.  They reminded me of fabric cookies.   Wouldn’t they be fun to reproduce with some felt scraps?

And there you go: just some of the sites I’ve enjoyed recently.

Ellen Lindner


“Fragrant Climb” Complete

Here’s my challenge piece, complete.  I call it Fragrant Climb.

Fragrant Climb, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner.

Fragrant Climb


Fragrant Climb - detail, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner.

In a nod to the small flowers near the stairs in the inspiration photo, I drew on additional open-petal ones (above.)  I liked the effect and will use it again.

I’m pretty happy with this piece.  Especially since I wasn’t that crazy about the inspiration photo.  But, then, that’s why it’s called a challenge, right?

I encourage you to view a slide show showing all ten pieces made for this challenge.

Ellen Lindner


Welcome to Provence – Part Two

Once I had the background and leaves finished, it was time to focus on the flowers.  First, I auditioned fabrics.

Welcome to Provence. Ellen Lindner,

I had quite a big selection of fabrics to choose from, so it was easy to use a different fabric for each petal.

Welcome to Provence. Ellen Lindner,

Next, I started adding white flowers with open petals.  I love these and I’ve been using them a lot lately.

Welcome to Provence. Ellen Lindner,

They add a nice “variety of scale,” don’t you think?

Welcome to Provence. Ellen Lindner,

I stitched them on with contrasting orange thread.

Welcome to Provence. Ellen Lindner,

The inspiration photo had a lot of small flowers at the bottom left of the stairs.  I gave them an artistic nod with a variety of orange circles.

Welcome to Provence. Ellen Lindner,

Finishing touches in the next post!

Ellen Lindner


Welcome to Provence

Every so often my small art quilt group, Dirty Dozen Fiber Artists, likes to have a group challenge.  Frequently, we use a photograph as our starting point.  We select something with lots going on so different people can respond to different elements.

This is the photo we selected for our recent challenge, “Welcome to Provence.”

Welcome to Provence inspiration photo. Ellen Lindner,

As you can see, it provides a lot to work with.  I was intrigued by the worn spots in the centers of each step.  I decided to feature them and to include lots of foliage, as well.

Of course, I couldn’t do it in realistic colors!  The gray and tan just didn’t excite me, so I changed things up.  This was my computer sketch.

Welcome to Provence. Ellen Lindner,

I got to work on the steps.

Welcome to Provence. Ellen Lindner,

There were lots of pins involved.

Welcome to Provence. Ellen Lindner,

And, eventually, glue.

Welcome to Provence. Ellen Lindner,

Next came the background, in-progress below.

Welcome to Provence. Ellen Lindner,

Once the background was complete, I quilted the entire piece.  This avoided lots of stopping and starting with the quilting later, since I knew some places would be largely covered with yet-to-be-added items.

Next, it was time to audition fabrics and shapes for the large leaves.

Welcome to Provence. Ellen Lindner,

I was happy with the veining technique I used on the leaves: simply cutting the leaves into sections.  The gaps served as veins.

Welcome to Provence. Ellen Lindner,

Welcome to Provence. Ellen Lindner,

Soon, the background and leaves were complete and it was time to tackle flowers.  I’ll show you that in the next post.

Ellen Lindner



EBooks Available as Downloads

Woohoo!  I’m so delighted to finally have my eBooks available as immediate downloads.

One is called Personal Workshop: Adventures in Color.   

Adventures in Color e-book by Ellen Lindner.

It’s jam packed with information: 64 content pages, plus another 22 workbook pages.  As the name implies, it’s set up as a personal workshop. There are several pages of information and examples, followed by workbook assignments.  Exactly like I would teach it in a live class.  If you work through the exercises, you’ll MASTER most of the concepts.

See an excerpt here

At only $9.95, this book is a great bargain and an excellent resource.

Full Details

The second eBook is called Personal Workshop: Double Reverse Appliqué™.  

Double Reverse Applique e-book by Ellen Lindner.

Check out the killer project included in this book! This raw edged appliqué technique is extremely easy and accurate AND very popular with my students.  Again, the book is set up like a class with exercises.  It also includes a section on creating your own patterns.

See a gallery of Double Reverse Appliqué quilts

Only $9.95

Full Details


The Project that Wasn’t

Have you ever lost steam on a project part way through?  This happened to me recently, only I lost interest before I even got started.

After the FUN and success of Bush Berries, I was excited to try another “cut and paste” design.  I started with this photo of a Flame Vine.

Pretty awesome, right?  I decided to cut it into squares, as I had done before and to rearrange the sections.  9 pieces, perhaps?

The Project that Wasn't. Ellen Lindner,

Or, maybe just six.

The Project that Wasn't. Ellen Lindner,

I preferred the six-block option and traced the main lines to get a pattern.

The Project that Wasn't. Ellen Lindner,

The Project that Wasn't. Ellen Lindner,

It looked a little hodge-podge at this point, so I colored in the values, to see if it looked better.

The Project that Wasn't. Ellen Lindner,

And, indeed, it did.  As a matter of fact, I thought it looked like a pretty good abstract design.  But, I realized that it no longer depicted the heavy hanging blossoms of the original photo.  And I missed that.

So, I’ve put it aside in lieu of the next thing.
Did I waste my time?  Absolutely not!

As a matter of fact, this time spent designing will help me to be more creative the next time.  And besides, it was fun.  It’s quite possible that I’ll revisit this sketch one day.  Or maybe start again with the same photo and go in a different direction.  No worries.  It’s all part of experimenting.

Have you ever stalled out mid-project?  What are your thoughts on it?  Did you learn something anyway?  (I’ll bet you did.)

Ellen Lindner


Mounting and Framing Small Pieces

I once had a shopper ask me “How much do you charge for one of those place mats?”  Quch! Not what I wanted to hear, but I get it.  To viewers who are not used to seeing art made from fabric the small pieces can look somewhat utilitarian.  To avoid that, I often mount or frame my smallest pieces.

There are plenty of tutorials online about how to do this, but I think my approach is somewhat unique.  That’s because, when using a frame with glass, I always put the art ON FRONT of the glass.  Like this.

Framing small pieces. Ellen Lindner,

I love this presentation.  The frame gives the small art work more “presence” and shows it off as fine art.  But, the textures of the piece are not hidden under glass.

This is very easy to do.  Just use double sided tape to hold the artwork in place.  The following pieces have the same presentation, but it’s hard to see when viewed straight on.

Framing small works. Ellen Lindner,

You can do the same thing without glass, just attaching the artwork to mat board that’s framed.

Framing small works. Ellen Lindner,

Of course a small art piece can also be mounted on an artist’s canvas.  It can either be left white, painted, or covered with fabric.

Framing small works. Ellen Lindner,

When using this technique, I recommend using a “gallery wrapped” canvas.  This is the deeper style with staples on the back.  It makes a very nice presentation.

Framing small works. Ellen Lindner,

Once again, you can use double sided tape, but I generally hand sew these onto the canvas in a few places.

Another great thing about using ready-made frames or canvasses is that they help unify a collection of artwork with slightly different sizes.  Like this (digitally mounted) collection.  Even though each piece has little bits extending here and there, they all read as the same size, thanks to the constant size of the canvasses.

Framing small works. Ellen Lindner,

There are many more ways to mount small pieces.  What are your favorites?

Ellen Lindner
P.S. Related post on my old blog:
Notes for a Friend, #10-12


Small Pear Collages

In my last post, I showed you the start of several small pear collages.  I had great fun with them as I continued to work with portions of my original pear picture, vintage linens, papers, and hand stitching.

Here’s the completed version of the one in the last post, Pear Study #1.

Pear Study #1, a small art quilt by Ellen Lindner.

This is #2 complete.

Pear Study #2, a small art quilt by Ellen Lindner.

#3, complete

Pear Study #3, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner.

And #4, in -progress.  Scroll down to see it completed.

Collage fun. Ellen Lindner,

Pear Study #4

Pear Study #4, an art quilt by Ellen Lindner.

Can you see the piece of the original pear applique used in three out of the four?

I’m very happy with these four small collages and I especially like the way they look together.

Pear Study #1-4, by Ellen Lindner.

Which one is your favorite?

Small works like this often benefit from additional mounting or framing. I’ve got some experience with that and will show you some options in my next post.

Ellen Lindner


Something Fun

Every so often I like to spend a week or two doing something artistically different.  Maybe with fabric or maybe not.  At these times, I typically pick up a good art book and spend time reading it and working through some of the exercises.  This time, it was Cas  Holmes’ book, Stitch Stories.

Product Details

If you’re not familiar with her work, she does lots of layered collages, with sheer fabrics, hand stitching, paper, and more.  Her pieces have a lovely fragile look to them.  Which made me want to try something similar. I decided to make some small collages.

This is where I started.  A friend taught our small group of art quilters how to use Inktense pencils and aloe gel.  She went above and beyond, preparing each of us an appliqued sampler to work on.  Mine had 3 pears, which I colored.

Collage fun. Ellen Lindner,
You can also see my little color swatch, above, onto which I was recording different colors.

This had been sitting on my work table for several months and I didn’t know what to do with it.  So, I decided I would cut it up and use it as the base for several collages.  Fun already!

Following Cas’ example of using vintage linens and papers, I gathered my materials.

Collage fun. Ellen Lindner,

Do you see that cream crochet above?  It’s part of a table cloth, crocheted by my great grandmother.  Thankfully, I have a very practical aunt, who loves art.  When she came across this stained table cloth, she offered it to me, making it clear that I COULD CUT IT UP and use it in my art!  How progressive is that?

Here’s my first collage, early on.  As you can see, I quickly deviated from a yellow and neutral palette and added green.

Collage fun. Ellen Lindner,

And here it is, with the second pear drawn on.  I didn’t draw in the third one, since I wanted each collage to have a different number or arrangement of pears.  The drawn outline will be stitched in black.

Collage fun. Ellen Lindner,

I’m excited about these collages!  I’ll show you more in the next post.

Ellen Lindner