Archive for the ‘Learning’ Category

cat book page lo res

The last of my screen printed cats. I’m almost sorry to see them go. This one was printed ona book page. Since I don’t necessarily want the viewer to become engrossed in trying to read the text, I turned the page upside down. (For one thing, it gets a little steamy!)

We are at day 20 of Leslie Saeta’s 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge. I recently realized that even though February has only 28 days, she does mean for us to continue for 30 days.  I’ll have to make two more pieces than I had been planning on!

Martha Ressler

Cat on Book Page

Art Quilt

7 x 5″

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cat 100 lo res

Another product of my screen printing class taken at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading, PA. This little baby is accompanied by some special paper — actual money from Portugal. I love the orange rose. The dark blue print is a scrap of silk from an antique kimono. And of course the hand embroidery sets it all off nicely.

Martha Ressler

Cat and Money

Art Quilt

7 x 5″

cat and swirls 7 x 5 lo res

Another cat from my screen printing venture– a class at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts taught by Abby Ryder.  The additional stamping and embroidery give her some extra character and interest.

Martha Ressler

Cat and Swirls

Art Quilt

7 x 5″

cat and lace 7 x 5 lo res

This little sweetie is the product of a screen printing class I took at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts from Abby Ryder. I printed the brightly colored cat four times, so she may look familiar in the next three days.

It will be framed, but that is not accomplised yet.

Martha Ressler

Cat with Lace

Art Quilt

7 x 5″

Way back in college I took silk screen printing. Now it’s called screen printing (silk is no longer used for the screens), and I’m once again taking a class. It’s so much fun! I’m printing onto fabric so I can use my images for art quilts. My class is taught by Abby Ryder, at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, in Reading, PA.

First I sketched a cat, and drew the image three times onto a film, called matte Dura-lar. Each drawing represents one color that, overlayed, will create the full image.

Then the drawings are placed on a vacuum table with a glass bottom, and lightly taped down. The emulsion-coated screen is placed on top, and the vacuum applied so that it’s all nice and tight.

The whole table is tipped up and exposed to light, through the glass bottom. The light exposure is carefully timed, and when released, the screen is ready to be rinsed.  This releases the emulsion from the “positive” areas of the image .

Here is the exposure process, and my final little cat print. On the right are the first two 5 x 7″ art quilts. And finally a cat quilt in progress.

I’ve been working on several art quilts at once. I remade one that dates to 2009, among the first I ever made. I took it apart, including the binding, and a good deal of the machine quilting in the middle of the image. I re-quilted it, using a shiny Sulky rayon thread. I’ve learned a lot more about quilting since 2009! Finally, I cropped it to a smaller (5×7) size, rebound it, and framed the piece. Here is the before and after. What a difference!

Another piece that I have made two versions of (and sold both) is called “Calling the Cat.” It’s based on a story in our household, where my mother in law calls her cat every night (loudly): “Here Pussy, Pussy, Pussy.” We cringe with embarrassment, hoping the neighbors don’t hear. I doubt the cat is insulted, but either way, she pays little heed to the calls.

I ran out of the fabric with the heraldic figure imperiously blowing his trumpet, so decided to draw one of my own on fabric, using my newly purchased Pentel Gel Roller for fabric. I think it worked out well, and plan to do some more drawing on fabric using this smooth writing pen.

On another front, I purchased a Victorian crazy quilt that had been donated to our local Salvation Army Store. I am trying to decide what to do with it.

I removed a stiff cording that had been sewn around the edges that was causing puckering. That was an improvement, but I still don’t think the piece is quite worthy of being kept whole.

There are many areas of damage, and in general the workmanship is not of the highest quality.

I did want to get a professional photo of the piece though, before my scissors took a bite.  So here it is. I’m open to ideas on what to do with it!

I’m also working on my next challenge as part of the Cloth in Common international group of quilters, of which I am part. Next week I’ll blog about that. The theme is “Touch,” which is a good one that allows for a lot of leeway.

And finally I’m sewing a gift quilt for friends who just got married. Here’s a sneak peak at that. It’s a long way from finished!

Dana Dave quilt sneak preview

Okay, this post isn’t quite about art.  But — I admit it — I get almost as much pleasure out of craft. And, truth be told, as much pleasure watching people having fun making things.

That’s how it was in the Upcycling Denim class I taught recently at our local Salvation Army store.

With the carefully arranged shoe and clothing racks as our backdrop, participants cut up and put together old denim jeans that weren’t up to the store standards for re-sale.

I introduced the class with an appreciation for denim. Each person held a pair of jean in their hands as I briefly explained the origins of jeans as work clothes in the late 19th Century in the US. Denim itself — the warp indigo dyed and the weft white — in its distinctive twill weave, goes back to France.

I worked briefly in a Lees jean plant during my 13 years as a sewing machine operator, and remember that it took 13 separate types of sewing machines to make a pair of jeans. I pointed out the flat fell seams on the jean that have them, that make a decent handle for a tote.  And the rivets which you do not want to include in your seams!  A broken needle will be the consequence.

By the second day of the two-day class, the 5 members had learned each others names, and seemed really happy with their projects. An eleven year old fit in as an equal.  A 70 something gentleman decided to make a second belt pouch to balance out the first pouch which he had completed.  And wine totes abounded.  They were based on my own design, but each bore the distinctive personality of its maker.

This class is scheduled for another session. I hope the magic happens again.