Solids and Semisolids

Having recently created a great portfolio based motifs with an Indian theme, I found myself in need of a single color all over print. These prints help support and draw out the multicolor prints, they allow the eye a resting place within a quilt block. And needless to say,  if you want to make a quilt, you need a bunch of these.The above photo shows the single color design in-progress. I ended up blacking out the entire background of this print before burning it as a Thermofax screen. Now, I seek to print many, many, single color designs.
And although I think single color prints are boring to print…. I still need many of them… So I choose to put my reservations on hold until I print enough to make some pretty quilts! I just need to get past this part. Wish me luck.

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CBS Sunday Morning +


This week on CBS Sunday Morning they presented a themed show on the topic of cancer. A group of women, myself included were interviewed for a subsegment named, “The flat movement”. Read the CBS article related to the segment, A Matter of choice: Mastectomies without Reconstruction.

And watch the individual segment here.

I love the women I am surrounded by in this piece. Rebecca Pine of the Breast and the Sea is a gentle giant. Read this New York Times article, ‘Going Flat’ After Breast Cancer, where Rebecca is pictured. Thedra Cullar-Ledford is an amazing artist!  Samantha Tiger West is a local friend as well as audio and visual artist. Marianne DuQuette Cuozzo is an artist whose big heart can be seen alongside Debbie Sue (here is her FB page, no website) in this video:

 

I took this photo, last month, after filming for this segment. Samantha West had to cut out before we took this photo in front of the Equinox ad which is featured in the CBS Segment. The ad features Samantha Paige, of Last Cut, whom I follow through social media. This ad is epic! It is an epic contribution to the ‘flat narrative’.

If you have arrived here due to the CBS Sunday Morning show interview. Welcome. Poke around. Check out my art galleries and my breast cancer advocacy resume. Soon, I will resume my regular program of art making here on my artist’s blog. 🙂 Until then…

 

 

Stencils, Stamps, Thermofax, oh my!

Earlier this week, I started a Speed Print job using my Lace Swirl Kit and I spoke about the difference between using the L498 StencilGirl stencil and the Thermofax screen to color the swirl portion of the design.

So, today, I wanted to update you and show you the difference between the two.

The StencilGirl stencil allows us to color a single swirl. This gives these prints a bit of a unique appeal because they take longer to complete than the Thermofax layer (speed print-able), but this very fact also means, that I can use a diverse selection of color to complete each print.

And as such, these prints stand out when it comes to using them. (I get very excited to use these unique prints when it comes time to sit in front of the sewing machine needle.) 

But you know? Squeegee-ing two colors through a Thermofax repeat layer is a pretty snazzy way to add visual jingle too! 

This, is Playful Fabric Printing. Where we push the limits of our tools by printing sparkling, playful and surprising bits of cloth, that is so much fun to use! 

(Please use our hashtag #playfulfabricptinting , that way, we can find you and your work.

Carol and I are keeping Playful Fabric Printing Pinterest boards and we would both love to pin your posts into our boards (we want to build community)!!! Please check check our boards out!

Also! Please join our closed Playful Fabric Printing Facebook Community page, we now have 200+ members and many are doing great work, asking interesting questions and uploading photos of their work! And its some really good work too!

 

A video posted by Melanie Testa (@mellytesta) on

Loving Goodness

 

Testa Family

Happy Holidays, all. May peace reside within each of us, this year, this day, this moment. Life is short. Let’s all enjoy every minute of it.

We have just returned from a holiday visit with family. We ate great food. Lasagna, salads, bread. Ham with all the sides. Nuts, a cheese ball. Shrimps. Hugs, family, TV and talk. We took a walk with my brother and Sister in Law. And received great gifts. A great cooking pan, a bracelet I have been wanting for a very long time. Some tank tops from Buy Me Brunch. And I am happy to say, my brother and Sister in Law will be visiting Brooklyn quite soon. Life is good.

I would like to Thank You for your support and encouragement this year! I have begun blogging again and am enjoying sharing my artistic progress with you. Thank you for coming here and checking in. I am thankful to be able to teach at Craft NAPA, and I plan to blog about my adventures. I hope you will stick with me and enjoy it with me. If you want specific pictures or info, comment please!

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This week, I walked to Public House 61 and had coffee while stitching. I spent a couple hours enjoying myself, one stitch at a time. These last few weeks have been oddly stressful. After pulling a muscle in my back, I had an oncology appointment and, of course, my Dr. ordered scans, the first in the last 5 years. I knew it was nothing to worry about, but it did also worry me, to think this might well be cancer related. I was diagnosed 5 years ago, January 11. I do have fear of recurrence, so stitch, which slows time down to a single movement, a small action, that piles up and reveals itself over time, is meditation. It is the perfect antidote to stress.

And! No evidence of Disease at this time. I have a herniated disk, which requires much walking. Deal!! I will take it. 

The coffee shop is one mile away, they open at 7:30 A.M. So, I Gather my Sew-plies!! purses and a project, and go sew for a cuppa. And then walk home again. Win! In the photo just above this video, you can see my project bag and preferred stitching notions, wax and needles. 

I am working my newest Gather your Sew-plies!! purse. It is a class sample. I look forward to seeing where it goes.

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Peacock Quilt, front and back.

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I know, the photographic color is off, the tops are piled up and are not shown to the best advantage, but I don’t mind. I am just having fun over here and this is the evidence! 

I started the weekend off by focusing on making a back for the Peacock Quilt. At first I thought this would be a using all my favorite Heather Ross fabrics, from my stash. But I have so many great Heather Ross fabrics, that it seemed to me, like it might be a distraction from the front. I spent most of Saturday sewing and admittedly enjoyed doing so, before deciding the back needed something else, something less, something simple. 

Sunday, I woke with vigor for the task and decided to use Meadowlark fabrics as a base for making a back. At first, it was going to be a 62″ square of the blue, with 12″ of the tile fabric on all four sides. But… I still had some left over blocks from the peacock quilt top and the woodblock ditty went to well with the Heather Ross strawberries… That, well.

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I love backs that have an element of love and satisfaction. Back’s need to play nicely with the front but also need to be fun, and pleasing. Heather Ross’s work does that for me. There is something sweet and fanciful in her illustrations and being able to see them along side my own handprinted cloth is a treat.

Soy Wax, Paint and Teaching: Craft Napa

I will be teaching, You Can’t Resist This, a soy wax resist and paint class at Craft Napa in coming January 7-9, and I would love for you to join me. In this class we will explore what resists mean, how to layer and build color stories that work with your chosen motifs, and we will explore differing methods of working with paint to achieve pretty, layered, vibrant, unique and textural results. 

You Cant Resist This!

You may wonder what the differences are between paint and dye. A basic definition is that dyes bond with the very fibers of the cloth, while paint sits atop those fibers. Both are a good way to apply color to cloth, the biggest difference between the two being that with dye, the original feel or ‘hand’ of the cloth is retained because the dye binds with the fiber of the cloth at a molecular level. Paint, on the other hand, needs binders to adhere to the cloth, these binders can lend a stiff or heavy ‘hand’.

Oh, that green!

Paint binders have improved tremendously over the years and there are some paints out there that are really quite good. Paint also allows for easier access to workable, beautiful cloth without the learning curve associate with the use of dye. Don’t get me wrong, I love dye, it is my medium of choice, but as a teacher I understand that paint is a great entry into making original surface designed cloth, and that students have great success in using it.

Reminds me of eggs.

 

A video posted by Melanie Testa (@mellytesta) on


 

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I will be teaching:

You Can’t Resist This, where we will use soy wax as a resist along with paint on cotton fabric.

Small Works, Big Impact, where we will make small works while exploring the use of the sewing machine and some pretty nifty techniques.

Journaling with Embroidery, where we will make a Gather your Sew-plies!! purse, so you can sew, wherever you go!

 

 

allow, welcome, be present

   

I have been sewing on the subway and beyond. It is interesting to sew in public, it is not done very often, I regularly see knitters, I know I have seen crocheters, I have seen people drawing. Of all of these activities, knitting happens most often. But even still, not as often as you might think. I feel tentative about sewing in public.  I started using my Gather your Sew-plies purses to sew on the go a few years back. I remember feeling much more open and present to sewing in public at that time. I look forward to feeling more ease while whipping out a needle, cutting a length of thread and putting needle to cloth.

The Gather your Sew-plies purses are pretty secure and hold all of the essentials, thimble, a spool of thread or two, scissors, wax, all attached to my person due to its backpack styling. I carry my projects, along with the Gather your Sew-plies purse in in my everyday backpack. All of it is really easy to gather up and put away, if I loose myself, and forget to listen to the subway announcements. It is a tidy package. 

The Quilting Arts Holiday issue that contains this latest pattern for the Gather your Sew-plies purse is on sale half off, click here)

 

I look forward to beginning to stitch this piece. I printed the left most portion this last weekend and sewed it to the right portion yesterday. One of my overarching goals in working with cloth is to make my fiber art more akin to my painted work. So, I plan to invest in intuitively placing new motifs, lines and secondary patterns by way of embroidery and stitch. This will be fun to watch unfold.

I have been loving Instagram (click and follow me!) and the ability to search hashtags! My latest fun find is #subwaytalents. There are many musicians who play in the subway, and I think it would be great to add stitching to all the underground talent. I think the person who owns the subwaytalents page found me through my use of the hashtag #NYC, or probably more accurately, #nycsubway. I daydream that perhaps I will start a public stitching trend, silly, perhaps. But who knows? Anyway, I am posting videos and photos to Instagram, I often cross post to facebook, but I also post images solely to Instagram. I hope to see you there as well.

Bandanas for purchase

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This week I have been printing up a storm (this helps me keep warm and focused while the weather does its thing). I have been printing bandanas, vintage hankies and hemmed squares and blanks as well as yardage of cloth.

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 Then I got it in my mind that it would be a good idea to sell the bandanas and printed squares. I floated the idea on Facebook and instagram and it seems, folks would like to have some Melly Printed Bandanas. Woot!!

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I have gone ahead and purchased the blanks I need to do this and I will begin printing as soon as they arrive. Fun, right? Perhaps you might want one too! I hope to sell them for $25 or less, including shipping within the continental U.S. I will work as fast as I am able in order to keep costs to a minimum. And I will try to work with color requests. 

I am considering weather I could sell Melly printed cloth and this will be a trial run to see if it is viable and to explore weather there is interest. If you are interested, please leave a comment.

 

Magical Peach +

 

magical Peach

This is a reminder to all: There is much magic in the world and you never know where, how, or in what shape/form it might reveal itself.

The above is a typing that occurred when Peach, our cat, walked over my keyboard. I don’t think this was a mistake.

Just a moment prior to this configuration of syllables, I saw the correct spelling of the word,

“magical”.

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 And Peach, is, most certainly magical.

This month, we have had her for two years, she was a rescue, a city cat, she had kittens, she got caught with her babies. Her babies were placed in homes. Peach caught ring worm at the veterinary office, which placed her in solitary confinement for two-months-straight, this caused her to modify or shorten, her tail. She had plastic surgery (her tail is very cute!), she healed.

Then.

We found one another. We all fell for one another immediately.

When we met Peach, she was a charmer, whenever someone, a new person, came into her presence, she would charm them. It makes sense that if she were in ‘solitary’, that charming people would become necessary. She must have been lonely.

Everyone needs love and care.

In the last two years I have worked with her to lessen her fear of loud noises. Peach is becoming interested in sitting in our laps. She shows trust and love. She is much less a charmer. I appreciate this, as I prefer her needs are met and that she knows it, without feeling as if she needs to charm anyone.

GenQ

Now, I will change subjects.

Over the last year, I have been working to write a book with a good friend. It has been a lot of fun, I am learning new things. Making great art. Learning to collaborate. Unfortunately, the book was cancelled a few weeks ago. We retain full rights to our materials (no worries there). I will not go into details as to why this occurred, let me just say, the publishing industry is changing quickly. I have mentioned the book a couple of times here on my blog and I reference ‘the book’ in the article about me and my studio in Generation Q (Issue 14). The book will be published, in some form. I/we will not stop working to promote it. But as Forrest Gump says, “That’s all I am going to say about that.”

Life happens. 

Even still! This interview about me, my studio and use of space, is quite interesting. I do hope you will purchase a copy and share your thoughts with me. I have been putting a lot of thought into what a home printing studio ‘needs’ in order to function well. 

StashBuster

Pardon me for the less that awesome photograph. This quilt top is a few months old. I have been sitting on it and waiting for quilt #2. (I am making two sided quilts.) The quilt I was working on over Holiday Break is the mate to what you see here. I am not ready to talk about that one yet. I will clue you in soon.

But this, one.

This is fun right? This is a total stash buster. I cut swaths of squares at 4″. Commercial fabrics, hand printed, I chose fabrics from my entire stash. I grouped these together and randomly sewed. Playing with light and dark was a bunch of fun, I wanted it to sparkle and think it does. I love loosing myself in mindless, though highly rewarding, tasks like this.  This quilt is about 7o” square, I did not make it as a bed quilt, not for my bed, which is a king. It is just that my bed is the largest flat place in the apartment. 

A four inch square stack of cut cloth is so rewarding. I want to use my stash up completely and start acquiring when needed rather than stashing and storing. I think this part is great. (Use The Stash–). I have been printing cloth for quite a few years, but I have not been using it. Using the things you have and make causes you to make more, doesn’t it? It is a complete circle.

I like circles.

And dots.


 (Hey! I have begun using Instagram!! Friend Me, please. This year, I will communicate more through photograph, than words, I am going to start using Instagram a lot this year. Let’s have fun together and hook up over there. Shall we?

Oh, and Quiltography for iPad? Best 15$ I have spent in a very long time. Christopher Oxley? Brilliant!!! And again, that is all I am going to say about that. Buy it. I am not making money for saying so. But, I am sold; hook line and sinker.

Oh, AND!!! I have mentally bought Jen Sinkler’s Lift Weights Faster 2 already. I anxiously await it. March 10.

Winner Announcement? Sonja Mclane

That is all the news that is fit to print.

 

 

 

Toot, toot, toot!!!

Updates from the Meadowlark front:

Craft Garden Mom includes an interview of Nell Timmer, who works at Windham Fabrics. Nell talks about the history of Windham, the designers launching fabrics this week and of course, she talks about my fabric line, Meadowlark, and coming to my apartment to see where I work. She then goes on to drop knowledge bombs about how you might work with Windham utilizing your specia skillz…

It’s a lot of fun. Please check it out.

Modern Sewciety will be uploading their 25th episode on Friday May 16, which will feature interviews of each of the four Windham Fabric designers that are launching lines at Market this week-which includes me (bet you hadn’t caught that). This being a milestone episode for Stephanie, there will be give-away’s galore! I am told that a bundle of Meadowlark will be up for grabs. 🙂  I will do my best to post and toot, toot, toot my horn while I am at Market, but I thought I would catch you up on some fun stuff.

Oh! I have decided to use Instagram. Most of the posts are pushed to Facebook, but you might like to friend me over there too.