I'll bet that if you've been a fiber or mixed-media artist for a while, then you've accumulated a rather large array of tools, gadgets, how-to books and the like. And I'm also willing to bet that, like me, you use only a handful of those items over and over again.
In fact, I'd have to admit (and again, I bet you would, too) that I have collected many items in my travels to quilt shows and craft stores that seemed like must-have products at the time, but now gather dust on a shelf most of the time.
Now that I'm a more (ahem) seasoned art quilter I'm better able to determine what tools and products are going to be a good value and/or something I'll treasure.
For example, I'd say that of all the tools in my studio, the one I think has given me the most value in recent months (besides my beloved Bernina) is the padded printing surface I made according to Melanie Testa's guidance in her book Inspired to Quilt. I use it whenever I stamp, stencil, screen, etc. The "give" of the padding gives me a cleaner print and makes it easy to pin the fabric to it.
Here's how I did it:
1. I went to the hardware store and bought a piece of plywood large enough for my worktable.
2. Next stop was a rug store where I begged them for free leftover carpet padding (that stuff you put under a carpet to make it cushy and protect the floor) and cut it to size of plywood.
3. Then I wrapped a smooth, neutral piece of fabric on top and over the sides of the padded plywood and staple-gunned it down.
This tool wasn't expensive, but it really improves the quality of my artwork immeasurably. Other tools, like the aforementioned Bernina, cost a lot, but to me are worth every penny.
As I've been perusing the new products we've been producing here at Interweave, I've given a lot of thought to which ones I would recommend as must-haves. Not in a trendy sense, but as tools you will treasure, value, and use again and again. In other words, they give you a lot of artistic bang for the buck.
|Adventures in Surface Design: Screen Printing & Beyond with Kerr Grabowsky, DVD & Download
Kerr Grabowski is a phenomenal surface design artist. Her artistic approach to mark-making, especially her techniques for making "fugitive" media permanent on fabric and other substrates, is a very worthwhile addition to your video library.
Fresh Quilting: Fearless Color, Design, and Inspiration, by Malka Dubrawsky
Malka is on the forefront of modern quilt design and this book describes step-by-step how to design, cut, and piece. From small home dec projects to full quilts, Malka's instructions will help you bring innovation to your own fiber art for years to come.
|International Quilt Festival Quilt Scene
Buy it first for the inspirational gallery of award-winning quilts. You will want to go back to them again and again to enjoy their beauty and appreciate the craftsmanship. Then create your own modern masterpieces (and mini-masterpieces) from the 25 projects included. And, if you've ever attended the International Quilt Festival/Houston, Quilt Scene will serve as a keepsake to remember all the quilty fun.
deColourant by Kandi Corp. and Crafter's Workshop Stencils
I, personally, am loving this new product that makes discharge dyeing easy and much safer than using bleach. Paint it on freehand or apply it over a stencil, heat set, and rinse with water.
I like to use deColourant with stencils from the Crafters workshop. They're made from a heavy-duty plastic that is washable, and they work beautifully with Shiva Paintstiks, too. I know both of these products will be staples in my studio for a long time to come.
Another reason why these products are a great value is that, for a limited time, they-and hundreds of other quilting and mixed-media supplies, are 15% off in our online store, plus we're offering free shipping on orders of $30 or more.
See details below, and to those celebrating Thanksgiving, enjoy your holiday!