Meet Our Latest Cover Artist, Ana Buzzalino

2 Aug 2010

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It’s hard to believe that August is already here, and this new month brings a new issue of Quilting Arts. Those of you who have already picked up or received your copy of our August/September issue were most likely struck by the minty blue hue of the lovely pear quilt that graces its cover. This piece is the work of Ana Buzzalino who shares her technique for combining discharge paste and paint in her article on page 20, “Creative Play with Discharge Paste: Adding and removing color.” Read on to learn more about Ana’s creative process.


Your article is about combining discharge paste and paint in surface design. What has this technique enabled you to accomplish in your art?


Using discharge paste the way it is explained in the article adds a measure of unpredictability, as the results can’t quite be controlled. The look of the piece will depend on how much paint you add to the paste, and on how thickly the paste is applied. I like the whimsical aspect of it. Adding paint and coloring pencils to the piece allows me to get some of that control back. This technique has allowed me to work on whole cloth, although it might not be apparent at first. I’ve been asked how I’ve achieved those effects, and people cannot believe that the fabric has not been painted that way to start with. That is the beauty of it.


The quilts featured in the article are all still lifes (pears, a pumpkin). What attracts you to this subject matter?


I love still lifes.  Because of my background as a decorative painter, I’ve always used still lifes, so it was natural for me to fall back on them when painting on fabric. They allow me to use commonplace and everyday objects in different settings. The shapes are simple and easily recognizable, but brought to life by the use of different surface design techniques such as paint and thread. What’s interesting to me is to see all the different techniques you can use to make them unique.


The imagery used in your work is simple, but so striking. How do you usually design your quilts? How do you select color, composition, etc.?


When I’m using this discharge technique, the piece of fabric pretty much decides what goes on.  I start with a fabric dyed with Procion MX dye, where the colors have been applied randomly, so it’s not as if I am actuallypainting the fabric to match what I have in mind.  I work the other way around.  I pick a piece of fabric that I like, and then think about what I can design with it. 


In the case of “The Blue Door” [shown on page 22 of the August/September issue of Quilting Arts], the dyed fabric ended up with a large orange area so that dictated the placement of the pumpkin. Once I masked it and applied the discharge paste with blue paint, I had to wait for it to dry.  The effect was not as striking as I was hoping for, so I applied the discharge paste again, before washing, and this time, the paint came out in clumps!  I stood by the sink looking at this and wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.  This was not what I was expecting at all. Once I ironed it dry, I thought the piece was ruined, and I would discard it. It was hanging on my ironing table. When I looked at it again, I realized that it looked just like the peeling paint on a blue door on a photo I had been admiring a few days before. So I found the photo and designed the door behind the pumpkin to resemble it. That was a good example of the unpredictability of the technique.


What are you working on now? Any particular projects or techniques?


Right now I am working on a new piece combining painting and piecing.  I have been thinking about it for a while, and finally found a moment to start working on it.  The idea is to paint part of the quilt and piece the rest.


I have also been trying to use more surface design in my work, so I have been screen printing and stenciling backgrounds, trying to achieve the layered look I like.  I am also introducing lettering in my work.  Screen printing has allowed me to do some of that.





Images (from left to right)

·         “The Shell Seekers”

·         “Tulips”




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