Fabric Art Swap a Success

5 Jul 2011

fabric swap fabric art
A sampling of fabric art from the swap.
pokey boltonWhat do you get when you challenge a bunch of mixed-media and fiber artists to create their own 9" x 9" fabric swatches to be swapped?

You get nearly 200 pieces of amazingly creative fabric and a whole lot of very happy artists.

That's just what happened when Quilting Arts' sister publication, Cloth Paper Scissors, held a fabric swap challenge earlier this year. The results are in the July/August issue, and I was so blown away by the textile artistry, I asked Editor Jenn Mason to share the details.

P: What made you think of doing a fabric swatch exchange?

J: Well, you know we're always looking for a great swap idea, right? We knew we wanted our Reader Challenge to be a swap and to somehow relate to fabricit was for our Fabulous Fabric Issue! With a little team brainstorming we came up with way too many ideas, all relating to fabric art. And then the idea hit us. Let's ask everyone to send in their own fabric swatch and swap it out with other readers. Then everyone would actually get a set of real samples. Thankfully we had the entrants send two extra pieces so that we can keep one set on file in our office and we split the rest into two sets to send to two randomly picked participants.

P: What kinds of results were you expecting, and did the actual swatches surprise you?

fabric swap fabric art
More fabric art swap samples.
J: We thought we'd get a decent number of hand stamped and printed pieces, maybe some tie-dye entries. But we got a lot more than that. A lot of sophisticated techniques, multi-layers, free-motion stitching, and other fantastic fiber art processes. It was so hard to narrow down the selection to something that would fit in the issue!

P: It looks like you received quite a variety of fabrics. What were some of your most unusual?

J: We got everything from burlap to cotton, silk to a crazy quilt made from ties.

P: What are some fabric design methods that came in that you would like to try yourself?

J: Easy, I really want to try "tie" dyeing, or printing with ties. I inherited a bunch of ties from my father-in-law who worked in business attire every day. I would love to make some dyed fabric and then make it into something special for his four granddaughters.

P: What are some other fabric-related techniques, articles or challenges you have coming up in the next few issues?

J: That's the nice thing about our magazine, so many of our techniques are transferrable to fabric from paper or from paper to fabric. We loved this fabric swap so much that we asked five of the artists to "decorate" a blank camera bag for our Gifts issue. We also have some fabric books in our first Pages special issuebut rest assured, we will always have new articles, techniques, and processes that can be applied to fabric in each and every issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. It is our first name, you know.

Yes, I know!

I hope you were aware of this fabric swap. If not, don't forget that if you
subscribe to Cloth Paper Scissors, you won't miss out on the next fabric- or stitch-related reader challenge, or any other mixed-media goodness.


P.S. Have you ever participated in a fabric swap? What were the details and how did it go? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Fabric swatches, top (left to right) by: Joan Wynn, Jennifer Crotty, Darcy Lanz-Sage, Lori Christensen, Michelle Johnson, Karen Cross, Jennifer Cooper, and Darcy Lanz-Sage.

Fabric swatches, right (top to bottom) by: Joan Heinrich, Arlee Barr, and Michelle M. McLean.


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