Archive for the ‘Creative Process’Category

Canvas + Paint – Experiments in New Backings


I’m experimenting with two weights of canvas (#12 Natural Cotton Duck and 60 Single Fill 10 oz. Duck, both from Online Fabric Store) as backing on which to build art quilts.  In the past I have used wool/rayon felt.  The reason for trying something new is that layers of paint and fabric often become quite heavy.  Ergo the search for a lighter, but sturdy, backing.

Below was my first trial.  I finished the entire quilt and then decided to paint the back.  In order to avoid bleed-through, I screen printed with three colors of textile paint.  The canvas sucked up the paint and the art quilt is quite heavy.


The opening photo is the next experiment in progress,  I heavily diluted Setacolor and Dye-Na-Flow paints.  The fancy bamboo brush held too much paint, so I switched to a 2-inch house painting brush.  Eventually I moved all three backs to plastic on the floor to more easily work on all three at once and reach the centers.


Here are the other two backs (one with more yellow beneath the blue top one) ironed and ready to go.



02 2017

2×20 Exhibit Opening in California


Shagbark 3
Virginia A. Spiegel
24″h x 36.5″w
Acrylic textile paint, upholstery fabric samples, rayon thread.
Screen print with screens from artist’s photos, cut;
raw-edge collage created with machine stitching.

Two by Twenty, a Studio Art Quilt Associates’ juried exhibition will be shown at Road to California, Ontario, CA, January 19 – January 22. I saw this exhibit in The Netherlands and it is well worth a visit.  Each of the twenty juried artists has two artworks in the exhibit. My Shagbark 3 and Shagbark 4 are included.

In person is really the only way to see how the Shagbark series was created from hundreds of small pieces cut from individually screen printed upholstery fabric samples. Nothing was fused, so you can imagine the pins (and the time) involved.


There are seven Shagbarks – see them all here.

There is a beautiful catalog available for the exhibit from SAQA, now on sale for $10.


01 2017

Creating An Inspiration/Meditation Book Using Gelli® Prints


If you follow me on Facebook, you know I have been taking my new Gelli® Printing Plate out for a spin, including trying out different printing materials.  Above are rice paper, copy paper, non-woven fabric, and tissue paper. My first run of printing was exclusively on watercolor paper (below):


What to do with all these lovelies? I had a 5×8″ Moleskine journal from which I had ripped a page since I found I didn’t like the yellowish cast to the paper for drawing. Not a good idea on sewn signatures, so I decided to use the falling-apart journal to make an inspiration/meditation book using these new papers. My focus was on circles – always beautiful, always calming.


I started out (as a sort of warm-up) with some almost-squares cut from printed watercolor paper.  On each layout throughout the book, I added pen and ink which may or may not be the last drawing, sketching, writing I do on each layout.


Prints on copy paper.


Main prints on rice paper with additions of non-woven fabric and copy paper.


Rice paper prints with the blue edge carried over from the previous page (not shown) with one square in watercolor paper. Creating an abstract book is the same process as any other type of book – building rhythm and continuity through the book in order to draw you forward and into the book.


Contrast is always good.  Copy paper and non-woven fabric.


Both on tissue paper.  I love how the tissue paper wrinkled in printing and glueing.


The background is one sheet of rice paper with additions of non-woven fabric.

This is just the start of this book as the process is as important as the product and there are many pages yet to be filled.


09 2016

It’s #100!


Simple 78
#100 in the Java Series
Virginia A. Spiegel

Wow!  I never expected to see 100 of these 6″ square found-paper collages using a coffee cup motif.

I started creating these one-a-week collages as part of the Facebook group, Junk Mail Collective.  I share them weekly there, but the easiest way to see all 100 is to visit the three Java Series webpages starting here on my website.

My tagline for this series is Making a collage every week from found paper is a challenge; 
making a collage a week using the same motif is inspiration.  

Here is a little essay about things I’ve learned by doing this small artwork series.

This isn’t my first foray into a long-term collage series.  In 2004 and 2006 I completed a self-directed 365 Days of Art by making a collage a day.  You can read more about those fun projects and how it influenced my textile art here.

In 2013 I turned one of the 365 Days of Art books into the biggest collage I ever plan on creating.  See below and a blog post here about that fun project.



06 2016

5 Reasons to Work Small in a Series

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Collection of Marsha Moody

Did you know I am almost up to 100 of the Java Series collages? YES!  See them all starting here.

I’ve been asked if I’m that obsessed with coffee. I am :), but that’s not the reason this series just keeps keeping on:

1.  M technique has improved beyond belief. Someone wanted the very first collage in the series as part of my ACS fundraiser. After looking at it, I realized it was a hot mess with glue residue everywhere. The more you do something, the better your technique will be. It’s not rocket science.

2.  The collages are 6×6 inches. If one goes badly, I don’t waste time trying to fix it. I just move on.

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3.  I’ve come to think about the cup motif in a very different way than in the beginning. Now I think as much about the negative space as anything else. I was very lucky to choose the cup as it has straight lines, curved lines, and an enclosed space. Infinitely interesting to me.

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4,  I can indulge in my love of typography and the power of words at will. That’s satisfying.

5.  I am able to work on these collages in small increments of time.  Even when I’m a full-time landscaper in the summer, I can sit down and make a collage and feel I’ve made some art every week.


06 2016