Friday, October 1, 2010


When we were given the word, I thought...what the heck? That is one word I never hear...or use... but amazingly I have heard people use it at least 4 different times in conversation since I read the definition. Synchronicity??? I pondered for a long time and the idea of water squirting from a fountain kept going through my mind. I used fabric paper again because I loved the deep colors and I wanted a cheery background hence the bright yellow dyed fabric. After a crazy summer I just needed to keep it simple.

And the word is...ICON

Icon , noun

1: a usually pictorial representation : image

2: [Late Greek eik┼Źn, from Greek] : a conventional religious image typically painted on a small wooden panel and used in the devotions of Eastern Christians

3: an object of uncritical devotion : idol

4: emblem, symbol icon of 1960's residential architecture — Paul Goldberger>

5 a : a sign (as a word or graphic symbol) whose form suggests its meaning b : a graphic symbol on a computer display screen that usually suggests the type of object represented or the purpose of an available function

Have fun and I will see you all back here December 1st - enjoy!

An Experiment

I thought long and hard about the Ebullient challenge. A few ideas started to form, but nothing really gelled. And then I received the November issue of Threads magazine with an article about smocking. The effect was wonderful - it looked like woven fabric tubes. I had some sequined
organza and set about smocking it. That particular fabric was something of a nightmare to use, but I pushed on. The design complete, I finished the smocking and promptly changed my mind about the border fabric, opting instead to use a shiny, navy vinyl with a peek-a-boo opening framed with beads. Working with the vinyl made the organza seem easy in comparison. And a word of advice here...shiny vinyl is hard to photograph.

You know how it feels to pass the point of no return with a project? When you have used up your little bag of tricks and hear Tim Gunn's voice in your ear "make it work!" But the more I worked the more I heard Heidi Klum say "it looks home sewn'" and then "I'm sorry, Susan, You're out."

And so, what I have is a door. A Star's Dressing Room Door. The lesson here? It's all well and good to try new materials in a challenge - that is the point! To try new things, stretch, grow as an artist. Some experiments work out well. Some not so much. Hence the title. An Experiment. And it was. And the best part was the smocking. I will use that again, but with a lovely light-weight wool or silk. Maybe this weekend...

Susan H. in summer-what-summer-I-don't-remember-summer San Francisco


In earlier decades of my life, some of my most ebullient memories were made in DANCING. I lo-o-o-oved to dance. I did American country dancing, English country dancing, international folk dancing, ballroom dancing, clogging, and swing....anything with a partner. I'd get so "high" on ebullience, that I'd never know my feet hurt, my stockings were torn, even that there was blood in my shoe! I'd be swept away on the music and would go till the musicians pooped out! So dancing was the inspiration for this little quilt. As luck would have it, I came upon an old photo of a couple of swing-dancers, which helped me figure out where to put the arms and legs.

I made each of the dancers as a separate "doll" and had such fun dressing them as urban swingers of my generation. Of course they had to have mismatched patterns, cool sox, and leather-soled black dancing shoes. I had just a small piece of white music fabric for their background, and then found some black "music" fabric for a border.

The biggest problem I've been having in these challenges is staying within the 11 x 17 dimensions. My ebullient dancers were really struggling to burst out!

I've had such fun with this challenge, remembering the JOY that came with DANCIN'.


Ebulient was not a word easy to understand for me in English. I would have prefered to hear examples in German.

We life now more then 7 years in our flat, but we still enjoy the sunsets anew.

So, suddenly during these beautiful September evenings, my mind and eyes were opened and I knew what I had to do!

In September 2008, I was lucky to attend a class with Dijanne Cevaal where we did transfer printing on Lutradur. Back home, I worked with one piece and put it on a handdyed yellow background. Then I highlighted some areas with blue and red wool and did machine quilt it.

This piece was hanging in my studio and waited and waited ...
I now know, why it had to wait so long!

It was perfect for this challenge theme, because it shows the feeling, I have, when I watch the sun becoming red and the sky turning from blue to dark.
To finish my quilt, I found a perfect background in my stash, which adds dramatic to the picture and I did more machine quilting.

If I see the picture on the screen, I think that I might add some beading to show the glittering light of the sun, shining in our rooms.


Aw.... Shucks...Ebullient

Ebullient.. a word we 12 have come to know well!
But, whatever does it mean and how can I ever put it into a work of art?
After lots of cogitating, researching and playing... I knew I wanted something happy,
lively and..well... ebullient.
Color was the first on my list, as color evokes all sorts of feelings and emotions. I
wanted contrast so the 'feeling' would come to life.

This was the sneak-peek.... now what?
 In my search for the right
additional 'element', I came accross a partial flower I had made some time ago. I painted over it
to get it to 'live'..anyway the process was so much fun.. I almost didn't know when to stop!

I used Shiva Paintsticks on some less than lovely blue hand-painted fabric I had done , then
commercial cottons... one thing led to another... who would have thought I started out with a water/beach scene in mind?

I really liked what I had.. but how do you give 'emotion' to a flower?? I gave 'her'... [now in the feminine
tense] a blush..... and note the word 'yes'.....and a girl's dream comes true....

Here is the close-up of the emotion...
Free motion quilting, some trapunto, lots of thread, french knots and embroidery complete the
piece. It is faced... and the shape is unusual for me.

Aw... Shucks!

What a great time we had doing this... sneak-peeks added to the suspense... lots of chatter .... thank you so much for a great time doing this challenge!

and we always appreciate comments...

"Sheer Delight or Hubba Bubba"-Jan Girod-Ebullient

This piece has been a struggle from beginning to end. The word itself was a challenge all on its own, I searched through multiple definitions, I tried multiple color combinations and as you can see by the title I could not even choose a name for it.

When I saw phrases like "full of joy, unrestrained high spirits, effervescent bubbles" as well as a definition of "boiling", I latched on to those and began my creative meditation....this is not the same as procrastination. Mainly my work is realistic, however "ebullient" is an emotion and I could only see it as abstract, not my strong suit.

Over the last several years I have been experimenting/playing with techniques where synthetic fabrics are distorted using heat. I knew that nylon organza would give me the look I was envisioning, however I tried three different colorways before making my final decision. My dog was not thrilled, as he followed me up and down the stairs to go outside to do this technique (safety first...proper ventilation for me and the dog), he really just wanted to lay in the sunshine but you know that phrase "curiosity killed the cat", well that applies to him.

First I ripped the organza in strips of varying widths, took them outdoors and used my heat gun on them, which caused them to bubble and shrink lengthwise and a bit widthwise. After trying to weave them I realized I would need to seal the edges or all those stray threads were going to drive me crazy, so I took out the soldering iron and sealed all the edges of my strips. I choose to use the "ombre" organza because once woven I could adjust the colors back and forth, up and down to get various color combinations.
To accentuate the bubbles, a simple running stitch with metallic thread around the perimeter definitely gave me the look I was striving to achieve. Then in the "concave" bubbles I beaded circles. Try as I might I could not trim the edges straight and even, they needed to be irregular. This decision was certainly one of those times when I waited for the piece to tell me what it wanted. I think this piece represents my "ebullient" personality.

Moving Forward

 Here you see my close up. I am calling this blog entry moving forward because my goal has been to arrive, some day, at mixed media.  But I love my painting. So I took some fabric that I had previously dyed myself, taped it to an artist's canvas and picked up my brush. As you know, I do leaves, lots of leaves. So I used a reference photo and painted away. Then the layering and quilting, watching for my notan.......areas of light and dark.
 This was my sneak peek.........on the easel at stage one.

And here it is finished. As you see it, it is reading with too much white. I went in once and toned the whiter areas down with green but I am thinking they should still be toned down more. Just a lilttle more green. Or lilac might read well also. Even though it is quilted, I can still touch up highlights. The majority of the painting was done before layering.
Looking back at my close up, that is a pretty good composition also!

Don't know the next challenge, but I do know how I will approach it.
It always makes one feel great to take another step. Shakey and unsure but forward. Thank you all for my journey and loving watching yours.
Helen Moreda


I immediately thought of bubbles for the word ebullient. I know people with ebullient personalities and they act " bubbly" to me. So when I thought of bubbles, I thought of scuba diving and the bubbles that rise to the surface as divers dive.

It just happens that my boyfriend is a world-traveling scuba diver and he and his dive mates take wonderful underwater pictures, so I wanted to incorporate some of these pictures in my work. But I also wanted to challenge myself, and I didn't want to print them on fabric.

I investigated several different techniques and decided to try printing on metal. I ordered the metal material from "Dick Blick". I had seen several demonstrations of Golden's Digital Grounds and decided to try that. I primed the metal with the digital ground, putting on two separate coats and allowing drying time between. I taped the prepared metal to carrier sheets and printed the pictures onto the metal. I loved that they exceeded my expectations and came out sharp and clear on the metal.

I had prepared the background with an underwater batik scene I fused to Timtex. I cut the metal photos into circular shapes to represent bubbles. I then free-motion machine stitched the metal to the background and quilted some wavy lines around the background. The edges are satin stitched. I attahed grommets to match on the upper edges as a hanging device. I used left-over printed metal cut into bubble shapes for the back and label and glued those on the back.

As a bonus, I presented the piece to my boyfriend for his birthday and he loves it, And I loved this challenge and am trying to use printed metal in other ways.
Cathy Ortelle

Ebullient: Last Day of Summer for the Barnes Boys

This piece is taken from a photograph that my friend, Lisa Barnes, took of her her three boys jumping in the lake at her parent's home in Northern Minnesota in 2005 (see Photo below). She showed me the picture that Christmas and I told her that I was going to make it into a quilt one day. Seeing as I had only been quilting for about 18 months at that point, it was rather ambitious, but I knew I would figure out a way to make that quilt eventually.

After thinking about the word "ebullient" and not knowing what to do, I was looking through my digital pictures and came across this one again and knew it was the right picture at the right time. Again, like Isabella's Sanctuary, I hope to make this a large scale quilt one day.

Materials include: commercial and hand dyed cotton fabrics, cotton and polyester threads, glue, fusible webbing, heavy weight stabilizer, 80 cotton/20 polyester batting, acrylic paint, swarovski crystals.

Techniques include: fusible applique, glue applique, thread sketching, fabric painting, machine quilting, and embellishing with crystals. Finished with a whole cloth facing.

The first thing that I did was enlarge the picture to the required size and make it black and white. I layed it out on the table and pulled out appropriate fabrics. I was lucky to have a commercial sunset gradient from an old McKenna Ryan fabric collection which worked perfectly for the piecing required! Most of the water was put together with glue and some fusible. The boys were fused on after the background was done. I painted the sun rays and used a syringe to put a thin line of white for the light on the edge of the boys. Then I put a non fusible stabilizer on the back for the thread painting in the water and on the rays. After that it was sandwiched, quilted, faced and then embellished. After I found the picture and got going on it (I must admit it, I was afraid to start and have it not work out) it was one of the faster quilts to get done. It just flowed together. I thought about putting beads on it as well, but after letting it sit for a couple of days, the simplicity of the quilt really drew me in and I knew that my beloved beads would be overkill.

I have to admit that I loved doing the free motion quilting for this piece. I recently splurged and purchased a sit down HQ Sweet 16 machine and I can't believe how much better it is for quilting! There is so much more room. I really felt "free" in my free motion quilting. I don't think that I would have been brave enough to try all those swirls on my domestic machine.

I can't wait to get the next word and see everyone's quilts. I have to admit, this has been one of the best projects in which I have been involved. It has made me stretch my creativity time and time again. Thank you all!

Lisa L. Kay