It was a kind of spur of the moment kind of decision. I read something somewhere about going on a retreat, and that made me look up Art Quilt Tahoe, and I saw a teacher I had never heard of, and I loved her work. She was working with silk gauze, and I have been thinking about working with silk organza for quiet a while, so… I signed up!
First, let me just sing the praises of the teacher, Michelle Mischkulnig. She was a lovely person, with a great sense of humor, and gave individual attention to every person in class. I think this made for a great class atmosphere, and I have never been in a class so full of nice people!
Michelle had a definitive project for us to work on, and provided a kit with most of the materials needed. Well before the retreat started, she sent us an email so that we could choose the colors of silk gauze that we wanted to work with. Here’s the colors that I chose.
Michelle had us lay out our gauze on a base of muslin, with a layer of batting below that. And then we added accents of silk top (unspun silk.)
Then we covered the whole thing with a piece of water soluble something or other, and machine quilted the heck out of it. I think we drew our design on there first. The dark brown spots on there is some wool felt that I added to define the branch. The quilting took all of the first day, and much of the second day. She had us mark an X through the leaves that we would remove. (Oh, and I added a bird to mine)
Then we cut out the leaves.
And somehow, by magic, we used water soluble fusible and we stitched madly and created see-through leaves.
And then we took it outside and squished it around in soapy water, and ta da! All the fusible melted away, and there was our composition!
THEN, we used another piece of silk, and more fusible stuff, and we painted leaves.
And then we embellished them with yarn and velvet and felt, and then carefully cut them out and sewed them on to our piece.
And here is what my piece looked like at the end of day four. (We also made those “3D” leaves out of more felt and sewed them onto the main piece.) I made my bird out of silk and velvet and some silk gauze.
I tend to get tired and then negative at quilting retreats. So I was very happy to see that when I got home and put this piece on my design wall, I actually like it. There is a lot more I want to add to it, including adding more details to the bird.
I think you can see that there were a lot of techniques taught in this class, many of which I had never done before. I would thoroughly recommend taking a class from Michelle if the opportunity ever presented itself. She is from Australia, and she said she does not have plans to come back to the states next year. So just keep her in mind, in case her name pops up, and sign up for her class!