Tag Archives: tissue paper fabric


A pentimento (plural pentimenti) is an alteration in a painting, evidenced by traces of previous work, showing that the artist has changed his or her mind as to the composition during the process of painting. The word is Italian for repentance, from the verb pentirsi, meaning to repent. (Wikipedia)

I have no idea how common it is for quilters to rework their quilts, but I decided to redo one abstract landscape mixed media piece I made in 2016. It’s made partly with fabric and partly with painted tissue paper coated with gel medium. There’s no batting; it’s quilted onto rayon/wool felt.

“Golden” was the last piece I made as part of my master class with Elizabeth Barton. Her comments were:  “Love the sense of light in this one too…but be careful dividing the picture plane in two….perhaps consider adding another section on the left?  it feels like it “drops off” a bit there.  I usually suggest cropping but this time I think a little more would be a better solution – and we’d have more!  the colors of the abstracted landscape are really beautiful…and  the textures..
actually when you get a little added on the left, you might consider cropping the top v.v. slightly….just so you get as much depth in the middle as possible.”

I began by attempting to create a new section for the left side, but found nothing that worked after about a week of frustration. Then, I thought I’d make the left side smaller by cutting off a chunk and adding it to the right side. I also added a strip of tissue paper fabric to give a crisp vertical line, and cut off about 3 inches from the top.

To finish it off I created a binding on three sides using Sue Bleiweiss’ almost no sew technique.

The results? I like it better than the original, but I wish I hadn’t cut off so much from the top. Oh well, too late now. That piece has become part of what I created from my unsuccessful attempts to make a new left side. It’s not quite done, but close I think.



Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects

I Lied…

about my work in 2016 as I’d forgotten about two more pieces. I completed “Golden” as a December what-the-heck piece for my master class. I also finished a color wash bed throw I started a year ago. I put it in my working quilt oeuvre (that’s a pretentious word for stuff.)

“Golden” is made with painted tissue paper and fabric. I tried to work on one of my self-identified weaknesses, proportion. It still didn’t pass the Elizabeth test. While she liked the colors and textures, she felt another section on the left side would help the balance. Well, yes, but I have no more compatible fabrics, so I’ll just live with it. It’s quilted onto a piece of wool/rayon felt, so it’s two, not three, layers. No quilt shows for this one.

Golden 2016 27 x 32"

The bed throw I made last December was finally completed by a long arm quilter. The delay was totally my doing. At 72 inches square it wouldn’t have gotten done in my studio. It used up a lot of strips from my scrap bins and I had fun sorting them by value and color.


It’s cheerful and very textured, since I washed it before I bound it. I was surprised it got so crinkly as all the fabrics were pre-washed and the batting is polyester Quilters Dream.


Filed under Completed Projects

My Community Quilt

Challenges seem to be the life blood of art quilt groups and the latest one I participated in had a community theme. I began one piece that I thought showed a community of women, but that veered off in another direction. It still features women but I think the viewer would see it more as a portrayal of friendship.

I decided to fill the gap with another piece I had set aside the parts for when I was playing with tissue paper fabric.  It shows wind tossed bare limbed trees set in a frame of greens with some purply browns and reds.

DoTreesHaveStandingFirst I free motion quilted the trees layer (a stencil spray painted on interfacing) between dyed silk organza and batting. After I sewed the ombre red band on the tissue paper background, I put the trees piece on top of the paper fabric and quilted wavy lines through all layers, including the green felt.  I sewed on a strip of leftover tissue paper to give some punctuation to the bottom. Then, I stitched on the brown/red/yellow cording to frame it up. I still haven’t decided how much of the felt to leave showing.

It’s meant to be a community of trees, which I call Should Trees Have Standing? The title refers to an influential law review article by Christopher Stone, written in 1972, arguing in favor of legal rights for natural objects and areas. The reference harks back to one of my varied past careers.

To me a group of trees forms an interdependent system that suffers damage when even one part of it is taken away. I always said I wouldn’t make social commentary quilts, but I have shown myself to be a liar.


Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects

A Farewell To Autumn

After I made leaves out of organza I wanted to use them in the pieces I devised for my online Mixing Up Media course. This is how series come about.

Two pieces are done – the painted over tissue paper one I’ve shown before

MackJoannaAllFallDownFinaland Ruined Choir Lofts, my attempt to work with painted interfacing, tissue paper, organza, and mylar. The mylar wasn’t part of the course, but I had some and wanted to try distressing it with heat. I also used it to make more leaves.

MackJoannaChoirLofts2I found out that mylar doesn’t take paint well and, like carmelizing sugar, the line between satisfyingly browned and burned is very fine. I spent more time than I should have trying to tone down the shine.

The bottom layer is painted tissue fused to muslin and backing fabric. It’s coated with matte gel medium. The resulting “fabric” is actually fairly tough and sews fine. You just can’t rip out stitching without the needle holes showing.

The top layer is painted and stamped interfacing under silk organza colored with bleeding tissue paper. They’re free motion quilted to craft felt. I sewed that layer to the bottom and then added branches and leaves. The outer edges are colored with a brown marker and couched with a variegated thin yarn.

The instructor suggested I add more partial leaves coming in from the edges in different colors, like aqua; and a thicker yarn around the edges.  She said what I’ve done is a bit safe and encouraged me to get edgier. We’ll see how I feel after a few months have passed.

I know that two items do not make a series, so I have other nascent pieces based on stencils of bare trees. For now, I’ve tucked them away to make room for my winter landscape. More on that in the future, sometime after December 21.




Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects, Techniques

Paper Fabric

Thanks to a online course I’ve fallen in love with the colors I get from ink dye sprays, specifically Ranger Dyelusions and Adirondack Color Wash. Such sprays are used to create scrapbooks and art journals. No matter that those little bottles are expensive, the spray is messy to apply, the tissue I spray on is fragile, and heaven knows how durable the results will be.

MackJoannaPaintedTissueI also spray the ink on medium weight nonfusible interfacing, which is transformed. I’ve been playing with stencils and stamps on the interfacing.

Mack_Joanna_interfacing_sprayed_over_stencilMackJoannaDarkTreesInterfacingleaf stamped interfacing

To return to the tissue paper, once it’s dry I fuse it to Wonder Under and coat it with matte gel medium to seal the surface.  I keep the paper attached until I decide what to fuse the tissue to – interfacing or cloth.

MackJoannaDilutedGelThe general idea is to quilt the sprayed interfacing to painted silk organza as a base layer. The treated tissue is cut to whatever shape you want that’s smaller than the base, sewn to the base and decorated with accents.

Here’s the instructor’s (Deborah Babin) sample piece.

Deborah Babin current look

MackJoannaRuinedChoirloftsOrganzaI’ve gotten as far as quilting the interfacing and organza, but I think I want to use the tissue paper as the base layer. Stay tuned.


Filed under Art quilts, In Process, Techniques