July 31, 2009

laura.jpgArt quilter Laura Wasilowski of Elgin, Illinois, is a founding member of the Chicago School of Fusing. In fact, she’s the Dean of Corrections.

Kay: To me, the CSOF is more about a state of mind that an ivy-covered institution. It’s standing up tall and saying, “I fuse and I’m proud.”

Laura: The mission of the Chicago School of Fusing is to encourage the technique of fusing to create art work. We know that it is the quickest way to get from that idea in your head to the implementation of that idea in fabric. Fusing gives you endless possibilities for making art.

Kay: Were you always a confirmed fuser?

Laura: No, I started out as a piecer as a teenager but as an adult I wanted to make pictorial art. Fusing allowed me to make those organic shapes so important in picture making.

Kay: The readers are going to want to know what’s your favorite kind of fusible web.

Laura: I use paper-backed Wonder Under #805 (regular weight). The release paper that comes with it is so important in creating fused art quilts. You can use the paper for collage building, pattern transfer, protecting the quilt top, and storing fused elements or large fused shapes. It always releases a fused fabric.

Kay: You prefer to use hand-dyed fabric, yes? You dye your own and also offer it in your Artfabrik store. Tell us why these types of fabrics are better for the fused quilts.

Laura: A hand-dyed or batik fabric works best for these raw-edged fused applique quilts. First, there is no finish on these fabrics so they will adhere better (but wash out the starch in a batik fabric). Most importantly, the color penetrates all the way through hand-dyed and batik fabrics so the edges of fabric elements show the color. A printed fabric will have a white background and you will see that white edge around each cut element.

Kay: You also offer beautiful hand-dyed thread. How can it be used?

Laura: I love hand embroidery with my hand-dyed threads. It adds that extra hit of color, texture, detail, or pattern to the surface that cannot be done with fabric. It draws the viewer closer and brings the quilt to life. These threads can be used for any of the needle arts — crochet, knitting, weaving, needle punch, needle point, couching, machine quilting, and bobbin work.

Kay: How do you finish the edges of the motifs in your quilts?

Laura: They are not finished. Steam-setting the glue keeps the fabric permanently adhered to the other fabrics and batting.

Kay: How do you quilt them?

Laura: I first stitch by hand through just the batting and top layer. Then I free-motion machine quilt through all the layers. My Janome 6500 is a work horse and does beautiful free-motion work.

Kay: You’ve authored two books and a DVD. Tell us a little bit about each one.

fusing-fun.jpgLaura: My first book, Fusing Fun: Fast Fearless Art Quilts, is a great book for new fusing enthusiasts who want to learn as much as they can about the fine art of fusing. There are six projects with variations, basic fusing terms and instruction, a section of binding and display, and a gallery of fused art work by other artists.

fuse-and-tell.jpgFuse and Tell Journal Quilts shows readers how to translate their stories or ideas into fabric. From sketches, to photos, to design triggers, each of the six projects helps you make the quilt in the book and tells you how to make your art work using those techniques. The wrapped binding is introduced along with tips on bias fusing, working with cheesecloth, and improvisational design.

dvd.jpgThe DVD, Laura Wasilowski Teaches You to Create Fused Art Quilts, has a project from start to finish, a tour of my sewing and dye studios, and a gallery of quilts with commentary. And as the Dean of Corrections I go over the rules of fusing from the Chicago School of Fusing. I also sing the fight song sung by the Iron Maidens as they go into battle.

Kay: You’ve been on Simply Quilts and on The Quilt Show. Were those fun?

Laura: Yes, the hosts and crew made it really easy and inviting. As a ham, it was right up my alley! It was also an opportunity for me to hone my teaching skills and to be able to articulate what I do in a short amount of time.

Kay: I hear you’ve become a Serial Quilter. Tell us about this process.

Laura: I have a tendency to work in a series. I’ll take a theme and make quilt after quilt based upon that idea. For instance, in the blue chair series I have my blue chair reading a book, putting its feet up, down at the beach, and plugged in (the Blue Electric Chair). This way I only have to come up with one idea and can make many versions of it before moving on to the next idea.

bluebook-1.jpgbluebeachchair.JPGblueelectricchair.JPG

Kay: You travel a lot for workshops and lectures. How do you enjoy this lifestyle?

Laura: I enjoy meeting new people and seeing new parts of the world. The airports I could live without, but it’s part of my job.

Kay: What are you working on now?

bettysbloomers13.jpgLaura: Hand-stitched small quilts (see Betty’s Bloomers #13, above), new patterns, dyeing fabric and thread, preparing for workshops and vending, and keeping my head above water until December when my teaching season ends and I collapse into a puddle of colorful water on the floor.

Kay: You’re a bit of a songbird. Would you care to leave us with the lyrics of one of your compositions?

Laura: Sure, here are the lyrics to one of my favorites:

*A Sewer from North Illinois*
(sung to Sweet Betsy from Pike)

There once was a quilter from North Illinois,

She exercised often and ate lots of soy.

But a hot flash it killed her as she sewed her last seam,

They found her there clutching her sewing machine.

So take all her fabrics and pile them high,

Take all her quilt tops that reach to the sky,

Take all her needles and bright colored thread,

I hope that I get them,

Now that she’s dead.

Thank you, Laura, for that inspirational ditty, and for visiting All About Appliqué.

Until next time,
Kay
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Comments

4 Responses to “Spotlight on Laura Wasilowski”

  1. Mary on Lake Pulaski on August 1st, 2009 12:01 pm

    Great interview – thanks Kay!

  2. Aleta Pope Hudson on August 26th, 2009 4:31 am

    I love your style, Laura. You’re an inspiration.

  3. Laura Wasilowski at World Quilt Florida : All About Applique on December 8th, 2013 5:00 am

    […] interviewed Laura awhile back for the blog, If you haven’t seen it, be sure to check out the Spotlight on LW. Laura’s a proud fuser, in fact she’s Dean of Corrections of the famous Chicago School […]

  4. battle islands hack on December 29th, 2013 12:20 pm

    The history of the Hermit Crabs connects them to Camera Obscura in ways apart from the striking similarity in sound.
    Much as I enjoy the band and this first outing, that’s just far too hit-and-miss a record
    for something that’s supposed to be so representative of the band’s essence, and such
    a pinnacle of their legend. Bob Dylan: Easy; all you need is a crazy
    light brown-haired wig. Since 1887, many hotels, villas and palaces were built and around 1914
    the city was one of the most cosmopolite looking cities in the continent.
    Three years later, when California Snow story went on hiatus, Whittle was inspired to found
    The Hermit Crabs. Although their albums have only increased in commercial recognition, their critical acclaim has been erratic since their first two albums
    avoided any and all ire, 1996’s Tigermilk and 1998’s If You’re
    Feeling Sinister. “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” by Steely Dan: The collaboration of Donald Fagen and
    Walter Becker spawned many enduring songs, and this one is the
    most recognized track from the Pretzel Logic album.
    Listen to a handful of songs you remember fondly
    and let your senses guide you to the perfect collection when compiling your own mix.
    In fact, this tune is as pleasant as “I’m Into Something Good” and “There’s a Kind of Hush. The Fox In The Snow from If You’re Feeling Sinister Here, Belle and Sebastian leave behind some of their pop production flash and concentrate on bringing the emotion.

    Stop by my blog post :: battle islands hack

Leave a Reply