Month: November 2010


Technique: Thread-Painting | Elysian Studios

Technique: Thread-Painting

Categories: Art Quilts, construction, design, Elysian Studios, ETSY, fiber art, sewing, supplies, textiles, tutorial

threadpaintingcomposite3copy-5402739Thread painting is a technique I have recently discovered, and I am thrilled at the bridge it creates between traditional visual art and textiles, a genre known as “Art Quilts”.  With this technique, drawing and painting can be done with thread and fabric instead of pens, pastels and paints.  For the textile and multi-media artist, the technique will create a whole new world of possibilities for your work! Here’s some examples of what it looks like: 1.”City Chair” by Melanie Testa, 2. “Fancy Pear” by Terry White, 3.”Market Day, Sarlat” by Leni Levenson Wiener.  As an textural accent, background pattern, or to create an object (like the light), thread painting is extremely versatile! threadpaintingcomposite1copy-9700582What you will need:  A sewing machine, a “darning foot” (also called a “free motion foot”), lots of thread (2-3 spools of whatever color you are using).  I had to go to a specialty sewing machine store for this foot, but they had it readily available.  For this technique, you must drop the feed-dogs to allow the fabric to move freely, so read your manual to learn how!  There are techniques that implement tracing paper or  freezer paper and a hoop to stabilize the work (see resources below for more info).  Puckering will be an obstacle to overcome, but I found I had little problem if I used a thicker background material.  When I tried it on linen, I did have some puckering.  It will be a process you will gain control over with time and practice.  I promise…it’s lots of fun!   (1. “Darning Foot” by Janome,  2. Darning foot on the machine, 3. Close-up of darning foot, 4. Darning foot at work!) threadpaintingcomposite2copy-8872862I completed some Art Quilts from my new “little zen” series recently.  This series is simply about a cute little bird that stops among the leaves in different settings.  You’ll see him at the beach, in a rain shower, among autumn leaves and in the mountains.  I am using this series as a means to explore this new technique. I have drawn details of  the bird, created waves, puddles, branches and leaves with thread-painting.  I have my first two completed pieces in my Etsy shop, if you would like to see how an entire work looks.  For our purposes here, I want to give you a snapshot of an example of some of the techniques: 1. branches in two colors of thread,     2. leaves and grasses in multiple colors. Finally, I want to share a fun project I found on the web if you are interested in trying this technique!  This will link you to a full-color pdf file by that teaches you how to make this beautiful piece below!

Tree of Life project by

Additional resources:

Photo-Inspired Art Quilts, by Leni Levinson Weiner

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Setting Up Shop: Big Cartel- Is it for you? | Elysian Studios

Setting Up Shop: Big Cartel- Is it for you?

Categories: Art Collecting, blogging, business, ETSY, marketing, shopping

“Big Cartel Is Where Artists Set Up Shop”

Most artists strive to make a living from their craft, but it’s not realistic to think your work will immediately get featured in a retail store or displayed in a gallery.  We live in a remarkable age where there are so many alternative approaches to get your product out there, but what are the best venues?  I am going to explore methods of marketing and selling original work, and will feature them here on the blog.  I welcome feedback along the way! 

So what exactly is Big Cartel?

bigcartelhomecopy-3696631  homepage

“Finally, a shopping cart for the little guy. We provide clothing designers, bands, jewelry makers, crafters, and other artists with their own customizable store to sell their stuff online.” says Big Cartel, a project of IndieLabs. 


Take the tour, and you will find what Big Cartel has to offer.  It promises quick setup, easy use, complete customization, inventory tracking, and use of discount codes.  No listing fees or percentage of your sale is taken by Big Cartel, but PayPal fees still apply if you use that service.  There are multiple levels of service for your Big Cartel shop, starting with “Free” to list 5 products, “$9.99 Platinum” to list 25 products, “$19.99 Diamond” to list 100 products, and a new “$29.99 Titanium” level to list up to 300 products. As you increase your level, you increase the amount of photos you can have per item, your customizability, and better your “stats” (which look like analytics).
Big Cartel prides itself on not being a community, unlike Etsy, which can have pros and cons in my opinion.  You retain focus on your own brand and your shop can be customized with colors, logos, website and blog integration, and Facebook buttons.  You control your own traffic, but Big Cartel is not going to help you get discovered!  There’s no selling tips, seasonal marketing strategies or teams to partner your business with, like Etsy provides.  Big Cartel says your store will be SEO optimized, and you can even incorporate your own domain name into your shop (i.e.  That can be a very valuable asset in getting found by web search engines!

Who is using Big Cartel?

Go to this page, and start clicking the shops to get a feel for who is using Big Cartel. bigcarteluserscopy-6831857 If you click on their “Buzz” page, you can watch videos about some shops and their success with Big Cartel.  I enjoyed the one about “Seraph,” a typography company.  So what do you think?  I am intrigued, but honestly had a hard time finding great stores just by searching.  I only know one artisan who has a shop set up on this site, Lorelei Eurto, and it is a beautiful jewelry shop.  I would love to hear about other artists who have shops on Big Cartel, or any experiences you may have had as a customer!

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Elysian Studios: The Artful Life: Recipe-White Chocolate Party Mix

It’s Holiday Time!  Whether you’re celebrating with a crowd or just family, having snacks on hand adds to the fun!  Enjoy this mix while playing games or sipping hot cocoa- sweet and salty is always a hit!

Click here for printable recipe



3 cups Rice Chex cereal

3 cups Corn Chex cereal

3 cups Cheerios cereal

img_1969-66733852 cups pretzel sticks

2 cups dry roasted peanuts

1 (12 oz.) bag of M&M plain candies (holiday colors!)

1 pound white chocolate

img_1967-7107509 Combine all ingredients except the chocolate in a large bowl.  Slowly melt the white chocolate in the top of a double boiler (or carefully in the microwave). Pour melted chocolate over the mix and stir to evenly coat.  Spread the mixture on wax paper and cool.  Break into small pieces.  Store in airtight container.  Can make ahead! img_1978-9148436