Colorful Fabric Collage: Sketch, Fuse, Quilt! by Sue Bleiweiss

Colorful Fabric Collage - jacket art

I really like art quilts.  I know it isn’t everyone’s thing, but I have to say that I love being able to cross back and forth on that bridge from form to function.  A lot of times I like to hang out in the middle of the bridge where they both come together, but sometimes I really like to have dinner and a movie on the form side.  Not just a casual relationship, but a little more intimate experience.

So, when I had the chance to review this book, Colorful Fabric Collage: Sketch, Fuse, Quilt! by Sue Bleiweiss and published by Interweave (F+W Media), I was actually pretty excited to READ it.  I know, that’s not normal for me.  I don’t read books like this often.  I mostly look at the pics, dive into a project, then figure out afterwords everything I should have just read in the first place.

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“Windows Arise” by Deborah Boschert on page 28 of Colorful Fabric Collage: Sketch, Fuse, Quilt!

But this book has wonderful information about hand dyeing fabric, creating a fusible fabric to work with, and basic understanding of how to form an idea for a final project.  I especially loved that with each chapter Sue included works by other artists using the techniques that she teaches in that section.  While her techniques and style open the windows to let the fresh air of inspiration in, being able to see how others have used her techniques took the roof off the building.

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“City Skyline” by Sue Bleiweiss on page 77 of Colorful Fabric Collage: Sketch, Fuse, Quilt!

Sue uses only her own hand dyed fabrics for the projects presented in Colorful Fabric Collage: Sketch, Fuse, Quilt!, and creates each fabric collage by using a fusing technique that actually differs a bit from my own experience.  I was intrigued by the section that discussed no-reverse applique, and I had to try the technique to make “cookie cutter outlines,” as Sue describes it.  I decided to make a small block for the Our Neighborhood project using Cherrywood Fabrics and this method.

I started out by creating the background through a method of improvisational applique.  Then, using the technique Sue teaches in her book, I created a freeform tree representing The Green Apricot.

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I was pleased with the results, and I was thrilled to have learned a couple of new techniques.

I also liked that Sue included projects other than art quilts in Colorful Fabric Collage: Sketch, Fuse, Quilt!  For instance, there are patterns and instructions for bags, pillows and other small projects.  Really, a great way to try a new method and have a finished product.

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“Full Circle” tote bag by Sue Bleiweiss found on page 99 of Colorful Fabric Collage: Sketch, Fuse, Quilt!

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