Thursday, June 23, 2011

When Does Fabric Become a Book?

Facing down a blank sketchbook can be daunting. But in mid-January I hurriedly  filled out a sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project sponsored by the Art House Co-op in Brooklyn NY.  It seems I work best under pressure. The deadline was January 15.

The sketchbook is now part of the library's collection of artist made books and is on tour to various venues. It will be at the Hyde Park Art Center July 14 - 17 in Chicago. We must all go there.

Using my giant pile of fused fabric scraps, I wrapped the sketchbook pages with fused collages. Each of the fused pages has 4 pages of paper from the sketchbook folio inside. Some fabrics span between pages. Others wrap around to the next page.

The compositions on each page were improvised using the pre-fused fabric scraps. And as I progressed through the pages a theme began to emerge.

Fabric colors and shapes were repeated on pages to carry the story line of trees throughout the book.

I must admit I worked rapidly. Once you're on a creative roll it's hard to stop. Especially when you are making so many discoveries about working with new materials and a deadline looms.

Flipping back and forth between pages, I added new elements or color chips to help tie the story line together.

Soon the book became more quilt like than book like. It became a book in fabric form.
My only regret was the book cover. The rules of the Sketchbook Project were not all that clear and I wasn't sure if you could add fabric to the cover. So I stitched the title on the cover instead.
Random Acts of Fusing by Laura Wasilowski
This is a technique I'd like to explore further. It combines 2 favorite passions: fused art quilts and books. Imagine the possibilities!


Maggie Szafranski said...

Totally Awesome!

Trish Williams said...

I love your book and would love to see it in person.

Nancy said...

This really took off beautifully! I'm fascinated by the Sketchbook Project, and think it's coming to a venue near me this summer. Did you have trouble with the paper stability and the fusible? I did read somewhere that the pages of these small journals were flimsy... though you mentioned working on 4-page sections. Curious about the technique (I for one would love the chance to purchase an online class with you for this technique.. hint, hint). But it's lovely, and I hope it gets read a lot in the exhibit.

WoolenSails said...

That look wonderful and love the landscapes you do.
I had one of my old patterns that i was thinking of doing into a quilted piece and you made me think of a good idea for the background, you always inspire me when I come to visit.


Claire said...

You have an informative blog. I’ve learned something from it. I do have mine too Thanks

Becky from Text Isle Patchwork said...

Hi Laura,
I'm not a fuser in the sense that you and your Chicago School of Posse friends are, but I have fused book-making with patchwork design and fabric play.

Here are some of my patchbooks:

I used the method Gwen Marston shares in her book "Fabric Picture Books."

Cheers from a fellow quilter/blogger who admires your color sense and humor,
Becky at

Sandi said...

I love the image on the left side of the third set down. To me I can see the profile of a mountain goat with horns angling to the left.

I would be fun to see what develops from this project.

Thanks for sharing, wish I could come to Chicago and see it in person.