January – September 2005, each 8-1/2" wide by 11" high, © 2005, Maria Elkins, All Rights Reserved.

For the past few years, in addition to working full time, I have been slowly finishing a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) degree that I started more than 20 years ago. While I find it very exciting, at the same time it is rather frustrating that this pursuit takes all of the spare time I would normally have for quiltmaking. In order to keep working with fiber art, I have been using my classes to experiment with ways of applying traditional printmaking techniques to printing on fabric. All quilts presented here are hand printed on commercially printed, 100% cotton.

Journal Quilt 1 – Woodblock

This was the first of my independent studies on how to print on fabric. I began by determining which product would work best for using a woodblock on fabric. I wanted a water-based product which would give a sharp print, but would not change the hand of the fabric and would be washable. Eventually, I would like to use dye with the woodblock, but I have not yet achieved a satisfactory result.
This woodblock is drawn from a photo of my two daughters as they were laughing and teasing each other. These antics typically end with my younger daughter giving big sister a huge, sloppy kiss on the cheek while my older daughter grimaces, pretending she doesn’t like it.

Journal Quilt 2 – Dry Point Intaglio

I used standard oil-based etching ink to print this. I heat-set and washed the portions of the print that were cut off and was satisfied with the washability of this product. I am interested in observing the long-term effects of an oil-based product on cotton. I have been advised it should not be a problem since it is used for cotton-based paper.
I will always think of my oldest daughter with a book in her hands. She loves reading and writing. She is captured here as she is doing homework.

Journal Quilt 3 – Etching

The same oil-based ink that was used to print the dry point intaglio was also used to print this etching.
My husband is my biggest fan and my biggest supporter. He made it possible for me to go back to college, even to the point of doing all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and shopping so my time was freed up to devote to school. And to top it off, him sat still for an entire quarter while I labored over this etching of him.

Journal Quilt 4 – Screen Printing

Screen printing is already extensively used to print on fabric. Ideally, I should have loved this process, but it was the one I struggled with the most. This quilt is made from my first screen print.
This is from a photo of my younger daughter’s boyfriend when he was cast as Jesus in his church’s Easter play.

Journal Quilt 5 – Lithography

This is my first lithograph print. This process requires oil-based ink, so I am interested in seeing if the oil adversely affects the fabric over time…
I rarely do self portraits, but for my first lithograph I wanted something that would be easy to draw so I could concentrate on the process and not the subject.

The Journal QuiltPages project was proposed by Karey Bresenhan, Director of the International Quilt Festival. It was to be "a free-form exercise in creativity, specifically planned to encourage quilt artists to stretch and grow." The project was open only to members of the QuiltArt list and each participant chose five QuiltPages to display at the 2005 IQF show.