At the photo studios of F+W Media (the parent company of Cloth Paper Scissors), artists come through regularly to work with our video, editorial, and photography teams to film their workshops and shoot photos for their books. It was within the halls of the photo studio where I bumped into Melissa Averinos. Within the blink of an eye, we both knew that we were kindred spirits, and we’ve been friends since.
I’ll never forget when Melissa showed me the art quilt she had made. I was floored by how straightforward, and yet also how complex, the design is. You may recognize her fabric collage self-portrait from a recent Cloth Paper Scissors cover (March/April 2015, included in this special “Melissa Averinos” artist spotlight offer). Melissa’s vivacity and passion for art are contagious. One of her Facebook posts echoes in my mind every time I think of a new project: “I want to make all the stuff!” I get it, because I do, too. Reading her artist spotlight (below) reminds me not only of myself, but also of you, dear readers. When you see yourself in others, you can harness their energy for your own creative endeavors.
|Art quilt by Melissa Averinos|
Artist Spotlight: Melissa Averinos
I just love making stuff. All kinds of stuff. I had a lot of freedom to make a mess and be creative when I was growing up. I remember making bracelets out of folded up newspaper comics and varnish when I was in sixth grade. I always loved to draw and craft, and I started painting and doing collage when I was in eighth grade. In high school I did a lot of ceramics, jewelry making, and self-portrait paintings. This is also when I started sewing.
|A detail of Melissa’s mixed-media portrait/art quilt|
I’m not a technical sewer or seamstress by any means. I’m an artist who uses fabric and thread (and anything else I can get my hands on), so I don’t feel bound by the perfectionism that many people feel with sewing. If I had to be perfect at it, it wouldn’t be fun! I love playing and experimenting, trying things I haven’t seen before and making things up. I’m an imperfectionist.
I find that sharing my process on Instagram really helps me stay with a project that I might otherwise abandon. That’s what happened with my face #1 quilt that was shown at QuiltCon 2015 and is currently traveling in the Best of QuiltCon 2015 exhibit. I just started messing around on my design wall with a pieced (rather than appliquéd) face, and the response was so positive that it motivated me to see it through. I’m always posting works in progress, which is great for keeping a record of my process as well as sharing with the community and getting encouragement.
Currently I’m really into the raw edge fabric faces that I’ll be teaching in my class, Making Faces with Melissa Averinos, at Quiltcon 2016. The technique isn’t fussy, it’s really just like paper collage, except you get to draw on it with thread after you glue it down! I just started offering this class to guilds and other groups, and am currently booking 2016 workshops. It’s so much fun! I love meeting people in my art/craft community and helping them find their own voice by experimenting with the faces. ~Melissa
Learn some of Melissa’s fabric art techniques in this Artist Spotlight: Melissa Averinos Mixed-Media Portraits collection, which includes Cloth Paper Scissors (March/April 2015), and Quilting Arts (April/May 2014), both of which feature her work. You’ll also get access to Melissa’s studio tour video, which comes free with your purchase.
To learn some of Melissa’s tips for creating facial features, scroll down!
Melissa’s Tips for Creating Facial Features in Fabric Art: A Preview
Relax your expectations about this being a “self” portrait and release the pressure to make it look just like you. It might help to think of it more as a symbolic representation of your face.
Sketch out some basic features on paper first. I am accustomed to doing self-portraits so I like to just dive right in with the fabric, but if this is your first time, a sketch may help you figure out what you want to do. Then you can refer to your sketch when playing with the scraps.
Choose fabrics with tonal prints or small designs. You don’t want large, busy prints to overwhelm and obscure the features you are creating.
Don’t overthink it. I am not fussy when it comes to cutting out the shapes to represent the facial features. I use simple rectangles, triangles, wonky circles, and half-moon shapes. The more you stress about creating your face, the less fun it is, so just relax and be loose.
Bio: Melissa Averinos is a mixed-media artist, painter, longarm quilter, fabric designer, author, and a Bernina Ambassador, author of the soon-to-be-released title DIY Handlettering.
Information on booking workshops: melissa@melissaaverinos