ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Little Autumn Inspiration

Just dropping by to share some photos with you of the beautiful autumn leaves here in my part of the world. On Friday we took a little trip to Gatineau Park in Quebec, which is just across the river from where I live in Ottawa, Canada's Capital city. The leaves were pretty glorious. Was trying to capture some reflections of them in the water.

Hope you enjoyed this bit of autumn inspiration. It is raining now so likely the leaves will come down before they have fully peaked.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Cherry Tree Quilts Retreat in the Okanagan

I`m home recovering from a big bad cold. My husband caught it in Venice, and I came down with it two days after getting home. It wasn`t so bad the first few days, but things got worse near the end of the first week, just as I was heading off for a week of teaching in British Columbia.

I flew into Kelowna, British Columbia a week ago this past Sunday to teach for a week at the Cherry Tree Quilts retreat. This is the fourth consecutive year I have taught here.

I found the weather in the Okanagan Valley perfect. Warm, but not too warm, and sunny every day The leaves were beginning to turn, and that provided a beautiful and strong contrast to the very blue skies.

Once again I stayed with my friend Barb, who is the owner of Cherry Tree Quilts. Can you beat this view of vineyards and the lake? Barb wakes up to this every day.

Cherry Tree Quilts has expanded several times in its first five years of business. It is a well-stocked quilt shop with lots of beautiful fabric, on the Main St. in Summerland, British Columbia, Canada.

Keeping true to my tradition of sharing the cats and dogs I meet in my teaching travels, let me introduce you to `Bing` (yes, as in Bing Cherry).

We had a large, bright and spacious classroom at the local United Church, where 18 eager students gathered to get creative.

On the first day we dyed fabric to be used for the nature piece each student would be designing in the last three days of class. My voice made it through day one, but it was very sore.

On Day 2 I had no voice, so our only option was for me to use a whistle to get the group`s attention, and then whisper the instructions during my demo to one of my students (Joan, who used to be a school principal). Joan imparted my instructions to the class in an authoritative fashion ;-) We managed. The topic was Liberated Radial Piecing. Although I am aware that for many students the main event for them was the three-day design class coming thereafter, they embraced a bit of liberated piecing with great gusto, and it gave them something to work on when the going got tough with their nature designs. I think Judy was the first to complete her radial design.

These are only a few of the designs that developed. There were many others, but I was sick and just didn`t get photos of all of them. This is Ellen.

For the next three days I managed to have enough voice to impart what I needed to over an hour or two of talking throughout the day, and then one-on-one consultations with students. I rested my voice in the evenings.

Designing your own nature quilt (my class is called `Inspired by Nature, Designed by You`) takes a lot or front end work to choose a composition and create a pattern. After that it is a slow and painstaking process of choosing the most appropriate fabric for each part. Some great pieces were started, and I look forward to receiving photos of them when they are finished.




Again, this is just a sampling of pieces started in class. 

Some students brought Show and Tell of their own work, and I have to say this is one of the most experienced and talented groups of students I have taught to date. I will have to get permission to share some of their own work on my blog.

Here`s the group! What a great group, and how patient they were with me in my less than optimal state. Thank you Enid, Alison, Judy, Joan, Lynne, Carole, Val, Dianne, Beth, Anne, Grovenore, Brenda, Debra, Doreen, Ellen, Rita, Ann, and Alicia!

I had one day to tour around on Saturday before flying home on Sunday. Barb took me to a couple of wineries. We ended up having lunch at Hillside Winery, where the remaining photos were taken. Did a little shopping and headed home for a late afternoon nap.

My cough is improving, but my voice is still hoarse. I`ll be resting it more this month as I am headed to the studio soon. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Inspiration While Working Through the Bucket List, AKA Venice 2016

For the last 5-7 years I`ve been working on my travel `bucket list`. I turned 55 this month, and so it was time to see the Venice I have always wanted to see. First thing I have to say is that even in September Venice was packed with tourists! Take a look at the crowd on this bridge near the Piazza San Marco! There were tourists wielding selfie sticks everywhere. And boy was it hot! 32 degrees most days.

We didn`t let the heat and crowds spoil our trip! While we paid a brief visit to some of the top (and crowded) tourist attractions, we spent most of our time away from them, in less touristy areas. Below you can see how busy it was at the Piazza San Marco.

We visited a couple of islands in the Ventian Lagoon. First up was Burano, which was once a major site for lace-making. The houses there are all painted in amazing colours. Many of the islanders were fishermen, and the brightly-coloured houses helped them find their way home when they returned to the island.

This lovely house even had laundry to coordinate with it!

This little cat drew quite a crowd of tourists to watch him or her being mesmerized by the fishies in the pail.

We also visited the island of Murano, known for its production of Murano glass. I love glass, and yes it was amazing!

Away from the vaporetto (water bus) stop, the island was quiet and peaceful, and at a certain point in the afternoon the reflections on the canals were amazing!

So of course this trip will boost the inspiration I need for making some reflection quilts.

I always photograph cats and dogs when I travel. We caught sight of this beautiful cat through the garden gate of a home.

While the main cathedral at Piazza San Marco is crowded, I had read that a good substitute is the Basilica I Frari. It is packed with original works of art by the masters. And it was very quiet. This photo is taken from the outside.

Madonna and Child by Giovanni Bellini, 1488.

St. Jerome by Alessandro Vittoria, 1564.

In the midst of all the religious art at the Basilica I Frari, the sculpture below stood out, and I haven't been able to forget it. It is a monument commissioned to honour Doge ("duke") Giovanni Pesaro, the 103rd Doge of Venice. It was created in the years 1660-1669 by B. Longhena, M. Barthel, and B. Falcone. I can find very little written about it, but it sure strikes me as relevant to the current day. While virtually all art of the day was created for the church, I almost read this one as social commentary.

Isn`t this an amazing reflection? It rained that day and when the sun came out it reflected the orange wall into the water. We explored many back alleys and neighbourhoods of Venice.

This is probably one of my favorite shots of Venice.

Venetians love their dogs! I saw dogs riding in gondolas, a dog that took up a seat on the bus, and this little dog sat on his mothers lap through dinner in a restaurant.

This week I am recovering from a lot of walking, nursing my Venetian cold,  and prepping for my last big teaching trip of 2016: the Cherry Tree Quilts Retreat in Summerland, British Columbia. This is the fourth year I have taught for this shop.