ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Everything's Blooming & Major Website Update


A couple of days ago I headed out to the Canadian Tulip Festival, which takes place in Canada's capital city (my city!) every May. Although the tulips were beautiful, I found myself a little bored photographing them. Perhaps because I have photographed them many times before? So here are some requisite tulip photos..


I remembered that I had once seen magnolias blooming not too far away, at the Ottawa Arboretum, around this time of year. Much to my delight, I found five different varieties. I believe this is the first time I've found them in yellow.




Most were pink, either a deep fuchsia such as these

or a pale delicate pink such as these.



A pink-tinged white was also in bloom,


as well as an almost-pure white.

I did not find the green-tinged white that was the inspiration for this quilt, "Forgiveness", that I made in 2009. Looking at it now, there are things I would change and improve about it, but that is to be expected since it has been nine years since I made it.

This was the inspiration photo.

A bit further along down the road, the apple blossoms were in bloom. I already shared two photos in my last post. They have not peaked yet. At peak, they form a long row of pink down Prince of Wales Dr.



Next to autumn, this is my favorite time of year. Without winter, how would we ever appreciate the beauty of everything that is coming back to life?




I hope you are enjoying a beautiful day. It is a long weekend in Canada in honour of Queen Victoria's birthday. While we have not been under British rule since 1867, we are still a Commonwealth country.

Yesterday was cloudy and rainy, so a perfect day to finish a substantial website update I'd been working on for a few days. Here it is! www.elainequehl.com
Most of the changes relate to my Gallery of Quilts, where I added five new galleries. I've included all the new works I've made over the last three years. You'll find that some galleries only have one or two quilts, but the fact that I felt they warrant a separate Gallery is because I am planning on adding more work in those series. 


Friday, May 18, 2018

That Old Oak Tree

Several years ago I made this collage tree, inspired by one of my favorite trees in the entire world, an ancient Bebb's Oak Tree in the Ottawa Arboretum. It depicted the tree in early spring before leaves appear on its branches.

I try to visit the tree every year. On a sunny day about a week ago, I was there around mid day, and found the shadows surrounding the tree at that time of day to be very interesting and almost a bit eerie.



Last summer the tree was struck by lightening during a storm and sustained substantial damage. You can see it on the right of the trunk in this photo.

Here's what the damage looks like face on.

Nevertheless, the tree looks in good shape and seems to be carrying on despite the damage.

This week I returned to find the apple blossoms on surrounding trees beginning to bloom, and adding a fringe of pink around my favorite tree. You can also see that in a week's time the buds have become leaves.


Will this tree inspire another quilt? Perhaps. Time will tell. I also hope the tree survives for a very long time!

Friday, May 11, 2018

May Update

Last Saturday I had a lovely day teaching my Intro Dyeing class. It was hosted by the Out of the Box Fibre Artists group. I was so engrossed in the class that I completely forgot to take photos, so this earthy colourwheel will have to do.

Seventeen years ago when I was a new member to this group, I was stricken with my passion for dyeing fabric after a presentation by Hilary Perrot, another member of the group. I hope that I can inspire someone else and continue the circle.

I am sad to tell you that my "design your own" class this weekend at Inspired Getaways was cancelled. Perhaps it wasn't such a good idea to hold it on Mother's Day Weekend, and also the same weekend as the local quilt show by the Common Thread Quilt Guild

Because I had four classes scheduled at the upcoming Salon 2018, Quebec's provincial Quilt Show, I had started playing with hand-dyed threads again. I was preparing to give a class there. Unfortunately there have been a number of class cancellations there, including three of the four classes I was scheduled to teach. I will still be teaching an Intro to Fabric Dyeing, but my Hand-dyed Threads class is cancelled. This is a shame really because dyeing thread is so much fun, but a difficult class to fill. I plan to have fun with it anyway, and as I go through the process I will take photos to share on this blog.

Here's an example of what these threads look like. More information to follow.

If I have been quiet here, it is because I have been occupied. I spent considerable time in the last weeks altering some of my favorite clothes. Due to a lifestyle change and commitment to my health I have dropped some pounds, and needed to adjust some clothing. I've been learning how to knit, and finally achieved even tension by learning how to hold the yarn. I haven't knit anything yet, just practicing until it becomes automatic. I'm also taking an on-line Sketchbook course with Sketchbook Skool. I must be doing something right because I seem to have enough time in my schedule to do some stuff for me :-)

The studio is cleaned up and ready to work in after the alterations.

My sketchbook supplies

One needs pretty knitting needles, right?


The appearance of better weather, including more sunlight, made me really appreciate the garlic bulbs that have been sitting on the kitchen windowsill. Yes I am in love with garlic bulbs! Just look at the lines and shapes, and the shadows and hi-lights!!!    All these photos were taken using the HDR setting on my Smart Phone.







I've already dyed 12 meters of fabric, in a variety of values, that will hopefully be useful in the quilt inspired by garlic. I am about to dig through my stash and see what else I might find there.

I'm also replenishing the blue fabrics in my store. I was almost completely out. I have 35 new meters waiting to be ironed.

Nicer weather, means more time spent outdoors. Nice to get out to Mer Bleue Conservation area and take a walk on the boardwalk.

I am in discussions about doing a commission quilt. The timing is very good as I've lost a significant chunk of my year's income with so many classes cancelled. I am at the "entertaining ideas" stage. Work will begin in June, and I hope for it to be finished by the end of the year. Stay tuned. I can't say more than that for now.

Enjoy the beautiful weather!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Last Days in Vancouver

In my last post I mentioned the three check-in bags I needed for my last teaching trip. Here's a photo, and it shows why I love staying in hotels when I teach. Hotels have elevators and they usually have luggage carts so that all bags can be moved in one trip. Some hotels even have someone on staff to help with luggage. Staying in someone's home is always more difficult. There are often stairs to negotiate, and often the person billeting me should not be carrying my heavy bags!! I've come home with major shoulder issues from doing it myself. Aside from that, I also find some quiet time to myself essential to keep fresh for the job. When you travel as much as I do, there is a certain comfort in staying, once again, at a Best Western Hotel. I always know there is going to be a microwave and fridge. That is really helping me stay on my healthier eating plan. If I'm tired at the end of the day, I can get in my pajamas and loaf around in my bed if I want to.

The day I left my hotel in Surrey, the magnolias were in bloom in the driveway, and look at the colour of the sky!

As I headed toward Vancouver, I noticed more clouds moving in. I was on a search for cherry blossoms. I did find them all over the place, but did not find any sights like the ones in the tourist brochures. Everyone had recommended I go to Arbutus Street. I did, but there were few cherry blossoms. I think the many days of rain had taken them down. Here are some I photographed in downtown Vancouver.


We had full all-out rain on one of my days. I stayed at the Best Western downtown, right near English Bay (just like last summer). This was the view from my room. I spent a fair bit of time hanging out with my friends Jean and Neera during my time there. 
 

Vancouver is a Foodie's paradise. They have fantastic coffee shops and roasteries. Fun to sample them and watch people.


I visited the place where the snobbiest of the coffee snobs hang out, Revolver Coffee. I really would like to try their four-shot espresso sampler, but I am afraid that with that much caffeine I will have a massive panic attack!

Pure Bread is, hands down, my favorite bakery anywhere. The sheer variety of goods is overwhelming and the quality outstanding. The buckwheat sour cheery scones are to die for, as is the flourless chocolate cake.

Mink Chocolate serves drinking chocolate just like the European cafes. Yum

We went for pretty good Spanish tapas. This is Paella cooked in squid ink.

There's a really healthy, crunchy-granola feel to some parts of Vancouver, and it is easy to find healthy food there.

One rainy morning my friend Jean taught me how to knit. My grandmother taught me 45 years ago, but I haven't done it since. It is hard, much harder than crochet. We'll see where my knitting career goes!

Back home in Ottawa, things are looking up. Spring arrived this past weekend and the crocuses are in full bloom. We even set up the patio furniture.