ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Sunday, April 2, 2017

In the Studio and the Dyeing Dungeon

Remember this? Uh huh, I have finally finished quilting it. Hurdle overcome! It is also faced, and finished and waiting for our next Crossing Oceans Show on the theme of Journeys. It took a lot of patience to stitch around all those little spores, in various values of grey. I've decided to call the piece Sporogenesis. It was inspired by the ferns that grow in the old growth forests of the west coast of Canada. Ferns regenerate and reproduce via spores, that are carried on the currents of wind, streams, and lakes.

I'm making major progress in my yearly dye-fest! Trying to dye all this fabric is not nearly as onerous when I'm not trying to do it while travelling! It's happening at a more leisurely pace this year. 20 or 30 meters at a time. I'm keeping on top of the ironing too.

As you can see, there are times when I can barely find my studio tables.

The bins are getting filled up with hosta kits

and poppy kits

and soon peony kits.

I'm aiming to dye enough to see me through all the teaching trips this year. I know that is a lot and I may be over-estimating, but I can always save some for next year and/or sell some from my website if I overestimate too much.

If you are in Ottawa, or close by, this coming Friday and Saturday the Out of the Box Annual Fibre Fling takes place at the Kitchissippi United Church. You can see more information on the publicity card below, or visit www.out-of-the-box.org.  Until a few years ago I was a long-time member of this group. I got my feet wet exhibiting in group shows with them, learned and was inspired by them, and became a dyer after an inspiring talk by member Hilary Perreault. A few of us alumni have been invited to exhibit a mini-retrospective of our work.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Preparations for Spring Teaching/Conclusion of The Art Quilt.

I'm making great headway here preparing for my spring/summer teaching trips. I've copied, folded (my husband did the folding) and packaged 360 patterns.

I've also dyed and ironed 74 meters of fabric, and dyed a further 42 meters and have mixed up dyes for an additional 26 meters. We still have a fair bit of dyeing and ironing to do, but it is my hope to get the bulk of it finished before I head out on the road at the end of April for my first major teaching trip of the year, to Lethbridge, Alberta.

On Saturday I taught Session 5 (last session) of my Art Quilt class here in Ottawa. In preparation to talk a bit about edge finishes and mounting and framing, I stitched, edge finished and mounted my little demo quilt that I started while talking about "seat of the pants" design. This is my favorite method of framing at the moment. I'm not a big fan of stretching a quilt around a frame. For this piece I purchased a frame, removed the glass, and mounted my little quilt on top of the foam core back that came with the frame. The edge of the quilt is finished with a satin stitch. But why frame? Because this is such a small piece (8-1/2" x 10-1/2"), the frame gives it more presence. I encourage my students to work small with their design exercises so they will be willing to take risks.

Students brought some finished quilts to class. You may recall that in our previous class we did some free-form cutting of curves. On the left you can see the results that Beth achieved. Fun, isn't it? She used a lot of leftovers to make the little trillium piece on the right.

I think I shared this piece in my last post. Since then Heather cropped it further, quilted and faced the edges. Also very fun.

This is also Heather's completed piece from an earlier class where we did seat of the pants designing. We all loved the irregular border.

Cindy used the free-form curves piece she started in the last class, further sliced it and added a leather crow. I think the neutral curves enhance the scene well.

Not sure if you can see the stitching on this piece, but Beth has done a fair bit on her leaves.

Wendy's rooster, inspired by a design she found on the internet, is finished, and quilted with a chicken wire design.

She turned her free-form curved quilt into an Easter wall hanging.

I'm also immersed in Level 2 of my Photoshop course. We're learning how to remove distracting elements in our photos. In this photo I took of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, a few winters ago, I was always bothered by that piece of metal construction equipment in the lower right side. Also in the lower left there is a black post.

I was able to remove both and now I like the photo much better. I'm told it might need a bit of straightening though, and I certainly know how to do that.

 But for now it's back to my dyepots and ironing.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Moving into March ... The Art Quilt/Teaching Prep/Photoshop Course

This past week I think I suffered from the flu so I spent a lot of time sleeping. I didn't accomplish much and didn't get my blog post up from the previous Saturday's class. I am happy to tell you I'm on the mend and am proud to share some completed design exercises from my Art Quilt class. This exercise was all about using value 






In this class I shared free-form piecing methods with the class, and everyone spent time creating a composition using free-form curves.






Love our bright and spacious classroom and our intimate group of 8 students.

 At home I am working on preparing for the spring and summer rush of teaching. Just prior to coming down with the flu I had mixed up all my yellow and orange dyes to dye those colours for my peony and poppy kits. I managed to get the dyeing done somehow and everything is now soaking in a cold soak in the washer.

Yellow and pink dye now mixed up for some multi-colours.

I'm pleased that we are making continued progress at preparing for the year's teaching in the hope that things will be smooth sailing at that time :-) All the floral patterns are copied and waiting for folding and packing.

I'm also well into my second level PhotoShop course. Here's a couple of things I've done so far. Managed to cut this flower away from its background. Now I'm really free to compose by adding other things and putting this on any background I want. Talk about freedom in design!

This was just a bit of fun adding shape and text to a photo. And if you're sick of winter maybe this will make you feel so much better.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Latest News, Quilt Canada Reminder, and Art Quilt Series, Session 3

Here's a reminder that registration for Quilt Canada 2017 is taking place and is now open to non-members. Register early to avoid disappointment (classes get cancelled due to low registration when people wait until the last minute, or the class might also be full if you wait). Info here. I'm one of 11 teachers that will be offering a wide variety of workshops during the conference. Of course there is also the National Juried Show, featuring the best Canadian quilts, and a tempting merchant mall. 
June 14-17 at the International Centre, Toronto.

I've just finished a four-week on-line class covering the basics of PhotoShop Elements with the Pixeladies. I highly recommend it, and am beginning the second level later this month. Here are a couple of cool things I did in class.

I took this photo of bottles in Spain a couple of years ago.

I did a few manipulations to turn them into black and white, remove the third bottle in the background, and then simplified the values to create an abstract black and white composition.

Our final assignment was to do several manipulations to a photo. I had this nice photo of reflections that I took in Venice (I think Burano), but it always bugged me that buildings seemed to be leaning and the reflections were angled.

I straightened the photo, cropped it, pumped up the saturation on the reds and yellows, and then added a copyright watermark.

While home this winter, I am still enjoying making good food! That includes bread. This is one I made in the past week. I just signed up for a bread making class on Craftsy (Craftsy.com), so stay tuned!

I am making my own granola and yogurt now. I know what ingredients are in it, it is far less sweet than store bought granola, and I sure can find the nuts in mine!

My yogurt maker makes both Greek and regular yogurt. It came from Amazon.ca and cost about $65. Love it and the yogurt it makes.

Here is the little seat of the pants composition I started as a demo in my Art Quilt class. I finished it this past week. Once I got the basic shapes down I sort of started to take liberties with the design. It may become a small study for a larger piece.

Yesterday I taught Session 4 of my Art Quilt Series. The topic was creating a more planned design by creating your own pattern. I encourage students to work small so they wont treat the work as so precious and will be willing to take risks.

Is this not a cool design by Lynn? The exercise was to use at least 5 values of one colour, with the possibility of adding in a second colour. Orange, being the complement of blue, makes this design sing.

Virginia was well on her way with another landscape. See how a variety of values can really make your work come alive!

Another landscape, this one by Heather, almost finished.

Marion was working on a butterfly design in values of blue.

Joan was working on a whimsical landscape in aquas and teals.

A few students brought back finished pieces from the last class.

Virginia finished her landscape design. A little bit of a diagonal design, but also a little bit of L-shape.

Cindy finished the landscape she began in the previous class.

and created a second piece inspired by that class. Both of these pieces were completely finished!

Tonight I am going to begin ironing the many meters of fabric I have started dyeing for my spring and summer teaching. Another 100 meters of white cotton is on order. We have packed all the hosta patterns for spring and summer teaching (my husband did the folding, and I did the assembling and packaging). We will undertake the floral patterns later this month. Everything is being planned in advance and spaced out better than last year. I am optimistic the year will be more manageable.