ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fruits of the Weekend

"End of Days" by Elaine Quehl

How was your long weekend?  I got to stay home, and spend a fair bit of time in my studio.  I created two small pieces, both about 30" wide by 15" high.  My favorite is the one above called "End of Days".  Yes, I know it is Spring, and not Autumn, but this is what my heart needs to make.

As you know I have been working with my hosta series for several years now, with the intent to move into end-of-season hosta pieces.  Several issues delayed me.  First of all, I got distracted by red stools ;-).  Second, I didn't complete any work in the early part of this year ... partly due to artist block, partly busy schedule, partly not wanting to push myself given the state of my knees, and partly I wasn't ready to tackle what these works represent to me.  My works are very personal and say something about me.  To move into making end-of-season pieces was to say that I was moving into the later part of my life, into decline ... but the fact is that decline is all around us, at the same time as renewal and rebirth.  Decay and death are a part of life.  I am ready now to say it all.  So the piece above is called "End of Days".  It makes me think of the last wonderful days, weeks and years I had with my cat.  How much those days were the good days, how much they shone before they burned out.  I know this is a universal topic ... we all lose things and people that mean a lot to us ... eventually we all have to carry on without something or someone we loved.  Did it make me sad to make this quilt?  NOT AT ALL!  It made me happy; happy to express this, happy to use these colours, and happy to be creating.  I'm back!!

I've been sketching a lot more lately.  I spent several hours on one of my down days during my last teaching trip coming up with the sketches you will see here.  The one above became the general pattern for "End of Days".  In the photo below you can see the original photo that inspired it, and the mess of fabric in my studio while I was working.

But before "End of Days" was born, I made "Days Still Left" below.  I was going to make the upper leaf green with gold veins, the exact opposite of the lower leaf.  By the time I realized what I had done, I had already nearly completed the upper leaf, so I decided to finish the piece.  I'm still working on the shading on the lower leaf to make it distinguishable from the upper leaf, and to make it look like it is in the shadow of the upper leaf.  So far I'm using Caran D'Ache Neocolour 2 Water Soluble Wax Pastels.  When the piece was put together, I suddenly felt compelled to create one in rich browns and golds.
"Days Still Left" by Elaine Quehl

Did I mention there are deadlines associated with these pieces and that I still need to quilt, face and label them?  The first piece, End of Days, is going to a show that my SAQA Central Canada group is having at the John Parrott Gallery in Belleville.  If you go to that link you will learn more about our upcoming shows.  The second piece, "Time Still Left" is heading to the Haliburton Faculty show at Rail's End Gallery.

Here is another design I'm working on.  This design is a composite of 5 different photos (parts of 4 hosta photos and my little red stool).  Cut and taped again.
Below is the other sketch I worked on during my teaching trip, based on the above design.  Photo 1 is the first rendition,  You can still see my pencil lines there, and then I like to clean everything up with a fine-tipped black marker and ready it for enlarging.
This is the final version, with blotches of light and shading marked in.  It's already been enlarged at the copyshop.  We will see if I am compelled to make it.
Right now I'm really drawn to lines and the design they create in the hosta pieces, more so than the value contrasts.  I am not aiming for a photorealistic likeness, but more of  an abstraction where line is the focus.  That's why I chose to bypass the above design this weekend, as it is based very much on value contrasts.

I also dyed about 25 meters of fabric this weekend.  Here's the evidence: dye stains on my shoes and socs!  These are actually my indoor shoes that I wear to the gym.  I wouldn't be surprised if they ban me!

If I'd added a little more dye to this soc (it soaked through the shoe) it might actually be artful!

Here's hoping your weekend was as wonderful as mine!


  1. Love the new pieces. I had a very relaxing weekend and only planted a few geraniums into the planters.

    1. Thanks for the positive feedback Delores. I am lucky in that my husband did the planting around here. I came home from my London teaching trip and there were flowerpots lined up the front stairs, and new flowers in the flower bed by the front porch. I'm glad you enjoyed a relaxing weekend!

  2. I love these End of Days quilts. It's hard to believe that you made them both in one weekend. You must work very fast. Thanks for giving us a peek into how you work.

    1. Norma, it was a long weekend here (Victoria Day Weekend), so I had 3 days. Glad you like them :-)


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