ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Haliburton School of the Arts, Week 2

I had a great time last week with 8 students in my Surface Design class at the Haliburton School of the Arts.  We spent five days playing with Prismacolor Artist Pencils, Caran d'Ache Neocolor 2 Watersoluble Wax Pastels, Derwent Inktense Pencils, Shiva Paintstiks, Tsukineko Inks, and Foils.  It was a very hands-on class in that I spent time talking about the properties of each product, ways one might use it, how to fix it, and then did a few demos.  Students had the rest of the day to work. 

Prismacolor Artist Pencils

Starting with a pale yellow fabric, Korleen shaded this tulip using Prismacolor Artist Pencils.  I brought a selection of my reference photos for students to work with.

Caran d'Ache Neocolor 2 Water Soluble Wax Pastels

Sharon painted these oak leaves using wax pastels.  The cool thing about these crayons is that when you brush on water you get a sort of watercolour effect.

If you only use a little bit of water on your brush, you blend your colours smoothly, as Cathy did with this orchid.

Karen's succulent (inspired by a photo I took in a botanical garden) makes great use of colour, and she then stitched around each pod.

Kathleen stitched this design on a quilt sandwich and then coloured in with wax pastels, which she brushed with a small amount of water to blend.  It is based on one of my Tuscan sunflower photos.

Inktense Pencils

Lately I've been playing a bit with Inktense Pencils and decided to add them to this course.  What I find particularly fun is stitching a free-hand design on a white quilt sandwich using black thread, to mimic the look of a pencil sketch, and then painting in the colour.  When water is brushed on, the Inktense pencil work takes on a more intense and transparent look.  The colour also seeps outside the stitched lines.  Great for someone who is too rigid to colour outside the lines.  In the sample below I've stitched the design and am just starting to add colour.

Below I've added my first layer of colour and used a wet brush.

A second go at the colour, and more wet brush, and I think it is almost finished.

Here's another rough thread sketch I did mimicing pencil lines.  I think there might be some issues with the fence showing through the trees, but I'm pretty sure I can fix that.  I did this one on silk dupioni and am just starting to add colour.

This one is just a thread doodle that I started to colour in.

Here is Nancy's thread doodle almost filled in with Inktense Pencils.

Helen stitched the industrial scene below with black thread, then added colour with Inktense pencils:

Shiva Paintstiks

We did some stencilling and basic landscape work with Shiva Paintstiks.  Helen designed this cactus stencil.

Sharon created this coneflower stencil.

Tsukineko Inks

At the moment I am in love with Tsukineko inks and the potential for controlling colour depth with the use of aloe vera gel.  The gel also acts as a smooth medium to spread the ink.  I demonstrated on this peony design, based on one of my photos, and managed to finish it in class.  After painting the peony on white cloth, I decided to fuse it to a more dramatic hand-dyed fabric.

I shared my peony design with students so they could learn how to use Tsukineko inks to control value.  This is Korleen's peony.

It is hard to remember to take photos of everything.  I know that Ila finished this piece, but my photo was taken after noticing what a great start she had and I forgot to take a photo of the finished piece.

Karen created this lake reflection design using the Tsukeniko Inkss

Cathy's marsh scene combines several methods, including hints of foil.


Students seemed most excited about the possibilities of using more than one foil colour in their designs.  Korleen created this piece, which absolutely popped when she outline quilted it.

Kathleen's foiled leaf combines copper and red foil.

Ila combined several colours of foil on her leaf.

I've used and taught foils successfully for several years now, but in 2012 I have been experiencing some problems when using the foiling adhesive method.  Students were having problems with silver and royal blue.  Karen decided to run a test of all colours using both my newest adheisve as well as my oldest adhesive.  We didn't come to any conclusions except that the silver is adhering in a blotchy fashion.  I've reported it to the company I purchase it from and they have promised to run tests.  I'll be running some tests of my own before I teach with foil again..

It's been a great summer so far (OK hot maybe) and I really enjoyed my time at Haliburton, both taking a class and teaching two.  I'll be back teaching next year for three weeks: two weeks during the summer and one in October.  When everything is confirmed I will provide more information.  I get to stay home for a few weeks now and hope to spend some of it in the studio.


  1. What fantastic results from all the different methods. Love the effects of the foiling. Lucky students.

    1. I was a lucky teacher too Maggi in that my students inspired me! One of my students, Kathleen, showed me a way to get the skin off the Shiva Paintstiks in a much easier way than I've been using or that I've seen anywhere. Simply make circular motions on a piece of wax paper until the skin wears off. The wax paper can then be your palette. I am loving the look of several colours of foil in a design rather than just one.

  2. Such fun! I am particularly interested in InkTense pencils as I have just bought some and have only begun to play. I am not sure I want to invest in the Tsukiniko inks; do you find their effects and/or potential really differ from the pencils? I have also begun to play around with painted fusible web, using Wonder Under...Ah, the possibilities!

    1. Hi Margaret,
      The InkTense pencils are the newist of these products for me, and I'm having a lot of fun colouring outside the lines (after applying water). Yes, I do find the Tsukineko inks VERY different from the InkTense pencils. InkTense are pencils so you apply directly. The inks have to be applied with either the Fantasticks that are sold with the inks or with a brush. I don't care for the Fantasticks and applying directly from the bottle. I love the way you can control value by mixing with aloe vera gel, and the gel helps to move the inks smoothly. I use a paintbrush for this. Love em both, but they are different. I just recently bought the entire set of 45 colours from www.softexpressions.com for about $130. BTW, you probably don't need 45 colours.

  3. Elaine, I love the Tsukineko inks and use them exclusively to create my designs. I use both the stamp pads with sponge applicators and the Fantasticks depending on the results I want. I create stencils from freezer paper and can get very crisp outlines if I want them.

    1. Thanks for sharing that Nancy. When I read that you use inks I was wondering if it was Tsukineko. I would imagine that pouncing with a sponge would create a crisper outline when stencilling. I really enjoy working with them, and we will see if I get more time to fit them into my life :-)


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