ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Thursday, November 21, 2013

International Exhibition Group: My Other Big Project

During my exhibition and workshops at the Quilt en Sud Textile Art and Patchwork Biennial in France this past spring, I received an email from Textile Artist Jane Rollason, who lives part-time in the UK and part-time in France. The email invited me to become a member of an international exhibition group. At first I hesitated because I am pretty focused on what I want to do, and if the themes or challenges involve creating work outside my realm, I feel it is not a good use of my time. However, the theme of this show is going to be NATURE. Right up my alley! It means I can still continue with the series I had in mind. I still hesitated because of my busy teaching schedule, but then I thought about my goal of seeing more of the world through international teaching. Jane plans to pitch the exhibition to the large shows in Europe. Each of us must submit six works by September 2014. One can be any size; the remaining five pieces must be one of the following: 24"x24", 12"x24" or 24"x12". OK, I'm not great at working to size, but I think I can do this. At this moment we don't have a name for the group, and I am not completely sure of the final list of members. So whatever happens, this will be time well spent because I get to do the work I want to do. The only parameters are size. I am planning a review or retrospective of sorts of all my hosta styles. Maybe four pieces that are 12" wide and 24" long, that can hang side by side. Not a diptych, not a triptych, but a group of four. Does anyone know the word for that? So here is my first piece, created this week, a hosta unfurling. A piece I've always wanted to make. It is 12"x24".

Initially I had cropped back a photo to the composition below (the entire photo, not just the section within the black lines)..

I went ahead and drafted the pattern. That was a few weeks ago, but just as I was about to start the piece it occured to me that I could do better with the composition. I got out my cardboard viewfinder and brought the spiral in closer. The new composition was contained within the black marker frame in the photo above.

Here is the final design. I didn't like that the spiral in the first version was so centred. I also wanted the piece to be a little more abstract, so zooming in closer and not depicting the edges of the hosta leaf help to achieve that goal. I am much happier with the final design and am glad I took the time to re-draft the pattern.

Looking at the design now, it very much reminds me of the Golden Ratio. 

The Golden Ratio looks at what proportions are naturally the most visually appealing. It has been used in design, architecture, and mathematics for hundreds of years. It even corresponds to what we find most attractive in people's facial features and body types, and it is displayed throughout nature, in the spiralling of seashells, sunflower centres, and leaf growth. To be a more perfect Golden Ratio, however, the rectangle I placed my design in would need to be wider. In fact the ratio of height to width should be 0.618, whereas mine is 0.5. But hey, I have parameters I need to follow for the show. Still I think the final design is more appealing than the initial one. 

Stay tuned as I create more works in this series in the next several months. I am finally back in studio mode, and it feels good!


  1. I'm sure you're an asset to this new-to-you group, Elaine. Congratulations on the invitation. And yes-- there is a definite appeal about the final composition..in part because of the proportion but also because with the bits you didn't include from the photo, something is left to the imagination. Lovely!

    1. Thank you, as always, for your supportive comments Margaret. Yes, I think you are right about leaving something to the imagination ... it has taken me many years to realize this.

  2. This is a beautiful piece. I appreciate your awareness of the Golden Ratio, and using it in your composition, but being free enough to adapt it to your needs. The view fills in what is left out. Good work, Elaine.

    1. Thank you Rosemary :-)) I find the entire concept of the Golden Mean/Golden Proportions/Fibonacci Sequence absolutely facinating!

    2. What a beautiful design, and every change you made improved it. Thanks for sharing the steps you went through. I'm behind on reading, so I will try to catch up on your activities soon!

    3. Thank you so much Martha for your feedback!


Your posts are important to me. Due to a huge amount of SPAM on my blog recently, I have decided to moderate comments, at least for the time being. Please be patient, your post will be approved as soon as I can get to it.