ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Sunday, July 24, 2016

In Between

I am writing to you from Haliburton, Ontario, where I am spending my weekend resting up from teaching a week-long workshop at the Haliburton School of Art + Design, and preparing for another workshop this coming week.

Getting my car packed for this trip was a HUGE challenge. Because one of the classes I would be teaching was a dyeing class, I had a lot of stuff to bring! In addition, I needed to bring bedding, towels, personal items, and food to stay in a cottage for two weeks. I just barely got everything in my car with a little room for me to sit.

No I don't want a larger vehicle. It will only mean that I will bring more stuff that I have to physically move. I'm trying to make things easier, not harder.

Naturally I'm loving being in the midst of nature. As in previous years, I've experienced many deer sightings

The woods emits light from the sun just as they always have. This is the view from my cottage window.

I arrived in Haliburton on the Friday before my classes began so that I would have a chance to take a one-day class on Encaustics and Photo Transfer. This is something completely new to me!

As you probably know, encaustics involves the use of melted wax and wax based pigments

Unfortunately I brought photos for the photo transfer part of the class that were printed on an InkJet printer. Photo transfer requires that the photos be printed on a laser printer. I was only able to get black and white laser prints at class. I ended up not liking this piece very much so at the end of the class I just decided to play with the wax and colour. Moving them around with a heat gun is quite facinating and I would like to try this again.

This was probably the most successful transfer. It is from a photo I took of doors in Italy. However, I held the heat gun too long and burned out an area that is nearly white now.

This piece uses a photo transfer of shoes and sandals hanging on a fence at the beach. It is a photo I took on the coast of Massachusetts several years ago. I fiddled a lot with the photo transfer and lost parts of it. I'd like to try encaustics again, but without the photo transfer.

Last Sunday it took three hours to transport three carts of my teaching materials into the college 

and set up my classroom. 

The class was full with 14 students. I didn't think it would be possible to take more than that. There is so much going on in a dyeing class, and it is all so new to many students, that it is important I not spread myself too thin with a group too large. The next many photos are eye candy from the week. I will let the photos and colour speak for themselves. We covered low-water immersion dyeing, immersion dyeing, colourwheels, value runs, two-colour runs, parfaits, scrunching, shibori (folded, pleated, pole wrapped, bound, clamped, etc.), flour paste resist, soy wax batik, and painting with thickened dyes. But please scroll to the end of this post because I also have shared some wonderful landscape photos I took yesterday.

Saturday was an absolutely glorious summer day. I decided to drive to Fenelon Falls to check out an antique and collectibles store I like (called GR8 Finds). I continued on to Lindsay after that. On my way back, I came upon this wondrous site on Highway 35! It seems so idyllic and peaceful to me, and reminds me so much of the clouds, wheat fields, and plane trees that Vincent Van Gogh painted in Provence. I am glad I took my Canon DSLR camera with me because I've been lazy for the last year, taking too many of my photos on my cell phone because it is lighter to carry. Those photos are fine for blogging and Facebook, and in fact it is easier to just post straight from the cell phone camera to Facebook than it is to transfer a photo from the DSLR to my computer. This sight, and the photos of it make me very very happy ;-)

Look at the wonderful lines running through this field, and the amazing texture.

I'm signing off now and will post again after this week's workshop.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Week of Professional Development

Last week I engaged in a week of professional development. OK, I just happened to do it in a beautiful place: Haliburton, Ontario. I returned Friday night mosquito and bug-bitten.

It was lovely to be by the lakes, and for the most part we had glorious summer weather.. 

It was equally lovely to be in the woods. I love the way the leaves in the forest often seem to emit light.

My goal for taking a class on Screen Mono-Printing, was to learn more about the use of silk screens, and to loosen up a bit. I confess that I resisted getting down to work for about three days. Fear? Perhaps. Out of practice at creating anything? That too! I finally did apply myself and produce a few pieces. We painted on screens with Procion H silk dyes, waited for them to dry, and then screened with wallpaper paste onto paper.

This piece was inspired by boats and reflections I photographed in Greece.

Leaves created from my head. I had this vision that they would be outlined in black ink. My instructor urged me to go loose and bold using the printing press for the veins. I was stubborn and stayed with my ink idea. A calligraphy marker in fact. Unfortunately it overpowered my leaf.

I painted and screened leaves again, and this time they turned out much bolder and they ran more due to heavy use of the silk dyes. If you click on this photo you can see better that I outlined with a lighter marker this time.

This piece was inspired by my travels in New Mexico. The background represents the maze of structures at Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and the ladder is inspired by those that lead up to the rooftops at Taos Pueblo. For the ladder, I actually carved the design on a plexiglass plate, inked it, and printed it on a printing press. 

I got lost in painting this piece. The first photo is the result from my first pull on the screen.

There was still a lot of colour on the screen, so I decided to pull a second image (at left). This is called a "ghost" image. Unfortunately I lost a bit of my design on the right-hand size due to not pressing enough on that side. To save this piece I painted another screen with just the dark left and right edges to kind of frame it. I think I like the ghost image better than the original.

This was the last print I produced and was quite fun. It involved laying torn newsprint paper on the paper I was about to print on, which produced the white tree-like structures. After the first pull I pulled these pieces of paper out and screened a second ghost image over the white trees. The newsprint resists were later used to add additional colour surprises throughout the image in a collage-like fashion.

Here is a photo of my class ... they inspired me a great deal! To my right is our instructor, Michael Earle.

Thursday afternoons at Haliburton School of Art + Design are always an exciting time in the summer program. Classes end at 4 pm and a two-hour "walk-about" takes place. Visitors and students can see what goes on in other classes.

I always find the class where students are carving their own totem poles quite fascinating. Quite different from anything I've done.

Across the hall students were building their own musical instruments.

Now I'm back and finishing preparations for my two weeks of teaching in Haliburton beginning next week. I will be sure to blog about them.