ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Last Day in Victoria, British Columbia

I had one last day in Victoria after my teaching was finished, and I decided to make it count. Ever since I'd seen a photo of Emily Carr House on my Facebook feed when my friend Catherine Hornstein visited some months back, I had decided this would be one of my destinations. You see, I'm a big fan of Emily Carr's art. Here is the home she was born in and spent most of her life in. She lived from 1871-1945. Much of her inspiration was drawn from nature and from the indigenous people of the northwest coast. She is also the author of several books. Emily was a lover of animals, and you can see she kept many cats and dogs, as well as a monkey at one time.

The house is in a relatively quiet residential neighbourhood just south of the downtown. Within minutes you can escape from the throngs of tourists, and be in this beautiful and calm sanctuary.

Not everything you see in these photos actually belonged to Emily. The paint box and tools below, for example, actually were used by one of the restorers who worked on preserving her paintings. This I was told by the very knowledgeable man working at the entry to the house.

In those days Emily would have worked from a typewriter like this.

She probably would have needed to use a sewing machine that looked much like this.
I love these couches from that period. I think they are called settees?

A row of women's coats from the period.

A photo, although not the best, of Emily and her dogs.

At the time I was there, artist Megan Mansbridge was showing her paintings at the house. They are very much in the style of Emily Carr.

Megan was also present dressed as Emily Carr, and educating guests about her life and work. I am unable to find a website for Megan, but you can read about her on the Emily Carr House website.

The house is full of quotes from Emily's writings. These are the ones that really speak to me. The first is about solitude. If you click on the photo, you should get a larger image you can read.

This one is especially meaningful to me because it talks about her dream of greenery. People have often asked me if I'm ever going to work with anything but green (in my hosta leaves). My answer is always, "when I'm ready".

I wasn't sure how much time I'd have left to go visit the gardens at Royal Roads University, but I decided that if I had at least an hour before my ferry ride back to Vancouver, I would take it. I'm so glad I did. Thank you to my friend Albertina Pianarosa for telling me about these gardens. They are clearly a well-kept secret because I found them peaceful and quiet.

Before I became a full-time quilt artist I worked in administrative positions in universities and colleges. Several times I worked in the "administration building" of one of these institutions. I can tell you that none of them looked like the administration building at Royal Roads University!! The gardens are just behind this building.

There are several divisions in the garden, including an Italian garden, rose garden, west coast forest garden, water garden, etc. I had limited time so did not visit the rose garden because I'd already visited two on the west coast.

Let's begin with the Italian garden. Back in 2012 my husband and I took a trip to Umbria and Lazio, Italy, and a large part of it was spent visiting gardens. We thought we'd died and gone to heaven. This wonderful garden reminded me a bit of that trip. For example, these beautiful statues were surrounded by climbing roses.

And at this point in the garden I felt as though I'd entered Ninfa Gardens in Lazio, Italy. I emailed my husband to tell him, and he didn't believe me until he saw the photos. Check for yourself. Here's the post I made in 2012 of Ninfa Gardens.

To see all of the Italian gardens we visited on that trip, you will find them at this link.

But back to the garden at Royal Roads. It includes a walk through a northwest coast temperate rainforest, with the kind of huge trees Emily Carr would have painted.

Immediately behind the administration building is a sort of English-type garden. I can't explain why, but I find this flower absolutely beguiling! It may have to be a quilt.

Look at the beautiful round and chunky centres on these flowers!

I saw two peacocks wandering around the property. One of them wore all-out colour. The other was quite drab.

I'm told there is an albino peacock on the campus, but I did not see it.

I made it to the ferry docks in Sidney an hour early for my booking, so they let me on the 6 pm ferry. Check out this beautiful mountain view on the ferry ride.

I could not have asked for better weather! Oh, have I mentioned this before ;-)?? Thank you to all the groups who invited me to lecture and teach for you. It was a tremendous trip. I still have a few specifics to blog about, but for the most part, this takes you through an overview of my trip.

1 comment:

  1. This looks like a FABULOUS sojourn, Elaine! The Victoria area is soo pretty and Emily Carr's house is a place I'd LOVE to visit. She is a fave of mine too. We saw a big exhibition of her work in Vancouver in 1988( pretty sure it was ’88) Wonderful!! Enjoy the rest of the trip. Talk soon, C


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