ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Monday, June 4, 2018

A Couple of Shows and All Things Dyed

This past weekend was our annual National Juried Show and conference put on by the Canadian Quilters' Association. My hosta bud quilt, "Rise" was in the show this year, after several years of not entering due to not having any new show-worthy work. I have managed to enter a few shows this year because I made new work early in the year, in preparation for my show in Spain, and also because I'm carrying a bit lighter load of teaching these days. The show this year was held in Vancouver. Next year's will be here in Ottawa, where I live. If you click on the high-lighted links in the above text you can see all the award winners and more information about the show. Thank you to Tracy Brittain Loyek of Purple Katz Quilts, and many others who shared photos.

The quilt to my right is by Leslie Forbes of Osoyoos, BC. I think she has very successfully captured an Okanagan Valley feel with her vineyard quilt.

The quilt immediately to my left is by Millie Cumming of Fergus, Ontario.

While that show was happening, I was in Montreal teaching at Courtepoint Quebec's Salon 2018. This is Quebec's provincial show. Not all of my classes filled, but my Intro Dyeing class did. Montreal was in the midst of a heatwave when I arrived on Friday night, and everyone at the show looked wilted and HOT! Fortunately things cooled down a bit for my Saturday class.

Last week I decided to dye myself some new garments. I found a few dress blanks and scarf blanks in my basement that I had  purchased from Dharma Trading Company some time back. I'm pretty pleased with these two dresses. The one on left is short enough that it looks really nice with white leggings. I used elastic bands to bind various round objects in different sizes. I miscalculated a bit on the amount of dye powder and ended up with grey instead of black, but I am really starting to love grey in my wardrobe so I am happy with it. The dress on the right is in that currently popular colour that I would describe as gold? It was first dyed gold using a low water immersion method, and then wrapped on a pole and immersion dyed.

I tried the same circle idea on a velvet scarf. The dress to the right and the two scarves below were my first attempts this time around. While I love the indigo blue colour, I am not that thrilled with the way the circles fall on the dress to the right.

And while I was looking for simplicity for these scarves, one single circular motif on each end doesn't seem enough for me. Maybe because the contrast is so strong. I do love the colours though.

 The last couple of weeks I also got immersed in dyeing the palette for my garlic quilt. See my May 11, 2018 blog post for photos of the garlic that I find so inspiring. I am really happy with the palette I've produced in the left photo. In the photo to the right, the reddish colours near the back of the photo were also dyed for this project. The 3 fabrics furthest right are too pink, so they will go to my store. In the middle of this photo, and the one below, are the fabrics that I've pulled from my stash that may work in this quilt.

This month will be a quieter month for me. I am spending some days planning a commission proposal, and writing an article (more information on that later). I'm also having a bit of dental surgery and wanted that in a quiet month when I wouldn't need to talk too much ;-)

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Everything's Blooming & Major Website Update

A couple of days ago I headed out to the Canadian Tulip Festival, which takes place in Canada's capital city (my city!) every May. Although the tulips were beautiful, I found myself a little bored photographing them. Perhaps because I have photographed them many times before? So here are some requisite tulip photos..

I remembered that I had once seen magnolias blooming not too far away, at the Ottawa Arboretum, around this time of year. Much to my delight, I found five different varieties. I believe this is the first time I've found them in yellow.

Most were pink, either a deep fuchsia such as these

or a pale delicate pink such as these.

A pink-tinged white was also in bloom,

as well as an almost-pure white.

I did not find the green-tinged white that was the inspiration for this quilt, "Forgiveness", that I made in 2009. Looking at it now, there are things I would change and improve about it, but that is to be expected since it has been nine years since I made it.

This was the inspiration photo.

A bit further along down the road, the apple blossoms were in bloom. I already shared two photos in my last post. They have not peaked yet. At peak, they form a long row of pink down Prince of Wales Dr.

Next to autumn, this is my favorite time of year. Without winter, how would we ever appreciate the beauty of everything that is coming back to life?

I hope you are enjoying a beautiful day. It is a long weekend in Canada in honour of Queen Victoria's birthday. While we have not been under British rule since 1867, we are still a Commonwealth country.

Yesterday was cloudy and rainy, so a perfect day to finish a substantial website update I'd been working on for a few days. Here it is! www.elainequehl.com
Most of the changes relate to my Gallery of Quilts, where I added five new galleries. I've included all the new works I've made over the last three years. You'll find that some galleries only have one or two quilts, but the fact that I felt they warrant a separate Gallery is because I am planning on adding more work in those series. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

That Old Oak Tree

Several years ago I made this collage tree, inspired by one of my favorite trees in the entire world, an ancient Bebb's Oak Tree in the Ottawa Arboretum. It depicted the tree in early spring before leaves appear on its branches.

I try to visit the tree every year. On a sunny day about a week ago, I was there around mid day, and found the shadows surrounding the tree at that time of day to be very interesting and almost a bit eerie.

Last summer the tree was struck by lightening during a storm and sustained substantial damage. You can see it on the right of the trunk in this photo.

Here's what the damage looks like face on.

Nevertheless, the tree looks in good shape and seems to be carrying on despite the damage.

This week I returned to find the apple blossoms on surrounding trees beginning to bloom, and adding a fringe of pink around my favorite tree. You can also see that in a week's time the buds have become leaves.

Will this tree inspire another quilt? Perhaps. Time will tell. I also hope the tree survives for a very long time!

Friday, May 11, 2018

May Update

Last Saturday I had a lovely day teaching my Intro Dyeing class. It was hosted by the Out of the Box Fibre Artists group. I was so engrossed in the class that I completely forgot to take photos, so this earthy colourwheel will have to do.

Seventeen years ago when I was a new member to this group, I was stricken with my passion for dyeing fabric after a presentation by Hilary Perrot, another member of the group. I hope that I can inspire someone else and continue the circle.

I am sad to tell you that my "design your own" class this weekend at Inspired Getaways was cancelled. Perhaps it wasn't such a good idea to hold it on Mother's Day Weekend, and also the same weekend as the local quilt show by the Common Thread Quilt Guild

Because I had four classes scheduled at the upcoming Salon 2018, Quebec's provincial Quilt Show, I had started playing with hand-dyed threads again. I was preparing to give a class there. Unfortunately there have been a number of class cancellations there, including three of the four classes I was scheduled to teach. I will still be teaching an Intro to Fabric Dyeing, but my Hand-dyed Threads class is cancelled. This is a shame really because dyeing thread is so much fun, but a difficult class to fill. I plan to have fun with it anyway, and as I go through the process I will take photos to share on this blog.

Here's an example of what these threads look like. More information to follow.

If I have been quiet here, it is because I have been occupied. I spent considerable time in the last weeks altering some of my favorite clothes. Due to a lifestyle change and commitment to my health I have dropped some pounds, and needed to adjust some clothing. I've been learning how to knit, and finally achieved even tension by learning how to hold the yarn. I haven't knit anything yet, just practicing until it becomes automatic. I'm also taking an on-line Sketchbook course with Sketchbook Skool. I must be doing something right because I seem to have enough time in my schedule to do some stuff for me :-)

The studio is cleaned up and ready to work in after the alterations.

My sketchbook supplies

One needs pretty knitting needles, right?

The appearance of better weather, including more sunlight, made me really appreciate the garlic bulbs that have been sitting on the kitchen windowsill. Yes I am in love with garlic bulbs! Just look at the lines and shapes, and the shadows and hi-lights!!!    All these photos were taken using the HDR setting on my Smart Phone.

I've already dyed 12 meters of fabric, in a variety of values, that will hopefully be useful in the quilt inspired by garlic. I am about to dig through my stash and see what else I might find there.

I'm also replenishing the blue fabrics in my store. I was almost completely out. I have 35 new meters waiting to be ironed.

Nicer weather, means more time spent outdoors. Nice to get out to Mer Bleue Conservation area and take a walk on the boardwalk.

I am in discussions about doing a commission quilt. The timing is very good as I've lost a significant chunk of my year's income with so many classes cancelled. I am at the "entertaining ideas" stage. Work will begin in June, and I hope for it to be finished by the end of the year. Stay tuned. I can't say more than that for now.

Enjoy the beautiful weather!