ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Home Again

I just returned last night from an 8 day teaching trip around Southern Ontario. Three workshops and two lectures in the space of three days, then a day off, and another day of workshops. One more day off and a lecture! My first day of teaching at the York Heritage Quilt Guild in Toronto started with a fabric frenzy when I opened my bins of hand-dyed fabric. Members were eager to have fabric for their projects. I could barely get their attention to teach the class! The Mustard Pickle Textile Temptation Packs sold out before I even left Toronto. Day one was my Surface Design class. You can see Erica applying Shiva Paintstiks with a stencil brush on a freezer paper stencil she cut.
Here is the result:
Day two was "In Full Bloom". Joanne's tulip was coming along nicely by the end of the class:
After class I drove to St. Catharines to deliver a lecture to the Niagara Heritage Quilter's Guild. Traffic in Toronto and on the QEW was slow so I screeched into the meeting with only 10 minutes to spare. My stay at Robinsong B&B in Thorold was delightful, and my only regret was that I couldn't stay longer. I must have been very tired on workshop day because I didn't take any pictures!
I had Friday off and was back in top form by Saturday when I headed off to Toronto again, this time to teach for the Yorkshire Rose Quilt Guild. The workshop was once again "In Full Bloom".
My last stop was Orangeville, a small city northwest of Toronto, where I delivered a lecture to the Dufferin Piecemakers Quilt Guild. Orangeville is a wonderful blend of urban amenities and country charm. I was billetted at the lovely home of Janet Slater and her husband, and their two charming cats, Rebecca and Fiona. The Slater home was once a one-room schoolhouse, built in the 1880's. What was the schoolhouse is now a large and comfy kitchen. Upstairs in the loft is Janet's studio.
Major additions and renovations have taken place to expand the house over the years. Although I am told she is usually shy, Rebecca was my best friend from the moment I arrived.
All through breakfast the next morning she sat on my lap.
We looked for Fiona and found her cuddled inside the quilt that Janet was working on.
Cats sure know how to spend a winter day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dye Happy 5 - Painting With Thickened Dyes

Today was session 5 of my Dye Happy class, Painting with Thickened Dyes. I found it to be a very relaxing class as almost everyone spent the afternoon painting. Once students got their design to fabric, they mixed up their thickened dyes (using Print Paste from Prochemical Dyes)and got to working painting. Fabric was soaked in soda ash solution ahead of time and line dried. The soda ash raises the pH and causes the dye molecules to bond with the cellulose molecules in the cotton. Here are just a few of the designs in progress.

Susan's spiral design:
Dorothy's bird:
David's boat:
Kirsten's poppy:
Tatiana's tulips:
Sylvia gives the crotons a try:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Textile Temptations

Last week I dyed more Textile Temptation Packs in preparation for my upcoming teaching trip. This week I ironed, cut and packaged them. My studio was filled with packages them this morning.
This is what they look like up close.
The packages contain a fat quarter of each of silk-rayon velvet, cotton, silk dupioni, silk organza, and a half meter of cheesecloth. Everything in a package has been subjected to the same dyebath, but each fibre takes the dye a little differently. I've been dyeing these for a few years now and they've been popular. Haven't shown them on my website yet, nor have I made it easy to order fabric from my website. It's great to have the fabric to take on the road with me when I'm teaching, but it would be impossible for me to constantly be filling mail orders when I'm on the road, not to mention that I can't and don't want to spend every day with my head in the dyepots. Most of the packages have food-related names ... can you tell where my heart is?
Here we have the greens, from left to right: 1) Pistachio, 2) Pesto, and 3) Mustard Pickle
Here from left to right are 1) Pomegranate, 2) Raspberry Cordial, and 3) Grape Jam
1) Butter Creme, 2) Creme Caramel, 3) Spiced Pumpkin
1) Des Bleuets, 2) Marine (couldn't think of a food this colour!)
and finally 1) Cafe Mocha, and 2) Chocolatini
One of the things I'm realizing today though is the reason I'm so busy is because I'm often dyeing fabric for a particular class, in addition to preparing to teach that class. I do this, for example, for the In Full Bloom class, to ensure there are a good variety of values for each flower. I need to think about this as I'm not getting in the studio to work on my own work much, but on the other hand I'm making a living from what I love to do. I wouldn't worry so much if I didn't have a joint show with Cathy Breedyk-Law coming up in September. I really need some new work because I'm sure folks don't want to see the same stuff as at my last two shows. Oh well, April should have a little time in it for the studio! Busy is good!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

113 Meters

No, I'm not talking about snow, although it might have felt that way yesterday when I fired up the snowblower and shovel!! I'm talking about the 113 meters of fabric I've dyed in the last couple of weeks. Here it is. I was smart this time, and took up my friend Denise Cloutier's offer to iron it for me. Frankly, I was a tad whacked after just the dyeing. In record time (2 days) Denise had all 113 meters ironed. I'm still working on the velvets, organzas, dupioni silk and cheesecloth for the Textile Temptation packs. All this is in preparation for my teaching travels later this month.
To hear me talk, it sounds like I'm impressed by volume. Yup, I'm a "more is better" kind of woman" More fabric, more chocolate, more silver jewellrey. More is always better.
After yesterday's storm, my oldest kitty, Johnnie, is enjoying a nap in the sun, and I'm tempted too... If you subscribe to my e-newsletter, you may remember that 17 year old Johnnie had to retire as my studio assistant when he went blind earlier this year. He's still doing well, as long as his enviroment stays the same. Speaking of my e-newsletter, the latest issue will be available later today. If you'd like to receive it you can subscribe here.