ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dye Happy 6 Discharge

Today was the last day of my 6-part Dye Happy class, and the topic was Discharge, or as some students called it, "undyeing fabric". As is often the case with classes that extend over a 6-month period, life happens and students disappear. But here you can see the die/dye-hards, who came to virtually every class, including the last one.
Left to right: Heather, Tatiana, me, Barb, Sylvia, Susan, Helen, Kirsten, Sandra, David

Fortunately it was a warm (by Ottawa standards) sunny day, and we were able to put the pails of bleach solution and anti-chlor solution out the back door of the community centre to keep the fumes out of the classroom. Speaking of anti-chlor, please please please use a bleach-neutralizing agent to neutralize any bleach that might remain in the fabric in order to avoid damage to the fabric over time. Also, it is a myth that vinegar neutralizes bleach; in fact the mixing of vinegar with bleach can result in an even more noxious chemical than bleach itself.

Some really cool pieces resulted, like Susan's T-shirt (which started out as a plain black T-shirt) and was fan-folded, twisted and bound.
Note, the sky was just about as blue today in Ottawa as in the California desert (see my March 17 post titled "Inspiration from California".

Here are some other knock-out pieces!
These two are just dyeing too happily!!
Students also brought some of their finished dye-painted pieces from our last class.
Tatiana's tulips:
Susan's spiral design, already quilted and finished.
Heather's tree and tulips, with an interesting irregular shape, also finished and ready for the Ottawa Valley Quilt show.
David's boat, trimmed to an oval, and ready to be placed into a larger piece.
Although developing this class was a lot of work, it was definitely worth it, and I am going to miss the class and this group. If this blog has been heavily weighted toward the subject of dyeing, that is because I've spent the last 9 months developing and teaching the class. Now I hope to turn to making some art quilts in between my teaching engagements and get to work on developing my new "Threads: Uncommon & Unforgettable" class, which will be offered at the Haliburton School of the Arts during the first week of August. The Art Quilt will be offered there the last week of July.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Understanding Jurors Decisions

Upon my return from vacation, a letter from the Canadian Quilters Association was waiting for me. I had entered four pieces into this year's National Juried show. Below are the four entries. Two were accepted, and two were rejected. See if you can guess which quilts fall into which category? The answer comes after the pictures.
1. Standing Ovation
2. Losses 2
3. Forgiveness
4. Sun Temple
OK, here is the answer. 1 and 2 (Standing Ovation and Losses 2) were rejected. 3 and 4 (Forgiveness and Sun Temple) were accepted. As it turns out, I happen to like the rejected pieces better than the accepted ones. So you just never know!!! I'd love to hear your opinions!

Inspiration from California

My husband and I just returned yesterday from a 10 day vacation in Southern California. We flew into Las Vegas and after an overnight rest there, we headed out to California, our first stop being three days in Death Valley National Park. My favorite part of the park was the Mesquite Sand Dunes, made especially gorgeous when shadows fell on them at the closing of day.
Zabrieske Point lookout was also pretty spectacular:
From Death Valley we headed through the Mohave National Preserve to Joshua Tree National Park. Here is an example of some very interesting tumbleweed near some dunes in the Mohave.
Why oh why is the sky always so much bluer in the desert? After Joshua Tree National Park, we headed west and ended up travelling on Route 78, through the Anzo Borrego desert, coming to the lovely little town of Julian. Thereafter, the terrain turned into more fertile land with daffodils, apple blossoms and orange groves. Wonderful to see since we won't be seeing anything floral in Ottawa for another two months!
We headed to Oceanside, on the coast, to catch the last day of the the Visions, No Boundaries art quilt show at the Oceanside Museum of Art
If you aren't familiar with this show, it is one of the most prestigious art quilt shows in North America. 39 quilts are chosen for this show from more than 600 entries, so the competition is pretty stiff! I was not disappointed.
But equally impressive were the largest Hens and Chicks plants I have ever seen outside our hotel in Oceanside. What I had never noticed before, was that some have a red rim on the edges of the leaves.
From there we drove south along the coast to San Diego. Our first stop was the Visions Art Museum.
The main exhibit at the museum right now is a joint show by Dominie Nash and Jean Lyons Butler called Counterpoint. One of the most exciting parts of the visit was meeting the Executive Director, Barb Smith, who recognized my name! I had forgotten when I walked in that this was the gallery where my piece Reach sold last fall, when the SAQA show it was in made its last stop there. Here is a picture of Beth and I.
I really enjoyed the spring weather in San Diego. Flowers were in bloom everywhere, especially Bird of Paradise.
Up close, they almost look like glass art.
Other types of flowers were also in bloom.
On our last day we visited Balboa Park. Bougainvillea were in full bloom, next to desert cactus.
This foliage photo was taken in the botanical gardens at Balboa Park.
I enjoyed the colour in the Spanish Village Arts Center. Many artists have studios within the Center, and visitors can see them working as well as have the opportunity to purchase their work. The Village is very colourful with pastel coloured stone walkways. These three turquoise chairs caught my eye!
We are back home safe and sound and now really eager for spring to arrive in Ottawa!