ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Show for Every Quilt

Remember those quilts I showed in my March 17 post called Understanding Jurors Decisions? Two had been accepted and two (including Losses 2 pictured above) had been rejected from the Canadian Quilters Association National Juried Show. I just received word this week that Losses 2 was juried into THE ArT-QuILT ExPERIENCE at Stone Hill Quarry Art Park, Cazenovia, NY. The lead juror for this show was Jonathan Holstein, a well-known quilt collector for more than 40 years, and well known for hanging those Amish quilts on the wall of the Whitney Museum in New York in 1971 and pronouncing them art! Many historians trace the modern art quilt movement to this event. Mr. Holstein will be present to deliver a talk at the opening on June 12, 2011. Just goes to prove that there is a show for every quilt.

Creating in the Middle of Things, Part 2

I spent last week teaching workshops at the Greenwood Quiltery in Guelph, Ontario. During this time I stayed with my sister in Waterloo. She goes to bed early and I am a night owl. This time I was prepared to actually create some of my own work on a teaching trip. The fabric was dyed, the pattern designed, and all I had to do was start creating. I am happy to say that I was successful at completing a complete quilt top during this trip! OK, some values need to be tweaked a little, but here is my striped dahlia.
In my December 8, 2010 blog post titled Why I Wish it were Summer I shared a photo I had taken of a striped dahlia and the shibori fabrics I had dyed on a pole to create the flower. This project seemed a little easier to create on the road than Red Stool (post below). That one is just too hard to take on the road.
I taught 4 different workshops last week. Below Sharon shows off the piece she created in my Liberated Radial Piecing class. By the end of the class she had almost completed this very cheerful radial design.
Upon my return to Ottawa, I was invited to meet Helen Heaney, President of the Austrian Quilt Guild, at the home of friend and student Anneliese Villeneuve. Anneliese is just about the closest thing to an angel on earth you will find. She devotes much of her time to volunteering with Victorias Quilts, a charity that delivers hand-made quilts to cancer patients. Anneliese has been a wonderful supporter of my art quilt career for many years. Helen has been President of the Austrian Quilt Guild (which Anneliese is a member of) for eight years, and has seen the membership grow from 250 to 700 during her time there. I shared some of my quilts with her and she had fun shopping out of my store of hand-dyed fabrics. Here we are, left to right, Helen, me and Anneliese.
Upon arriving home I was also able to pick up the more than 100 meters of fabric my friend Denise ironed for me while I was away. Several teaching bookings have been firmed up during this time so I have contracts to prepare and those dreaded taxes to finish! It will be a week of paperwork and more teaching locally.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Carolina on my Mind

That old James Taylor song has been rattling around in my head since finding out last week that In the Act has been accepted into the Professional Art Quilt Alliance-South (PAQA-South) show in Cary, North Carolina. The theme of this year's show is "Movement", and I thought this piece does show some movement, but also I think the title (which implies action) hints at movement. So far this piece has had a successful life. It was accepted into Quilts=Art=Quilts at the Schweinfurth Memorial Arts Centre this past fall (see my post on Quilts=Art=Quilts), and perhaps most exciting of all, art quilt diva extraordinaire, Hollis Chatelain wrote to me and asked permission to include a photograph of the quilt in a slide lecture she is creating.
It must be spring because lots of quilts are leaving for shows. The following two pieces have left for the Grand National show at the Joseph Schneider Haus Museum in Kitchener, Ontario. This year's theme is "Balancing Act". I do not usually make pieces for specific themes, but rather enter them when I have something that fits the theme (or can be made to fit the theme ;-)). I came up with these two (Act 3 and Standing Still), and entered both just in case one didn't make it in. They were both accepted.
Act 3:
I decided to exhibit Standing Still one more time before it is too old. It was made in 2008.

Now I just need to find a show for Standing Ovation
.I'm working on that one, but for now it will be in the invitational show (teacher's exhibit) at Quilt Canada London.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Creating in the Middle of Things

I have a little hiatus from teaching during this two-week period, so I've been in the studio a bit. This is what I'm working on. First photo is the inspiration photo, which is a composite of three different photos I took, and the second photo shows my humble start of this piece, called "Red Stool". I've also got a few smaller projects going that involve working with some sheer hand-dyed organzas (fun!).
That's all I managed last week. I could make the excuse that I am dyeing up a storm for my Ottawa Valley Quilt show booth, that I'm doing my bookeeping for 2010 in preparation for my taxes, that I'm revising and updating my teaching brochure (I only use Publisher once or twice a year and each time I have to re-teach myself), or that I've been preparing teaching contracts, prepping for next week's teaching trip, doing laundry, and worst of all, trying to exercise more and eat better! BUT, the reality hits me today!! Some of you know I've been enrolled in Eric Maisel's Introductory Creativity Coaching training. Ever since discovering his books a couple of years ago, I know that the struggles I go through with the artistic process are normal. We all procrastinate because we want to avoid the work that doesn't work, because we are too attached to outcome, and because we believe the script that we don't have time. So this past week the topic of our class was "Creating in the Middle of Things". We had to come up with an idea to help a client do just that. Apparently I missed the mark, as Eric responded that what we really need to do is help our clients accept that we will ALWAYS be creating in the middle of things, and we have to learn to create despite being there. Modern life, with all its distractions,is always going on around us! "The middle of things" is also the mental states we find ourselves in as we react to life. There will never be a perfect time to create ... NOW is that perfect time. Red Stool is going to be a major piece for me, so how will I make myself sit down and work? By doing a bit at a time, just like my last piece. Better to do 15 minutes a day than a day once a month because it cultivates the regular habit of showing up for your work! There was a quote by one of the other coaches in training, that went something like this "Once you make the choice to cut off the pipeline of complaint, you free giga watts of energy". How true that feels. The answer is to stop resisting the work, and plug away at it little by little. Maybe I can do that with diet and exercise too?
Speaking of Eric Maisel, the latest issue of the SAQA Journal (Spring 2011) contains my article about the "Coaching the Artist Within" class I took with Eric last June. Maybe it will tempt you to read some of his books. I think you will love them.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Serendipity Strips and Curves

For several Saturdays over the past few months I've been delivering my "Serendipity Strips and Curves" workshop series to the Quiltco Quilt Guild in Old Ottawa South. This workshop series (which can also be a 5-day class) includes 5 of my one-day classes that involve liberated curved and strip piecing methods ("Reflections", Free-Form Curves, Flip & Sew Curves, Liberated Strip Piecing, and Liberated Radial piecing). There is very little use of rulers or measuring in this class. Naturally this can be anxiety-provoking for some, while being liberating for others. I was really pleased to see some of the results this past Saturday. For example, Kathy brought a fabulous finished piece she had created by combining free-form curves and flip and sew curve methods. She named it Changing Margaret's Mind, inspired by Margaret Trudeau's latest memoir, "Changing My Mind".
I especially love when students come to class and go off to do something original and creative.

Sue brought the cat piece she designed in the last class on Flip and Sew Curves.
Judy combined the free-hand curved blocks from the first class with a Mariner's Compass she created in another class, giving her piece an ocean waves look.
The topic on Saturday was Liberated Strip Piecing, and here are just a couple of pieces that were nearing completion by the end of the class:
I casually named Janet's piece "Denim and Leather"
I think Sue's piece looks like a New York sunrise.
Finally, here is Carole's very funky piece.
I really love the irregular edges on these pieces! One more class to go in this series and I look forward to more finished pieces and to what results from Liberated Radial piecing!