ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Late Autumn in the Garden

A few days ago while raking autumn leaves from the lawn, I found these stunning sights and grabbed my macro lens.
In the midst of death and decay, a few "Johnnie Jump-Ups" blooms in November!   I call this photo HOPE.  The next four photos feataure Johnnie Jump-Ups amid dying hostas.

I love the way hosta leaves curl into interesting shapes at this time of year.
The browned and drying hydrangea leaves showed amazing texture!
Beautiful when backlit by the sun!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

International Quilt Festival Houston 2012: The Quilts

Here, at last, is my post about the quilts at International Quilt Festival, Houston.  I just ran out of steam last night. 

First off, I do want to say that this is only a small group of what was on display, but since this is my blog I get to display my favorites ;-)))  If you'd like to see all the award winners in the judged International Quilt Association's World of Beauty show they are available on-line at the just mentioned highlighted link.

Second, I need to mention that the photos below are from exhibits where photography was allowed.  Some of my favorite exhibits did not allow photography but I'm providing links where you can see at least some of the work and purchase catalogues.

My two favorite exhibits were the SAQA Seasonal Palette show and the Dinner at Eight "Rituals" show.  You can click on those links to see more work and/or order catalogues.  Below I do have a far-away shot of Seasonal Palette to give you a sense of the exhibit.  It was HUGE, taking up a good chunk of the show floor.  So first of all, it was impressive because of its size, the ability to stand away and get a good feel for the pieces, the fact that the pieces were also HUGE, and the common size of all of them really pulled the show together.  In the centre of the show, on a table, were all the working journals the artists had kept while creating their pieces, on view for anyone who wished to look.

The Dinner at Eight exhibit, which was pulled together by similar sized works and a theme of Rituals was also impressive.

You may view and read about the SAQA Sense of Scale exhibit on-line.  As I mentioned in my previous post, however, the photographs on-line of any of the SAQA shows and the SAQA Benefit Auction pieces do not do the works justice.  They were far better in person.

I will begin with my two favorite pieces in the show.  No one will be surprised that these, and many of my favorites, include imagery of the natural world.  I have tried to include links to the websites of all of the artists, in cases where I was able to find them.

This piece is called "Lakeside Solace" by Noriko Endo of Tokyo, Japan.  The colours in her palette stopped me in my tracks.  Who hasn't seen such a scene in autumn?

My other favorite is "Four Seasons" fy Leslie Rego, Sun Valley, Idaho.  Her piece includes hand-dyed fabrics, hand-painting, screen-printing and soy wax batik.  The machine quilting on it really enhances the piece!  This piece won a first place in the "Art-Painted Surface" category.
Here are a few quilts that won big monetary prizes, that I also happened to like.

The first is "Hot Africa" by Jannecke DeVries-Bodzinga of the Netherlands. If you visit her website you will find that the piece has won awards in many shows.
Another major award winner in my "like" category is "Silk" by Hollis Chatelain of North Carolina.  The piece is made of silk and also depicts silk workers in Thailand.  The thread drawings on the surface made a huge impact on me.
"Prairie Fire" by Ruth Powers of Carbondale, Kansas.  Peaceful, good composition ... Ruth works using the picture piecing technique made famous by Ruth MacDowell, but has her own style.  I've taken Ruth McDowell's class and it took me three days just to make the pattern!  I decided to stick with fusing.
The amazing portrait below, "Make You Happy" is by Brigit Aubeso Bell-Lloch from Spain. It is a portrait of her much younger mother, and  took first place in the "Art: People, Portraits and Figures" category. 
While we are on the subject of people, one of my favorite exhibits at Houston was the one by Brazilian quilters.  "Countryside Wedding" below by Claudia da Silva Dias really charmed me.  It has a folksiness about it, but at the same time a clean and modern surface.
I loved this whimsical piece, "Rest" by Brazilian artist Necca Kehrwald
Now we're back at the World of Beauty Show again.  This piece is called "Natural Wonders" by Kathy McNeil of Tulalip Washington. 
"Colores" by Michelle Jackson of Albuquerque, NM.
"Brink of Sunset" by Hanne Greta Brink of Norway. 
This one was my favorite traditional quilt, called "Oh to be in New England" by Liz Jones (UK) in the "Hands All Around" exhibit.
The following two Leaf quilts caught my eye.  Both by Priscilla Kibbee of Wolcott New York.
If Leaves Were Blue 
If Leaves Could Choose 
"Blazing Sumac" by Marianne Parsons of Oliver, British Columbia, caught my eye because the sumac bushes here in Ontario were just flaming this fall!
"La Femme" by Trish Charity, Temecula, California in the special exhibit "Black and White with a Twist".  Resonated with me a lot because of the gesture drawings I've been doing in art class.
Moon Sisters by Stacy Hurt of Orange, California.
Here are my favorites in the Abstract category.  "Stacked Mummy Bags 3" by Pat Pauly of Pittsford, NY.  Pat's compositions are stunning, her colours appealing, and she uses a lot of interesting hand-printed and dyed fabrics in her work. Be sure to visit her website. 
"Mummy Bags, Canopic" Jars by Pat Pauly.
"Down Pat" by Pat Budge of Green Valley, Idaho.
Strung Along by Timna Tarr, S. Hadly, MA.  Timna had entered this piece in the "Abstract" category but had it moved to the "Traditional" category for the show.  In any case, the colour and movement appeals to me.
The following two quilts were in the "Group Quilt" category.  The first is "Balancing Act" by Sherry McCauley, Frances Holiday Alford, Barb Forrister, Connie Hudson, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Susan Lewis Story, and Kathy York.  Members of the group all share a love of rock formations, and each created their own rock formation and then the group came together to assemble them.
"Guitar Blues" is by Julie Poirier-Mathur and the Beaconsfield Quilters Guild, Beaconsfield, Quebec.
There were a lot of cat and dog quilts in Houston, many in the "Feeling Petty" show.  This one, "Out in the Garden" by Leslie Hall reminded me that I have always wanted to do a cat portrait in unrealistic colours.
I love "Maximum Cat Nap" by Susan Brubaker-Knapp because of the way she's stitched the texture of cat fur, but also because it looks so much like my dearly-departed cat Puffin who passed on a few years ago.
Thus endeth my posts about Houston.  Of course there were many other wonderful quilts.  I often feel like I have Attention Deficit Disorder when I arrive at a quilt show.  I flit from place to place, always distracted by something new.  If I could examine each quilt there in isolation and with the time they deserve, I might have to post each one!
I hope you enjoyed my selections. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

International Quilt Festival Houston 2012: The Experience

I returned late last night after five days at International Quilt Festival Houston. I'm not sure how other people manage to blog while they are either attending shows or teaching, but I can't seem to manage it.  I was hoping to get this posted sooner but it was off to the National Gallery today where my art class spent the afternoon drawing.  More on my drawing class in a future post.

You won't often find cityscapes on my blog, but I thought the sky was just amazingly blue in Houston after many days of rain in Ottawa just before I left.  Temperatures were well into the 80's fahrenheit too.  This was the view from the hotel room, which my friend Betty Busby graciously shared with me, at the Hilton.  The Hilton is directly attached to the George Brown Convention Center, where the show takes place.  But even though I found myself in the downtown of metropolitan Houston, I still managed to find nature:  hibiscus and bird of paradise flowers were abundant in the park across from the hotel and convention center.
On Wednesday night when I arrived, I spent a bit of time volunteering in the SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) booth.  This year SAQA reserved a special grouping of their auction quilts to auction off in Houston.  You can see them displayed behind the table.  Let me tell you, the photos on the blog do not do these works justice; they are far better in person.  I have to say the same about the works in the SAQA Special exhibits at Houston, but more on those tomorrow. 
I had an opportunity to meet many SAQA members from around the world, there were several lunches and dinners that took place.  Here we are at the Grove Restaurant (best chocolate cake by the way!)
On Friday morning I shot my first ever video!  While teaching in Montreal at Salon 2012 earlier this year, I met Bonnie McCaffery, who is well known for her Vidcasts of quilt artists, that she often shoots while visiting quilt shows around the world.  You can view her other Vidcasts here.  Bonnie liked my work and invited me to make a video with her in Houston.  So now I can tell you that this was one of the reasons I decided to go to Houston this year.  That and The Natural World exhibit, but more on that in a minute. So here's Bonnie getting all her video equipment set up.  The video will be released in the new year, and I will be sure to crow about it when the time comes.
I did two trips through the massive merchant mall.  Photo below taken from the floor above.  More than 1000 vendors!  On the second trip I marked all the businesses I specifically wanted to visit.  I can honestly tell you I didn't buy any fabric!!  I was, however, quite a thread whore!  How could I resist the bins of "Overstock" at the Superior booth with such good prices?  How could I resist the autumn collection sold by Madeira?  Oh, and I should also tell you that there are silver jewellrey vendors at Houston.  I spent some dollars there too. 
After speaking to Vicki Anderson, of Meander Publishing (responsible for Machine Quilting Unlimited and Modern Quilts Unlimited magazines) via email many times, I finally had a chance to meet her in person at the merchant mall.  She is on the right in this photo below.  In the middle is Diane Rusin Doran and on the left is Alycia Carmin, both employees of Meander Publishing. On display in their booth was a selection of modern quilts.
Speaking of modern quilts, there was a special exhibit of modern quilts at Houston by the Modern Quilt Guild, which I quite enjoyed.  I find them fresh and new and non-fussy.  I am amazed to read comments on Facebook today by a long-arm quilter who thinks it is a waste to have modern quilts take up the space of what we have long traditionally considered quilts, works that take massive amounts of time.  Don't you find this ironic coming from someone who machine quilts?  At one time folks would have said the same ... how sad to see all these machine quilted quilts taking up the space where hand-quilted quilts once hung?  Too funny!
Friday night was the SAQA/Quiltart Reception where one has the chance to meet a lot of people you may have only met on-line.  I happened to run into a few Canadians and had my photo taken with them.  On the left is Helena Scheffer of Montreal (Beaconsfield) with work in the World of Beauty show.  In the centre is Carol Moore of Toronto, with work in the Seasonal Palette show, and on the right is me!   While I've known Helena for a while, this was the first time I've had the pleasure of meeting Carol in person! 
It was great to meet up with Judith Trager from Colorado again.  She once stayed at my house while teaching in Ottawa. Currently she is serving on the Board of SAQA.
Here's the other reason I went to Houston this year.  There was a special exhibit of the work of artists in the book Art Quilt Portfolio: The Natural World.  We were all invited to come and volunteer in the booth, help sell books, speak to the public about our work, and we even signed a few autographs.  During a quiet period, my friend Betty Busby convinced me to let her add a few colour streaks to my hair.  Fortunately they washed out for the shooting of my vidcast ;-)) 
Here I am with "In the Act", my piece in the exhibit.  No photographs allowed in this exhibit but they made an exception since it was my quilt. 
Back at the SAQA booth, Janet Windsor (at right) was happy about the fact that her work in Seasonal Palette sold in Houston.  She also identified herself as one of my blog followers, so I had to take her picture.
Tomorrow I hope to post the photos of quilts I took in Houston.  Right now I need some sleep.  The good news is that although I have a lot of workshops to deliver before Christmas, they are all pretty much local.  I'll be sleeping in my own bed :-))