ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Friday, May 31, 2013

Today at the Quilt en Sud Patchwork and Textile Art Biennial

Today we spent a few hours visiting other exhibits at the Quilt en Sud Festival. What I find remarkable about this festival is that cutting edge textile art is exhibited alongside traditional patchwork. There is something for everyone! I have been very inspired by several artists, and I will be posting some of their work in the next few days when I get my photos sorted out. 

Today I am sharing photos from the time I spent meeting visitors to my own exhibit. 

Here you can see the "Maison l'Infant" from across the water.

My exhibition is just behind these windows.

This is the entry door to the grand old building.

Here I am with my French travel dictionary, trying to communicate with locals. However, I should have had a Spanish dictionary as well. There are many visitors from Spain.

The crowds were steady, the feedback positive, and I have completely ran out of business cards (even though I brought a lot of them) after only two days.

Several bus tours came through the show.

My work was closely examined.

This is one of the cutest visitors. Europe has got it right! Dogs are allowed everywhere, including restaurants and gallery shows. 

Tomorrow I am spending the day teaching my second class. Stay tuned for blog posts that share some of the wonderful textile art I've seen here.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The View from the Classroom

Today I taught my first workshop at the Quilt en Sud Patchwork and Textile Art Biennial. The subject for today was Collage Tree. I think you will agree that the view from the classroom is a rather pleasant one! The only improvement I can imagine would be a blue sky.

I had three wonderful translators today. Antoine (in centre) translated from English to French in the morning; Christine on the right did the same in the afternoon, while Marie Carmen, on left, translated French to Spanish. We are only about 20 km from the Spanish border here.

By the end of class students had a pretty good start on their trees, which are created on muslin so that they can later be appliqued to a suitable background.

Dunixe, who came from San Sebastian, Spain, almost fnished her tree trunk in class. We plan to visit San Sebastian next week when my vacation begins. 

Tomorrow I will be visiting some of the other exhibits that are a part of this Festival, and spending a few hours meeting visitors to my own exhibition. I will share photos of both in my next post.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Official Opening of Quilt en Sud

Tonight was the official opening of the Quilt en Sud Patchwork and Textile Art Biennial. This afternoon I had the honour of being one of four judges to choose the prize winners for two shows: 1) Les Pays de l'Adour (quilts from the region) and 2) The White Line Challenge. What a tough job being a judge is, and it involves a lot of negotiation between the judges. I can't post any of the winners yet as the names of the artists were hidden from us and I would not be able to credit the artist. I will return to the shows on Friday to take some pictures.

I will tell you that seeing these shows has inspired me. The work here is fresh and has a very different aesthetic from North American work. Photos to come in a few days.

Below is a picture of all the hard-working volunteers that pull the Festival together. Yesterday I had the pleasure of having lunch with the entire team. The ceremony was presided over by Francine Flattard (at right) who is in charge of the Quilt en Sud team.

Exhibiting artists were invited to speak for a few minutes about their work. This is artist "Patricyan", who is known for her sculptural work with textiles.

I explained, in English, what my work is about and what I am trying to achieve, and talked a bit about dyeing my own fabric. Translation was provided by Christine Lacroix, wearing red, to my right.

Catherine Bonte, President of France Patchwork announced the winners of the judged competitions below (to my right).

This is the view on the beach, as my husband and I were walking back from dinner tonight. Today's weather is a little like Newfoundland!

Tomorrow I teach my first workshop: Collage Tree. Since my French is very basic, I will have a translator work with me. Tomorrow night there is a bus tour and dinner of traditional Basque food. I'll be back to blog on Friday. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hanging My Show in St. Jean de Luz

We arrived in St. Jean de Luz yesterday. Air France bused us to Montreal, where we flew direct to Paris. At Charles de Gaulle Airport in |Paris, we caught another bus to take us 1-1/2 hours to Orly Airport, where we flew to Biarritz. From there Christine, one of the show organizers, picked us up to transport us to St. Jean de Luz. Today we hung my show at Maison de l'Infante. This is one of several shows taking place as part of Quilt en Sud. The day was mostly grey with occasional rain, but every once in a while some blue sky showed through.  Above and below are the view you see from the window of where my show is being held.

This is the gallery space from the inside.

Built in the late 16th century, Maria Theresa of Spain lived here during her marriage to Louis XI|V. Check out the lovely ceiling.
Several volunteers showed up to help, but Antoinne (on right) did most of the work climbing up and down the ladder and cutting chains.

After the show was hung, we enjoyed a little browsing and shopping along one of the many pedestrian streets in St. Jean de Luz.

We are staying at a lovely small hotel within walking distance of most show activities. I can't wait for it to stop raining so I can sit on this back deck. Beautiful vines are crawling up old walls.

The "pain au chocolate" (chocolate croissants) that were part of our breakfast, almost make up for the rain though :-))

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Whirlwind Tour of Southwestern Ontario

After a few days of what turned out to be a whirlwind tour around Southwestern Ontario, I rolled into my driveway around 12:45 a.m. this morning. I decided to drive home at 4 pm after my class finished in Kirkton, Ontario ended. It proved to be an eight hour drive with stops for dinner and coffee, and more coffee to keep me alert. Normally I would stay over another night before driving home, but I am now in a mad panic to get everything in order for France (where it is unfortunately cold and raining :-( )

On my trip to visit the Erie Shores Quilt Guild in Leamington, Ontario, and the Huron-Perth Quilt Guild in Kirkton, Ontario I drove through a lot of beautiful countryside. Lilacs and horse chestnuts were blooming. Cattle, goats and sheep were grazing in the fields. The landscape was lush and I saw lots of attractive old stone farmhouses and barns. The only problem is that I did not have any time between or after my bookings to stop and take photos. I'm cheating a little bit here because I took this picture of a horse chestnut tree in Prince Edward Island in 2007. I'm including it here just to add a little "mood" to my story.
I was only 2 km away from Lake Erie, and very close to Point Pelee National Park, where people from around the world flock to bird watch and witness various bird migrations. I realized again on this trip how large and diverse Ontario is, and I hope to return to this area to explore further. 

My lecture took place Tuesday night, with my workshop "Liberated Radial Piecing" on Wednesday. Below meet Jackie and Jackie! Jackie Cooper at front, has just finished her strip sets and is starting to cut wedges for her radial design. Jackie and I go back a long way. She and I were members of the same quilting group here in Ottawa about 10 years ago before she moved away. I enjoyed staying at her home and meeting her husband and many pets, including a visiting neighbour's dog who sometimes drops in for a nap or visit. My stay was so brief I did not get my usual photos of the pets I meet on the road. 

We had 20 students in the class. 

Here are a few photos of students starting to form their radial designs in the afternoon. 

After that workshop I drove three hours to my next booking. Thursday I taught my "In Full Bloom" class at the Huron-Perth Quilt Guild. We had a full class of 20 again.

You can see some wonderful roses developing here.
 A lily started ...
 A poppy in purple.
This is Janice, whose home I had the pleasure of staying at a second time. Last year I stayed with her when I delivered a lecture/trunk show to this group.

Cheating again here! Lilac photo from the 2007 trip to Prince Edward Island. But hopefully it will impart the beauty I saw in Southwestern Ontario. The hospitality also rivaled that of the Maritimes!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Grand National and a Grand Day

Today my sister and I headed over to Homer Watson Gallery to check out the Grand National Quilt Show. This year's show features a selection of quilts from across the country, interpreting the theme of "Local Colour". You can view the award winners on the Grand National website, and all the works will be posted to the website down the road. Two of my pieces are in the show (Red Stool and Invitation).

Homer Watson Gallery is a historic house, where Canadian artist Homer Watson once lived. The house is situated in a lovely wooded area on the outskirts of Kitchener, Ontario.
It is always a pleasure to enjoy the property after or before viewing the show.
On this glorious May day the lilacs are in full bloom. 
I was surprised to learn that we were permitted to take photos. I am going to share my favorite pieces.
Red Iris, by Carolynn McMillan. The backlit section is superb! Asection of this piece was featured on the show postcard.
I found myself drawn to Kit Vincent's abstract interpretation of life along the St. Lawrence River ("Big River Series: Last Light"). I think it is fair to say that at this stage I am most drawn to elegant simplicity.
Anna Hergert's Joie de Vivre, was well ... a joy to behold.
Tracy Lawko's "Daybreak". Heavily thread painted. Simple elegance.
I had a limited amount of time at the show, and did not realize when I took this picture, that Pat Herzberg's "Local Colour, Don Cherry" was really about hockey celebrity, Don Cherry. A celebrity that I find rather offensive myself (outspoken, arrogant and garish), but since the quilt does not remind me of Don Cherry, I still like it. Hard to get a photo as the light was shining from behind. It was hung that way because it is made predominantly of sheers.
Visiting my father today, I found lots of hosta plants unfurling around his residence. Love this composition of spiralling hosta plants.
 More spirals.
I guess I am still attracted to hosta leaves. Never more so than when they are unfurling. Maybe I'm not finished with green yet!
I am hanging out with family for a few days, on my way to my teaching gigs in Southwestern Ontario. Hope you are enjoying a wonderful long weekend!