ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Another Fantastic Week at the Haliburton School of the Arts

I had a fantastic week with 12 eager students in my "The Art Quilt" class at the Haliburton School of the Arts this past week. I am living amid the lakes and forests of Ontario's cottage country for two weeks while I teach. We had a few days of perfect weather, not too hot at all this year!

On our first day we spent a lot of time on the topic of creativity, tried some different ways to inspire ourselves, and students got started on an idea/sketchbook. On our second day we got heavily into the topic of composition and design since this class is about designing your own work. Students are required to complete two design exercises by the end of the class, using two different ways of designing.  We start with an improvisational method, using free-hand cutting of fused fabric, keeping in mind what orientation, compositional style and elements and principles will be included.  The second exercise involves creating a pattern for your design, and using 5-7 values of one colour is part of the assignment, as well as choosing an orientation, compositional style, etc.  

On the third day we dye fabric.  Students choose whether to do an earthy or bright 12 step colourwheel, and then they learn how to dye multi-coloured fabrics.  Each of these methods introduces a new skill.  The colourwheel introduces colour mixing, while the multi-coloured fabrics introduce how to dye more by the seat of one's pants.

In a college environment we are required to use a dye box (sometimes referred to as a mixing box), rather than wearing protective masks, to keep the dye powder from becoming airborne.  You can see students getting set up with the mixing box below. 

Fabric is rinsed and washed the next day. I think Deb looks a little happy with the results in the photo below! There were some tense moments when a couple of the laundry bags broke and students' fabrics got mixed up. Fortunately everyone wrote their initials on the selvedge, so most were identifiable. Only a couple of the very dark colours were in question. Industrial washers sure agitate a lot more than home washers!

Here's a photo of a finished "earthy" colour wheel, with some multi-colours on each side.

Here, on our last day, is the wall of (mostly) completed design exercises. We spent more than an hour discussing them together. 

I'm including just a couple of close-ups with some points of interest to note.  In this free-hand cut portrait (of her daughter) below, Janey managed to include a full face, but if you look at the more intense yellow on the left section, you will see that the full frontal face also includes a second face from a side view. A very happy accident! 

Hopi's tropical leaf piece (made from a pattern she created) is almost complete. I think I have some serious competition in the foliage department ;-))! And we aren't even into the Flowers and Foliage class (which starts next week). I can't wait to see what students produce there. 

Here's my class ... I learned so much from them!  Thank you Deb, Beverley, Hopi, Katie, Ingrid, Colleen, Wendy, Kathleen, Maryann, Melanie, Judy, and Janey!

I also had the wonderful opportunity of getting to know Canadian Textile Artist, Sylvia Naylor, a lot better. We were assigned to the same cabin, and had some great chats in the evenings and at breakfast. That's Sylvia on the left and me on the right. 

Heading back to my cottage last night, I found this deer right next to the cottage.  I got as close as I could with my camera, but eventually I got too close and she darted off.  Deer sightings are one of the special parts of my weeks teaching in Haliburton each summer. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Heading for Houston

No, I'm not heading to Houston, but I've just learned that two of my quilts were accepted to the World of Beauty juried international show in Houston.  They are as follows:
Red Stool 
Curtain Call 2

I don't anticipate being in Houston myself this fall. Too many competing demands on my budget! I haven't entered Houston in a few years, and discovered that my hanging sleeves are not up to their standards, so that is going to take some work to fix. I've also been asked to ship Curtain Call 2 early as it has been chosen for POSSIBLE inclusion in the Quilt Scene Magazine, a magazine by Interweave that covers events at the Festival. To save money on shipping (which is very expensive) I have permission to ship both quilts together, BUT Red Stool, being an irregular-shaped quilt, needs to be mounted on black fabric, and that black fabric needs to include a hanging sleeve.  There's a major not-fun project I need to fit in this week. I sure hope it hangs OK when its mounted. They'll have to be shipped this week as I'm away the next two, and they are due by August 1. 

I know I've been quiet lately, but I am madly preparing for my two weeks of teaching at the Haliburton School of the Arts, beginning next week. First week will be my Art Quilt class, and the second week is a new class called Flowers and Foliage.

I've also been on a dyeing binge, partly inspired by work I want to complete, and partly inspired by an offer that has just come in from a fabric company to collaborate on a line of fabric based on my hand-dyes. I will share more about this when details are finalized. It took me a while to come to a decision on whether to take this on. It is going to involve publishing some patterns too.  Stay tuned!

New Workshops in Ottawa

I am pleased to share that I will be teaching a series of workshops this Fall/Winter at The Running Stitch Quilt Shop in Kanata (west side of Ottawa). I am also pleased to let you know that one of these workshops will be my five-day Art Quilt Series. It's been two years since this series ran in Ottawa, so don't miss out!

The dates (all Sundays) are:

September 22
October 27
November 24
December 15
January 12, 2014.

Here's the class description:

In this five-day workshop, the focus will be on ways to inspire you and jumpstart your creativity so you can produce original works of art in the quilt medium (even if you think you are not creative!). Throughout the class the instructor will share her own process for making an original art quilt from beginning to end. Instruction and exercises on colour and the elements and principles of design will give you the background to make more visually dynamic work. You will be introduced to two methods for designing your own quilts:  1) seat of the pants design, or 2) creating your own pattern.  Learn how to dye your own fabric, techniques you might need to construct the quilt itself, and how to finish your work.   

I'll also be doing a trunk show at The Running Stitch on the evening of Friday, September 13, as well as teaching my "Reflections" class on Saturday, November 23.

You might also be interested to know that The Running Stitch was the site for a wedding this past Saturday. Read about it here.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Infinity Art Gallery's Annual Art Quilt Show: I'm a Finalist

Infinity Art Gallery's annual international on-line Art Quilt Show opened today. I've just learned that I'm a finalist in the show.

"Curtain Call 2" is one of 36 works accepted. This is my third consecutive year having work in this show.

Grab a cup of coffee or tea, and enjoy the show.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Vidcast Made in Houston

Last November I had the opportunity to be filmed in one of Bonnie McCaffery's Vidcasts. You may recall me mentioning it in one of my blog posts about the International Quilt Festival in Houston. The video was just published today, and you can access it here.

I am finally back home for a few weeks after my class at the Haliburton School of the Arts last week, and stopping off in Southern Ontario to visit my father for his 89th birthday. It feels so good to be home with my family, including my girls, Ms. Peek-a-Boo ("Peekie"), at left, and Ms. Kissabelle ("Kissy") at right. We're going to do some serious bonding in the next couple of weeks :-)