ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Encore Changes and Bursting into Bloom

You probably remember me featuring my quadriptych "Encore" on this blog before.

This is what it looks like now with the fifth panel added in the middle, and the fourth panel turned up-side-down. I sewed the hanging sleeve on the other end because I found panel four too similar in composition to panel three.

These are all being sent out to France for the Crossing Oceans international exhibition on Nature. Our group now has a Facebook page at Crossing Oceans Textile Artists. If you are on Facebook, come and like us there. Several members have been sharing their work, and this is where you will find information about our group along with our upcoming shows. While you are on Facebook, please friend me as well. 

Here are some more detailed photos of each panel:

Encore 1: Unfurling
Encore 2: Blossoming
Encore 3: Growing
Encore 4: Maturing
Encore 5: Returning

As you may have noticed, hosta plants are bursting into bloom everywhere! I spent a bit of time today with my macro lens.

I really love how some blossoms include both warm purples and cool purples.

In this type of hosta blossom, there is almost a braided appearance to the blossom.

Whether or not these end up inspiring some art quilts remains to be seen. I have a million ideas, and stacks of many types of photos, and am at the moment finally quilting the samples for my hosta patterns. I'll be sure to share here if these photos do inspire some work.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

An Inspiring Week of Serendipity at Haliburton School of the Arts

Any time you see photos of deer on my blog, you can pretty much assume I've been teaching at the Haliburton School of the Arts. Last week's class was Serendipity Strips and Curves. The class is about cutting and piecing free-hand without rulers or measurements. It is intended to get students comfortable with free-form and liberated methods of construction, and introduce them to a variety of ways of constructing and designing free-hand.

We started by cutting curves free-hand. This one is Lynne's finished work.

We moved on to cutting curved blocks free-hand, and then designing with them. Once you get a stack of these blocks made you won't get any sleep because the design possibilities are endless. I encouraged Korleen to cut her blocks rectangular instead of square. I like the result.

Libby delved into her hand-dyed fabrics (from last Fall's "Dyeing to Quilt" class), as well as batiks and hand-painted fabrics to turn out this diagonal design.

Bill decided to work with his Tanzanian batiks, and add a few surprise turns into the design.

Tuesday night was the faculty reception at Rail's End Gallery. Each Tuesday night during the Summer School, there is a reception at the Gallery so students can meet instructors. All instructors are encouraged to submit a work for the show. This year I sent "Invitation".

 The class really got creative learning how to build free-form curves on a muslin foundation. 



This was a piece I started demo'ing on, and then finished to submit for the art auction on August 7. Proceeds from the auction go to student scholarships. This would be "Femmes FATales 4"

Students learned a method of free-form strip piecing, and how to design and construct with it. Bill started the wonderful trend of hanging these works on the classroom window. They glowed like stained glass!

Bill's window on left, Lynne's on right.

Libby's finished piece

I want to call Susan's piece "Shards"


Liz's piece is reminiscent of chocolate, butterscotch and sherbet!

Each day I provided a demo, and then the class sewed and designed all day. Some chose to sew in the evening as well!

Here's the group shot. Back row, L to R, Libby, Lynne, Holly, Bill, Sherri, Susan, and Korleen. Front row, L to R, me, Liz, and Sheila. About half of the students were return students.

The last assignment was to form a radial design with free-hand cutting and sewing.

This lovely spring palette was created by Liz.
Lynne managed to finish hers.

 Sheila successfully combined the two halves of her radial design with the strip-pieced design from the previous day.

I realize now that I missed taking photos of some works that were not prominently displayed.

It is always wonderful to spend a week with such an inspiring and adventurous group of students! I am back home now with some catching up to do in the next two weeks before I head off to teach in the Okanagan Valley. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Show and Tell

Tomorrow I'm heading off to teach for a week at the Haliburton School of the Arts. I am pleased that before I leave I have finished all the pieces for our Crossing Oceans group show on Nature. You may recall that I posted a picture of this final piece a few weeks ago. I really wasn't very happy with it, until I took some Prismacolor Artist Pencils to it and shaded it, adding some depth and light and more complex colour.
I am much more pleased with it now. Originally it was flat and boring. Now it has a bit more life and glows a bit.

I was going to add a fifth piece in the middle of my quadriptych, making it a pentaptych (work with five pieces), however, I do not think it works because the composition is too similar to the second one from the right (below). But that is fine as it can hang on its own. We are not required to have four or five parts that work together, only that we have five pieces of a certain measurement. The pieces of my quadriptych may not be hung together in this show anyway.

For someone who has worked with a hosta theme for several years, it is only recently I have started studying actual leaves up close and in person. My work up until now is all based on photos I've taken. Last week I realized that the type of hosta, that grows at the side of my house, is really very interesting up close. Look at all the different greens in it! I placed the leaf on my scanner, scanned a photo, and then played with it in Photoshop. One can while away hours playing with filters in Photoshop!

I've been saving up a few photos that have come in from recent classes. This is a photo that Bev sent after our last Dye Happy class. She did some wonderful gradations. two-colour runs, and parfaits. I love the earthy greens resulting from the green and purple dyes.

Cathy sent this photo of her "earthy" colour wheel after Quilt Canada.

Lynda also sent photos of her earthy colourwheel and some of the multi-coloured fabrics she did in my "Intro to Fabric Dyeing" at Quilt Canada.

Eleanor sent a photo of her finished piece from my "Liberated Radial Piecing" class at the Prince Edward County Quilters Guild in May.

I love receiving photos from students, so please don't hesitate to share them. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Nature Meets Art in Haliburton

Last week I had the pleasure of a week just for me! After my father's 90th birthday party in Waterloo, I headed up to Haliburton to take a week-long class at the Haliburton School of the Arts. Yes, this is the same college I teach at. This year I was thrilled to find a small and inexpensive cabin in the woods for a little solitude. It had all the features I was looking for, and while it was only 15 minutes away from the village of Haliburton, it felt very. very remote.

The last few kilometers to the cottage involved gravel roads, and then a trip down a long lane way through the forest to get to my cabin and the home of the people who own it. I personally love long lanes through the woods like this one!

The cabin was peaceful except for the sound of the torrential rains and crashing thunderstorms we experienced last week. Nevertheless, I was cozy there, and when I woke in the morning this is the sight I saw out my window. My wee cabin faced the lake! This photo was taken on one of the few sunnier days.

This tree near the water facinated me because of its shibori-like horizontal marks, reminding me of a discharged fabric I created several years ago.

Nothing seems as peaceful and calming to me as sun glinted yellow-green leaves and blue skies and water. 

Several times I spotted deer on the drive up the lane.

Boats at dusk, on calm waters, at the cottage next door.

From the cabin guestbook, I learned that many students of  Haliburton School of the Arts have stayed in this cabin, including a couple that have visited each year for the past 17 years. One student even left behind an artwork of the little blue cabin.

The owners of the cabin lived just up the road, and I could go there to pet their cats whenever I wanted. The felines seemed to accept me and felt they could "talk" to me ;-)  Harriet had a few complaints. Apparently she was found frozen to the road one winter. She is missing part of her tail.

Sylvester guards the place, and is a force to be reckoned with, just because of his sheer size. I don't think I have ever tried to lift a heavier cat. He is really big-boned and solid. 

The class I registered in was called "Passionate Colour" with artist Al van Mil. I was really pleased that when I emailed Al to ask if I could work in fabric, I got a really open-minded and encouraging response. I am far too used to people responding with stories of their grandmother's patchwork when I use the word "quilt". Not Al ... he saw the possibilities.  And so I embarked on the course with a full palette of my hand-dyed fabric, to which I had adhered fusible web.

I took a design wall made of foam core board covered with quilt batting. Except for a few colour mixing exercises, I spent most of the week working with fabric.

Al and his wife Anette Blady, who was teaching in the classroom next door, often work on each other's paintings. That seemed to facinate students in our class. Al picked up on that and one day invited us to create a group painting. The only stipulation was that we had to somehow make it about the colour magenta. For that, he purchased a top quality jar of magenta paint for us to use. This is our finished painting.

Once the painting was dry, Al decided the composition was better in the opposite direction, and then glazed parts of it, to reveal an abstract female shape. He plans to contribute it to the Haliburton School of the Arts faculty art auction.

This is a photo of our class, with Al being the only guy. He is a successful Canadian artist who has had work in the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario. It was a joy to spend time with Al and Anette. One night both classes were invited to a potluck at their cottage, where we also saw lots of art! this is a couple who successfully makes a living by selling their art. While their main residence is in Toronto, they also have a cottage outside Haliburton.

I didn't create anything earth shattering during the week, but succeeded in my goal of not being too attached to the outcome. I didn't want to worry about wasting my time or stress about making a masterpiece. I basically worked cutting fused fabric free-hand with a scissors. 

We received instruction about simultaneous contrast, and looked at samples of how it can make our work sing. So my first quick composition involved using a neutral orange next to a saturated orange, and next to the complement of turquoise.

My second composition, an abstract landscape, also uses simultaneous contrast. The very bright yellow-green pops next to the very neutral green. Same with the light orange against the earthy orange.This piece was inspired by a photograph I brought of orange-coloured leaves that had settled on a log in a stream.

This was an experiment, inspired by a seashell I brought. I don't think the composition works that well, but I'm showing it anyway.

We had an assignment to create something in the style of Klimt. Originally my background for this piece was a rusty orange. I didn't find it exciting, so I switched to something more typical of me ... chartreuse! Lots of fun working with neutral yellows and golds, as well as bright ones.

A very simple abstracted version of stairs in a garden in Italy. All cut free-hand. If I were to remake this I would take the green stairs up behind the top red step on the right-hand side. I am not fond of the straight horizontal line created across the green and red top step.

On the last day, this composition started to form. I just started playing with wave-type shapes. It is inspired by autumn reflections on a pond. It is only partly finished. What was I thinking? How would I quilt all those little circles?

So what do I take away from the week? An increased understanding and appreciation for subtle tones and shades of hues and their potential effects in my work. It also occurred to me that I might more often create art if I had a ready supply of fused fabrics. I could be doing this in short spurts of time. No it won't be the complex kind of work I normally do, but it is still worth doing.

My trip to Haliburton ended with a visit with my friend Carol, and her husband, who have have purchased a cottage about 45 minutes from Haliburton. It happens to be right along my route back to Ottawa. So I had a nice visit with them and their two lively dogs on my way home. Lucca at top and Khio at bottom. What fun characters they are!

This week it is back to reality! I've just taken my first Northcott pattern to the printer, and on Thursday I will begin stuffing 1,000 pattern packages. Then prep for the class I am teaching in Haliburton.