ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Return from A/The Grand Guild

It is Saturday night of a long Victoria Day Weekend here in Canada. Once again I'm working this weekend. Unpacking from my last teaching trip, doing laundry, and packing for my next teaching trip. It also seems to be the season that guilds are hiring for 2017 so I have several contracts to prepare. Some of my 2017 Teaching Schedule is already on my website, and more will appear soon. This weekend I am also dyeing more hosta kits. They sell like hotcakes. I'm cutting fabric and bundling kits in preparation to head off on Wednesday to teach at Salon 2016 in Montreal. Not too long after that I need to ship my patterns and kits to Vermont for my classes at the Vermont Quilt Festival.

A few days ago I returned from a teaching trip to the Grand Quilt Guild of Fergus, that was followed by a visit to family, seeing my father settled into his long-term care room, and helping him get tested for hearing aids.

My visit to the Grand Guild (named after the Grand River that runs through the town of Fergus) began with a lecture on the Wednesday evening and was followed by three days of workshops.

At the first workshop, I was delighted to find my long-time Facebook friend, Odarka Farrell, in my Tree Collage workshop. She lives in Prince Edward Island, but was in Southern Ontario visiting her mother. We snuck off to have coffee at lunch time. 

This is Brenda, the guild's Program and Workshop Coordinator, who I have dealt with over past months organizing my visit. Thank you to Brenda and other guild members for all of their help in moving my quilts and teaching supplies from car to lecture hall and classroom, and back to car. Here you can see Brenda working on her tree.

Here are a few more trees that were really looking fantastic.

Outside our classroom in Elora, Ontario, a magnolia tree was in full bloom. In fact, it is that time of year when everything seems to be coming to life.

Here are just a couple pieces from the "Liberated Applique class". This one is Brenda's

and this one Dawn's.

I was also delighted to meet Millie Cumming, who attended my workshop all three days. I have admired her work in many shows.

At the last class, students were creating hosta leaves. 

And just down the street from our classroom I found these hosta leaves unfurling.

The day following the last class, I returned to Fergus and Elora as a tourist. Enjoyed a walk along the Grand River in Elora.

I also took in the Threadworks exhibit at the Wellington County Museum and Archives just outside Elora. I was impressed by both the Museum and the show. The Museum is housed in a beautiful old, but impeccably restored and maintained building. At one time, in fact, it was a "Poorhouse".

A fascinating exhibit documents the history, Many of the poor included orphaned children

who were adopted out to provide free labour.

The theme of the show is "Flashback". Christine Earl created this piece from a photograph of her mother taking a "selfie" with her Brownie camera in 1952. It won the prize for best interpretation of theme. I thought it was well done in sepia tones.

Juanita Sauve had several works in the show, but I found this one particularly charming. It is called "When I was 21", and describes what it was like growing up in the 1960's, wanting to change the world.  

I spent a few extra days in Waterloo, visiting with my sister and father. My father was in good spirits the first day and hammed it up for the camera. Unfortunately he was a bit cranky and out of sorts the remainder of my visit. It has been a challenge for him having to move into long-term care, and I'm sure being almost 92 years of age is an even bigger challenge.

On my drive home to Ottawa I suddenly had the thought that I better pay attention to what the dates for Easter are this year, but then I remembered that Easter had passed, and that I had spent it in my dyeing dungeon, with my husband ironing fabric. So here we are at Victoria Day weekend, and I'm working again. Not to worry, when play time comes, I'll play pretty hard. I have plans to take a sabbatical from teaching most of Fall 2016. I will divide the time between my studio, creating some new work; professional and personal development; and some much-needed vacation. Next year I plan to space out my teaching a bit better so I can breathe. More details to share soon. But a few more major teaching trips first.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Four Days in Saskatchewan

As I write this, I am also madly packing to head to Fergus, Ontario tomorrow for a lecture and three days of teaching with the Grand Quilt Guild. Only yesterday I returned from four days in Saskatchewan. I was lucky enough to be able to fit in a brief visit with my friend Anna Hergert and her husband Colin, who live on a lake near Moose Jaw. They showed me around a bit, as it has been 32 years since I've been to Saskatchewan.

It was a thrill to come across an iconic prairie sight: a grain elevator. There are not too many of these around anymore.

Anna's studio is large and bright and looks out on a lake. If I had one like it, I probably wouldn't ever want to leave home again!

We went out one evening to photograph sunsets.

The smoke from the fires in Fort McMurray, Alberta, had already reached the area.

I spent two days with the Prairie Piecemakers Guild in Regina. The first afternoon we hung my show in preparation for my lecture that night. I think this is a fantastic way to show the quilts as people can already look at them when they walk into the room before the meeting. I had also not seen my work all together like that since I had a solo show! Here you can see the hanging team.

There were 20 students in my "In Full Bloom" class the next day. 

Lots of progress was made on poppies and peonies. I forgot to take photos at the end of the day, but managed to get one of Yvette's peony when she shared it on Facebook.

Big thanks to everyone who was so helpful! Especially Yvette, Jacquie, and Shannon, who drove me around, procured lunches and espressos and helped me schlepp my big bags from hotel to show, hotel to class and vice versa.

I'll be back in a few days with a report from Fergus.