ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Slowing Down

My boxes of kits and patterns and teaching supplies have been shipped off to the Vermont Quilt Festival where I will be teaching next week. My quilt has also been shipped there for the Teacher Showcase. I am breathing easier and sleeping better these days now that the spaces between teaching trips are a little more reasonable in length and the dyeing of kits has ended for 2016. When I tell you that I dyed more than 500 meters of fabric within about a two month period, I truly do not mean to brag, even though it may appear to some that this is what I am doing. I am just astounded that I did it and survived it, and want folks to know that this IS the reality of being a teacher on the road. Some folks think it is an easy job and a glamorous one, but it is a lot of tough work.

I may have mentioned this before on my blog, but I was travelling home from a teaching trip a few weeks ago when I suddenly thought that I better pay attention to when Easter weekend is. Then I suddenly realized that Easter weekend had passed and that I had spent it in my dyeing dungeon, while my husband spent a chunk of it ironing fabric. The same thing happened on Victoria Day weekend, although by that time I had only about 20 meters left to dye.

I'll tell you another thing. In April I started dreaming about retirement. I even went so far as to have my pension numbers crunched. While that feeling has now passed, I think I need to heed what this dream means: I need to slow down because I don't want to miss my life!

Over the past year or two so many of the things I used to do have fallen away. I missed the deadline to submit work to the SAQA Portfolio. One of my art works has been in each yearly Portfolio since I became a SAQA member in 2007. I also missed the deadline to submit work for the Haliburton faculty show at Rail's End Gallery. I've participated in this show for the last seven years. I didn't get a one-foot square quilt made for the SAQA auction and I've been contributing to that for many years. I haven't entered any shows, and in fact I haven't turned my sewing machine on since January. I've begun to question all my memberships in organizations because I'm not in a place where I can contribute right now, nor in a place to partake of the benefits of membership. For the first time ever, I did not publish my quarterly newsletter this spring.

So I have come to the conclusion that I need some time away from teaching. I have turned down and am turning down any additional requests for teaching for Fall 2016. So this means that after my classes at Haliburton School of Art + Design at the end of July, I will only have two teaching commitments after August 1: 1) a week of teaching in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia (Cherry Tree Quilts retreat) at the end of September, and 2) a private one-day workshop in November. My 2017 schedule is filling up nicely, and in such a way that things are spaced out a bit more comfortablyI will begin dyeing kits in January 2017, if not before, to avoid the crunch I experienced this year. I'm still amazed at the popularity of kits, having never used one myself.

The fact is that it takes quiet time and contemplation to be creative again. I hope to get my mojo back this fall. Actually, I'm already starting to feel stirrings as I am less rushed right now than I have been in months, and ever so thankful that I am sleeping like a baby again :-))

Here's a little funny for you. A friend of mine says I dyed so much fabric this spring that I wore out my laundry sink! Yes, while mixing up dye fixative for the last 20 meters of fabric, the jug slipped out of my hands and landed spout-side-down in my laundry tub, tearing a hole in it! A plumber did a tremendous job of fixing it a few days later.

As I slow down and get more grounded, maybe I'll have more contemplative blog posts, rather than a running travelogue ;-)) My time away from teaching this summer/fall will be divided between time in the studio, vacation time, and professional/personal development. Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Salon 2016 in Montreal

I've probably mentioned a few times on this blog about the many kits I've been dyeing over the past 2-3 months. I know that prior to my most recent teaching trip, I had dyed more than 500 meters of fabric. Much of it was ironed by my husband. So off I went to Salon 2016 (the provincial show of Courtepointe Quebec) in Montreal with lots of kits for red or blue poppies, pink peonies and two types of hosta quilt.

The show opened on Wednesday night, and I found several works by students hanging with ribbons. This one by Annick O'Shaughnessy. It was started in my "Liberated Radial Piecing" class in Beaconsfield, QC last February (2015).

Suzanne Hurtubise started this one in the same class. Congratulations ladies!

I taught my Hosta Leaves

 and an In Full Bloom class. This class decided to pose showing the works I brought with me.

One of the lovely things about teaching at shows is meeting (or re-meeting) other teachers. In this selfie (me on right) I've managed to photograph several of my fellow teachers after dinner one night. From left to right, Dorothy Fu, Laurie Swim, Sharon Stroud, and Pat Pauly.

Although the show continued until Sunday, I left early (on Friday night) to drive to Cambridge, Ontario and attend our niece's wedding. That was followed by a 3-day visit to my father and sister. Managed to get my father fitted for some hearing aids. He turns 92 this month!

Irises were in bloom everywhere in Southern Ontario. This is a beautiful time of year, with so much of nature coming to life.

There you have it. A week in which I slept in four different beds! I guess that is why things hurt? I have only about 20 more meters of background fabrics to dye before my days of teaching at the Vermont Quilt Festival later this month. I'll be busy with that this week, as well as prepping the boxes of patterns and kits to ship to Vermont in advance. Then I plan to prep for my July classes at the Haliburton School of the Arts.