ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Cherry Tree Quilts Retreat in the Okanagan

I`m home recovering from a big bad cold. My husband caught it in Venice, and I came down with it two days after getting home. It wasn`t so bad the first few days, but things got worse near the end of the first week, just as I was heading off for a week of teaching in British Columbia.

I flew into Kelowna, British Columbia a week ago this past Sunday to teach for a week at the Cherry Tree Quilts retreat. This is the fourth consecutive year I have taught here.

I found the weather in the Okanagan Valley perfect. Warm, but not too warm, and sunny every day The leaves were beginning to turn, and that provided a beautiful and strong contrast to the very blue skies.

Once again I stayed with my friend Barb, who is the owner of Cherry Tree Quilts. Can you beat this view of vineyards and the lake? Barb wakes up to this every day.

Cherry Tree Quilts has expanded several times in its first five years of business. It is a well-stocked quilt shop with lots of beautiful fabric, on the Main St. in Summerland, British Columbia, Canada.

Keeping true to my tradition of sharing the cats and dogs I meet in my teaching travels, let me introduce you to `Bing` (yes, as in Bing Cherry).

We had a large, bright and spacious classroom at the local United Church, where 18 eager students gathered to get creative.

On the first day we dyed fabric to be used for the nature piece each student would be designing in the last three days of class. My voice made it through day one, but it was very sore.

On Day 2 I had no voice, so our only option was for me to use a whistle to get the group`s attention, and then whisper the instructions during my demo to one of my students (Joan, who used to be a school principal). Joan imparted my instructions to the class in an authoritative fashion ;-) We managed. The topic was Liberated Radial Piecing. Although I am aware that for many students the main event for them was the three-day design class coming thereafter, they embraced a bit of liberated piecing with great gusto, and it gave them something to work on when the going got tough with their nature designs. I think Judy was the first to complete her radial design.

These are only a few of the designs that developed. There were many others, but I was sick and just didn`t get photos of all of them. This is Ellen.

For the next three days I managed to have enough voice to impart what I needed to over an hour or two of talking throughout the day, and then one-on-one consultations with students. I rested my voice in the evenings.

Designing your own nature quilt (my class is called `Inspired by Nature, Designed by You`) takes a lot or front end work to choose a composition and create a pattern. After that it is a slow and painstaking process of choosing the most appropriate fabric for each part. Some great pieces were started, and I look forward to receiving photos of them when they are finished.




Again, this is just a sampling of pieces started in class. 

Some students brought Show and Tell of their own work, and I have to say this is one of the most experienced and talented groups of students I have taught to date. I will have to get permission to share some of their own work on my blog.

Here`s the group! What a great group, and how patient they were with me in my less than optimal state. Thank you Enid, Alison, Judy, Joan, Lynne, Carole, Val, Dianne, Beth, Anne, Grovenore, Brenda, Debra, Doreen, Ellen, Rita, Ann, and Alicia!

I had one day to tour around on Saturday before flying home on Sunday. Barb took me to a couple of wineries. We ended up having lunch at Hillside Winery, where the remaining photos were taken. Did a little shopping and headed home for a late afternoon nap.

My cough is improving, but my voice is still hoarse. I`ll be resting it more this month as I am headed to the studio soon. Stay tuned!

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