ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Monday, December 18, 2017

A Review of Inspiration Kantha

As promised, I am dropping by today with a review of "Inspiration Kantha" (Schiffer Publishing, 2017). Full disclosure here: I personally know author Anna Hergert from the Canadian teaching circuit. We have met numerous times at various teaching venues over the years. Sometimes we were both teaching there and sometimes she was judging and I was teaching. So when I opened this book and started reading, my first impression was that Anna was sitting right here beside me chatting with me. I especially feel this way in the section where she talks about personal exploration, something she is passionate about.

I knew little about Kantha before I opened this book. The concise history Anna provides, gave me a better understanding of this ancient needle art. Historically, traditional Kantha provided women from the Indian subcontinent with a thrifty method of binding together worn saris and giving them a new look as blankets and throws, etc.

The book provides an overview of traditional Kantha stitches and motifs, with clear instructions on how to achieve them. It also includes instructions for using them in several projects. Anna also provides ample encouragement to those who want to take Kantha beyond traditional interpretations, and shares an inspiring gallery of photographs showcasing her work and that of her students.

This book will appeal to those quilters and stitchers who want to broaden their stitching options, but especially those who have embraced the modern trend toward repurposing and upcycling. There is no doubt that hand-stitching is therapeutic to those who practice it, and this book will also appeal to those who have embraced the slow stitching movement.

I was feeling inspired to use some of my hand-dyed perle cottons while reading the book, but then I opened the page where Anna shows her white on white prairie landscapes, titled “Absence of Color”. How refreshing white can be! The texture is stunning.

With Anna's permission I am posting photos here of the Absence of Color series.They remind me so much of a day in the sand dunes at Death Valley Park, California. They also remind me of today's wintry weather. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Last Workshop of 2017, Back to the Studio

It's that time of year when I'm back in the studio again. My teaching for 2017 ended last Sunday (more on that in a minute), so I've been busy in the studio this past week. I finally finished quilting the Smokebush piece I began last year. 

Aside from a busy schedule, I did procrastinate on finishing this piece because I was very unsure about how to quilt the background. The answer did eventually come when I focused!

This piece is the first in a series I am planning on Smokebush, and the name is "Smoke and Mirrors 1". Why? Because the day I first caught sight of Smokebush, I felt like the plant was playing magical tricks on me. One moment it was eggplant in colour and the next it was orange. It shimmered back and forth in the wind. 

Up until the beginning of March, I'll be in full studio mode finishing and creating new pieces for my exhibition in Sitges, Spain and for a group show with my Crossing Oceans international group. I will have to decide which pieces will go where.

Last weekend I had a lovely time teaching "In Full Bloom" in a 3-day retreat setting at Inspired Getaways, a quilting and crafting retreat centre near Arnprior, Ontario, owned and run by Ottawa quilter Karine Chapleau (who is also a long arm quilter). This is what our work room looked like.

This was the view from our work room. It is a very peaceful setting.

I can't say enough good things about the weekend. It was such a pleasure to work closely with students for three days, watching them actually finish their pieces. If you've taken my In Full Bloom class at some point, you know that the usual one day class is not enough time to finish the flower. Three days seemed about right. Everyone went home with a finished flower.

The retreat centre itself is amazing. It's a sprawling home with several bedrooms that has been turned into a retreat centre. You can either rent the place to hold a quilting retreat with your group, or you can attend any of the full-service retreats that the owner has booked teachers for. The full-service retreats include all your meals too. We certainly ate well! Karine was a fantastic hostess, and has thought of absolutely every detail to make the centre as comfortable and convenient as possible. I'll be teaching there again in May 2018. This time students will have the chance to design their own nature quilt. I can't wait to see what they come up with. 

I should also mention that if you decide to fly in for the retreat, Karine runs an airport pick-up service, providing transportation to the retreat. For my American readers, this is a great opportunity to take a class with me, and you are guaranteed a fantastic deal given how low our Canadian dollar is at the moment. Once again, the website is here.