ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Captivating Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

I've seen Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, in the rain a couple of times, but this time we had the pleasure of seeing it in sunshine! Just look at the view from the guest house we stayed at during my visit to the Celtic Quilt Guild. Carolyn and Howard graciously offered the space to us. At night you could see the milky way if you turned out the lights and went out on the deck. We arrived to a wonderful dinner of lobster!!! 

I taught a second "In Full Bloom" workshop here just like the week before in Mahone Bay. A few students decided to design their own work and a good number worked with my patterns. Look at the bright and lovely community centre the class took place in. Each student had their very own table.

This student finished her peony over the two days.
and so did Claudia.

Wow, here's another heavy weight of the quilting world in my class. Do check out Anne Morrell Robinson's website. She runs an amazing business out of her home studio in Margaree Harbour, Cape Breton Island. I wish I had her energy!

So great to see Kristi Farrier again ... she used to live near Ottawa and now she's moved to Cape Breton! Kristi is also the current SAQA Rep for Maritime Canada. To Kristi's left is Helene Blanchet, whose show we had the pleasure of seeing at the Antigonish Library on our way home. A bit about that later in the post.

Here's the class. On the right in the front row is Carolyn McKay, my lovely hostess.

A big thank you to this group for their warm welcome! After class my husband and I drove up the coast to the town of Cheticamp for dinner. We stopped on the way back to our guest house to take a few photos. Enjoy!

On our way home we stopped at the Antigonish Library to see the exhibition of Helene Blanchet. It was as charming as she is. Helene tells stories with her quilts, and the story she tells in this show is about her experiences moving to Calgary for three years.

In "The CFA" (first piece on left above, detail shot below), Helene depicts herself arriving in Calgary. If you've ever met Helene, this is so her!

 I love the way she extends her designs into painted frames. "A Coulee for Barbara"

I could not find a website for Helene, but you can read an article here in the Cape Breton Post 

Again, we took our time driving back to Ottawa. Everywhere we went, including our overnight stay in Riviere-du-Loup it was lobster season. We picked up dinner on our last night at a "poissonerie" very near our hotel.

Friday, June 7, 2019

A Week in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia

We are home from Nova Scotia! Well we've been home since Saturday night, but there was a lot of unpacking to do, and I needed to rest. So here I am doing my blog post. We drove to Nova Scotia and back from Ontario, giving ourselves ample time and overnight stops. 

My time with the Mahone Bay Quilters' Guild began with an afternoon lecture and tea. What a cool idea! If you know me at all, one of my favorite things in life is afternoon tea and the treats and finery that go with it. OK, so yes I am on a restricted diet for medical reasons right now so couldn't eat most of these, but that is a story for another day. They sure were pretty.

Every year this guild has a special event with what they call an "Extraordinary Quilter". I was honoured to be their 19th! Heather Sanft, whose family owns and runs Lunenburg County Winery even gifted me with a bottle of blueberry wine with my own Elaine Quehl label for the event!

It rained a lot in Nova Scotia, so I spent a lot of time in the cottage when I wasn't teaching. My husband was fortunate to do some hiking and viewing of beautiful places. The magnolias were in full bloom!

On Days 2 and 3 I gave a two-day "In Full Bloom" workshop. There were 20 students, and approximately 75% of them decided to design their own quilt, with about 25% using my patterns. Here the gang gathers round to watch my demo.

And some random shots I found on my camera. Letty:






Nice to see Judy Cooper again. I first met her when she was living in Newfoundland. Do visit her blog to see her art work. She also has a wonderful collection of photos of teapots and pincushions from the afternoon tea that she organized.

I was gifted with one to take home.

Can you believe this artist was in my class? Laurie Swim! One of my inspirations!


My Facebook friend Mary Elizabeth


Pam, with Debbie and Alicia in the background:

Last but not least, the amazing Heather Sanft, who organized these workshops! Heather has many talents, including being a Master basket maker.

I think this basket she finished one morning before class, and gifted to me, is going to be the perfect basket for my current knitting project. Thank you Heather!

Here's the full group on our last day.

After the two day In Full Bloom class, I taught a one day Hosta Leaves workshop. Sadly by the time I thought to get a group photo, a few students had left. Stay tuned for my next blog post about teaching on Cape Breton Island.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Fleur du Soleil

I am pleased to share with you my recently finished commission quilts, "Fleur du Soleil". Doesn't everything always sound more elegant in French? I chose the word "Soleil" (sun) because I used that word in the titles of the previous two sunflower quilts I made earlier in my career.

The photo above was snapped with my cell phone on Friday while I was having the works professionally photographed, so I will share a professional photograph when my photographer has finished editing them and I have a chance to select some and make a post. There is no way I could have photographed this piece in my home because I simply don't have a free wall where I could hang something so large, and I certainly wouldn't be able to light it correctly for photography.

Let me share just a few details. This photo shows the centre panel. I completed it first because I knew that it was the star and that the side pieces would have to bow to it.

A few detail shots.

I took a few photos while building each panel. This one shows the start of the panel on right. I hadn't attached the petals yet so I only had to lift them to add in the collaged centre you see in the next photo.

A few close-up shots

I saved what I thought was the hardest piece (the left panel) for last. I was right. It doesn't have a collaged centre so is a bit different in look but had to be planned to blend with the other two pieces. In the end, for all pieces, I ended up tracing each of my patterns onto a dark green piece of hand-dyed fabric using Saral transfer paper (available at art supply stores) between the paper pattern and the background fabric. It was easier to do it this way than build on muslin because I did not want to see any shadowing of the dark green background under the edges of the soft yellow petals when I placed the dark green fabrics to represent background.

Since the petals are yellow and gold I was able to see my pattern lines through the fabric, and that enabled me to build one petal at a time easily, placing hi-lights and shadows based on what I saw through the fabric. 

Here's the finished petal shown above.

I was then able to just place each finished petal into the appropriate place on the background fabric. I found I only needed to trace the petal shape and not all the details within the petal to the background.

Here is the left petal finished. One thing I learned while making this piece is how you only have to suggest something to make it believable. I've seldom worked this large before, and I was always amazed that when I stepped back (which I had to do with a camera because my house is small) a few simple shapes would tell the story.

To be honest, the most difficult part for me was trimming all the quilts to the same length, and getting the left and right panel the same size. Oh and getting that big 4 ft x 4 ft centre straight! I confess that in the middle of that task there was a period when I had to step outside and breathe!!

Things checked out on the kitchen floor tiles.

And I was especially pleased that the pieces hung so well during photography (see first photo in post).

My client is currently visiting Ottawa, and I will be meeting with her to deliver this commission later this week. I am grateful to have had this opportunity, especially at this time. It was a difficult winter in many ways but this project gave me a needed focus, and allowed me to earn income from home while I took some time to take care of myself.