ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Conversations Over Coffee 4, functional work, process

Last weekend I finished collaging the fourth cup in my "Conversations Over Coffee" series. Here it is, based on an expresso cup I own that is strikingly black and white (black interior in the cup, black saucer, and white on the outside of the cup and rim of the saucer). It's a chunky little cup. For the sake of sharing the finished up, I just placed it on this red and white polka-dot fabric. I'm thinking I will probably also collage the background. The other thing I've been doing is researching how to break up space in art, so I can break up the background to look like a little snippet from a cafe scene. Stay tuned as I continue to create (and eventually finish) cups.

I've mentioned before that during the pandemic I have completed a lot of functional projects. While they have been shown on Facebook, they don't appear on my blog because I fell away from blogging for a long time. During that time I mastered the knitting of socks. In the last year and a half I've knitted seven pairs of socks, and each time they get just a bit better. Here is a recent pair I finished for my husband.

I also created a couple of jelly roll rugs in the past year. This is my second one, made with some of my stash of older hand-dyed fabrics. In a future post I will share the one I made from polka-dotted commercial fabrics. These are fun to make and fun to live with. Roma Lambson is the name of the person who came up with the idea, and you can buy the instructions here. You'll also find a lot of tutorials and ideas by others by googling "jelly roll rug".

I've decided to make my first coffee cup over again because I don't like the way the first one looks using the glue method. I prefer the clean look that fusible web gives me. Also, it seems to be smaller than the cups I've made since. I'm making it a bit larger this time. I'm going to share a bit of the process here.

I've started with my photograph, and taken it into Photoshop Elements to "posterize" it. This exaggerates and separates out the values (darks, mediums, and lights). That makes it easier for me to create my pattern and place my fabric.

I traced out the cup and saucer, and all the places where I see value changes on a transparency film. I placed the transparency film on the copy bed of my printer, and enlarged the design by printing across four pages. I then taped the four pages together. You can see in the photo below where the join lines are, and that I've pinned the pattern to a piece of foam core board covered with batting. 

I trace the pattern to a piece of muslin, and will begin to build the design right on the muslin.

To prepare for building the cup, I've chosen a wide range of fabrics, from the palest turquoise to the darkest. I'm looking for some whimsical fabrics, and also fabrics with text on them (remember these are about conversations!).

I've cut pieces of fusible web to iron to the back of each fabric. You don't need a lot of each fabric. A small piece about 6" square, or thereabouts, will be plenty.

You may recall this was the first cup I made. I will be making it a bit larger, and fused like all the cups that came after. Let's just consider this one my prototype.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Seeds Sown Long Ago

Sometimes things done and seen long ago plant seeds that sprout in the future. That's what is happening to me from time to time. Although I haven't been exhibiting and teaching for the last two years, I still had my work noticed by a magazine, Art Quilting Studio, and was invited to write an article. "When Photography Converges with Dyes, Fabric and Stitch" is published in the Summer 2021 issue. No you won't find me on the cover, but you will find my article inside.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, it has been hard to locate a copy of the magazine. Yes, I should receive a complimentary copy for being in the magazine, but it doesn't seem that the mail has been reliable. I've searched out four Chapters/Indigo stores in my city, with no success. One sold out quickly. Another has a huge stack of the Spring issue, so who knows if they will receive the Summer. Most Chapters/Indigo stores have also reduced the number of magazine titles they carry. There is a mixture of old and new issues on display. Not to worry, I've ordered a few copies from the publisher. They will get here when they get here. In the mean time, I do have a pdf of my article so I can at least show you what it looks like. This is the pdf they sent for me to proof. I made no changes except to add the name of the photographer (Patrick Blake) of my sunflower triptych, "Fleur du Soleil".

It also happens that my international Crossing Oceans Textile Artists group is having their first exhibition since the pandemic at Farfield Mill, Sedbergh, England. Our organizer, Jane Rollason lives half-time in England and half-time in France. For a while our works were locked in her home in France without her being unable to access them due to lockdowns and travel restrictions. If you click on the photo below you will be taken to a nice spread of our work and information about the artists.

I'm nearing completion of my fourth coffee cup collage, so I will be back with that soon. I am now fully vaccinated, and wondering "what now"?