ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Quilt Canada 2017, Toronto and Upcoming

I returned from Quilt Canada on Monday. It was a very successful show, and the most well-organized I have ever attended. This made my job as a teacher easier (not easy, but easier). I came home tired, but did not feel as though a truck had run over me, which is often the case after a teaching venue such as a national show, with classes often spread out and difficult to find, and long distances to transport supplies. I was able to move into the classroom the day before classes started. There was someone to greet us, we had a map of the International Centre, and everything was on ground floor. I could just wheel my carts full of teaching supplies right into the centre. Parking was close by. We all had our own private hotel rooms where we could seek quiet time.

There was also enough time to see the show and merchant mall because everything was in one location. So here I am going to share just a few of my favorite quilts with you. You can see all of the award-winners at this link. Interestingly, all of my favorites were award winners this year, and that has not always been the case.

This first piece by R. Leslie Forbes caught my attention right away. Having been to Murano, Italy last September, and having taken lots of photos of the colourful houses and reflections in the canals, it was especially meaningful to me. That night, I searched for my blog post about Venice, and guess what? There is none! I know I shared a few photos on Facebook, but soon after returning to Canada I was heading out on a teaching trip. I think I meant to post photos, but then forgot after I returned. I will have to get to this one of these days!

I am posting the titles and artist statements, as well as the awards won. If you click on the photos I think you can manage to read the text.

Mother Earth, by Galla Grotto is another favorite. Galla's name seemed so familiar to me, and then it finally dawned on me that she is one of the members of my Crossing Oceans group. She lives in France.

I always love a good foliage quilt! This one, by Judy Leslie, features croton leaves. I've taken a number of croton photos myself!

I taught four workshops. Sometimes when I get really busy, I forget to take photos. Sorry! On day one I taught "Collage Tree" to 21 students. You can see a lot of bark being cut here.

On day two I taught "In Full Bloom" to a pretty full class (I think there were 18 or 19 students). Most decided to create peonies. One thoughtful student brought a bouquet of peonies for me, and even tucked in a couple of hosta leaves. I was a happy teacher, and that is the only photo I have of that day!

On day three I taught "Sketch and Colour". This class is new as a one day class, but is a segment I took from my week-long "Uncommon & Unforgettable Threads" class. It involves thread sketching, and then shading with Prismacolor Artist Pencils. The first photo is my sample. I finally finished the satin stitched edge while demo'ing in class.

You can see the stitching that one of my students did here.

Here's another student finishing her satin-stitched edges after she did her colouring.

Here's a sample of the other design, three turquoise chairs on a colourful patio. It is not quite finished yet.

On day 4 I taught Improv Curves.

One of the pleasurable aspects of teaching at shows and conferences, is getting to meet and network with other teachers. I had a lovely dinner one night with, from left to right, Hollis Chatelain (North Carolina), Karen Henry (Nova Scotia), Gail Mitchell (New Brunswick). That's me on the right, not smiling because I was so focused on not blinking when the flash went off.

I have three more days to prepare for my three week teaching trip to the west coast. Truthfully, I've been thinking and planning for this trip for months. Boxes of fabric, kits, and patterns were shipped several weeks ago to keep the weight of my bags within airline limits when I fly. Now I'm working on getting everything I need into two 50 lb bags. This will be the longest teaching trip I've ever taken, but that is because I was smart enough to book a few days off between each group.  I'm looking forward to it. And if you are in the area, here is the publicity for my first lecture, with the Textile Arts Guild of Richmond.

From there I'll be heading to the Langley Quilters Guild for three days. I'll be spending Canada Day weekend in Vancouver, and from there I'll head up the coast and ferry to the Sunshine Coast, stopping for three days of workshops with the Sunshine Coast Quilters' Guild in Sechelt. Then I have a couple of days off before a lecture and two days of workshops for the Victoria Quilters' Guild. Stay tuned as I hope to post from the road. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Blog Post That Was Forgotten!

I was just about to blog about my trip to Quilt Canada, when I discovered this draft blog post that never got sent before I left! Please indulge me, it is a busy time of year. I returned home on Monday and have six days to prepare for my west coast Canada teaching trip.

I was going to generate excitement for my classes by showing the kits and fabric that were travelling to Quilt Canada for my classes. Here are the poppy and peony kits. Peony was the most popular kit. Could that have anything to do with peonies being in season?

I dyed a number of Textile Temptation packs before I left. Some went to Quilt Canada, but a lot also were shipped to groups in the Vancouver area (Richmond, Langley, Sechelt and Victoria), along with kits and other hand-dyes, for sale at my upcoming lectures and workshops.

Prior to leaving for Quilt Canada, I also got immersed in quilting my new samples for Improv Curves. Both of these works were inspired by a photo I took (which appears below the quilts) at Antelope Canyon in Arizona several years ago. The first was free-motion quilted with all-over texture.

The second was quilted with long flowing lines using a walking foot. Much more minimalist.

My photo of the light shining through the roof of the canyon.

Before I left for Quilt Canada, two of the three robin eggs hatched. The babies grew rapidly, with Mom spending very little time in the nest. Her days were spent gathering food for the young ones. While I was away they all grew up and left the nest. leaving behind one unhatched egg. 

I was inspired by raindrops left on our hosta leaves. I'm just an amateur photographer, playing with my Macro lens here. Hope you enjoy these images.

You may recall this sample I played with a number of months ago, trying to recreate water drops in fabric. I must get back to this one of these days!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Summer Found in Brighton, Ontario

It's Victoria Day in Canada, meaning that it is a national holiday. It is cloudy and drizzly, but I did manage to find an Ontario summer teaching this past week in Brighton, Ontario. Brighton is a town of about 11,000 people on the shore of Lake Ontario, between Trenton and Cobourg, both not too far from Belleville.

I am a lover of good coffee, so before I departed for Brighton, I researched where the good coffee shop is. It turns out to be Lola's. She also serves some lovely, made-from-scratch food. On my way into town (I arrived a bit early) I grabbed a quick lunch. Check out the lovely garnish of tiny pansies on my quiche. We call them Johnny Jump Ups, because they jump up everywhere. I didn't actually eat them but I know they are edible, and they did make my lunch feel very elegant. By the way, the coffee is pretty darned good too.

I've passed the exit for Brighton many times when driving along the 401, but this was my first foray into Brighton. Why did I wait so long? There's a lovely harbour and boat launch and restaurant/s along the waterfront.

Sadly the part of Ontario has experienced a fair bit of flooding this spring. We wish them a quick recovery.


I gave an early-afternoon lecture at the community centre. This is a fairly large guild of about 150 quilters, drawing from several communities in the area. The vibrant colours of my hand-dyed fabrics drew a lot of interest.

I had 16 students in my In Full Bloom class the next day, and they made a great start on their floral projects.These are very friendly and welcoming quilters and they are keen! My kits were a hit, and students put their noses to the grindstone immediately. I've received several lovely emails from students after returning home, and I am happy to hear that many students are finishing their pieces fairly quickly.

We stopped for a group photo before the class finished. It is officially spring ... I've hauled out my white jeans.

There is a wonderful Antique Emporium on Main St. I haven't seen so many apothecary cabinets in one store ever! I seriously love these cabinets. The shop has a lot of interesting and unique items that were used in businesses in the towns of Ontario's past, including Coca Cola chairs.

That turquoise blanket box you see in the lower right also caught my eye, but it is too big for my little house.

They even have a coffee and snack shop right inside the antique store. 

Ms. Peekaboo (aka Peekableu because of her blue eyes) greeted me when I got home and we've had lots of great moments over this weekend.

There's also good news on the robin front! A robin (I am not sure if it is the same one that lost her eggs a few weeks ago) has taken up residence in the abandoned bird feeder. This time we have three eggs. I am hopeful we will experience a better outcome this time.

I had to stretch to get this photo, and I had to hurry, because I knew mama robin would be back any moment, so these aren't the best photos.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Lethbridge, Part 3

After my workshops, I stayed on in Lethbridge for two more days to see some of the sights. I could not have asked for better weather for a trip to Waterton Lakes National Park. The lakes are a beautiful blue colour, and the water appears very pristine. The Park is in the southwest corner of Alberta, near the US border.

Kathy, who is the person that gets credit for bringing me to Alberta, accompanied me and served as my informal tour guide.

Waterton Lakes National Park and Glacier National Park (on the US side), form Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. There is a plaque commemorating the formation of the International Peace Park in 1936 and the peaceful relationship between Canada and the US.

I found this Big Horn Sheep wandering around the big hotel outside the town. He wasn't too bothered by me but did keep an eye on me to make sure I didn't come too close. Eventually he joined two other friends in the distance.

Kathy and I stopped off at the beautiful Cameron Falls,

which is where I shot this photo of a chipmunk.

The next morning Judy (whose photo appears in my previous blog post) arranged for me to accompany her to a Hutterite Colony. The Hutterites are an Anabaptist sect (much like the Amish and Mennonites). Anabaptists are opposed to infant baptism. All of these groups found a safe haven in Canada where they were not persecuted for their beliefs and refusal to go to war for their country (pacifism). The way that Hutterites differ from Amish and Mennonites is that they live in colonies. The one we visited holds about 110 people. I was allowed to take photographs of anything I wanted except the people that live there. It is forbidden by their religion. A quick google for Hutterites will get you to images quickly, and you will see that they dress in plain home-made clothing, with women wearing a kerchief on their heads. Two young women, perhaps in their late teens, took us around and explained everything.

The particular colony we visited is named "Spring Valley Colony". Essentially they are farmers and trades/crafts people.

Every skill they have acquired is practiced in volume. So you can see the size of the greenhouse. They have to feed 110 people from these tomato plants. In addition, they sell their products.

The women sew colourful rugs.

Like most farms, there are dogs and cats. The dogs are probably working dogs, used to herd sheep and cattle.

The milk house is very high tech. Machinery measures the milk output for each cow over time.

The pink paint on the cow heads below indicates that they have been seen by a vet. At this time of year there were numerous young calves as well.

Spring also brings many lambs.

There is a leatherwork shop where boots, shoes and moccasins are made.

There is a sizable woodworking shop where furniture, clocks and other decorative boards are created.

The Hutterites keep bees and make honey, both to eat and to sell.

The kitchen is fitted with top quality industrial style cooking equipment.

The men and women eat in separate dining rooms.

I was able to purchase some of these delicious dinner rolls before I left.

On Saturday I flew home. The first flight from Lethbridge to Calgary involves a quite small plane with only about 18 seats. I think it is probably the smallest plane I have traveled on. We flew so low that for much of the time we were able to pick up a Wifi signal.

Did you notice the colour of the plane I flew out on? It is strikingly similar to the robin eggs that were waiting at home in the nest on our front porch. In my last post, before leaving home, I mentioned that robins had built a nest on our front porch. The evening after I left home my husband photographed the eggs while the robins were out. Mama robin sat on those eggs for days, but sadly a week later the eggs went missing and the robins abandoned the nest. Likely another animal or bird, needing food, took the eggs. The cycle of life and death. The robins will try again elsewhere I'm sure.

A huge thank you to the Lethbridge Centennial Quilt Guild and the Textile Surface Design Group Lethbridge for inviting me to their city, for their warm welcome, and for taking such great care of me.