I was invited to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop by wonderful Canadian quilt artist, teacher, dyer Elaine Quehl. Elaine is best known for her beautiful and distinctive nature-themed art quilts featuring luscious foliage, especially hosta leaves. She is active on the lecture circuit, offers many workshops and has been featured in many publications. To see her beautiful work, be sure to visit Elaine’s website where she sells her own hand-dyed fabrics and patterns, and where you can see her commercial fabric line.
For this artist blog hop, we are asked to talk about our process, inspiration and a bit about our current work. So, here goes...
I don’t know why, but I am drawn to horizontal lines. I like to work with linear, horizontal strips of fabric and quilting lines to create impressionistic vistas. Light, space and horizon lines always play a large part in my designs, even in my abstracts. Sometimes I will roughly sketch out a design, which I may or may not use, or sometimes I’ll just have a loose concept in my mind.
I begin by cutting my batting to the desired finished size, iron a fusible web to both sides and fuse on the backing fabric. Next, I pin the fused batting on my design wall, two 8’ x 4’ foam insulation boards butted together, secured to the wall and covered with batting. Below are some process shots while working on the bottom section of Tranquil Marsh – Wild Iris.
Working intuitively, I design directly on the wall, which is my favorite part of the process and when I am my happiest.
For my impressionistic landscapes, I use batiks and hand-dyed cottons, mostly by other artisans, torn into strips and painstakingly collaged.
You can see the progress of this area being reworked until I was satisfied with the affect I was after.
But my latest obsession is re-purposed silk sari remnants from India. I love their ragged frayed edges, intense colors, and printed and woven designs.
I iron baste the strips in place lightly. This allows me to adjust as needed or sometimes completely remove them and start from scratch, which is what I ended up doing with these blue and red strips. This design no longer exists! But, not to worry, I'm working on a similar design with the same fabrics.
When I am finally happy the design, I set it by with my big iron before moving on to the quilting. The quilting designs, also horizontal, are loosely wavering lines done on my Singer 201 with a simple straight stitch.
These days, I’m working on a series of larger pieces made entirely of salvaged sari silks that are quite abstract and very minimal. I can’t share my first completed piece because it was accepted into Quilt National 2015 but you can get a sense of where I’m going with the series from the above pictures with blue and red strips.
Soon I’ll have lots to share on this series and other news as well.
Let me introduce another talented artist from New Jersey, Martha Hall, whose work has been widely exhibited in galleries and museums. She is a fellow member of SAQA and someone I'm happy to call a good friend.
Please take the time to visit Martha's blog and learn more about her work and process and keep traveling around the world with the blog hop. To see where the blog hop has already traveled, travel backwards from Elaine's blog above, or a simple Google search of "Around the World Blog Hop" will reveal hundreds of creative participants.