Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Art quilts: the natural world of Elaine Quehl

Elaine Quehl is an award-winning Canadian quilt artist, teacher, and dyer who specializes in intricately-stitched pieced and appliquéd art quilts. Elaine’s work has been juried into numerous exhibits at the national and international level and has been widely published, including 500 Art Quilts and Art Quilt Portfolio: Natural World (upcoming 2012). She says: "My quilts celebrate the visual drama that is present in the natural world and aim to evoke the emotion, awe and wonder I experience when I first encounter my subjects. Often described as bold and sensual, my work employs contrasts of light and shadow to intensify visual impact."   Here are a few of her magnificent works of art.

Act 3, 2010, 24” x 34” by Elaine Quehl

"Act 3" is just one of the sumptuous works in Elaine Quehl's Foliage Gallery. The soft texture of the leaves makes us want to reach out and touch them.  Beyond its immediate visual impact, what makes this piece so intriguing is the nearly microscopic detail of the leaves themselves: the stem, veins, curved and furled edges, and the appearance of dappled sunlight and shadows.  In the close-up photo below you can see the exquisite thread painting that accentuates the flowing lines of the leaves.

Smitten, 2011, 26" x 23-1/2" by Elaine Quehl

To create "Smitten", above, Elaine used her own hand-dyed fabrics along with some commercial batiks; fusible applique, Prismacolour artist pencil, and free-motion machine quilting. We love the exuberant color and abundant texture of this piece! The work was inspired by a close-up photo of a wild rose which Elaine took at the University of British Columbia Botanical Gardens in 2006. It is fascinating to compare the art quilt with the original photo, shown below.

Branching Out, 2010, 20-1/2" x 28" by Elaine Quehl

In "Branching out" Elaine Quehl has managed to capture the grandeur and imposing scale of the tree in a small space:  the entire quilt is only 20 x 28".  The perspective of looking up at the tree canopy, combined with the luminous background of the hand-dyed sky and the realistic texture of the bark, makes us feel as if we are in the scene.

Last but not least, Elaine Quehl is one of the featured artists in the brand new book, Art Quilt Portfolio: the Natural World (published by Lark Books and edited by Martha Sielman; the cover is shown below). This lavish collection of art quilts, all focused on the natural world, includes nearly 90 amazing gallery images. It is due out on April 3, 2012 at we can hardly wait to get our hands on it.

Image credits: Images are shown with the generous permission of Elaine Quehl. For more information and beautiful galleries of images, please visit Elaine Quehl's website. You can also read about upcoming events at Elaine Quehl's blog.


  1. lovely quilts - the leaves look so realistic on that first photo.

  2. Thank you for the intro. to her. I put the book on my wish list at Amazon. The work is sensational.


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