Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Portrait Project - Mabel Russel

'Worlds Apart: Calgary, Kalso, and Me
by Mabel Russel
The triptych quilt design and quilting by Mabel P. Russel

Mabel describes the experience of making her quilt:
“I have a short story of the quilt: The idea initiating these quilts came in a moment of self-reflection along with the longing for and appreciation of what my parents have done for my siblings and me. I was reflecting on my whole life and how it was turning out to be a miscellany of different worlds, cultures, occasions and people. Born and raised in the metropolitan Manila, of the Philippines, educated by German nuns, sent to the USA as a young ambassador, migrated with my parents to Canada, first settled in Saskatoon then moved to Edmonton and finally to Calgary. After be married and I moved to Kaslo. There is such a great contrast and a valued diversity!”

“In the past, the thought of sewing never enticed me, yet I always loved fashion and materials! In Kaslo, I discovered my quilting passion. Through quilting I found a way to express myself and satisfy the need to create. It would seem obvious that I try to reflect my life in a quilt or series of quilts. How to reflect this diversity in a quilt as a caricature of myself and my life?”
“The idea began to gel when Trixie did a caricature of me. Why the long neck? Well, I always wished for a long graceful neck so….she gave me one! Although being a long way from photographical accuracy, the caricature I think seemed to capture my character well. So I let this be quilted! To represent the diversity of my life, what better than to add a quilt of each of my long time homes, Calgary and Kaslo. So different from each other in many ways yet both loved as my homes. In the Calgary and Kaslo quilts, I represented all that bore imprints in my mind and heart. For instance, in Calgary the sunshine, lovely skyline, Stampede, Bow River, rampant rabbit population and of course, my family. In Kaslo, the low grey clouds, closeness of the magnificent mountains, wildlife, the view from the house—the Kootenay Lake. Other representation of me are all over the three quilts. Such as my love of flower gardening, arts, and “bling” to name a few. The result is a triptych, series of 3 quilts, – Worlds Apart: Calgary, Kaslo & Me!”

At the opening night at the Langham Gallery July 5, 2013 Mabel also talked about her parents and how much she missed them, her father having passed on and her mother living in Calgary. She decided in creating this three piece wall hanging that she wanted to show her appreciation for what her parents instilled in her about morals. Growing up, Mabel was exposed by her parents to contrasts from aristocrats to everyday people as well as a variety of sights within the city. Her father told her “You must never put anyone down and don’t let anyone put you down. “ He also told her “If you want to do something, do it”.
Mabel’s piece depicts the contrasts between the places she has lived. She has shown herself as living in the city of Calgary and living in the Kaslo. She spoke wildlife of Kaslo including the Rufus hummingbirds that she seemed to be everywhere!

Mabel talked of the influence Linda Cole, resident of Kaslo, had on her beginning to quilt. She stated after visiting Linda Cole’s Quilt shop and purchasing fabric several times, Mabel stated Linda would not sell her anymore fabric until she learned to sew, so she did!




Jaynie Himsl said...

I'm glad to see these pieces are showing in another location. I had the pleasure of chatting with Mabel as she packaged her work at the end of Quilt Canada. I learned a great way to transport art work and pieces of her story. Very inspiring, Thank you Mabel.

Win Dinn, Artist said...

Love seeing these quilts and getting the story behind them. Thanks so much for posting both the photos and the background, Eileen!