12th Carrefour Europeén du Patchwork is the big annual quilting show in the Val d’Argent, France. It is centered around the former silver mining town of St. Marie aux Mines, but there are also exhibits in the nearby towns of St. Croix aux Mines, Liépvre, and Rombach le Franc.
I went with a guild friend and a friend of hers, and dragged my long-suffering children along with us. We started in the actual town of St Marie aux Mines. First up was the Théatre where there were Japanese quilts, either by Yoko Saito and Suzuko Koseki or collected by these two women. I appologize that I was so in awe of the quilts that I forgot to look at names and give credit where credit was due. About half the quilts were bright, with wonderfully odd color combinations, and the other half were the taupes that the Japanese do so well.
I loved that this one was basicly traditional, but not really. Each and every brick in the border is about the size of my thumb, and hand appliquéd onto a plaid background that subtly shows through as “grout.” I liked the gradation:
I’m a sucker for fabric with text in it!
Ah, the details in these Japanese quilts. I loved the embroidery on the peacock in this quilt:
And look, a whole table straight out of the Japanese craft magazines I’m currently in love with! (Oh, and I broke a little rule — I bought a kit for an apron, with lovely linen and cotton fabrics; I’ll post the finished product if/when I get around to it.)
Next, we visited the works of the Austrian guild at Eglise de la Madeleine. Most of the quilts were made around the theme of Austria’s Daughters. My absolute favorite was an omage to the Venus of Willendorf, which I remember well from art history class (although it’s Austrian origins had escaped me) she is indeed mother of all daughters. (“Venus-Godess-Mother of all Great Daughters” by Irene Sutterlüti-Austria)
I am so happy that the quilter chose to hand quilt this piece. It fits the handwork of the original goddess so well.
Here’s another quilt in the same exhibit. Although I don’t know who these daughters of Austria are….
…I really liked the quilted text (“Austria’s Greatest Women” by Elfriede Bohle- Austria). It’s pretty, AND so well done:
Lastly, I thoght this quilter was clever in her use of maps for the dress and background (“The Great Daughter” by Ria Braspenning- Netherlands):
After the Austrian exhibit (or was it before?) we saw a collection of Molas at the Eglise St-Louis. I was suprised at how many utilized European imagery. For the tourist trade, I expect.
Last year I loved the Gymnasium turned exposition space “Espace des Tisserands” which this year had exquisite cross stitch on linen, ATCs and work from the French guild. I think this is where we saw the quilts made for the Expo X in Lyon with a silk/light theme. I liked the chenille on this one (“Reflet due Soi” by Ewa Guerlin- France):
The ombré silk has such a nice look when it’s frayed like this, and look, she’s added some little red knots as accents:
I liked the simplicity of these prairie points as well, somehow with all the color and the crosswise quilting it looks more complex than it really is. It was made by Teresa Gai from Italy and won first prize of the France Patchwork competition “Soie et Lumière” (thank you Françoise for the info):
This year the vendor’s tent moved from an actual tent in Liépvre to a real building in St. Marie aux Mines. I specifically wanted to purchase some body armor from Miller’s Quilting:
I only have the border left to quilt on Quiltstadt, but I’m ready for my next project (perhaps a UFO started several years ago?). I got some glider tips from Esther Miller as well. It seems to be all in the angle you hold it. Now that I’m (trying) not to buy fabrics, I can breeze through the vendor areas much faster. I was quite focused and only stopped by one hand dyed fabric booth as she was the one I bought some silk from last year and I wanted to be able to credit her as I used it for Katja’s Owlz. That doesn’t mean I didn’t buy anything though! In addition to the thimbles, I bought thread for my Raps and Fliegenpilz II quilts, two Japanese craft magazines (what mother of a girl doesn’t need instructions to make kitty purses, or those little cylindrical and cone shaped ones?) I also bought two copies of Dijanne’s book to share with members of my quilting group, and a catalog for Léa Stansdal’s installation (more on that below). Oh, and 4 little off-cuts of silk (I’m not perfect).
In the next town of St. Croix aux Mines we visited Eglise St-Nicolas to see Priscilla Bianchi’s work. It is a wonderful riot of color! Check out her website for good pictures of the quilts, but here’s one of my favorites (“Rainforest”):
We loved the way the simple quilting really complimented the simple piecing, and all together it just looks lush and lovely! (“Holiday in Nebaj IV”)
No trip to the Carrefour is complete without a stop at Villa Burrus. I mean, how French is this scene?
Inside was an exhibit of Antique Australian quilts. Although I’m not really one for Bible verses, I was struck by this one because of, you guessed it, text on fabric!
In the Espace Exposition in St. Croix aux Mines were a dozen or so artists selling their wearable art. The lady I bought a patchwork belt from in Lyon was there, as well as several artist with wonderful felted hats, scarves and jewelry. I held myself back and didn’t purchase anything, although I was quite tempted by a pom pom necklace.
We ran out of time for Rombach le Franc. In Liépvre I stayed at the Espace Exposition to see this years challenge: Fashion, Reflection of an Era (only OK in my opinion), and an exhibit with the theme of time curated by Dörte Bach. There were lots of interesting works in this collection:
“Vegetationzeit” by Claudia Kreuzig – Germany
“Im Blauen Wunderland” by Anita Leutweiler – Germany
“Abgetragen” by Rita Maria Lerch – Switzerland
In the same space was also Changing the World One Thread at a Time curated by Thelma Smith where I also got to see Dijanne Cevaal again and fondle a few WIPs, and meet Sandy Marcoux in person. I love how small blogging makes the world! Thelma has assembled many interesting pieces but of course, it was Linda Colsh’s work (“Brittle Silence”) that caught my eye.
Finally, I was blown away by an installation by Léa Stansdal. She accosted me to look at my Orange Revolution backpack and I took the opportunity to ask her about her work. Unfortunately my French sucks, and she doesn’t speak much English or German. As far as I can tell, she has used quilts, soft sculpture, and assemblage to create dioramas of sorts to tell the story of “Sweet Girl.” I’m not sure what the story is, but it is very feminine, kitschy, and magical like a fairy tale. I bought her book, which not only has lovely photos of the pieces in a woodland setting, but also instructions to make your own cottages, Fliegenpilze, caulifowers, and flowers. It’s like a Japanese craft magazine and a fairy tale all wrapped into one beautiful package. Léa said she’d email me an English synopsis, so I’m waiting hopefully. My pictures don’t do Léa’s work any justice, so check out the links to see nicer pages from her book and a better idea of her vision.
I can’t wait to see what visual treasures await us next year!