11 Oct

Stichelein, Michelstadt

Stichelein, Michelstadt, what are these words? The Stichelein is an annual fest for fiber arts, generally of the more conservative nature, but not exclusively. The fest is in the picturesque city of Michelstadt in the Odenwald (Germany). I have attended 6 of the 8 years we have been in this lovely country. This year was light on patchwork and exhibits, but heavy on the vendors. Not necessarily a bad thing, as the vendors were mostly artists showcasing their weaving, felting (very big here), silk and yarn dying, whitework, etc. There was glorious antique linen, fabulous capes and scarves made of silk with felted borders and motifs, buttons of all shapes, colors and sizes, incredible embroidery of all styles, handwork to boggle the mind and textures that screamed to be touched!

Anyways, thinking I’d try to look the part of a fiber artist, I wore my scrappy poncho.

To my utter amazement, no less than four ladies stopped me to say how cool it was and to ask how I made it! Sure, I like it enough to wear it, and it is off the beaten path, but really, I was just trying to use up scraps. I was more impressed by the lady who made similar ponchos from wool, silk and other ethereal fibers. Anyways, as I was oggling everyone else’s art, they were checking out mine. Kinda fun. There was a wonderful vibe of everyone sharing and supporting. Everyone was chatting and some people had brought projects to work on where we could all see their techniques. I had a long talk with a charming artist, Veronika Sch├╝tz, who paints silk and makes the most meticulously crafted scarves. I almost bought one made from several panels of different silks, but liked the drape of this one better:

So, with a bag full of hand dyed fibers and a gorgeous handmade silk scarf around my neck, I drove home through mountains washed in autumnal colors, to the Neckar river and, out of the corner of my eye, caught a glimpse of a riverside town with half timbered houses (fachwerk) and castle perched on top. This photo of Hirschhorn doesn’t do it justice. Anyways, it’s just the scene I needed to try a new abstracted composition. At the suggestion of a friend, I have been revisiting artists such as Kandinsky and Klee, and I must say I look at their early works a lot differently now, throught the eyes of a quilter instead of the eyes of an art student. So, I pulled over and did a quick sketch of the scene and made some notes on color and fabric. I hope to have the time soon to work on this some more. I’m still unsure as to weather I should approach it in a collage manner, just cutting stuff up and arranging it on my design wall until I like it, or if I should make detailed drawing and work out kinks there first. Hmmmmmm.

In all it was a wonderful day in the country!