Monday, October 29, 2012

Shop Windows

Finally back home on the Pacific coast of Canada, life is slowly returning to a comfortable rhythm and routine. With my project list before me, I am looking forward to a fall and winter of creating and producing as many things textile as I can. My "hirondelle" boutis piece is coming along (see my previous post) and I hope to begin the cording before long. Other projects, I will write about as they come up.

To get back to Vancouver from Montpellier, we took a long, round about route to Heathrow Airport in London, where we eventually caught our flight home. Our detour took us from Montpellier to northern Germany, Belgium and Calais,France, where we caught the Eurostar to London.

On this little tour of northern Europe, we spent some time in the Belgian cities of Antwerp and Bruges. Wandering through the medieval, winding streets of Antwerp and Bruges, our senses were constantly delighted. From the sweet, spicy scent of Speculoos cookies and gingerbread baking in the patisseries, to the eye candy in the shop windows, every turn provided a new surprise.

In Antwerp, Belgian chocolates in the form of Hallowe'en treats.

The entrance to a pub in Antwerp featured a wall of local beer bottles.

There was an abundance of Belgian laces in many shop windows.

Some of these little butterflies followed me home.

Our final stop on this tour was London. Of the many opportunities to shop in London, Liberty of London is a favourite. Smaller then the mega stores like Harrods and John Lewis, Liberty of London is somehow easier to comprehend and navigate; a more intimate, comfortable setting. I find it more user friendly. (The fact that they have a whole floor dedicated to fabrics and fibres could have something to do with my preference!)

Liberty of London from the street.

The interior of the store from the top floor.

Wall coverings and upholstery fabrics.

Silky, smooth Liberty cotton prints.

Most of the top floor was dedicated to the delights of Christmas.

Christmas crackers. Can't get more British then that!

And of course, while in London, there are the museums and galleries to visit. The Victoria and Albert Museum is always on our "must stop" list while in London. To my delight and surprise, the "Tristan" quilt was "in the house", and I had my first opportunity to see this ancient piece of boutis. More on that in the next blog.

In the meantime, with the approach of Hurricane Sandy, I am mindful today of  everyone on the eastern coast of the US and Canada. Wishing all of you safe times in the next few days.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hummingbird Boutis

This hummingbird is the first in a series of boutis pieces featuring birds that I am currently in the process of designing.

As with most of my quilting designs, the hummingbird has evolved in the construction process, and may change some more before the final stitch is sewn. The centre of the piece has already been stitched and I hope to get a lot more work done as we make our way back to Vancouver.

Tomorrow morning we lock up our little place in the sun and will spend a few weeks on the road touring northern Germany, Belgium and France before heading home. Train travel is a good place to do some stitching, so ever the optomist, I expect to get at least a little work done en route. I'll report when we are settled back in Vancouver, sometime towards the end of October.

Until then, enjoy the colours of autumn wherever you are, and Happy Thanksgiving to Canadians, where Thanksgiving will be celebrated on Monday, October 8. (Wish I were there. Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday).

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Alsace Quilts

A quilt show is a great place to be inspired and to celebrate our craft with other artisans. Spread throughout the town of Ste. Marie-Aux-Mines, as well as 2 other nearby towns, this show did not disappoint in either way. There were many fantastic quilts to marvel at, and even more fantastic people to meet and share ideas with.

When at these shows, time is always at a premium, so I prioritized the exhibits that I hoped to see and did my best to get there. Here are a few of the highlights.

The first exhibit we saw were the Canadian quilts. Just as with the Amish quilts, a church acted as the gallery. Churches make great venues for displaying quilts.

Canadian quilts under the stained glass windows made for an interesting presentation.

"Accumulate" by Amanda McGavour, Toronto, Ontario

"Triumph of the Hexagon" by Jeannie Jenkins of Toronto, Ontario

Libby Lehman is very well known throughout the quilt world for her free motion machine quilting and threadwork. As she was the featured artist at this year's show, there was a large retrospective display of her quilts. I am more familiar with her current work, so it was quite a surprise to see her more traditional earlier work. It was a beautiful exhibit.

"Frenzy" (1990)  by Libby Lehman of the U.S.

"New Mexico - Pecos Summer" (1983)  by Libby Lehman of the U.S.

"Watch Your Step 2 - Mushrooms" (2012) by Libby Lehman of the U.S.

"Quiltmania" a French quilting magazine (available in English in North America), profiles certain quilters each year at their exhibit. Di Ford and Kathy Doughty were 2 of this years artists.

"Antique Wedding Sampler Revisited" by Di Ford.

Di Ford (close - up)

"Kaffe Fanfare" by Kathy Doughty

Japanese quilts are always amazing to see in person. The skill of the artisan and the minute, intricate needlework is often unbelievable. Here is an example. I apologize for not having the name of the quilter.

Japanese Quilt. Artist is unknown.

Japanese quilt close -up. Hand applique as well as hand quilting.

The French collection had it's own line-up of talented artists. Note the machine threadwork of this wall hanging.

"Tentation" close - up by Genevieve Attinger of France.

"Tentation" close -up by Genevieve Attinger of France.

18th Century Boutis Quilt from the collection of  Monique Alphand of France.

Close - up of the boutis.
Quilt shows are always fun and inspirational as well as a great place to connect with other kindred spirits. I met some wonderful people at the show and I'm already looking forward to the next one, wherever it might be!