300 Quilts · Quilt Finish

Postcard from Burano

Postcard from Burano, quilt #242
11″ x 22″

Over the space of several years, I tried three times to get to the small island of Burano, just a vaparetto ride out of Venice. And when my husband and I finally made it there, we had only about an hour before the next ride back to Venice.

When the boat docked in Burano and everyone turned right to go into the main part of town, we turned left and wandered, taking in the brilliant color, the laundry, the umbrellas, the acqua alta barricades in the doorways, snapping away.

We arrived at the outgoing vaparetto a few minutes early, but stood in line, mentally and physically leaving Burano forever.

So when I had a chance to take Gillian Travis‘ class in October 2019, pulled in by the chance to do a fabric representation of that small island with its brilliant colors, I signed up quickly. It was at PIQF (Pacific International Quilt Festival); my friend Leisa and I traveled there and spent three days in the hotel, rarely leaving as the Mancuso quilt show had many pieces to see, and then there were all the vendors (of course).

In our Townscapes class, we started by tracing, and Gillian had very specific and helpful instructions on how to do everything. I listened carefully and took copious notes. This was one project I wanted to finish. She’s the one who taught us the trick of using parchment paper as a backing for layers of fused fabric (instead buying those expensive specialty sheets).

When I got this far, she came over, and making sure it was all fused together, peeled it off the parchment paper like peeling off a giant sticker, and we plopped it onto a stretch of blue fabric I’d chosen (in consultation, of course).

And this is where I picked it up, a year and some months later. But I’d been to Burano and seen the white window frames, the laundry and the umbrellas, so I pulled out my photos and started adding details.

I imitated the upside down boots on the left side, having found that in our visit:

In the course of time, a lovely splotch affixed itself above one of the chimneys. I tried to get it out with soap and water; it just means that some of the gulls of Venice would now fly through my sky. Her method is to stitch details into the picture while stitching down the fused pieces.

I did that, constantly referring to all the snapshots I took during class. I used a free-motion quilting foot, realizing I would sacrifice another needle to the gunk of fused fabrics.

Then I added borders, as I knew I wanted to stretch it onto bars like California Bear.

I quilted it lightly, trying to add some detail to the sky, but not too much, winding my way around the gulls.

Side view of the borders wrapped and stapled.

I took shots of all the details. Like the teacher, I tried not to be too pristine about how I stitched the window frames, or added detail to the laundry. I can sometimes be a little too uptight about those sort of things, and while I’ll never be an artist like Ms. Travis, I can imitate in order to learn new things.

Work of Gillian Travis

And if you’ve been to the Yorkshire Dales, she has a townscape for you too.

If you want to read about our quick trip to Burano, I include many colorful photos on my travel blog, TraveledMind.blog. (It’s currently under renovation/repair having suffered a loss of domain name recently, and I’m still working to get it back up to where it was.) On the blog, we’re currently in Tokyo, soon heading to Korea and yes, it was a trip from 2017. I’ll get it finished, hopefully before we head out again, maybe in 2022?

Happy February. Wear a mask, get your vaccine, and stay home and quilt!

14 thoughts on “Postcard from Burano

  1. Thank you for sharing. I read it all. You really captured that village on cloth. I was a little disappointed that you didn’t leave more of the border showing. You did a beautiful job on choosing those fabrics and it really looks good wrapped around the framing. Very well done.

    1. Another beauty and I can appreciate the wrapped finish of the project. It really brought the reality of dimension to the houses. Surprisingly, I began to think of the people and the lives lived on this quant island. The tiny subtleties of laundry and flowers along with the flight of gulls that soften the view showed life behind those walls. .
      Great Job!

  2. Thank you for the trip to Burano, through your wonderful cloth piece and the blog post! You captured the houses beautifully and I I thoroughly enjoyed looking at every.last.picture of your trip. It was so clear in the travel post how much you and Dave felt the the specialness of your travel to Venice and Burano, made me feel almost like I was along for the ride. Thank you, on this cold, rainy morning!

  3. Thanks for the visit to Burano. I appreciate your step by step pictures and explanations. Beautiful work and attention to detail without overdoing!

  4. I love all of the wonderful detail you have added to this piece. I’m thankful for “the spot” that brought in the seagulls. Those boots are sooo cute. Great project!

  5. What a wonderful interpretation of your quick visit. Love, love the boots and all the other little details too.

  6. My fondest memory of Burano is the wonderful cherries 🍒 in the market there. Beautiful island. Venice and everything about it is enchanting.

  7. I showed the upside down boots to my husband. Wellington boots are a must on our new property, and we are still working out the best way to keep them. Outside, even upside down, would likely invite the geckos to make a boot a home, so for now they sit on the floor inside our door. But I digress away from your finish! Adding the gulls to the sky is a great solution to the spot, and I love all the detail and how it helps seal the memory of your hour on Burano.

  8. You excel at so many things, but there is joy in this that tells me, maybe this is your thing! Really lovely, and if it were mine (and my memories) I would display it prominently.

  9. So cute!! I love the reproduction, color and whimsy that went into this. Pretty sure I won’t be visiting Burano – had never even heard of it! – so thank you for taking me there vicariously!

  10. Wow, your Burano-scape is so charming and oh those delicious colors. If not for your photos I would never believe this was a real place – it is just so colorful and wonderful. I think it looks great hanging beneath your bear. I’ve got to check out your travel blog if you are “in” Tokyo!

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