To Dublin, Berlin, and Back (part Berlin)

As I mentioned in the last post, this is a visual sampling of some of the patterned surfaces and interesting places that caught my eye while in Berlin, not an exhaustive travel write-up.

Berlin Brandenburg Gate

The first full day was the Berlin Marathon, with 40,000 runners and a record-beating time.  Because of this, we had more access to the Gate and enjoyed seeing it all lit up.

Berlin Brandernberger Tor Station

Underground stop for the Brandenburger Gate

Berlin Frau Tulpe_1

I made my way to the former East Berlin, where Frau Tulpe’s shop was located, and ended up buying some fabrics of her own design.Berlin Frau Tulpe_2Berlin Frau Tulpe_2aBerlin Frau Tulpe_2b

It was a fun place with lots to look at.

Berlin Handwerker

A lot of times I’d go to look at a sight the guidebook suggested, then wander off course and find interesting places like this: the Berlin Craftsman Association building, with wonderful light coming in through that back double door:

Berlin Handwerker2

You can hear the Singing Lesson in this IG video clip.

Berlin curvy building

This was seen on one of my many bus rides.  I’d climb up to the top level of the bus, try to sit in the front and have my own private tour.

Berlin Hotel Chocolate Hour

Every day at 4 p.m., the hotel would put out treats for “Chocolate Hour.”  I could see this happening at a quilt retreat, although we’d need a lot more.

Berlin Wall_2

There were two main locations to see the Berlin Wall, and this one had paintings on one side.  I had two favorites.  This one showed the crush of ecstatic East Berliners, finally allowed to cross through their oppressive borders.  I can recommend the book, Forty Autumns, if you want a taste of this (previously recommended).

Berlin Wall 1

And I like these women, who reminded me of women from the turn of the century.

Berlin Karstadt_1

While in Frau Tulpe’s, someone recommended this store, Karstadt, which called for another bus ride.Berlin Karstadt_2Berlin Karstadt_2aBerlin Karstadt_2b

Couldn’t believe that I was seeing Free Spirit, and at a bargain price! (about 8 bucks a yard)Berlin Karstadt_3Berlin Laundry

Everybody needs a wash day while traveling, and I brought my stitching along.

Berlin Idee

Another place we saw fabric was at idee.  This one was next door to KaDeWe, a big, fancy department store, but I also saw idee. at the Mall of Berlin, next to the two-story slide.Berlin Idee_1Berlin Reichstag

Climbing up the Reichstag Dome presented so many interesting shapes and patterns, all with a view.

Berlischer Galerie

This building reminded me of a quilt pattern.  It was across from the entrance to the Berlinischer Galerie (yellow tiles). It had several wonderful exhibits.

Berlin museum floor_2a

Grill (above) and floor tiles (below) from the Neues Museum, which housed antiquities.

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The Bode Museum had room after room of red-and-white patterned floor tiles.  I’m sure the guards thought I was a little bit dotty when surrounded by beautiful art, I was snapping photos of their floors.

Berlin Dome Photo Mus

My husband is always photographing the interior of domes (above); I followed his example in the Old National Gallery (below):

Berlin Old Natl Gallery.jpg

Evelinde_1

But one of the most fun days I had was meeting up with Evelinde, and going to lunch and seeing one of her local quilt shops.  We met on Instagram, and I was so blown away by her being willing to meet up with a stranger and spend some time out of her busy schedule.  She’s so lovely, and shared stories with me, answering so many questions.  While there are many negatives to social media, meeting quilters halfway across the world, or the states, is one of the positives, for me.

Evelinde_2

We did Show and Tell in the restaurant; this is only one of her many fabulous pieces.  I only had the pathetic little screen on my phone.  She is inspiring!

Evelinde Fabric Shop1

She took me here, to Hobby and Handarbeiten (Handicrafts).

I rarely buy fabric overseas anymore, but I always like to look and see.  I loved the embroidery floss–mine is always in bins and tangled up, and was generally impressed with the range of fabrics they carried.

Berlin Sweet KaDeWe

Since we try to travel cheaply, I purchased my husband’s breakfast (for the next day) when I was out and about, and I thought you’d like to see what I had to choose from.  I also supplemented with yogurt and juice and fruit from the local grocery store.  And we ate great meals at night, mostly from small places near our hotel:

Berlin Doner

Doner, from Berlin

Berlin Babelplatz

Lastly, I leave you with the sight of this beautiful plaza, Babelplatz.  The caption is found on the Instagram video. Click to see my farewell to this great city.

To Dublin, Berlin, and Back (part Dublin)

I’m dividing this into two posts: first up is Dublin.  As a quilter, I didn’t know what to expect in the surface decoration, the patterns of everyday life in Dublin. Certainly we all are familiar with Celtic knots and crosses and the like, but I have never been that enamoured of those style of quilts (maybe it’s because I couldn’t face appliquéing all those linear feet of bias strips), so was looking for the “flavor” of Dublin that might interest me, a quilter.  So here follows not a travelogue of the two cities I visited, but instead, a sampling of visual pattern and a nod to fabric shops I encountered.

Dublin Christ Church.jpg

Christ Church, in Dublin, is undergoing renovation in certain areas of its property so they erected these fun, bold passageways to usher the visitor forward.  I thought it was just genius pulled out of thin air, until we entered the cathedral:

Dublin Christchurch floor1

The designs are pulled from its floors.  My husband is thoroughly trained as a Quilter’s Husband, so he started snapping photos, too, knowing how I would love the designs.Dublin Christchurch floor2

This is a panorama of one section of floor, and I recognize so many designs, as do you.  You can do a search on them, and find lots of material and more illustrations, but the tiles were either original to the 13th century, or 19th century copies.

Dublin Donuts

If I lived in Dublin, these would be my preferred snack.  They are nothing like American donuts–maybe a little like the filled ones, but their flavors and combinations were addicting.  I could see bringing one of each to a quilt retreat.

Dublin floral building

Lots of flowers, lots of green.

Dublin National Library

We went to the National Library of Ireland, in Dublin, after I saw photos of the reading room.  No photos were allowed, so I grabbed this one from the web:

Dublin NatlLibraryIreland_reading room

What a color palette!

Dublin St. Patricks Door

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, also in Dublin, brought more eye candy to this quilter:Dublin StPatricks floor1

Christ Church still is the best, I think, in terms of floor tiles.

DublinFabric_1DublinFabric_2

Two shops: Hickey’s and Cloth. I zipped right into Cloth and brought home a tote bag (like I need another tote bag, right?).  I smiled when I saw their floor tiles.

Dublin Garden of Remembrance waves.jpg

Other decorative surfaces were the tiles design at the Garden of Remembrance, with coving on the side of the pool that imitated the laid tiling:

Dublin Garden of Remembrance waves2.jpg

Dublin Bee Stamps.jpg

Lastly, hexagon stamps…which I admired, but forgot to purchase.

Next up: Berlin.

 

Inspiration: Okano, Manzanar, Etc.

Eiko Okano_Time for Supper

Eiko Okano’s exhibition of quilts is up at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum. (Someday I want to go there.)  I first saw Okano’s quilts long ago and at that time wanted to buzz into her studio and be a fly on the wall as she created.  Unlike our quick-study Instagram world, where quilts are being produced at the rate of 300 a second — or so it seems — I imagine her process would take a bit longer.

Eiko Okano_Delicious and Round

I love the wild, dancing rick-rack scribbles in the border of this quilt, and those buttons!

Eiko Okano_Delicious Quilt

I want to hang this one in my kitchen.  These photographs are all taken from the IGSC website, where more of her quilts are shown.

Ballard Street MOJO

Ballard Street cartoon

In charging up my creative batteries, which often we speak of as “mojo,” I found this series of ten videos from 99U, which are about the creative process.

Everyting Is a Remix.jpg

I intrigued by the concept that this one gives us, that — believe it or not — springboarding off of things that others have done, is a time-honored path to creativity. Notice I said “springboarding.”  No one likes to have their work cloned, unless maybe you are making a pattern or something that is designed to be cloned.

Flower Garden closeup.jpg

I watched this in process with the release of Sherri McConnell’s quilt, “Flower Garden,” in a magazine this week.  It’s the old hexie flower you have come to know and love, but Sherri gives it a modern twist, a new spin, and now I want to gather up hexies and start making my own.  She started this several years ago, once again giving me hope for my own long time lines for some quilts.

And, as usual, after a spurt of creativity, I take time to clear off my workspace, find the floor again (stacks of fabrics often migrate there when I am looking for a “certain piece”) and plan out time in my calendar.

Dilbert List.png

Manzanar Trip_1Manzanar Trip_2jpg

A change is as good as a rest, my mother says, so this past week we took a break from calendars and sewing machines and usual activities when we drove up to Manzanar (about a four-hour’s distance), to visit this National Historic Place.  The memorial is evocative, terribly sad, and enraging, all at once.

Manzanar Trip_2aManzanar Trip_3

The Mt. Whitney mountain range is stunningly beautiful, and we took some time that night to enjoy the sunset and rising moon.

.Manzanar Trip_Bottle Ranch

On the way home, we stopped at Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch, a Mojave Desert attraction, all built by Elmer, a man who gets up in the morning, fires up his welding torch and gets to work.  Unless, of course, he doesn’t want to.

Thank You.jpeg

I have a re-cap post on the Mad for Solids 2018 coming, but I wanted to thank you all for the efforts you made to put my quilt design and curated stack of solids in the Winner’s Circle.  I enjoyed getting to know new quilters and their creative worlds, not only those who also had stacks, but you quilters, with your IG and FB and blogging sites.  Keep up the good work of interacting and supporting and cheering each other on.  I love this quilty world!

Escape to Texas • March 2018

TexasMarch_0

We escaped to Texas last week, to visit our son and his family, as well as head to San Antonio, where my husband participated in a scientific conference.  TexasMarch_1

Pico Iyer, a well-respected travel writer noted that “The urgency of slowing down — to find the time and space to think — is nothing new, of course, and wiser souls have always reminded us that the more attention we pay to the moment, the less time and energy we have to place it in some larger context. “Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries,” the French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in the 17th century, “and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.” He also famously remarked that all of man’s problems come from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”TexasMarch_2

So I tried to grab some undistracted time with my grandsons; Alex and I made a Lego sewing machine.

TexasMarch_3TexasMarch_4TexasMarch_5TexasMarch_5aTexasMarch_6

“When things come at you very fast, naturally you lose touch with yourself,” noted Marshall McLuhan, over a half-century ago.

It was nice to get away.

Bojagi and the Chojun Textile & Quilt Art Museum • Seoul, South Korea

It was the last day of our trip to Tokyo and Seoul.  I was laying in bed, so so tired from our trip, and already the events and obligations of home were pressing in.  I communicated to my husband that all I wanted to do that day was lay in bed. He leaned over and said “There’s a quilt museum here in Seoul.”  I was dressed and ready to go in a flash.

The Chojun Textile and Quilt Art Museum wasn’t too far from our hotel, up a narrow street, and it is very small: a room for the entry, a side room for the gift shop and more, a hallway and a one-room display. Right off the bat, we see Yvonne Porcella’s quilt hanging up on the right side of the display room.  When we were talking about it, the assistant curator, Jeehye OK, who spoke English and was  a good guide and help, lifted it up to see if there was a label.  There wasn’t, but instead a hand-written note on the rod pocket: “Top.”  The quilt was displayed upside-down, but apparently the curator likes it that way.  I wondered if it were because of the way language functioned in Korea until the early 1990s: written right to left, but I’ll never know.

This quilt was on the left side of the door.  Again, no name or title.  Most of the quilts were down a long poorly-lit hallway (below), but my husband’s camera picked up amazing amounts of info in dim lighting.  

So here is a collage of the quilts, however dimly colored they are:

You can click on any quilt to get a larger photo.  What I found interesting were the colors they used, the placement of motifs or accents, and the general symmetry of the quilts.  The little birds are just a photo fragment of a quilt–I thought they’d be cute improv pieced as a filler block.

I also find interesting the impact of American traditional quilting, as shown in the quilt with the scenes of an old-time quilting bee.  I don’t think we often realize the impact we from the US have on other countries, and not just in quilting.  Maybe we’d tread a little more lightly if we realized that others have good ideas, many countries do a lot of things better than we do, and that we could all learn from each other.  (It’s that traveling thing, again.)

These three displays of quilts, seemingly made of organza or other transparent fabrics, were in between the hanbok, or traditional Korean clothing.  I think we in the U.S. think of transparent patchwork  as “bojagi,” but really that is a word for a square cloth that can cover something, or be used as a wrap.  The patchwork style is known as “chogak bo,” or so Jeehye explained to me.  I had a hard time figuring this out, given my belief that bojagi is patchwork cloth.  All this new info was not so clear cut.  {And by the way, it’s bo-jag-i, which rhymes (nonsensically) with “row-hag-ee” with a hard-sounding “g.”}

When I got home, I looked it up on Wikipedia, and found these tidbits:

“Bojagi were used for transporting items, as well as covering, or keeping things together in storage….Min-bo or chogak bo were “patchwork” bojagi made by commoners. In contrast with the royal [wrapping cloths], which were not patchwork, these cloths were created from small segments (“chogak”) of fabric from other sewing, such as those left over from cutting the curves in traditional hanbok clothing. Both symmetrical ‘regular’ and random-seeming ‘irregular’ patterned cloths were sewn, with styles presumably selected by an individual woman’s aesthetic tastes.”

Seoul QM_hanbok1

This exhibit was also shown at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Seoul QM_hanbok6

This is what we saw when we entered, and immediately I leaned over for a closer look.

Seoul QM_hanbok6a

All these contemporary bojagi were made by local artists, demonstrating the concept of pieced cloth.  They appear to be all sorts of organdy, printed organza and perhaps some chiffon here and there?  I said to Dave that they must have gone shopping at Dongdaemun to get this range of cloth.  I don’t think I could find this many kinds of sheer cloth in this range of colors here in the States.

Seoul QM_hanbok5

I also think their jeogori (or the little top with sleeves) is longer on the artists’ interpretations, than in the traditional versions.  I like the bit longer one better.

Seoul QM_hanbok5a

Silks?

Seoul QM_hanbok2

This is the more traditional woman’s hanbok with the long bib-front.  I think this is the perfect outfit for the mature woman (forget Kimono, which show everything!).

Seoul QM_hanbok3

Men’s hanbok.

Seoul QM_hanbok4a

I liked the juxtaposition of the new and the old back to back.  On the wall behind the blue hanbok is a diagram/display of types of sleeves on the jeogori:

Seoul QM_hanbok4

The woman’s outfit also has an underskirt, an overskirt that in the past was nothing more than a gathered length of cloth on a band which was tied tightly above the bust   But now there are straps to keep it from falling down (all this is from Jeehye, who as very patient with my questions).

Seoul QM_hanbok8Seoul QM_hanbok8a

Men’s, with close-up of the embroidered panel.  Most of these photos were taken by my patient and understanding husband, while I chatted.

Seoul QM_hanbok9Seoul QM_hanbok10

ESE and assisCurator

Jeehye and I, in front of Porcella’s quilt.

Folkwear Hanbok

I did some research and found that many would-be-sewers of hanbok used this Folkwear pattern as a basis for their costume.  Tempting, but how will I finish all those UFO quilts hanging around on my guest bed, if I attempt this?  I do have a modern-day Seoul fashion story for you, though.  It’s about a purse just meant for quilters.

While we were in Tokyo or Seoul (can’t remember which) I saw this geometric purse, carried by a woman my age.  Her daughter was with her (and she spoke English), so told me it was a bag by her mother’s favorite designer, but I couldn’t understand what she said. (This happened a lot.)

SeoulPurse_5

The last night, we were over by the Shinsegue Department Store to look at their lights, and as we were wandering through the store, I stopped in my tracks: The Purse!  And of course, it was by Issey Miyake (slaps head).

The way it draped and moved, was beyond amazing.  So was the price tag.  I snuck a few photos (asked permission, finally, and the sales clerk said it was okay), and snapped a few more.  Sigh.

Seoul purse1

Fast forward a few days, when I was talking to my sister, who is totally with it in fashion, unlike me.  “Oh,” she said.  “That’s been around so long there are knock-offs.”  Cue up Amazon, type in BaoBao, and after a few mouse clicks and a couple of days, the aqua knock-off arrived in my kitchen.

Seoul purse2

I plan on bringing it to all the Quilt Shows, as it is definitely a purse for quilters: very cool, very light and holds a lot.

So, no hanbok for me, but yes! to a geometric purse and yes! to bojagi patchwork.

Now it’s back to those UFOs on the guest bed.  Oh, and maybe get ready for Christmas!