Quilt Show Contest • or • Concours International du Carrefour Européen du Patchwork 2017

How’s that for a title?  This post is all about the official competition of the Patchwork Meeting, and I have a sampling of the quilts in the contest.  I purchased the Catalogue from the organizers and it was interesting that it is printed in three languages: French, German and English (yippee!).  The contest theme this year was “Journey to the End of the World” and all the quilts were to be 35″ wide by 47″ inches tall.  This was the first indication that it would be a different type of competition than I had been used to seeing in the States.

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Car in main parking lot

I realized quickly that this would represent all different nationalities, cultures, countries, skill levels (generally really high) and all types of construction.  I chose to notice not only their interpretation of the theme, but also the how and the why they chose to use the materials and techniques they did, always hoping to learn something new.  These quilts are in no particular order.  You can note the winners by the small rosettes in the lower right corner.

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Tatiana Varshavskaya’s In the Beginning.  She is from Hungary.
Her artist’s statement wrote from the perspective on a three-year old, with “continents to conquer, horizons to overcome.  Free, without anchors or restraints, you venture forever in the infinity of childhood’s imagination.”  She finishes by writing “You are three years old, and sail to the unknown with a paper boat.”

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Small Boat, Small Trip, by Sandra Van Velzen of The Netherlands.  She writes “Not so long ago the length of your trip depended on the size of your means of transport.  Nowadays planes and the internet seem to make the world smaller and the trip longer.”

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Gabriele Yoeller, from Germany, created Finistere evoking “France, Bretange…where the sun goes down and the land ends.  Even the Romans called this land: ‘Finis terrae.’ Before you: only water.  Is there something else?  New worlds…or a monster?”

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A quilter from Spain, Eva Arrelano Martin created Into the Deep, an “homage to the effort of thousands of workers who spent and sometimes lost their lives in the their trip into the [great cavity] of the world.”

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Two Americans, Jim Smith & Andy Brunhammer made “June 19th,” celebrating Andy’s birthday  Their artists’ statement notes that “We are both long-term HIV-survivors, and our end of the world has always been just around the corner.  We chose Kaieteur Falls in Guyana [where Jim’s father grew up] as the background. . . Our arm is reaching out with the cascading red ribbon symbolizing the flow or our blood.  The clusters of pills are our life-force.”

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Esodo, by Angela Minaudo of Italy says that “The work represents the journey of those who run from the land in search of a better life, towards other lands, other worlds, towards the end of their world and often toward the end of their lives.”  Esodo means “exodus.”

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A Japanese quilter, Chiaki Yagishita, made Japon.  Her statement read “I think ‘creation’ and ‘infinity’ equals ‘silence.’  There is ‘silence’ in Japan and it is beautiful. This work expresses ‘Japanese blue’ [or] ‘the silent world.’ ”

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Anneliese Jaros, from Austria made 101 Views of Vesuvius (my translation of her title).  She wrote that she loves the Gulf of Naples, and Mt. Vesuvius.  “The eruptions of the volcano in the course of history have been the end of the world to many…Parts of the letters [by Pliny the Younger] describing the eruptions are printed in Latin on cotton, which are then overlaid by my own photos of contemporary views of the mountain.”  I tried to capture the detail of the overlay, below.

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Au pays des atomes translates to “In the Country of Atoms,” and is a quilt by French quilter Françoise Buzzi-Morel.  She write that atoms “are able to reach the end of the world…beyond any human limits.  And in one precise order, they geometrically follow parallels, cubes, circles and lines.”

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Another French quilter, Eriko Krzyzaniak, made Emmenez-moi au pays des merveilles, or “Take me to Wonderland.”  The colors of blue and gold were inspired by the icon of the Virgen Rynecka in the Church of Our Lady in Prague.  “The drawing,” she writes, “was inspired but the poetry “The Little Flute Player,” by G. Brassens.  It was the starting point of my ‘Wonderland.’ ”
I snapped two more photos showing the detail of her work (below).

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Rita Dijkstra, from The Netherlands, did a rendition of Mount Fitz Roy (her title).  She describes it for us: “The road on the quilt leads to Mount Fitz Roy on the border of Argentina and Chile (Patagonia)….For me Patagonia stands for the end of the world.  The only way you can travel more south from this point, is by taking a boat to the South Pole.”

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No return was made by Anne Lillhom, from The Netherlands.  She writes “From birth to death, we go through different stages.  We have good and less good things happening in life, days with more colors and days with less colors.  We have periods in life where life goes up and days where it goes down…Nobody knows what the life journey will bring us, the only that is for sure is….there is NO RETURN.  We simply have to follow the path.”

Details, below.

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Michèle Samter of Switzerland made Excitement of a big city, her tribute to Singapore.  She writes that “The vibrating performance of all the lights in different colors from high-rise buildings and traffic all night long evokes [a] feeling [of having been to the end of the world]….The contrast between my home in Switzerland and this other city, which never seems to sleep, had a great impact on me.”

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Incredible Voyage to the End of the World is by Dalia Eliraz, who is from Israel.  She writes: “The Arctic tern’s [long] trip from Arctic to Antarctic and back is the furthest animal migration.  Over 30 years, it will travel the equivalent of 3 roundtrips from Earth to Moon.  My quilt is inspired by this super-migration bird, as a metaphor of human behavior [when] motivated by determination to achieve a life goal or purpose….whether it is love, academic ambition, artistic aspirations or nesting…”

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Dreamland, by Elly Van Steebeek (from the Netherlands)
She writes: “There is a place, [far] from home with a beautiful blue sky, singing birds, flowing rivers and dark rocks. And after a spectacular sunset there is total darkness, only a whispering wind and the sound of the busy.  This is the land of my dreams!”

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This is Edith Leidi, from Italy, and I was so excited to meet her, I forgot to take a photo of the complete quilt.  The title is Stargate. What’s next?  and I loved what she wrote: “My idea was born in the swimming pool.  I was watching my husband’s hand diving in the water, so I created my stargate.  The hand passes through it while the body remains on the other side.  There is another hand in the universe, that is going to meet the first one.  But…from where does it come?”
Detail, below.

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Gabrielle Paquin from France (who also had her own exhibit at the Patchwork Meeting) created Voyage en orbite.  She says “The Earth [has] become too little for its population.  It is necessary to find some exits in Space….we must in a future time go away for a journey…tempory of definitively.”

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This quilt was on the front of their brochure for the Meeting, so we saw it everywhere.  Chang Misun, of South Korea, created Pieces of memories.  She says: “I think my way of life is like an endless trip.  Pieces of past life and future life come together…[some] especially clear and some others are dim.  Pieces of all memories were expressed in the works.”

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Maryte Collard, of Lithuania, made Song of the Linen.  Writing about returning to Lithuania, she notes that it “always feels like the trip backwards in time” due to the ancient language and that is was the “last European country to accept Christianity.”  Because of this “traces of ancient customs still remain in daily life….Flax has been a traditional Lithuanian fiber for several thousand years.  It has a special place in my heart and it sings to me the song about the trip to the end of the world.”
Detail, below.

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Catalogue of Patchwork Meeting 2017

taken from *here*

Watch me breeze through the complete catalogue, which I couldn’t figure out how to upload, which shows a few more quilts.  Below is a photo of the giant poster, showing all our venues.  The one above was above the L’Espace Commercial.

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It was raining that day, but none of our wet umbrellas were allowed in the exhibits.  Since I’d lost one already to an umbrella stand, I wasn’t anxious to repeat the experience, so I whipped out my souvenir Patchwork Bag, and we stuffed the umbrellas in there as we walked around.  Everyone was happy.

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More posts coming. The original post, with links, is found *here.*

Sentimental Journey: Bee Blocks for the Mid-Century Modern Bee, part II

Carlas Quilt-smaller

I’m back to the Sentimental Journey–a round-up of all the bee blocks I’ve made, and the quilts or collections where my blocks ended up.  Carla, of Grace and Favour, inspired by Jen Kingwell’s Green Tea and Sweet Beans, asked us all for a sampler block with a texty background.

MCM4 quilt square

Here’s mine.  Of course, I loved this quilt so much, I copied it for January 2015–now I have one too.

Carla Feathers

Another year, Carla dreamed up this terrific tutorial for making an arrow, and she combined it with a couple of other blocks, some neutral backgrounds to make this quilt.

MCM May 2014

Here was mine.  This was fun because I was able to use a lot of stash fabrics and it still looks interesting and modern-ish.

MCM5 Feather BlockA feather block, this time for Susan of PatchworknPlay, from a now-defunct tutorial by Anna Maria Horner.   Susan sent us the greige background fabric, and asked us for the two-color combo shown above.

Susan's Feathers

She ended up having some feathers in different sizes (probably because of some printer scaling not set to 100%), but I loved the way she set them all on the diagonal, making this beautiful quilt.

MCM July Bee Block

Inspired by a quilt she saw on Pinterest, one round Susan asked us for brightly colored solids with black background; above is my block.  It took me forever to get her my signature block (I really miss my mind when it wanders) but she waited for me and added it to the back.  Here is the front of her gorgeous quilt:

SusanS Amish Quilt

MCM Block June 2014

Linda of Flourishing Palms asked us for strip-pieced diamonds.  The tricky part is to get the strips going the right way (trust me on this).

Lindas block signature

She also asked us for pink and green “bar” blocks, which she has now used to complete her “Strawberry Fizz and Lime Pop” quilt.

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Linda_1quiltdetailA gifted domestic-machine quilter, she has now started to quilt it.  These photos are taken from IG, so aren’t that great, but click on the link to her quilt name and see many more!

MCM August Bee Block

Mary of Molly Flanders asked us for this set of triangles (above) as well as this set of blocks (below), but is planning on making a larger quilt using both, so doesn’t have a grouping to share.

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MCM Aug Block 2 MCM Aug Block 1

These two fun pink Cross-X blocks were for Mary, of Mary on Lake Pulaski.  She turned our blocks into this quilt:

Kolb Cross X

Kolb Union Jacks

And this is her collection of the Union Jack blocks she asked us to make for her.  I won’t tell you where mine is, because even though I ripped it out three times, I still don’t think it was very good.  It looks fine in this grouping, though, proving there is strength in numbers, even if the numbers are quilt blocks.

Deister Block

The final set of blocks and quilts are for Anne Deister, of SpringLeaf Studios.  I loved making Anne’s blocks because I always felt as if I were in on a big secret, as she is a pattern designer and we were helping her figure out, and pattern test, her designs.  So here’s one set of blocks, above, which turned into the quilt top below:

Deister Matrix scrappy

Deister Mtrix2 blogWhich she then refined, and made up in her stash, turning out this beauty, above. She calls it Matrix, and it should be released soon (she gave me permission to post these photos).  It was easy to make, and fun to see the finished product.

2014 MCM October

And then this block turned into this terrific quilt:

Deister tumble flat

Anne calls this Tumble, and again, the pattern should be released soon.  We’ll probably do a blog hop/giveaway, so I’ll keep you posted.

Deister tumbler bedroomShe has an artist’s eye for staging her quilts.  I love this photo.

So that’s it for the originals.  We have had some leave our group, and some newbies join us, which I have written about as I’ve made their blocks.  It’s been a rewarding experience working with all these women!

MCMBee Logo Button

Patchwork Blocks and Ennui

Basket Quilt Block

In a recent email exchange with my father, he mentioned the idea of ennui.  It’s not quite boredom, nor fatigue.  It is more of a lack of interest in what lays before you, a dis-interest, if you will.  The dictionary goes one step further: “a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest.”  We quilters often describe it as “lack of sewjo,” playing off that phrase of “lost my mojo,” which after reading about in Wikipedia, all I can say is I had no idea.

Essay 2 Grading

Of course, having a stack of grading doesn’t help the ennui, but with the students dropping like flies (long story) I had fewer to grade and they actually performed really well, so it went quickly.  (Bad essays take longer to grade.)

Grandsons

And this lovely distraction also came for a couple of days while the family was moving between houses.

Block part 4

But as Susan of PatchworknPlay and I chatted on Instagram, I noted that sometimes just sewing a block or two can help beat the ennui.  Here’s a new one from the ever-talented Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Company, from her latest magazine BLOCK.

Block Magazines

I get these every couple of months as I signed up for the subscription and I always enjoy reading them.  At QuiltCon they gave us all a copy of MODBLOCK in our swag bags.

Disappearing Hourglass

Here’s how you cut it.  She has the measurements in her magazine.  But when I posted it on IG, Krista of Poppyprint mentioned that at their guild sew day, lots of quilters were making the same thing into a star block.  I found that tutorial online *here.*

More Bird Blocks

Bird blocks which can be maddening, but also fun, once you get the hang of it.  I’m using a tutorial for “free-form” birds from my friend Rhonda, which she gave out to her class.  There’s also a tutorial online, which is much more orderly, and if you are into the cookie-cutter precision of paper-piecing, there’s also one of those.

Basket Quilt Block

The last block I made last night, while listening to my latest Inspector Gamache mystery, was this basket block, also shown at the top of the post.  It was late and I was tired, knowing that I’d lose an extra hour of sleep due to the dreaded Daylight Savings Time switch (I need to live in Arizona where they never switch). I found *this tutorial* and modified it the measurements I needed, plus used extra leaves from the Pineapple Blocks quilt border (yes, still working on that) to fill the basket.  I needed the block to measure 9″ finished.  One detail is those lower snowball corner on the basket: they were 2″ squares that I snowballed on.  The rest was done by cutting as I went, loosely following the tutorial.

All PatchesThis is why I’m making blocks to beat ennui.  My Mid-Century Modern beemates sent me a whole wall of blocks in January, and I’ve been adding to them, having no plan, but only relaxing fun.  I added the Disappearing Hourglass, the Dresden Plate, the basket, the birds and a couple of fillers. I’m still playing, still arranging.  Happily, the ennui is slipping away.

Keeping the Brain Alive

Yes, my brain is pretty dead after grading a stack of 10-page research papers, but after seeing all the twenty-somethings at school today, I have to say that their brains are pretty dead, too.  We had a hard time stringing words together, but we got through it by watching a video of a David Mamet play (Spanish Prisoner, if you’re interested) to go along with our Drama Unit.

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Christine’s Philadelphia • see original post for more info

So today, while I held my last office hours at school and the internet went out (Panic in the Library!! Panic in the Library!!) I resorted to that old-fashioned entertainment device: a newspaper (having tucked a couple of sections of my New York Times in my bag).  I read from their Education Life issue from April 13th (yeah, I’m a little behind in my reading), about  “Ten Courses with a Twist,” where I found this diagram:

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This is from a course from Carol S. Dweck of Stanford University whose “groundbreaking research has helped shape current wisdom about success and achievement — that failure and recovering from it are more valuable than sticking with what you already know how to do. Dr. Dweck tells students to tackle something “they have never had the guts to try.”  Her research shows that mind-set is critical at times of transition, and those “with a ‘growth mind-set’ see that struggles can be overcome with effort, strategy and good instruction.”  Hey, if it’s good enough for incoming Stanford freshmen, it’s good enough for me.  By the way, anywhere from 140-200 people try to get in the 16 spots in the class.

Amish Sunshine and Shadow

Why I do bring this all up, especially at the end of the semester when all the teachers/parents/students want to do is find a good beach, a cold drink and go slightly comatose for several hours?  Because after listing to NPR’s report that quilting is good for aging and combating memory loss, I thought could learn something. (LISTEN *here*)

Quilting keeps us on our toes because, as Denise Park, the Neuroscientist who was interviewed said, “people who learned a new skill – quilting, photography – had significant brain gains [in memory] – which held up after a year.”  She continues to say: Quilting might not seem like a mentally challenging task, but try it. If you’re a novice, you’re cutting out all these abstract shapes, you are trying to piece them together in reverse order and manipulate the images. It’s very demanding and complex.”  

And now you know what neuroscientists think about what we do all day.

Memory

So when I’m stuck on a project and it’s giving me fits, I should remember Dweck’s advice and try to cultivate a “growth mind-set” all the while knowing that the manipulation, cutting and sewing my patches is keeping my brain active and healthy.  Or take it from my friend Lisa, who hosts our Summer Quilt Retreats in her home. . .

Lia

Quilting! It’s a Win-Win!

 Now go cut some abstract shapes and piece them together in reverse order.

Friendship Cross-X Block Swap, March

April Cross-X Quilt Blocks stacked

Krista and I decided we were impatient about getting these done, so we sped into hyper-quilt-drive and did a double batch for this month’s swap.  Above is one set, all stacked together. . .

April Cross-X Quilt Blocks4

. . . and the double set all together.  As one commenter on Instagram said, it’s interesting how the switch in fabrics can make the block look so different.

Mar Cross-X Quilt Blocks stacked

This is the other set, with a few Mirror Ball Dots worked into the mix (I still have LOTS of those scraps left).

Mar Cross-X Quilt Blocks4

And the foursome, all in a row.  Looks like I was on a blue kick here, doesn’t it?  I didn’t get everyone out of their bags for an overall progress shot, so that will have to wait until the next round.  Come and see us on our Flickr Group where Krista has put up a picture up all of our blocks together.

Sol Lewitt’s Patchwork Primer

In class this semester, one of the types of poems that we studied were “form” poems, or poems that have a prescribed meter, rhyme scheme, and even construction, such as a ballad, a sonnet, or a villanelle.  Many poets like to write poems in this constrained forms, especially if they are difficult subjects, as the nice, tight boundaries help keep the poet from going off the rails, sloppy and wandering.  Likewise, every once in a while, it’s good to put one’s brain to a task with similar constraints, just to see if it can be done.

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This quilt started with this drawing from Sol Lewitt: “Fifteen Etchings: Straight lines in four directions and all their possible combinations.”  Lewitt is famous for his wall drawings, where he would draw up a certificate with a set of instructions or descriptions, and others would execute them.  This drawing would serve as my shape boundaries.

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And my fabric boundaries?  I had purchased a stack of Mirror Ball Dot fabrics two years ago to go with the few I already had, I decided to use these as my parameters for this quilt. Those shapes, these fabrics, and I started cutting last Saturday, after grading seventeen essays in a 24-hour period (yes, the brain was fried). I started laying them out, beginning from the upper right.

SLPatchworkPrimer beginning

I cut, added.  Rearranged.  Went to bed.  Cut, added, rearranged, asked my husband what he thought.  Cut, added, rearranged, took a photo, then pondered.  It was harder than writing a villanelle.

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Until I got to here.  Then it was like this:

Photo Montage SLPP

All. . . Day. . .Long.  I was purposely leaving that last square on the lower right white, for that’s where Lewitt had the writing, the description.

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When I got to this place, I rested and began to doubt myself, completing ignoring the advice he wrote to Eva Hesse, a fellow artist, which included some of the following (with some edits):

Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, itching, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, numbling, rumbling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, hair-splitting, nit-picking, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just DO!

He continues:

Do more. More nonsensical, more crazy, more machines, more breasts, penises, cunts, whatever – make them abound with nonsense. Try and tickle something inside you, your “weird humor.” You belong in the most secret part of you. Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool.

Then finishes with:

Make your own, your own world. If you fear, make it work for you – draw & paint your fear and anxiety. And stop worrying about big, deep things such as “to decide on a purpose and way of life, a consistent approach to even some impossible end or even an imagined end” You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to DO!

So I called my sister in Philadelphia and sent her some images, and we talked about changing the design, adding another block and what kind of block would it be?  She suggested some time with Photoshop, a tool to help me move beyond my stuck place.  In an obituary in the New York Times (Lewitt died some years ago), the writer noted that “He [Lewitt] took an idea as far as he thought it could go, then tried to find a way to proceed, so that he was never satisfied with a particular result but saw each work as a proposition opening onto a fresh question.”

So the fresh question brought me here, where I think it will stay.

SLPatchworkPrimer Quilt

And yes, that block lurking on the right is an alternative block, which I am leaning away from.  Borders (plain white) will be added last.

A primer  (prim-mer), according to the dictionary, can be as a child’s first book of reading, helping that child to decode and unlock the words on the page.  I doubt Sol Lewitt had any inkling of patchwork, steeped as he was in the fine art world, but when I saw his etchings, I recognized them as sort of a primer for what we quilters do: divide and subdivide and go at it again and again, always looking for that fresh question.