20 September, 2006

12 Carrefour Européen du Patchwork - Val d'Argent 200

12 Carrefour de Patchwork in the Val d’Argent was again – as every year has been so far – an amazing gathering of quilts and quilter from all over the world and across all quilt, patch and textile art disciplines. I just love it.

The old churches, public buildings like theatre and exposition halls scattered in the 4 adjoining villages are a rather unusual and very beautiful setting for the patchwork exhibitions. And a week-end spend with hundreds of other quilter which you meet in the exhibitions, shuttle busses, sidewalk café, hotels etc. is just as inspiring as the quilter’s shopping mall with international vendors and the textile artists that top this event off. What awed me was the fact that even though we seldom spoke each others language quilter’s of all countries seem to understand each other perfectly in front of the quilts they unanimously admired.

This year there were almost no Redwork quilts on display. Too bad, but it obviously is a quilt style just too simple for most of the avid quilter. The elaborate appliqué or colourful textile art quilts with lots of batik fabric and fabric manipulation still seem to be the thing among the patchwork community.

I prefer the vintage quilts (beautiful examples shown in the Villa Burrus – Collection of vintage Australian Quilts from Annette Gero) and the few examples of simpler / traditional quilts especially in red&white (very nice Quilts in the Austria Exhibition - this year’s guest of honour ).
Nevertheless, like many I was impressed by the craftsmanship of the quilts in the “Japanese Exhibition”. Yoko Saito showed amazing appliqué quilts with so many delicate details all stitched and quilted by hand

Yoko Saito - 1

and the colourful quilts by Suzuko Kosegi were just as beautiful and an example of almost intimidating skills.

Suzuko Kosegi - 8c detail

But also all the other quilts on display in the different exhibition venues were amazing. Léa Stansal work was another extraordinary example. According to the program her exhibit in the Espace Exposition in Lièpre (Venue No.) “Philosophical Tales” was “…inspired by Alsatian tales and particularly Hansel and Gretel. Léa has built either a fictitious world with original scenarios that include embroidered and simple stitches patchwork objects or large narrative quilts….” Nothing prepared you for the colourful explosion and almost pop art-like quilts.

Léa Stansal - La trousse à couture 18

Léa Stansal - La trousse à couture 11

Léa Stansal - La trousse à couture 16

I had great fun to see her work life and in “technicolor”. Most of it is in her latest pattern book “La trousse à couture Petit conte philosophique pour 20 objets à réaliser soi-même” which I am sure is available via amazon. If you are in to “something different”, funny and modern in quilts, especially for children, you’ll love her work.

There wasn’t a single exhibition that wasn’t worth seeing and even though many of the quilts and textile art pieces weren’t exactly “my cup of coffee” I enjoyed seeing the vast variety of patchwork techniques.

If asked for my favourite exhibitions that really impressed me most I would choose “Face to Face” by “Pascale Goldberg” in Rombach le Franc and the already mentioned presentation of vintage Australian Quilts from the collection of Annette Gero.

“Face to Face” by “Pascale Goldenberg”
I was intrigued by a quote in the exhibition program”“…new materials don’t interest me, they don’t appeal to me! It is not their “virginity”, but their “inexperience” that I don’t like…” Pascale Goldenberg prefers recycled materials that “sublimate a life” for quilts dedicated to life….”” A statement I can wholeheartedly relate to. I also love fabrics with a life and history.

Pascale Goldenberg - exhibit 1 detail

And as an icing on the cake she used my favourite red&white color scheme in quite a few of her pieces. I just loved her work.

Pascale Goldenberg - exhibit 3 detail

Antique Australian Quilts from Annette Gero

A quilt historian collection of vintage quilts and interesting pieces of history of the women in Australia presented in the Villa Burrus.

Not a single Redwork quilt (not counting two Kate Greenaway kids in this crazy quilt)

Crazy Quilt with two Redworks - Annette Gero Collection

but a wonderful appliqué nursery rhyme quilt from the 1940ies.

It looks like Mother Goose was well known all around the English speaking world.

Nursery Rhymes Quilt 5 - Annette Gero Collection

Not exactly quilt or patchwork but another interesting exhibit I enjoyed was from the “France Point de Croix”; a textile artwork called “Recycled Clothing”. Unfortunately the rather long description was all in French and the ladies “guarding” the display weren’t able to give an English or German translation/explanation. However, I liked it even without knowing the deeper meaning….

Recycled Clothing - 2

And then there is Jane Lury of “Labors of Love” all the way from Hillsdale, New York who sets up shop in the “Ancienne Sogenal” in Ste Marie aux Mines at least for the last three years. I always pay her a visit and look through the vintage quilt blocks she brings with her to the Val d’Argent which are the only items within my budget. Last year I found a few niece Redwork blocks and a “love at first site” traditional red&white patchwork block. Her collection (for sale) of antique quilts is breathtaking. She even had two Redwork quilts this year but then I am not able to spend several hundred dollars for a vintage piece (yet…). I envy Deborah Harding (author of one of my favourite Redwork books “Red & White American Redwork Quitls” who obviously purchased this beautifulRedwork quilt from Jane Lury. Unfortunately, other than in all exhibitions where photos are aloud, Jane asked not to take any photo, so no picture samples I could share with you.++++ little update +++ Apparently, this was not true, I must have mixed up the "please no photo" signs of the commercial exhibits/vendors I tried to respect. Jane was so kind to mail me and said I could have taken photos....too bad! But then there is the 13th Carrefour du Patchwork next year.

But now on to this year’s Val d’Argent booty of mine: I was looking for a French Redwork embroidery book and did indeed find it for surprisingly little money (8,90 €)!

broderie rouge cover

“Broderie Rouge” by Agnès Delage-Calvet (ISBN 2501-04657-99 has an almost “Japanese craft book” look and very nice, simple Redwork ideas. I wished there where more Redwork books like these on the market….

Another book or rather pattern collection I found by chance actually is “Le nappe de Gertrude” (Gertrude’s table cloth).

le nappe de gertrude - cover

I saw a Redwork tablecloth in the booth of www.abcedaires.com and the very nice shop told me the story of this collection of vintage Redwork pattern used in this tablecloth. She also allowed me to take this photograph.

La Nappe de Getrude - Motifs pour broderies rouges - Group ReMake

To my surprise, as it was a Redwork piece stitched in France, I already knew some of the pattern from vintage American Redwork quilts. The world a village already in 1899….

le nappe de gertrude - content

Notions (the “most wanted” rubber thimble – … and a few more pieces for my red&white fabric collection also went home with me.

Notion - fabric booty

Unbelievable but true, not a single vendor was selling the sulky cotton 12wt. But I found an Italian brand “AuriFil” with nice red 12wt cotton tread. All the other floss, especially the overdyed ones which I was really looking forward to, just didn’t appeal to me.

All in all I had a great time in Alsace and I am already looking forward to next year’s Carrefour the Patchwork.

Just to give everyone a glimpse of the vast array of quilts on display in the Val d’Argent I added a few of the 200+ photos I shot to my flickr file even though most of them are not “my cup of coffee”…