April 7, 2012
She arrived with a heart as big as her maker’s. A red and soft heart of felt, arms wide open for me to welcome her and eyes bright and cheerful as her dress. Who was that ? “Mara”, the cutest doll I ever received, she was created by Marie’s talented hands. A gift from her heart. http://ancientcloth.blogspot.com/
Ever seen such a pretty hairdo ? Mara also came with her arms full of presents, fabrics of all sorts, reproductions of antique materials that I cannot wait to use in a quilt, just for me. Thank you so much Marie ! For having lived several years in Africa, this adorable little doll touches my heart and brings back many memories of people, places, events. A time never to forget.
My little doll from the South arrived at the same time as Spring does in the mountains. Not many colours yet to brighten the landscape but for the catkins on some trees. Patches of snow remain in the cooler areas and green grass barely starts growing on the pastures. Still, walking along those tracks in a new Spring makes you feel good, it gives you energy and joy. It makes you feel grateful too.The new Season gives you inspiration for whatever you need or plan to do, or so I feel. No greenness outside yet ? No problem ! I can deal with it and create my own palette of colours. I did so in sewing (of course) a heart of “Forty Shades of Green” for Irish friends of mine brought together by destiny. A happy quilting, I assure you. There were really forty different scraps of green fabrics for those who might wonder;)I thought this fresh and green quilted heart would be nice to send you my best wishes for a Happy Easter. Green like the hope and light that we all need, at any time. A renewal in nature as in our life. A promise of better times ahead in a troubled world. I do wish you all the best.
February 21, 2011
No, Summer has not come yet in Switzerland far from it ! These pictures were taken last Spring when I almost finished the top of a quilt started one year earlier, in January 2009. It is a calendar quilt. Each month I sewed together 30 or 31 pieces of different materials – scraps from other quilts - according to the Season or to a particular day : a heart for Valentine’s Day in February, roses for June or a bare trees pattern for November, for instance.
January, February, March
April, May, June
July, August, September
October, Novembre, December
The months being all sewed, I still had quite a few scraps left. Scraps of scraps… Beautiful ones too. So, what to do ? Thankfully was inspired by another quilter’s work and decided to sew together all those real small left-over pieces. It was quite an adventure, one which created an incredible amount of threads and tiny fabric confetti that spread (I spread involuntarily) all over the house.
“Why are you making this “Benedictine work”" asked my Dad one day as he was visiting us ? (a French expression meaning a painstaking task, “un travail de Bénédictin”). An expression that most certainly was related to the immense work these monks accomplished when they copied manuscripts of classical authors and so preserved valuable books that otherwise would have been lost. The Benedictine monks also kept records of the most striking events of their time and acted as chroniclers of the medieval history of the Middle Ages. So much for history and quilting
Which reminds me… I must bring you some day to an interesting museum in my town : The Gutenberg Museum.
Now, to go back to the calendar quilt, my idea was to border it with more beautiful scraps. Which I did.
Underneath are a few examples of these borders before I added them to the quilt.
And here is the end result, a quilt of about 1m50 x 2m20. I am very happy to have given a sort of “second life” to my scraps . I feel like using more of them in the future and I certainly will. Many colourful scraps are waiting in various ancient tin boxes to be part of another quilt.
Quilting and embroidering the names of the months still need to be made but this is probably my favourite part and I look forward to this. A very relaxing work where thoughts and stitches meander along the quilt.
Et pour Karma, http://karmardav.wordpress.com/
another picture in close-up of the three months, January, February, March.
January 6, 2011
Walking in the garden a few days after Christmas. I was enjoying a fresh and early morning sun as I spotted a branch of blackberry, shaped like a heart. A wild and stubborn bush, not ready to give in to Winter. The persistent branch made me think of this past Summer bounty and of the delicious marmelade waiting on the kitchen table for the family breakfast.
Fleeting images of particular moments during the Holiday Season. I realize that the grandfather who once was as tall as his grandsons looked now small and frail. Emotion. A moment of love shared between generations, smiles and looks of complicity that belong to the three of them only. A wonderful bond.
My activities will not resume until mid-January. These days after Christmas are “in slow-motion”. Remembering family celebrations, animated talk around the table, gifts being offered, a surprise for everyone. Each family member had decided to offer a gift to one person only chosen by drawing lots. Each one kept the secret until Christmas Day. What an excitement as the time for sharing gifts came ! I was so happy that mine was meant for my Dad! I offered him a soft warm fleece jacket in his favourite colour, grey/blue. He loved it and is wearing it almost every day since Christmas
Sidney Poitier’s spiritual autobiography is one the best I have read in a long time. “The Measure of a Man” is the story of his life from his birth on Cat Island in the Bahamas until his recognition as a great actor in Hollywood. When he was about 12, S. Poitier told his sister : “When I grow up, I want to go to Hollywood and become a cowboy “. He had just seen his first movie in Nassau, a cowboy one of course. In 1963, S. Poitier was the first black actor to win the Academy Award for best actor for his great performance in Lilies of the Field. He also received the Life Achievement Award for an outstanding career and humanitarian accomplishment.
Reading his memoirs is like having a worthwhile conversation with an older family member, his words are powerful, reflective, generous, humane and so moving. It makes you look closer at the foundations of your own life.
Looking forward to even more reading. Family and friends know me… and I received several books:
The Amish Quilts, 1870-1930, showing many reproductions of quilts from private collections in Switzerland; there are also some very interesting chapters about the origin and history of the Amish.
Matthieu Ricard, “Spiritual Paths”, a small anthology of some of the most beautiful Tibetan writings. To be read slowly too.
“Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time. I have already started reading it and can hardly stop…
“The Rothko Chapel” by Domique de Menil. With her husband, John, Dominique founded the inter-religious Chapel in Houston/Texas in 1971. The de Menil’s dream was for the Chapel to promote interfaith dialogue, human rights and the arts. I am so grateful for this gift, a beautiful souvenir of a memorable visit of this Chapel some years ago.
From Barbara, my English quilting friend, I received the loveliest Desk Diary you can imagine !
More gratefulness. To Marie, http://ancientcloth.wordpress.com/ my inspiring and creative friend; she sews and expresses herself beautifully in her quilts. Marie sent me those colourful parcels.
Wonderful handmade gifts and special fabrics I look forward to sewing in my quilts. Precious presents from here and there. Thank you so very much, Marie ! All is truly appreciated. My thoughts are with you.
January will be a slow month for me. As my friend Marah wrote on a beautiful card : “Never let the urgent crowd out the important”.
February 7, 2010
Although Winter has its particular beauty, and a dormancy that seems to quieten down everything around you, there is one aspect that I miss a lot : a colourful vegetation. Of course there are some Winter colours that brighten up gardens, parks or forests. Moss, bays, leaves, lichen, cones and the occasional bushes that keep their warm shades all Winter. Leaves or branches. Green is probably the colour I long for more than any other.
It is the time of the year when I like to sew “colourful”. Two projects are on the way – Seminole and calendar quilt – their bright shades are a real pleasure to look at and they add this cheerful mood in the thickest of fogs outside the window. Recently I sewed a small garden for my friend Else in the Netherlands. She loves flowers and her garden is a joy to look at and to walk through.
So I chose amongst my fabrics those flowers I imagined Else would plant in her garden and this is the result :
Flowers from here and there sewed directly onto a piece of green linen, rough edges around the fabrics. I added a special Swiss material with a black cow, some rhododendrons, pine trees and a deer to remind her that she should visit me in the Alps during Summertime
The back of the quilt is also decorated with flowers. I called it “Delft garden” from the beautiful blue and white Delft pottery made in the Netherlands. Those materials were like our Winter, in a state of dormancy in some boxes. Now they are alive on Else’s quilt and who knows ? those flowers may well bloom in the Spring in her garden ?