Friday, May 31, 2013

Miss Gracious

A few years ago while at a piano concert performed by Julian Gargiulo, I met Denise Garrido.

Julian gets crowned by Denise in the parking lot.

She has been in the news recently. She was crowned Miss Universe Canada for a day only to find out that the judges miscalculated the points!

Denise Garrido at the concert

She has been on every radio show and TV talk show for the last 2 days. I must say she is very gracious in all her a true Miss Universe! Commendable.

from left to right:
me, Christina Rowlandson, Julian Gargiulo, Denise Garrido, friend

Through meeting the group (seen above), I was able to connect with the Diabetes Association spokes person from the Cayman Islands (C. Rowlandson) which is where Ad Maiora Canada and Ad Maiora (Verona) donated blue quilts for the newly diagnosed children.

I also became good friends with Julian. His music was the inspiration for one of my art pieces.

Julian Smokes
(he doesn't by the way!!)
67 cm x 83 cm
 It actually isn't finished yet!

Julian Smokes, detail
hand embroidery, stamped afbric

Julian Smokes, detail
hand embroidery, stamped fabric

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rescuing Old Quilts

I have written about my antique quilt collection before. You can see some of my very small collection if you click here and here and here.

When I see a nice quilt that isn't too expensive and (usually) related to what I teach, I buy it.

I do have a favorite spot where I buy. Barbara Griffin's antique store at the St Lawrence Market (north market on the west corner) in Toronto is a perfect spot for me.

Last weekend I bought two really old ones.

I bought this one because it was well made.
 It's got a lovely design and
the small triangles are appealing to me.

I bought this one because it had a completely different quilt on the back!

The fabrics are fabulous! There are some really old ones in this one!

The batting in this one is a wool blanket. You can see it in spots where the fabric has disintegrated.

This is the back of the quilt.

Barbara was happy that they were going to someone who really appreciates them!

When I purchase a new textile I put it in a plastic bag and freeze it to kill all bugs. They say it is good to redo that once in a while.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Visit

Canadian Quilters' Association board of director member, Laine Canivet, was in Toronto recently.

Old City Hall tower in downtown Toronto

She and I (and Marsha Cleveland, editor of The Canadian Quilter) have been communicating about articles for the magazine since the exhibit Tradition in Transition was invited to France.

summer issue 2013

The Summer Issue 2013 has an article entitled Definitely Canadian which is in large part the presentation I gave at the 18th Carrefour Européen du Patchwork Lecture Series.

starts on page 11

A future issue will feature an article about Verona and their biennial textile festival. I will let you know when that gets published.

To order a copy click here.

Laine and I met on Friday for a coffee at my favourite place, L'espresso. She wanted to see my studio which was full of cardboard boxes and bubble wrap and not much sewing. I plan to set up my sewing machine this week as I slowly send out the Mineral pieces that arrived from Europe last week and make more room in my head for creating!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

What did I Miss?

I have been asking friends what I missed while I was away.

Chandelier, 21x15x15 feet
recycled plastic, monofilament
First Canadian Place, Toronto
Photo credit: Peter MacCallum

People seem to think I didn't miss anything. "Same old. Same old", they say.

I did miss an installation by Katharine Harvey.

King Street View
photo credit: P. MacCallum

I saw her Waterfall piece in 2008 at Nuit Blanche in Toronto. 6000 pounds of recycled plastic bottles.

She made a chandelier out of plastic bottles in the First Canadian Place lobby which was exhibited till mid-May.

Chandelier by K. Harvey
photo credit: P. MacCallum 

I would have loved to see it LIVE.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I am slowly getting family life.

Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France.

My sewing machine is still in the closet.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Publicity is Always Good

Is it good even when you don't know what to say? (I was hoping they'd cut that bit out!)

Castelvecchio on a sunny morning in Verona

Telepace has a program on Italian TV called La Voce delle Donne.

I took some pictures of the actual TV when
the interview aired.

I was interviewed during Verona Tessile in Castelvecchio where Canadians McCavour and Brelih had their work exhibited.

Talking about Ad Maiora Canada
while standing in front of Amanda McCavour's work
in the prestigious Sala Boggian at Castelvecchio.

Episode #29 aired in April.

Talking about Gordana Brelih's work behind me.

You can see the 20 minute program by clicking here.

Talking about Amanda McCavour's work behind me.

If you only want to see me (!) I am on from 4:00 onward.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Leaving Paris

Leaving this morning.

New hair cut, new colour of nail polish, new ideas and new recipes

I can't wait to be with my family after two months away.

Antique Quilts Exhibit

Mona Bismarck, 1897-1983, married five times, acquired money from her 3rd husband and took the title of countess from her 4th husband, founded many institutions including the one in Paris named after her, created to strengthen ties between the United States and France.

Until May 19 at the Mona Bismarck American Center for art and culture, you can view an exhibit of 25 antique quilts from the United States.

Covering the window is a paper reproduction of the crib-size, pineapple quilt from 1870
made by Ethelind Amelia Washburn

I enjoyed seeing the minute(!) quilt stitches, the perfect appliquéd circles of the Cherry Tree Quilt, 1925, by Naomi Beckwith, the signatures of the makers in 1889 on the Drunkard's Path blocks, the embroidered stitches in the Crazy Quilt fans on a black sateen background from 1900 and the fine netting carefully laid over the damaged fabrics of the pieced quilts.

Union Quilt, 1885.
The majestic eagle has been a symbol of  the USA
since the late 18th century. In this quilt, the artist's
interpretation of the eagle is more "like a
common farmyard fowl". (quote from curator)
Still nice though.

My favourite quilt in the exhibit was the hot pink velvet, 6-inch squares set on-point, mixed with green velvet squares with the long, uneven quilt stitches in white coloured thread, going in no particular direction. It was free and unconstrained. It was a Gees Bend quilt with personality and interest. Not copied, not reproduced. Original.

Exhibited in the second gallery, gouache works by American artist, Zoe Pettijohn Schade, continued with the geometric form found in the antique patchworks. Since curating a few exhibits, I am becoming more aware of curators' choices. The paper works provided a contemporary counterpoint to the quilt exhibit.

And now for something completely different

I noticed this artwork on the way out of the Chanel No. 5 exhibit at the Palais de Tokyo.

John Giorno, Just Say No to Family Values, 2012, paint.
Graffiti by Lek and Sowat.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Velvet Colours

The stain glass windows at the Cathedral in Tours are stunning!

They say they are some of the best in the world.

Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de Tours, classical Gothic façade, built between 1170 and 1547.

The façade has lost its ornate statues which were
destroyed by the Protestants during the religious wars.

There is some Renaissance architecture as well seen in one of the towers (right).

What an inspiration for a patchwork design.

Look at the colours and shapes of the glass.

The red windows reminded me of Austrian quilter's work, Birgitt, that I met recently in Vienna.

Birgitt's quilt was made for her daughter. It is entitled, "Life is Colourful".
She designed it herself.

Her quilt is hand pieced and hand quilted.


The label on the back was embroidered.

The embroidered design is an angel
in a tree.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Train Travel

Paris- Montparnasse...

to Tours...

and back.

Monday, May 13, 2013

La Petite Échelle

In Tours, there is a lovely quilt shop, La Petite Échelle, owned by Christiane Memain.

Medieval houses in Tours, France.
We have been communicating by email for several years...maybe 6!

Standing in front of the quilt store, La Petite Échelle.

Whenever I am in Tours her shop is closed. But on this trip, I got to meet her, finally!

A warm welcome from Christiane.

 She had time to show me some of her quilts.

Her scrap quilt made using basically two colours,
brown and blue. She brought in many different
browns and blues, some that you may not
 normally put together,
 but that added interest to the quilt. 

An interesting way to design a corner.
Notice the inside border and the outside one.
She added a "directional" image
to help her remember which way is UP.

While we were there, a jewellery designer walked in to purchase some fabric which she incorporates in her pieces.

Christiane's shop is lovely. I miss touching fabric since I have been away from my studio for some time so today was a real treat for me!

Place Plumereau in Vieux Tours
Her shop is close to Place Plumereau. If you are ever in Tours - about 1 hour south of Paris with the TGV (fast train), I hope you stop in and visit her.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Austrian Quilt Gruppe

I spent a lovely day with Austrian quilters Lilo and Dani last week while I was in Vienna.

Daniele Samec's work, detail.
Hand dyed fabric and free-motion quilting with her long arm machine

 They took me out for lunch. They gave me some presents!

A present from Lilo, taken from her collection of antique,
hand-made lace and doilies.

Pins from their guild and the Austrian Association,
which I promptly pinned to my sewing bag.

They took me back to Lilo's apartment for coffee and a little 'show and share'...

Lilo and Dani's favorite block is
the log cabin and all its variations.

Lilo's piece was selected
for an exhibit in Houston in the mid-2000's

Work by Lilo Wesely and Daniele Samec.
Their version of a Dear Jane.
It is made using a combination of
quilter's cotton
and other very interesting fabrics.

...and a glimpse of her stash!

I felt at home in this room! She was very brave to show me.
Yes, well, we all have a stash don't we!

Later in the afternoon, I met many of the quilters from their guild.

What impressed me the most about the group was the way they all create works together!

"Blick über Wien" created by the group in 1998.
You can see the Vienna Woods on the left, the agricultural fields,
the Heurigers (Austrian vineyards),
the Prater Wheel, The Stephansdom steeple,
and a tiny bit of the Danube that flows through the city.

This week's project was a scrap quilt. Every member made one very large block. Those were cut in half and the job at the get-together was to decide on a pleasing design for the quilt top.

Everyone helped and made suggestions and in the end one of the ladies took the blocks home to sew them together.

A work in progress. Blocks pinned on their
 vertical design wall.

It will most likely get quilted by Dani who has a long-arm machine. She told me she is a beginner but I can tell you she does amazing work, all free hand and all without marking the quilt. She uses the seams as an indicator when drawing with thread.

The back of the group's raffle quilt quilted by Dani.
I love the way she used dark thread!
It makes the back of the quilt very interesting.

It really was a lovely day! Thank you to all the Patchwork Gruppe Wien members for welcoming me so warmly. Vielen Dank!!