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Showing posts from September, 2012

Amish Quilts in Ste.Marie-Aux-Mines, France

Tucked away in the picturesque Val d'Argent in Alsace France, Ste. Marie-Aux-Mines hosts the annual European Patchwork Meeting. As the name suggests, Ste. Marie-Aux-Mines was established as a mining town, however, it also had a thriving textile industry that was famous worldwide.  And it was in this unpretentious little town, hidden away in the valley of the Vosges Massif, led by Jacob Amman, that the Amish movement was born in 1693. In view of this history, this is the perfect place for a quilt show, which celebrates artistry with fabrics, and in particular, for an exhibition of Amish Quilts.

Throughout the town, a variety of buildings had been transformed into galleries for the week. Walking into town, towards the main venue, the first exhibit that we came upon was the Amish exhibit. Here, a church acted as "gallery", which seemed a very fitting venue for Amish quilts.

To attract and welcome guests, an Amish clothesline had been hung in the yard of the church. Referrin…

Amish Hand Quilting in France with Esther Miller

Esther Miller, was born into an Amish family in the U.S., and now lives in Germany where she has for many years taught the techniques and methods of Amish hand quilting to anyone interested in learning these skills. As a child, she would closely watch as the women of her community worked together on a quilt, and eventually she was rewarded with a needle of her own and encouraged to join the group. Through the years, she has mastered these skills and techniques and now generously shares them with anyone who has a genuine desire to learn.

Last week, at the "European Meeting of Patchwork" in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines, in Alsace France,, I had the privilege of taking a 2 day workshop with Esther. The Amish quilting method requires a free-standing simple wooden frame upon which the 3 layers of the quilt have been stretched. To accomodate the 18 women in the class, Esther set up 3 quilt frames, with 6 students at each frame. Because the quilt is on a large, unm…

Backlit Boutis

This traditional floral motif, designed by Francine Born,, is the boutis piece that I started in Francine's classes this past summer. The boutis itself is completed and set into linen, for the table topper that it will become. Now it must still be sandwiched with batting, backed with the blue toile and quilted. Because of the extra suitcase space it will require, I will wait until I get back to Vancouver to do that part.

An excellent book about the quilts of southern France, including much information about boutis, is "Quilts of Provence: The Art and Craft of French Quiltmaking", written by Kathryn Berenson and published by Henry Holt and Company, Inc. 1996. She has published another book, "Marseille, the Cradle of White Corded Quilting" published by International Quilt Study Centre and Museum, UNL, 2010.

Tomorrow, I am off to Ste.Marie-Aux-Mines in Alsace, for a week at the European Patchwork Exhibition, I have…