Friday, September 13, 2013

Teaching in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines

Last year, I had my exhibition at the European Patchwork Meeting in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines, and this year I was teaching a two-day-class, my “IQ – from inspiration to quilt”. It was scheduled to start one day earlier than the EPM itself, which it think is a very smart idea as it still gives the participants (and the teacher) enough opportunity to participate in the festival itself.
So I left home on Tuesday, and drove across southern Germany mostly in the rain. I don’t understand why most of the way the autobahn is covered with a kind of tarmac that makes driving in the rain a much more unpleasant experience than driving in the rain on normal roads. The cars produce a kind of dense fog, which is very tiring for the drivers, and, I think, rather dangerous. The whole problem is even visible when you leave the autobahn and look back onto it – the fog produced by the cars is clearly limited to the highway.
I am commenting on this because on this entire stretch of about 600 km autobahn you can indeed find two short sections that do not have this problem - there, instead, the road seems almost dry despite the rain. I wonder why construction firms decide on using this kind fog-producing kind of tarmac when there is clear proof that there are other possibilities? Surely I am not the only person to have noticed. And suffered – I wonder how many accidents could be avoided in rainy situations if they used the other kind of tarmac now that they are rebuilding long stretches of the autobahn across the south? Probably a question of costs – is that what we have come to? We have good solutions for problems, and we don’t employ them because it costs more?
Luckily, nothing happended on my trip, but I was much more tired after the trip than last year.
Anyway – I got there alright, I returned to my little enchanted castle on the hill, and I started teaching on Wednesday.

Seen from the parking lot in front of Espaces Tisseront:
'my' castle on the hill

Staying in another blue saloon, on the second floor this time

The class was full – fifteen students, and very attentive at that.

A new experience was that I had a translator at my side, as 13 out of the 15 students spoke French. Some of them understood German, but I certainly felt much safer not to have to explain the technique of individually crafted paper templates in a language that I am not too firm in because it’s been 30 years since I actually studied it in school. It was hard enough on the second day when Andrea was delayed due to an accident on the road and she had to stay and give her witness’ statement to the police, and the students and I were left by ourselves for almost two hours. But we managed fine.

When I showed students how I weigh down pattern pieces
(usually with little heavy weights I brought back from the US),
one of them came up with a new method -
she claims it's not only for the rich and beautiful...

We even had a reporter from the local TV station who came and interviewed me and some of the students. 

I did not get to see the program, but since I am not so sure that I really would have liked to see myself talk on TV, that’s ok.
In the end, the students were happy, I was very tired, and two full days of teaching had gone by very quickly. 

Students showing their first practice pieces they had made
with individually crafted paper templates. Individual designs are already
 in progress.


  1. Great results from your students who look very happy.

  2. Catherine, who was a participant in the class, has sent me information on how to access the TV-show: click on "journal" for 13 septembre, there it is, and let the first few minutes pass...