Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

In Limbo - and the result

A good friend of mine sent me a message yesterday asking whether I had fallen off the edge of the world because she hadn't heard from me for so long. No, I not the edge of the world, but off a cliff probably. Still hanging in there, in limbo, waiting for news regarding the work permit for a third of my class. And so much depends on it, not only these eight people's lives, but some decisions of mine as well. If they are denied the work permit, I have decided that I will not continue with the job next year. But as long as I don't know, I can't start looking for something else. And if something else - what exactly will I be looking for? My former qualifications don't fit many jobs in this area, yet I know for sure I don't want to return to being the quilter in the family without my own income from some kind of regular work. One option I have is one that I had consciously decided against twice or three times before, and it is not much more attractive now than it was then. Other options need to be searched... And although I am not a very optimistic person and in limbo is hard to endure, there is still the very unlikely possibility that some wonder will happen, the work permits will be granted, everything will be ok... Am I dreaming?
This whole thing has turned into a small quilt, however. A sketch for something larger, perhaps, but this one right now is 14"x 10". It originated from a visit to the thermal baths with my husband early April, when I was forced to look at all those huge and very fleshy Bavarian naked bodies lying and walking around. Absolutely no diversity there, everything white, lots of male parts, and, unfortunately, mostly not very attractive. (One good thing - I felt very slim after those days, and beautiful!) But as I was in the thermal environment and pondering the lack of diversity, and the ugliness of the German flesh I had a flash vision. My students from Senegal - who are, of course, always properly dressed when they appear in class, are avid in fitness and training methods, and under their T-Shirts quite a bit of muscle bulges. So I imagined how it would be to march these six well-built and mostly very black guys through these masses of German flesh. Modestly clad with a towel around their waist I would have wanted to just walk them silently, in formation like a flock of geese, through the premises. Once would be enough. On second thoughts I added the one woman as the 'tail-end' - she would have been properly clad in some kind of fabric covering the 'indecent' parts.
That was what I then kept thinking about as my 'Dream Formation'. It kept reappearing, and now as I was waiting, it took shape.

I copied a piece of continental and national outlines from my son's wall map that is hanging in our kitchen onto a piece of dissolvable plastic.

 Then I stitched over the outlines of the countries in the north of Africa and most of Europe.

After quilting the continental outlines on batting and backfabric I then hand stitched into the 'water'-areas of the entire piece.

 Did a bit of positioning of the 'geese' and opted for the version that has a slightly less structured appearance, as they did not really travel in one flock.

As you can see on this detail shot: each triangle is initialized - the first letters of the first names of the students who are being kept in limbo...

And here it is in full, the little one: African Migrant Birds Dream Formation.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

German Patchwork Guild's AGM in Fürth

Every German child knows the name of the city Fürth as one part in the implementation of the railway system in Germany: the first train ran between Nürnberg andFürth in 1835, which is being taught in school as the date of the beginning of industrialization in Germany. Certainly a good date for the railway system, because, as everybody in the world knows, German trains are sooooo efficient. Whether the process of Germany’s industrialization was always for the good is another question and need not be discussed here. And, of course, there probably wouldn’t be an efficient railway system without the entire process of industrialization… Anyway - I had never been in Fürth before, and now the German Guild’s  AGM has brought me here.

Wednesday I spent all day trying to hang the EQA-exhibition, with a steep learning curve. Especially in the sense of ‘this must be done differently next year’. 

My right index finger is completely shredded from tying the nylon cords that connects these rows of small quilts. Next year I will have come up with a different way of doing it, and certainly much faster!

I am splitting my time between my duties for the Guild, and my own stand, which is partly being covered by members of the Herzogenaurach Quilting Bee group, where I taught a class last year, and who all live close by.

This is the first time I have had samples of blocks from The 70,273 project up on the stand. Not only have some people asked me about it and are planning to contribute, but others have already stopped by and delivered blocks they had made in reaction to the article in the Guild’s magazine I wrote for the April issue. 

Next year, June 2-5 in Celle, there will be a display of quilts from the project. I am especially pleased that the quilts group from Dachau are planning to commemorate the over 200 people who were taken from an institution in the area of Dachau, thank you to Annemarie Pattis and the group. But it is also moving to see people’s reactions when I am explaining the intention of the project. And already I have received blocks from a woman near Stuttgart who works in an institution with handicapped people, and is now planning to check whether she can find out more about the numbers.

But I also very much appreciated that one woman came up to me and talked to me about my involvement with the refugees. She said in her mind she had already written me a thousand letters of encouragement and support, and that was a wonderful thing to hear. Sometimes I wonder whether these are things I should write about on the blog, after all this was begun as a blog about my quilting and art. But these people are here, they are an important part of my life, and the way they are being treated by German authorities is also a part of the reality in the Germany I live in. I can’t keep silent about it, even though I sometimes feel very much alone. I know my opinion is not the majority’s opinion. Having a dissenting opinion in silence is easy, but won’t change anything. Speaking up is important, I think, and I will continue to do so, even though this is supposed to remain a mostly quilt-oriented blog. And I have heard about a demonstration in two weeks’ time where all volunteer helpers are supposed to get together in Munich. Of course I will go - I have never been part of a demonstration in all my life - and perhaps after that I won’t feel so alone about it all anymore.

But right now I am still in Fürth and haven’t even had a chance to look at the other exhibitions besides the one I put up. 

So after breakfast I will take advantage of the fact that I get early entrance into the hall and take a good look around. After all, I have six or seven different quilts hanging here, I am well represented.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

reflections from May

I haven't posted many lately - but I am still taking pictures of reflections. This is a selection from May.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

I hate brand name tags...

I hate brand name tags in clothing. They give me problems because they are scratchy and unpleasant. When I had ruined the new T-Shirt the other day and then peppedit up with a few sew-on-sew-off squares,  I thought I would be done with this topic for a little while at least. But I bought a new summer dress last week, and that, too, had tags in a very uncomfortable location.

And although I was particularly careful this time, the tag was so severely attached to the inner lining that despite my ability with the thread picker I could not remove it without again doing damage. 

That made me really mad. It’s on the inside, and I haven’t bothered to fix it - but am thinking about how to go about. Iron on something from the back of the inner layer, then lightly stitch around it, but it must not be too noticeable, because otherwise I might just as well have left the original tag there.What's the use of attaching these stupid tags - on the inside to begin with, so severely that they cannot be removed without doing damage - wouldn't it make much more sense to give the poor people who have to sew these in some Far East factory a good job...?

We still haven’t heard from District administration about the work permits for the students from Senegal… having to wait is getting unbearable. And although summer is here, the sun is shining, teaching is fun and rewarding, and I see how impressively their improvements in language skills are showing, my mood is a bit on the down side. Germany’s performance with deportations is appalling, our treatment of people as unwanted aliens is unworthy of a nation that once prided itself on being ‘a nation of thinkers and poets’. More and more am I feeling ashamed about being German.