Sunday, November 19, 2023

California bye bye....

(This post was started while I was still in Sacramento, California, just before I had to start thinking about packing my suitcase. However, putting in the pictures and even more importantly the headings under them proved to be so tedious on the small devices I had with me that it did not get published before I left, and then the coming back etc. Here it is - and will be continued, as promised below.)

My vacation in California is drawing to an end. Only a few hours remain before I have to be at the airport, and I am a bag of mixed feelings after two wonderful weeks, having to go back to a cold and grey country where some issues remain to be solved.

I loved my visit to Joshua Tree National Park, where I had gone right after Quiltfestival. I stayed in a motel just outside the park, between two entrances to the park. I drove through various sections of the park and went on an almost extensive hike. Steep up and down, and I did feel my muscles the next day.

The desert environment of Joshua Tree National Park was fascinating.

Sunset after a hike

From Joshua Tree I drove over to the coast, down memory lane when I stopped in Santa Barbara where I had lived for a short time in the middle of the Nineties of the last century. I can tell you, a lot of emotions caught up with me while I was there!

Near Santa Barbara harbor towards the end of the day.

Courthouse of Santa Barbara

Driving up the coast along Highway No.1 I stopped at various bays 

and lookouts and elelphant seal beaches 

before taking the detour due to closure of the road south of Big Sur. Which meant I had to drive south again from Pacific Grove because I DID want to see the coastline along that part.

A visit in Palo Alto with Judith Content followed, whom I had interviewed for the German Guild's magazine last year. We spent a wonderful afternoon talking about art, making, collecting, and Judith and I went on a walk to the park just around the corner, where she did a small installation for me.

Judith Content with some of her sculptures in front of her interesting and artistic house.

The next day included a meeting with Dolores Miller and visit to the San José Museum of Quilts and Textiles, where Excellence in Fibers is on display right now. 

Ruth Shafer, SlipCover, 2022, find more information here

Next door to the quilt museum is the Institute of Contemporary Art San José where an interesting exhibition by Adia Millett was enriched by four quilts from the Eli Leon collection of quilts, now at the BAMPFA . One of these four quilts, for me, jumped right up to the rank of second most favorite quilt I have ever seen.

Untitled, pieced by Fiora Ates (1907?-1997?)
I was absolutely thrilled to see this, and to be able to go up close and look at details, freedom of interpretation and liberty of execution.

To be continued...

Friday, November 10, 2023

Quiltfestival Houston

 When I was writing the last post I was sitting in the airport waiting area, with a bit of time to spare before boarding the plane to Houston. First time ever  I got to attend the quiltfestival there. I shared a room with my friend and former colleague Debbie from Nashville, who wasn't a quilter when we were colleagues but has turned into one now, so it was a good opportunity to get together.

View from our hotel room on the 18th floor on the night of arrival

I had wanted to go for a long time, and this year things developed so that it was possible. (My mother was a bit peeved that I wasn't there to visit on her birthday, but I hope she will get over it.)

 I was an accredited media person and will write about the visit in the German guild's magazine after I return home.

The accredited press member in front of Devida Bushrod's
 'A Tribute to Maya Angelou', one of her personal heroes.

I had always been in a bit of awe about 'Houston', meaning the quiltfestival. And it is impressive indeed.

But after having been to FoQ at Birmingham, it's really not that much different. It seemed that there were more vendors in Houston, and compared to the amount of people in the vendors' hall I thought the quilts really would have deserved more attention! Yet perhaps everybody out there shopping had been in the exhibition on Thursday before I came? Or went to see the quilts on Sunday after I left? 

Here I will share just a few select quilts, a rather subjective collection. 

Helen Godden explaining her quilt 'My Australia'

'Urban Development' by Jera MacKenzie

'The Wishing Ring, Variation', Eliza Agness, collection of Roderick Kirakofe

Best oof show: 'Monkeys in her hair (Evie)' by Deborah Hyde

'Malaki - The Apple of My Eye' by Cindy Peterson

And perhaps, time permitting, I will try to enter for one of the challenges next year? But oh, the shipping...

Thursday, November 2, 2023

crying for Daily Oak

About two weeks ago, when I was on my way to fetch eggs from the local farmer where I always go for organic eggs, I passed the site of my Daily Oak, which had been my project many years ago - a dozen? It looked completely different,  and I realized it had been split in half, only the western part of it still upright. 
I was shattered. This doesn't cause a digital outcry like the vandalism of the Sycamore Tree at Hadrian's Wall just a few short weeks ago (which I understood in a way, but also compared to the not-really-happening outcry about the ongoing destruction of the Amazon forest), this oaktree doesn't have a digital following, nor do its just about 240 years of age make it one of the 'ancient trees'. But I have grown very attached to it, and every time I went by I would look up at it, greet it, often pause, although I wasn't going there daily any more withthe purpose of documenting how it looked at various hours during the day, how it fared throughout the seasons. 
A couple of days ago I could finally muster the strength to go back to take a few pictures, trying to assess the damage. 
If you check back with the photos from when I was posting about it back then you can see how much its silhouette has changed.
The wound is terrible.
 The entire situation has changed completely. 

Monday, October 23, 2023

CQC Int. Inc. (or, Clandestine Quilt Carriers on the Move)

Is it because I have been more obsessed with the price of shipping quilts in recent years, or what has changed that I get the feeling I have become a member of a ‘clandestine quilt carriers network’?

One thing is bringing EQA-challenge quilts to Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, to exhibit, or back after they have completed their tour. This has been a common event for all the years that I have been the international representative for the German Patchwork Guild. Another thing is taking a number of quilts from a number of different quilters and all supposed to be going into different exhibitions or locations after having been handed on to somebody else. (Not to mention finally getting back my quilt from the SAQA-tour which customs wouldn’t give me back, which I have written about before.)

In Ste. Marie-aux-Mines I picked up my quilt from the Wide Horizons which finished earlier this year.


A Scrap a Day

And received back one quilt from a 20 Perspectives tour after it had been traveling for a year. 


Bridging the Cultural Gap (2022) -
note that this one contains pieces from the same vintage kimono
I am using for the piece I am currently working on, see last post.

I also collected quilts from several other 20 Perspectives members to be shown in Brno in April. 

Collecting quilts from 20 Perspectives for Brno in April
But before the event I had also been contacted by Annie Labruyère about five Germany-related quilts from the 70,237-project which were still in her possession from just before the pandemic, would I take them back because she just couldn't store them anymore at her house. Of course I said yes, and I picked them up from the stand of France Patchwork after Annie had to go home earlier than expected.

The bag with 5 quilts in it


Quilt no. 521, combining patches from Israel and Germany,
for the 70,237 project


Now I am taking these quilts on to Houston, and either I will give them to somebody who will take them to Tennesse to then be picked up to go on to Atlanta.

In Houston, also, I will take over several quilts, again from members of 20 Perspectives, to come to Germany with my and then be shown in Brno. As far as I know right now, I am not taking a quilt of mine to give to anybody there because that will go to France to be taken to Australia… if I remember correctly.

Do you understand why I sometimes don't know where my quilts are?

Monday, October 16, 2023

Café Leisure - almost

 It has been years since I last used that heading for a post, and it feels like many more years that I have actually done that. Sitting in a café without any pressing matters or stuff going on. Can't even blame it completely on the pandemic, because the last time I used that label was 2017. ok. before I started the nursing course, a lot changed with that already.

So today I went to Landshut to get myself an international driver's license so I will be driving legally in the US when I go to visit in November. The last time I visited the US (and rented a car!) I never even thought about bringing one or needing one, so I guess it was just as well I didn't do any serious speeding. But this time the travel agent told me to get one, so I managed to figure out how to make an appointment online (not extremely straightforward - made me wonder how to people do that if they are elderly and even less computer savvy than I am?) and figured I would spend a bit of time at the café before going to my Spanish lesson later on. But then I realized I needed a plug adaptor, too, because mine seems to have disappeared, and I went to the phone company to clarify my contract and how to deal with it all in the States, and then I thought it was too late to sit down in a café and just lounge. Although I had taken the computer with me to be prepared. So the café visit was canceled. Perhaps next week, between my job interview and the next Spanish lesson? 

The first part of last week was spent at Petersberg and we had three quiet and peaceful and warm and sunny days of sewing. Nobody talked about the news from around the world, nobody talked politics.

I made progress on my piece for the next 20 Perspectives challenge.

It needs to be finished in a week, so I better get going with the quilting, which I did not start there.

I also continued making blocks for a self-trial based on an interview I recently did with Caroline Hadley  @geometriquilt for the next issue of the member magazine for the German Quilt Guild. I love her Sunday Posts of quilt designs and was captured by a very yellow version of her Sunday Sketch #372 a number of weeks ago. Caroline is kind enough to be happy when somebody tries to put her designs into fabric, and I had started pretty soon after the post appeared. But it had not progressed far beyond a few prototype blocks to figure out prolific production, so a chance at actually sitting down and prolifically produce was very welcome indeed.

Of course, by now I have some own ideas I will incorporate into the top, to make it more mine, which will be fun to figure out. And looking at this picture I think the yellows need to turn a bit more yellow still, but perhaps that is due to the unflatterin lighting in this picture.

While at the retreat I saw that Ursels QuiltCabin had just had a shipment of PSS's oval templates arrive in their shop, and because I had been wondering how I could get at those without having to pay the outrageous post-Brexit customs and shipment costs I went ahead and ordered them. Plus...

... a bit of yellow fabric Caroline and I had talked about during our conversation. 

 Probably more expensive than if I had bought it in Houston in 2 1/2weeks, but now at least I won't have to lug it home across the Atlantic. Hope to get some sewing time in tonight!

Friday, October 13, 2023

2, 5, 33 and 100 years…


Every once in a while I like taking a look at my photos from the cloud, with a curiosity for those they will show me as ‘on this day x years ago’. A few days ago I was shown this one:


Two years ago I was visiting Berlin for a couple of days, meeting with patchwork friends mostly, but doing a little bit of sightseeing, too, of course. My birthplace, and sometimes I wonder what would have happened with my life if my parents hadn’t left the city when I was 4 years old? The Brandenburg Gate figures prominently in the images that are in the public mind when it comes to Berlin, most likely so because it was behind the wall for so many years.


Picture taken via this link, where you can find many
more photos of the Wall:

And because it was the place where people partied on November 9, 1989, when the Wall was opened for the first time in 28 years. Find a picture here.

A few days earlier, the picture I was shown was this one.

It showed me that at that time I was working on the quilt "Everyone has the right", inspired by this newspaper picture.


It has since traveled with SAQA’s exhibition “Forced to Flee” through several countries.


A detail from my quilt appeared on the front cover of the catalogue.

And it gave me a hard time getting it back from the States: the carrier would not deliver it to me because they claimed I could not prove it was mine, and I would have to pay customs to retrieve it, contrary to SAQA’s agreement with the US side of this particular carrier. Clandestine ways have since brought it back home. When I saw this picture from five years ago, I thought how very unfortunate it is that pictures like the one that originally inspired me to work on this quilt are still everyday matter – except that they are not really being shown in the media anymore. Because so many Europeans are sick and tired of seeing pictures like this, hearing stories of hundreds of people a day arriving on Lampedusa Island and other islands further east in Greece, having crossed the Mediterranean on skimpy boats, and who are now being put into camps already full to the brim. Right now there is no such thing as the 2015 “Welcome Culture” to be seen, Germany has turned xenophobic and anti-refugees to a degree that is frightening. Instead, elections are being won by talking about the 'refugee crisis'.

Also this past week, but not through a photo from my cloud, we celebrated the 33th anniversary of the reunification of Germany, just a little over a year after the party at Brandenburg gate mentioned above. On that day, October 3, I was in Canada, traveling with the Student Orchestra of Freiburg University. I remember that clearly because there was a lively discussion whether on this particular day the concert program should be preceded by a select four members of the orchestra playing Haydn’s slow movement from String Quartet op 76 no. 3, the variations on the tune that nowadays constitutes the German national anthem. Opinions were very divided – I, too, thought political reunification at that time was not the right thing to do. And I still think many things should have been done differently. Perhaps the high rates of agreement with the extremist right wing party in large areas of former East Germany could have been prevented if reunification had been less traumatic for citizens in that part of the country? It is the year 2023 now – and one hundred years ago, 1923, is often called the beginning of the rise of Nazi Germany, with political developments and inflation that caused the complete psychological destabilization of the population. Recent German federal states elections have brought terrifying results – from a viewpoint of a deeply felt democrat – for extreme right wing parties, and not only in what used to be the Eastern Part. What have we learned? Are we really repeating it all, have one hundred years been enough to let us forget?

And Israel and Palestine... I lack words for that. My heart breaks, because violence and shelling is only going to cause retaliation. And more victims on both sides.