It seems that my blog and I are still in summer mode due to the lovely weather we have been enjoying at the tail end of an otherwise very cold and rainy summer.
Sunny weather, – at last, – means the first priority besides work, is to spend as much time as possible out of doors, soaking up as much vitamin D as we can get before the long winter months. So indoor activities, like blogging, have been pushed way down on the list of to-dos for a while.
However, it has turned cold again, so now I am trying to catch up on both the reading and writing of blogs.
The last couple of posts in here have been about the quilt group we met in Murmansk, and I had also planned to show you a few photos from when we first met with members of this group, – quite by accident, – back in 2007. I have changed my computer since then, so it took some looking and searching in old photo folders before I found what I wanted. And I found a lot.
The good weather is therefore only partly responsible for the tardiness here, – some is also due to my filing system, which relies heavily on my brain remembering where I put things a long time ago.
Anyway, it was mostly my mother’s “fault”, – the trip, I mean. She is very fond of travelling, and when she turned 80, my oldest sister offered to take her to Murmansk by car, along with a couple of friends. When the friends cancelled, there was room for a younger sister and me in the car.
The first day after we arrived in Murmansk it rained, so indoors activities were called for.
At the breakfast table we studied some brochures and decided the Arts and Crafts Centre looked promising, so we went there first.
One of the employees at the centre spoke English, and she guided our group through the exhibitions at the centre.
There was a very impressive exhibition of paintings and craft items made by school children from around the Kola peninsula….
….. along with examples of older crafted items and tools…….
…….and I was also pleasantly surprised to find some quilts hanging in one room.
While I was busy photographing various items around the exhibitions, my sister came and fetched me, saying: “Come and look! There are two ladies in the other room, – they are dressed in patchwork clothes and are unpacking some quilts”
I was the only person in our group who takes a special interest in quilting, and my sister knew I would hate to miss out on an opportunity to look at quilted items. The two ladies were very obliging, posing for our cameras, and also showing us the quilts they were unpacking.
The quilts were stunning, in spite of the fact that they were still works in progress.
The English speaking guide also joined us, so we could talk a little and ask questions, and they started to explain about the quilts, and showing us lots of photos of other quilts and of paintings.
We were soon cut short by a small TV team who entered the room and prepared to interview the two ladies, so we understood that this was something special.
We were allowed to stay in the room, looking at the other things exhibited in there, but then I was called on by the TV reporter to say something about the two quilts the ladies had brought in, and which we had just admired. I guess being a foreign visitor, with some interest in and knowledge about quilting, was something the reporter wanted to include. I have no idea if I really ended up appearing on Russian TV though.
The reporter spoke English, and so did I, but the rest of the inerview with one of the two quilting ladies, was in Russian, which we did not undestand, except for a few words that sound very similar to the ones we use, – such as “applikatsie”, which I am sure you can all guess the meaning of too.
After the TV team had finished the interview, we got to talk some more.
My mother, Tatyana Schmidt, Tatyana Ischkaraeva, yours truly, and Tatyana Chernomor, who had made the tapestry in the photo further above, and was also working on the large one we can just glimpse at the back of the room to the right
We learned that the two ladies, who both were named Tatyana, belonged to one of two quilt groups that used to meet at the Arts and Craft Centre. Tatyana is a very common name in Russia, and they told us there were 5 Tatyanas in their group. Both groups had been working on a special project which involved making quilts with motifs from a well known local painter; – Anatolij Sergejenko.
We looked some more at the photos that they brought, – some were photos of the actual paintings, and some were photos of the quilts made from the paintings. It was not easy to tell them apart at first glance.
One group had chosen to work with paintings that had motifs from old Sami legends, while the other group had worked with motifs that depicted Love. They called the project “Images of Love”, and later we learned that it had been exhibited at several venues, and won some prestigious prices at quilt shows in Russia.
My older sister became intrigued by the pictures, and wanted to know where she could see more of this artist’s works, with the view of buying one of them, (which she eventually did). Our guide knew about a small gallery shop where they were for sale, and tried to explain how to go there. This was not so simple, as the shop was located in a back street, and walking there involved crossing some back yards and playgrounds, so she offered to show us the way, and spent at least half her lunch break doing so. We do not often experience service like this!
Thus the lunch break ended our visit at the Centre, but after I returned home, I was thinking about this chance meeting, and was curious to know more about the quilt groups, about their special projects, and also what it was like being a quilter in Russia. I still had a brochure from the Arts and Crafts Centre with their email address, so I was able to contact them for more information.
However, I think this post is too long already, so I will have to make another one with some of that information, and also show you some of the other quilts we saw in the centre.
The photos at the beginning of this post are all from the exhibition of children’s art and craft. We posted some more of those in the travel blog that we kept at the time. The text is in Norwegian, but there are lots of photos.