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The International Quilt Festival of Suzdal, Russia

This August I travelled to the International Quilt Festival in Suzdal, Russia. It was a 10 day trip, with 8 of them spent at the Quilt Festival and in the immediate neighbourhood of Suzdal, a small town about 2 hours east of Moscow.

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I have been wanting to visit a Russian quilt event for a while, as I know there are several, and when I saw pictures similar to this one posted on the internet last year, I decided that this was where I wanted to go.

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Suzdal is a very old town. It was founded nearly 1000 years ago, and for a while it was the capital of a principality while Moscow was still merely a small outpost.

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The Suzdal Kremlin (photo above) is way older than the more famous one in Moscow, and is on Unesco’s world heritage list, along with one of the monasteries in Suzdal.

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The capital was moved, but over the centuries,  Suzdal became a religious centre with several monasteries and lots of churches. During the Soviet time, industrialization passed Suzdal by, and much of the old architechture was preserved. When the people realized what a gem they were sitting on, laws were passed to prevent highrise buildings in or near the town centre. More than 300 buildings in town are now listed or protected, including 5 monasteries and more than 30 churches. Suzdal is now a major tourist attraction on the so called Golden Ring, and more than a million tourists visit every year.kyrkjer

This also means that the place is well equipped with reasonably good hotels and restaurants, so the town, with a little less than 10 000 inhabitants, is capable of hosting quite large events.

The travel agency connected with the quilt festival, which organized the tour, had put together a varied and interesting program, which, in addition to the quilt festival events, also included a trip to a local farm and several guided tours of the town and area.

Since there were so many interesting things to do, and to look at, that were not necessarily quilt related, I brought along two family members who are not quilters, and we all enjoyed ourselves very much.

 

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The quilty events like exhibitions and classes were spread out on 8-10 locations throughout the town; – in hotels, churches, culture house, library, and even inside one of the monasteries. Exhibitions were open every day for more than a week.

The quilt shops were located in one of the hotels on the outskirts of town, along with the show administration and most of the classes. Our hotel was in the very centre of town, right next to the town square where much of the entertainment was going on, and with short walks to most of the exhibitions and attractions, and to a variety of good restaurants.

 

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Some events were one day dos, like the Quilted Field event held in the grounds of the Museum of Wooden Architecture.

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People sew quilts of the same size, 1 x 1 meters with ribbons attached to all four corners. The quilts are then laid out on the grass in a checkerboard pattern, and tied together at the corners.

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The audience can then walk, run, dance, or skip in between the quilts, all across the Quilted Field, enjoying all the different colours and motifs, and of course take lots of photos. People love to pose with their quilt, or with their family and friends, and photograph each other in the field.

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In addition to the quilted field, there were also quilts hung on clothes lines and on the walls of the old houses around the area.

 

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There were also lots of stalls selling food and various crafts.

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In addition to all this, the organizers also put on a more than 4 hour long show with lots of song and dance, traditional wedding processions and games, in which both young and old took part.

The theme of this years quilt festival was “Love”, and on this day the focus was on courtship and weddings. There was a special competition category of wedding quilts, and these quilts were hung around the area, and the winners were announced at the end of the day.

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People had dressed up in traditional wedding dress, and a procession of wedding guests following the couple marked the start of the show program.  Later the guests mingled with the audience, and it was interesting to study the various costumes they were wearing.

Quilters also wore their home made dresses, and we recognized a few of them from the fashion show in the town square on the previous day, – more on that in a later post.

On stage a folk dance group sang and danced to traditional folk tunes. They were very good, and wore a variety of wonderful costumes, – the sort quilters would love to take a closer look at.

I think they performed for more than an hour, and still I was sorry to see them go.

 

The audience were invited to learn traditional wedding dances in front of the stage. One couple led the dance, one lady had a microphone and explained the moves over the loudspeakers. Of course, we did not understand the words, which were in Russian, but we understood the moves and steps that were shown. They started out with the polonaise, which we also did at our daughter’s wedding 10 years ago, so it was really very similar to our customs at home.

A small play was performed, again all words in Russian, but you could guess a lot from the mimics and tone of voice. My guess is that this was about a young girl who wanted to be a fine lady in town, and turned up her nose at the simpler farm girl who wished to stay put. However, the farm girl got the eligible young man in the end, but luckily an officer also came to the rescue of the “fine” girl, so all was well in the end.

I loved their costumes.

 

The whole thing was very informal. You could sit and watch all the time, or get up and walk around looking at the quilts, participate in the dancing and games, go have a snack at one of the stalls, or sit on the grass enjoying your packed lunch. There were not only quilters present, but families out for a Sunday afternoon walk, officially invited guests, and also busloads of tourists visiting the museum as part of their tours. Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves very much.

 

This is already getting too long. I will have to make several new posts to show you more of the quilts, and of other (hopefully) interesting stuff.

🙂

Eldrid

 

 

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Silversea

It is time for the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival again. Since I am working on commissions which can not be published yet, I will enter an older quilt into the festival this time.

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This wall hanging was made in 2004, and is one of a series of quilts I made using old photos taken on and around the island where I live.

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The photo I used here, was taken sometime in the 1920ies during the cod fishing season, which is usually in February till April. It is probably early in the season since there is still snow.

The photo is taken on the fjord, which we have a good view of from our house. As you can see, there are lots of small boats on the fjord, each one hoping to get their share of the valuables still swimming deep down underneath, – hence the title I assigned to this piece: “Our Share of the Silver”.

Some women owned their own boats and gear, and traditionally they occupied the innermost part of the fjord, which was then called “Kjerringhavet”, – meaning “The Women’s Sea”

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I manipulated the photo so that there are a lot more boats with women in them.

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Then I designed some blocks, which would look like a swirling school of fish when put together, and placed the photo in the middle. I also turned the photo blue to better blend in with the fabrics I planned to use.

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I thought it was a bit tame with only the blue colours, so I added some sunshine, – which I am also sure these women had in their lives from time to time.

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The photo was printed onto cotton fabric, and the rest of the quilt has both cotton and silk fabrics in it. The quilting lines follow the movement in the blocks surrounding the photo.

The quilt was eventually bought by an organization who then donated it to the old people’s home in our neighbouring village Kalvåg, where it now hangs.

This is entered in the Art quilt category of the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival. Be sure to go over there and have a look at all the beautiful works that have been posted, and also make sure you visit the other categories while you are at it. You can also vote for your favourite of each category from May 21st to May 29th.

This is my 13th time participating in the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival. My previous entries can be found here:

Spring 2009

Autumn 2009

Spring 2010

Autumn 2010

Spring 2011

Autumn 2011

Spring 2012

Autumn 2012

Spring 2013

Autumn 2013

Spring 2014

Autumn 2014

 

🙂

Eldrid

 

The Pokemon Quilt

Last year I made a quilt for our youngest grandson based on a drawing that he had made. Then the older brother got inspired too, and wanted a quilt made from his own Pokemon drawings.

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He made four drawings which I copied and mirrored, drew the different parts on fusible web, and machine appliqued them to a background fabric.

 

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The four blocks were then framed and joined to make up the centre of the quilt. He had chosen all the fabrics for the quilt, and as you can probably see, he loves orange.

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I then made strip sets from the rest of the chosen fabrics, cut them into different widths and distributed them around the quilt centre.

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When the top was finished, the most exciting part (for me) started: I got to try my hands at longarm machine quilting. I spent two days at Sølvi Quiltestudio, first doing a test piece to learn how to use the buttons and other essentials, and then quilting the top on the second day, – and getting lots of useful tips along the way (plus some unforgettable apple cake).

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Quilting a quilt in one day, and not getting a stiff neck and shoulders afterwards, weighs heavily on the YES-side when considering whether to buy myself a longarm machine. The jury is still out on the subject, though.

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Here is the recipient adding a final touch to his quilt. Granny, in her total ignorance about the world of pokemons, had put in one of the figures upside down, so he decided to make something else out of it by drawing a face with a pigma pen. Now there’s a lesson: If you cannot hide a mistake, be creative and make something positive out of it, – embellish it and show it off! 🙂

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And here is the final result, shown off by the proud owner …..

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….. before folding it to take it home with him.

 

This quilt is entered in the ROYGBIV Quilt Category at the Blogger’s Quilt festival.  Please head over to Amy’s site and have fun checking out all the other entries there. You can also nominate quilts for the Viewer’s Choice awards.

 

So far, I have managed to participate in all the Blogger’s Quilt Festivals, and below are the links to my previous entries:

Spring 2009

Autumn 2009

Spring 2010

Autumn 2010

Spring 2011

Autumn 2011

Spring 2012

Autumn 2012

Spring 2013

Autumn 2013

Spring 2014

 

🙂

Eldrid

 

Festival of Quilts IV – Quilt Creations

I am still enjoying my photos from the Festival of Quilts, even though this is not exactly news anymore.

They have a competition category called Quilt Creations, where you may enter every quilty thing that is not exactly a quilt or a wall hanging.   It can be clothing, wearable art or 3 dimensional pieces, which must have length, breadth and depth. This post will cover some of these.

The coat above was made by Marijke van Weltzen from The Netherlands, and was called “Once in a Blue Moon”. The inspiration is the story about the crane daughter: A girl who turned into a crane and secretly wove beautiful cloth, and who flew away when she was discovered.

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This ensemble named “Citrinesque”, was made by Kathy Knapp from USA.

It was inspired by the citrine gemstone which has a beautiful yellow colour.

devotion978Here is a little beauty: “Devotion” by Judith Anderson.

Using the knowledge gained from a class in faux taxidermy, she made this piece from old and new wool, net, lace, and other embellishments.

diaghilev993This “outfit” was called “Diaghilev Comes to the Party”, and was made by Sally Hutson.

The artist writes: “Inspired by the extraordinary theatrical performance of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe from the early 20th century, this garment captures the art of modernism and the fun of the party!”

firelight979“Firelight” by Jane Appelbee.

The artist had a new wood burning stove installed, and was told that she would be watching that more then the TV, – which she did. The flames licking the logs inspired this piece.

henge953“Henge of Celtic Seasonal Totems” by Linzi Upton.

Circle of nine mystical Celtic Totems inspired by votive trees and stone circles found in Ancient Britain.

Linzi is also famous for her quilted Yurts (Mongolian dwellings).

holst973“What on Earth would Holst think?” by Liz Clark. The artist calls these 3D-off-the-wall quilts. Motifs and colours are chosen to represent the seasons.

Another coat, “Homage to Hundertwasser” made by Catherine Lawes. Inspired by Hundertwasser’s paintings and architecture.

This lovely creature was made by Claire Crouchley, and is called “Naiad”. It received a “Highly Commended”.

The artist says: “The doll was created with sequin scales and beaded embellishments, including seaweed and jewellery to reflect her vain nature. She sits on driftwood which is being slowly claimed by the marine life which surrounds her”.

splash955“Splash” by Linda Turner won a “Judges Choice”.

The bowl is made of organza layered between soluble stabilizers and is free motion thread painted to illustrate the action of water when an object or raindrop falls into the water.

takeabreak972“Take a Break” by Ulrike Tillmanns.

An old teak bench, covered in fabric using weather proof glue and lacquer.

tigersandgoats957c“Tigers and Goats Game” by Gillian Travis.

The artist’s interpretation of a game that is very popular in India.

woodlandfantasy965This one is lovely, – “Woodland Fantasy” by Helen Alexander Bristow.

Lovely free machine embroidery on felted fabric. Beautiful colours.

My own quilt, Rosemadonna, was also shown in this category. I did not get any good photos of it on the location, but it can be seen in this post.

bedtimemonster995This is one of a “Collection of Quilted Monsters and Bedtime Beasties” made by Daisy May Collingridge.

The artist says: “The quilt monster is a beast with a fickle permanence. Its presence only captured in the blink of an eye. Yet, it is always there, under the bed or wrapped tight around you”.

The one above, along with the two other “Bedtime Monsters”, and many other outfits were shown at the “Fashion Show” on the Friday night during the Festival. Some of the outfits were also in the competition, like the one above, but not all of them.

Below are some photos taken during the Fashion Show. The photo quality varies as I was sitting near the back, the models were moving, and the lighting varied across the stage. I did not take notes during the show, so I have not got the names of the various makers.

🙂

Eldrid

Rose Window Quilt

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I have been working on this project on and off for a couple of months, and finished it in time for the  Bloggers’ Quilt Festival, which Amy over at Amy’ s Creative Side hosts twice a year.

It is an experimental piece, which ended up as a wall hanging of approximately 70 x 70 cm.

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My idea was to layer several fabrics with holes in them in order to achieve a three dimensional effect.

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I wanted all the holes to have their edges finished in a different colour for each fabric layer, to make them stand out more.

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Sewing all those holes took some time.

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When the top layer was finished, I re-auditioned the rest of the fabrics.

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Wondering which fabric to choose for the second layer.

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It ended up being a dark red with gold specs.

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Further on, wondering what to choose for the bottom layer.

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It ended up being green with a gold net on top.

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I thoroughly enjoyed working on this wall hanging, but I am already looking for what to do differently if there is a next one 🙂

The quilt is entered in the Wall Hanging category.

This is the 9thBloggers’ Quilt Festival.  My quilts entered into the previous festivals can be seen here:

Spring 2009

Autumn 2009

Spring 2010

Autumn 2010

Spring 2011

Autumn 2011

Spring 2012

Autumn 2012

Be sure to head over to the Bloggers’ Quilt Festival to see all the wonderful entries.

🙂

Eldrid