Quilt Gallery

Friday, March 22, 2019

The Really Colorful Side of Copenhagen

Several months ago my post about Copenhagen focused on the traditional side of the city, covering churches, museums and parks. Today I'll share with you the less traditional but even more colorful part of Copenhagen, Freetown Christiana.

Stretched out along a set of 17th century ramparts on the eastern side of Copenhagen, Christiana was established as a commune in 1971 when squatters took over abandoned military barracks. It is now home to about 1000 people, and judging by the crowds, one of Copenhagen's greatest tourist attractions.

It operates by its own rules,

and actively discourages use of hard drugs.

It was formerly well known for marijuana dealers along Pusher Street, but they have since moved away or indoors.

These days visitors to Pusher Street are more likely to be in search of coffee and a snack or shopping for souvenirs such as t-shirts and hand-crafted jewelry.

It is still a freewheeling place, filled with exuberant and colorful artwork.

It seems that any surface is fair game to be embellished in some way.

And lots of things have been creatively repurposed, such as these boots turned planters.

Ingenuity extends to homes, many of which are clearly do-it-yourselfers.

No wonder that the largest store specializes in lumber and building materials!

I was left wondering what the insides of the old barracks look like and what sorts of safety upgrades have been installed.

As I mentioned in my first post about Copenhagen, I named my most recent quilt "Sunny Days in Copenhagen" because it's bright colors remind me of the sunny and color-filled days I spent in that city. Here it is, finally quilted and bound. Not quite as free-spirited as Christiana, but certainly just as colorful.

I quilted it on my long arm machine, using computer guided quilting for the motifs on the white sections and a ruler for the nine patches.

It is a seven and a half feet square, so fits nicely on a queen size bed.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Villahermosa, Mexico: Olmec Carvings, Cute Critters and Candy Colors

Tagging along on a trip to a petroleum engineering conference that my husband attended last week brought me to Villahermosa, Mexico. With something over half a million residents, Villahermosa is the largest city in the state of Tabasco, as well as its capital and hub of regional oil and gas activity.

We visited the Parque Museo La Venta, an open air museum displaying dozens of ancient Olmec carvings dating from 700 to 400 BC that were moved from their original site in the 1950s to make way for an oil refinery.

According to Wikipedia, the Olmecs were the first people in the Americas to settle in towns and cities, the first to build monumental architecture, and the first to develop a sophisticated style of stone sculpture. Carved from a single block of basalt, this triumphal altar is typical in depicting a person emerging from a cave at the base.

The Olmecs made good use of basalt's natural forms, as in this tomb constructed from basalt columns.

Similarly, they carved colossal heads from round basalt boulders.

In addition to these carvings, the museum has a small zoo with regional wildlife specimens, including spider monkeys,

jaguars, which are stunningly beautiful, though sad to see in cages,

and crocodiles.

Even better than the caged animals, were the couple dozen coatis we found amid Olmec carvings. Coatis, or coatimundis, are related to raccoons are are about as bold as raccoons. They weren't bothered in the least by us getting close enough to take photos. 

In the space of fifteen minutes we saw a whole range of behaviors, from playing and fighting 

to sleeping 

and grooming.

We walked around the central part of Villahermosa for a good part of the day, simply enjoying the colonial era architecture in the historical district,

and the appealing candy colored scenes to be found on nearly every street.

The local history museum is notable for its vibrant blue tile exterior.

Maybe I found the blue so appealing because I happen to be currently working on two different blue quilts. During this trip I stitched together a big stack of four patch blocks using blues from my scrap bin. It's going to be a pretty simple quilt so I hope to finish it shortly.

And now that I've been home for a few days I've had a chance to finish quilting another piece so visit again soon to see a completed quilt!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Wandering Around London

I found myself in London again last fall, with nothing in particular planned. Cool, clear days made it perfect for exploring so Steve and I strolled through London's always glorious parks, ventured into tiny alleyways and new neighborhoods, and stopped into galleries, shops and museums.

Here, a bench in Hyde Park beckoned us to rest for a few moments.

In St. James Park, early fall colors reflected in the pond looked like a painting.

Somewhere near our hotel we found this shady alleyway made cheerful with bright paint.

 The very elegant Royal Arcade was equally cheerful with bright paint and numerous skylights.

Late one afternoon we crossed Chelsea Bridge en route to Battersea Gardens on the south side of the Thames. I found the amount of construction astonishing, considering the uncertainty around Brexit.

We walked the length of the park, enjoying brilliant sunlit views of the opposite shore,

and crossed back on the very pretty Albert Bridge.

I wandered on my own for a couple of days while Steve was working, stopping in at the V & A to see their new photography center. Here is an 1855 image of Thailand's Thapinyu Pagoda by Linneaus Tripe that has been "digitally reimagined" by Thomas Ruff.

I also stopped in at the National Gallery and was wowed once again by George Stubb's 1762 painting of the horse Whistlejacket.

And, of course, I couldn't resist visiting Liberty of London once again. I think it is the most visually appealing store I have ever been in. It is really more like a gallery than a shop. Their carefully curated collection is always beautifully displayed. Hard to resist these Fornasetti plates!

The Regent Street store, built during the 1920s in the Tudor revival style is dramatic, yet welcoming, with central atria surrounded by smaller, more intimate rooms. I was happy to see that Victoria Findlay Wolfe's quilts were still on display.

Here is a view of one atrium bedecked with the quilts.

Unlike other department stores which have given up selling fabric, Liberty continues to sell fabric, their very own Liberty fabric, which is distinctive and lovely, though not inexpensive.

I picked up two new packs of fat quarters.

I now have a very nice collection.  The larger of these came from a previous visit to Liberty's Regent Street store and the other from Purl Soho in New York.

Now I need to screw up my courage to cut into these beauties and make something out of them!