Quilt Gallery

Friday, October 23, 2015

Seeing Red

Earlier this month I made a trip to Paris and Marseille, with a brief stop in London on the way home. Now that I've been home for a bit and have had time to look at all my photos together I am finding some interesting themes among my collection. Red, for example.

In the UK it's hard to avoid seeing red since it is used on many public facilities, such as buses and trains,

Piccadilly Circus tube stop

post boxes, and phone booths. I didn't check to see whether these old phone booths still have working phones in them. Does anybody use still them? Maybe they are just part of the scenery now, intended as subjects for tourist photos. 

Belgravia, London

In Paris red is more often used to make a personal statement, as in these love locks on the Pont Neuf,

Love locks on Pont Neuf

and in these red laces, which I spotted near the Louvre.

At the Carrousel du Louvre

In some cases red stole the scene. Tatiana Wolska's free-form sculpture contrasted sharply with lush  gardens in the courtyard of the early seventeenth century Hotel de Bethune-Sully in Paris.

Sculptures by Tatiana Wolska

Coca-Cola's enormous sign looms over Eros at Piccadilly Circus.

Statue of Eros at Piccadilly Circus

Equally arresting was this couple just outside the Piccadilly Circus tube stop. Her red dress caught my eye, but with no time to change camera settings, I just pointed my camera and clicked. It was this blurry image or nothing, though I rather like the blurriness as it conveys a bit of the motion and chaos of Piccadilly on a Saturday night.

Piccadilly Circus at night

Less chaotic were the shiny doors welcoming us into The Grenadier, a traditional pub near Belgrave Square.

The Grenadier

The red door of the Chateau d'If, a few minutes by boat from Marseille, is not quite so welcoming, at least if you imagine yourself to be Edmond Dantes of "The Count of Monte Cristo."

At the Chateau d'If

In other cases red was more of a highlight. A red-jacketed pedestrian appeared at just the right moment to add interest and a sense of scale to this image of Green Park in London.

Green Park

A red-shirted runner completed this scene of the lattice-work exterior of the MuCEM (the Museum of European and Mediterranean Culture) in Marseille. I will have more details about this building and Marseille in a subsequent post.

Runner alongside Marseille's MuCEM

Greeting me on my return home was this piece, consisting mostly of scraps, which has come together slowly from the scraps that I sew together every time I sit down at my machine to work on a proper project. It is very much an improvisational piece and I'm not entirely sure where I am going with it, except that eventually it will be large enough for a twin size bed.

I like the sunny yellow center, but once the borders were sewn on the yellow seemed overpowering. Hence the appliqué tree, the idea for which came from a book I enjoyed as a child, "The Cookie Tree," illustrated by my uncle,  Blake Hampton.

In spite of all the yellow, the red highlights are enough to make me see this piece as predominantly red. A little red goes a long way.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Wedding Celebration in Maine

August found us in Blue Hill, Maine, attending my niece's wedding. What a beautiful event! The bride and groom gathered friends and family to a field, black and white cows watching from one side, the bay sparkling in the distance opposite, and said their vows under a perfect blue sky.

My gift to them was, naturally, a quilt.

It is quite a traditional quilt, comprised of Ohio Star blocks alternating with solid blocks and framed with a red zig zag border. I think this arrangement allows each star to sparkle a little, and provides space for the quilting to stand out. Each star is different, and though I used mostly traditional fabrics, they are in bright, saturated colors which gives it a youthfulness appropriate for the recipients.

I quilted it, block by block, on my long-arm machine, using my own simple design for the stars,

and used the pre-loaded designs from QuiltPath for everything else.  The triangle designs in the red portion of the border match up so well that it looks like a continuous pattern.

After the wedding we spent several days in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island. Our plans were so last minute that we couldn't find accommodation in Bar Harbor and ended up in Northeast Harbor. This was fortunate as Northeast Harbor is far quieter than Bar Harbor. A two minute walk from our hotel brought us to the dock where we hopped on a boat for an evening cruise of the harbor. We saw seals, osprey, cormorants,

lobster boats,

and hundreds of lobster buoys, each one painted in its owner's colors.

We were also blessed with a brilliant sunset.

No visit to Acadia is complete without an exploration of its carriage roads, a legacy of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who financed and directed their construction in the first half of the 20th century. They wind up and down and around, crossing stone bridges (also part of Rockefeller's legacy), passing ponds and coastal views, and through dense woodlands. They are all wide and gently graded, perfect for enjoying on foot, on a bicycle, or in a horse-drawn carriage.

If you are up for a little more excitement, you can tackle the Precipice Trail, which is described as a non-technical climb.

It requires climbing fixed metal steps,

and steep, narrow stone steps.

We went very early in the morning, and quickly emerged from the thick ground fog.

 It was a great way to end our short visit to Acadia.