St Croix aux Mines, France
This is our first day of performing at the European Patchwork show in Alsace. We have arrived in a beautiful part of the country – mountains, gardens, and quilters. What could be better?
We got here yesterday, after having spent the night in Nancy. The last part of the drive presents a choice: up and over the mountain, via twisty-windy road, or THROUGH the mountain in a straight tunnel for about 5 km. We took the latter, paid our 7 euros and turned our car lights on.
I’m always amazed at the work involved in such an endeavour. There are frequent fans, lights, and hidey-holes in case of emergency in this tunnel, and it all seems very well thought out.
We emerged to a narrow valley with an alpine flair. The houses are quaint, with louvers on all the windows. The roads are small and twist and turn between them. None go in straight lines, like you see in more modern, flat cities. The villages have evolved before automobiles, and the cars just have to deal with it. Parking is wherever you can, sometimes even on sidewalks.
I am impressed by a few things already: everyone here seems to have a dog, and they meet their friends and neighbours in the daily dog-walk. Everyone also seems to have a beautiful garden. Here, there are many vegetable gardens, lovingly tended, and, at this time of year, huge and productive. There are apples in all the apple trees, ripe and falling to the ground.
We have set up our show at the hall here in St. Croix aux Mines. The show is held in many locations in four communities in the valley. We, like all the other attendees, shall travel from place to place using the shuttle service, which will alleviate the stress of trying to find parking. Our hall also has a few displays of quilts, including an Australian collection by our friend Annette Gero. We saw her yesterday, at setup. She has brought some of her waggas and medallion quilts and will be giving a talk on the collection at some point.
The organizers have created our concert space with black-covered particle board. There are lights and sound and 100 chairs for our audience. We will be giving two hour-long concerts each of the four days of the exposition. We are hoping for good audiences, and have been told to expect full houses throughout.
After our setup yesterday we headed down to Ste Marie aux Mines to do some shopping, check our email and see some of the rest of the setup. There is a huge vendors’ area (outside under tents as well as indoors) and everyone was setting up their wares. Lots of traditional country-style stuff, but also quite a bit of art quilting supplies, including dyes, embellishments and hand-dyed fabrics. I’m hoping for some time to look through when everyone is open and see what I can find! There are well over 20 locations to this quilt festival, and I know I’m not going to get to see it all. The most of our day will be taken up with our own work, but I’m hoping to slip away to see the Ralli quilts from India at some point.
The weather is stunning – clear air, temperatures sitting around 23C, and perfectly sunny today. Autumn in France!
And now – to do half my show “en français”. Wish me luck!!!