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Bits and bobs about my life in my lovely home, Thatchwick Cottage, Pretoria, South Africa.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursday, 11 September: The SA National Quilters' Festival and remembering others

Before I tell you about our day at the South African National Quilters' Festival, do know that I join you in remembering those who lost their lives on September 11. I am also standing still for a moment or two in today's busy-ness to remember everyone suffering violence across the globe, especially those in 'small', so-called 'unimportant' countries, people whose pain seldom makes international headlines. I think particularly of our neighbours in Zimbabwe.

Does a report on a quilt festival combined with solemn remembrance make for insensitivity? I don't think so. Quiltmaking is the antithesis of destruction; quilts speak of warmth, nurture, love and the value of keepsakes. Quilts are a metaphor for the creation of beauty out of life's bits and pieces. Jagged edges are fitted into neat geometrics in quilts; patterns form out of pain; colour out of drab, mundane lives; cherished memories out of worn out clothing; something of value out of otherwise discarded leftovers.

My friends, Elisabeth and Noleen, and I took a day's leave to travel in heavy traffic on the Eastern Bypass past Alexandra, Linksfield, Bedfordview, Germiston to name a few sprawling Jo'burg suburbs, to Alberton where the National Festival was held in the Civic Centre. Don't you love this pic of ladies at the serious business of shopping for their stash? We don't have the kind of quilting resources you may take for granted in the US so the vendor stalls were a treat.
We did, however, first view the impressive exhibition. It took us nearly three hours to admire all the amazing quilts. Elisabeth led the way...
There were children's quilts...
Abstract and traditional...
Lots of wonderful African designs.

A traditional quilt made from Shweshwe cloth - traditional indigo dyed African cloth.


An African alphabet quilt - W is for Warthog; H for Hut; N for Ndebele and X for Xhosa!

The theme of the Festival was Shosholoza, the Zulu word meaning "to go forward." Certainly quilting in South Africa is doing just that.

10 comments:

willow said...

"Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana

All of these quilts are absolutely amazing! I would have thoroughly enjoyed this festival. Wonderful craftsmanship displayed here. :)

Theresa @ Take A Sentimental Journey said...

Thank you Eleanor for remembering this day. It always makes me sad at around this time of morning on this day. It was terrible .
The quilts were magnificient ! It seems like all the fabric stores are closing, it is getting harder to find nice fabric . Maybe it is just my city that is that way .
Have a blessed day Eleanor .

Joni B. said...

What a beautiful display of quilts. So talented! Thank you for sharing your photos - it was so nice to see what quilters are doing across the ocean.

Paula said...

Nou leer ek ook 'n ietsie ... nie geweet van die fees nie :)

Anonymous said...

Eleanor, I just found your blog and wanted to tell you that I was so moved by your eloquence when you talked about the making of quilts out of the bits and pieces of your life, and how using worn clothing makes it useful again. We in the US are reliving the tragedy of 9/11 again as we mourn for those lives lost. I live in Arizona, and didn't know anyone personally who died there, but feel the loss just the same. Thank you for your kind words this morning in your post about having a moment of stillness in the midst of your busyness for those lost and others all over the world. I am glad to have found your blog and will return often.
BobbyJ.

Mary said...

Thank you Eleanor for your thoughts and words in remembrance of all those who died here on this day seven years ago.

The quilts are gorgeous and I can see why viewing them would take so long - so much to take in with such detail and craftsmanship. Just breathtaking. Being with your friends and looking through supplies must have been fun too.

Warm hugs - Mary.

Carrie said...

I enjoyed seeing all those brightly colored quilts.

Nola @ AlamoNorth said...

The photos of the quilts are so beautiful, they take my breath away. There is something so calming about a quilt, it always makes me feel peaceful to see beautiful quilts.
We do need to all take a moment each day to remember people whose pain seldom makes international headlines! That is a kind thing to do, and costs us nothing.

Mary said...

Gorgeous! Love your words about quilting vs. destruction. Thank you for taking time to remember the horror of 9/11.

susanm said...

Thank you for showing these pictures wish I was there. Love the last quilt and saw some of them in the Threads magazine. Awesome.