We had a lovely coach driver, Steve, who is Welsh and entertained us with music from the valleys on some of our journeys.
Ste Marie aux Mines was about an hour's journey from Colmar, through lovely countryside, mostly we travelled on the main roads, but Steve took us on some of the back roads on our last day and we drove through some lovely little villages, that I am hoping to come back to with my husband, so that we can explore them properly.
|Statue of Liberty in Colmar, designer of statue came from Colmar|
The show is not all in one centre, but spread out amongst venues in the villages of Ste Marie aux Mines, Ste Croix aux Mines, Liepvre and Rombach-le-Franc as well as at the Parc Minier Tellure, which is about 5km outside Ste Marie. There are shuttle buses that run between the villages, sometimes they got very full and large queues formed with some ladies getting a bit forceful to get onto the coaches, they run approximately every 20 minutes to start off in the mornings, but this becomes more of a just wait until the next one comes later on in the day.
|Ladies from Japan visiting Ste Marie Aux Mines|
I never made it to Rombach or Liepvre as there just was not enough time to do it all, but what I did see in the other villages made up for what I did not see.
The vendors are mainly concentrated in the centre of Ste Marie and it would be easy to spend a day just wondering and looking and shopping here. Most of the vendors could speak a little English, some very well, it did help to understand a little bit of French at others. Lots to see and buy that is not available in the UK, there seems to be a trend with wool fabrics and a lot of rustic country themed fabrics too. Also a lots of Lecien style fabrics and LOTS of ribbons. Not all the vendors were French, some were German, some from Prague and Poland, it really is European, but good to see some American vendors too, like Edita Sitar, with her fabulous laser cut appliqué pieces. Wonderful to finally meet Claudia Pfeil too and to see Handiquilter stall and chat with Nate.
The vendors were not all in the same building, but were all concentrated in the same area, many inside large marquees or market style pop up stalls next to the big marquee tents. Nearby was a restaurant within another big marquee tent, but along the main street were lots of small vendors selling their street cuisine. I had some fabulous vegetarian vegetable pancake sandwiches with pesto and goats cheese filling and vegetable juice from one stall for lunch one day. Some of the other stalls sold breads and pastries, potato rosti, salamis and dried sausages, pizzas and pretzels. Lots of local restaurants too, where you could sit inside or outside, were doing a roaring trade with all the extra visitors to the towns.
Coffees and teas with cakes were sold in some of the larger venues too.
Lots of shops in the villages have quilts on display in the windows, some very nice ones:
Some of the exhibitions are in churches and village halls, some in museums and theatres. You can pick up a brochure/program with locations, maps and exhibitions from the Tourist Information shop in Ste Marie or from the entrances to the larger exhibitions. It is not possible to post photos from all the exhibitions, so I will just post some of my favourites here:
|Regret at mown motley grass by Elena Folomeva from Russia|
|The Crystal by Elena Nekrasova from Russia|
|The Fifth Wheel by Anna Urusova from Russia|
|The aroma of meadows by Irina Korotkova from Russia|
|Freedom by Helen Godden from Australia|
|Detail of Freedom|
|Cinese dragon and phoenix by Ming Hsu, Australia|
|Detail of Chinese dragon and phoenix|
|Counterpoint by Pam Hill, Australia|
|Summer: Kangaroo paws and Billy Buttons by Suzan Mathews, Australia|
|Flax Lily by Bernardine Hine, Australia|
|Purple Haze by Karen Terrens, Australia|
|Detail of Purple Haze|
|Dartmoor walk by Kate Dowty, UK|
|Southern Delight by Marlya Waters, Australia|
|Detail of Southern Delight|
|Pine Branch by Elsbeth Nusser-Lampe, Germany|
|Detail of Pine Branch|
|Taste of India by Christine Seager, UK|
|The Seven Spices by Yemima Lavan, Israel|
|Libby by Sandrine Osterman, France|
|Red Poppies by Beatrice Bueche, France|
|Balancing Act by Linda Forey, UK|
|Vague a l'ame by Dominique Fave, France|
|Burning Sky by Yoshiko Koshi, Japan|
|Woodpecker by Noriko Endo, Japan|
|Constellation - beyond time and space by Yoko Kageyama, Japan|
|Detail of Constellation - beyond time and space|
|Space Fantasy by Yumiko Matsubara, Japan|
|Detail of Space Fantasy|
|Cherry blossom at night by Kayoko Tonegawa, Japan|
|Flowerly and Lightly by Mitsuko Kinoshita|
|Detail of Flowerly and Lightly|
|Cameria in Love by Naomi Horikita|
|Reve de flour by Hilde van Schaardenburg|
|L'oeil by Hilde van Schaardenburg|
|Edge of a feather by Linda & Laura Kemshall, UK|
|Detail of Edge of a feather|
|Beachcombing by Sheena Noirquay, UK|
|Detail of Beachcombing|
My absolute favourite quilt at the show was:
|The great tree by Noriko Matsutou|
I do hope that my pictures will inspire some of you, I certainly came back home with a head full of ideas, now to find the time to actually execute some of those ideas!
On the way back to UK, we travelled through lovely wine areas in France and stopped in Epernay, where we had a tour of the Champagne Mercier cellars, a champagne tasting and opportunity to buy some champagne. Well worth a stop over.
|The Tun, also known as The giant task, weighs 23tons when empty|
|The Tun, 5.5m tall, 6.5m long, capacity 213000 bottles of 75cl|
|When empty needed to be pulled by 24 oxen|
Wonder how many times have this come up in a quiz? Sizes of bottles in order from right:
Quarter bottle 0.20l
Half bottle 0.375l
And as we were travelling through wine regions, I sewed my "grapes" block of the Dutch Treat, so I have a lovely reminder now of this trip.