Thursday, March 31, 2016

Heading home

March has passed quickly with time spent in the lovely company of stitching friends at the Mongolian Quilt Centre in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Apart from teaching classes about the colour wheel and table runners, product development has been a very creative exercise.
The recycling of silk scraps via crazy patchwork piecing is a hallmark of the centre. Using these patched pieces in new ways is exciting.

Here we see a purse front made in silk. It is backed with cotton, lined and zipper stitched in.
Looking beautiful, useful and ready for the tourist season beginning in earnest in June.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Turkish carpets

No visit to Turkey is complete without the stop at a carpet workshop and showroom. We are always amazed by the workmanship of the women double knotting the carpets with wool or silk.
Many months go into making a large carpet and there are a staggering number of knots per square inch. If silk is used there are more knots than the coarser wool threads.
Vats of natural dyes were in another area to show the plants and mordants used. I loved the handle on these pots.
 And tea and carpet viewing round out the experience. The rug below is woven then embroidered with front and back views in the photo.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Turkish ceramics

We were privileged to visit the underground Guray Museum of Ceramics. Pots on display ranged from 3,000BC to more modern work by living Turkish Master Craftsmen. This area in Avanos is noted for red clay used in the production of many beautiful items.
This is a wine jar and goblets. To pour the wine you put your arm through the hole and support the jar on your shoulder and pour!
 Stages of production include hand built pottery on a foot spun wheel to moulded large platters and finally hand painting, colouring, glazing and firing. Above is a piece on order.

 Below is a vase used to collect a wife's tears cried while her husband was away from home for long periods!


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Our tour, Cappadocia

We booked into a day tour of the area and had a wonderful introduction to the fascinating history of the region. Cappadocia means 'land of beautiful horses' we discovered. Much of early Christianity is linked to the area and the Goreme Open Air Museum, originally a monastery until the 1920's has super frescos in the original caves and churches carved in the stone.
Photos are not allowed inside. Pigeon eggshells are used as a base for the paintings so the small carved niches are pigeon roosting areas.
This tree is hung with many blue glass ornaments, to guard against the 'evil eye' and was a drawcard for tourist photos.
 What an amazing area of natural formations! Everywhere you look you can see these structures in varied shapes and sizes.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Interesting textures

On the walk into the small town centre in search of batteries for Bob's flashlight, we passed  many interesting vistas. The contrasts in texture between hard stone and soft petals of flowering apricot and apple trees were everywhere.

These threshing boards were something we had never seen before. Small sharp rocks were set into the wood. No idea how old they are but they look well worn.
Soft faded blue of the timber door contrasts with the raised surround, painted white.
Loved this jacket, detail here of the interesting embroidery stitching. The inside was unlined making another interesting texture. This was hanging on the side of a building decorated with a myriad of colourful rugs and carpets. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Balloons over Goreme

 Just on dawn the hot air balloons begin their ascent into the clear sky over Goreme. We didn't take a ride as we had just arrived the night before and with a 6 hour time difference......well jetlag is not a nice companion at the best of times!
But we enjoyed watching from our panoramic balcony, as slowly the sunlight hit the tops of the chimneys. An occasional hiss of gas was heard in the still morning air.

Saturday, March 19, 2016


Very happy to have been juried into the STATE of the ART quilt 16 touring exhibition, with both my entries accepted- It's snowing in Ulaanbaatar, above and detail below and One Tree, a predominately blue quilt with leaf prints. This yearly art quilt exhibition is only open to members of Queensland Quilters Inc. the State guild. The exhibition will premier in Brisbane at Gallery 159 on April 8 at 6pm.

Miras Cave Hotel, Goreme

We had researched the location in Goreme for accommodation near fairy chimney structures and found a group of hotels backing onto a hillside. Turned out to be a perfect location for us as it was within easy walking distance of the centre and had a fabulous view from the balcony. The bed at the Miras Hotel was on a raised area and looked very regal with the illuminated bas relief behind the headboard.
Lots of lighting, which is good when you are in a dark cave and lovely kilims everywhere.

The view from the arched balcony of our room. Older lived in cave houses were in this area alongside the hotels. It was low season so not very crowded.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Cappadocia, Turkey

I have always wanted to visit the Cappadocia region of Turkey to see the fairy chimneys, houses carved into the soft volcanic tuff of these dome like rock formations formed by weathering and erosion of the surrounding soil. Above is the view from our cave room balcony.
At sunrise the balloon flights take off over Goreme and it was a magical moment watching them ascend into the sky, occasionally hearing the hiss of the gas that fires the balloon propulsion.
It was a cold, clear morning with more and more balloons filling the sky.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Graduation day- Mongolia

 I love all the projects that the students have completed, learning a variety of hand and machine sewing skills.
 Everyone had their name in front of their work.
 Class with their certificates and teachers L of me Erka and to the R Oksana.
Prizes were given for the best 3 students on L second place, centre tutor  Oksana and R first place awardee.