Inspired by this photograph which I came across in a magazine,
I persuaded my husband to take me to Alsace (north east France) for the weekend to visit the exhibition where I was hoping to see this and similar examples. In the event this plate was not in the exhibition at all but was for sale in the museum shop. I thought Kerry would be particularly interested in this piece. I had never thought of combining a fabric element within a glass dish and I think the effect is quite spectacular. Unfortunately photography was not allowed in the exhibition but here are links to the websites of the creators of this piece:
the exhibition was about lace in various sculptural forms and the pieces were quite extraordinary, not what you think of as lace at all.
This exhibition was only a small part of what you could visit at the Parc de Wesserling which originally housed a fabric printing industry with all its attendant buildings – print shops, church, school, housing for the workers and the gardens, which particularly appealed to me.
A pair of old boots
and a coffee pot have been “recycled” to provide nesting boxes for the birds in the park.
During the month of August at weekends the gardens were illuminated at night and could be visited until 11pm. The theme this year was “les jardins metissés”, a loose translation of which would be “woven gardens”. Entrance to the first part of the park (the potager or vegetable garden) was through a gateway of cotton reels
Each bed in the potager had been designed using a piece of fabric to provide colour and pattern and it was fascinating to see how effective the planting was using this idea. Mannequins stood at the corners of some of the plots together with a planting plan so that you could see how effective the planting could be. I love the idea of designing a garden using your favourite piece of fabric to suggest colours and patterns.
this picture illustrates how crop/planting rotation can be used to provide the colour scheme and pattern
Until I read this notice I had no idea that tomato plants don’t like water on their leaves so the umbrellas are there to protect them whilst still allowing sunlight to get to them. French marigolds are planted around the base of the tomato plants to keep away the bugs
The contents of these preserving jars looked good enough to eat, filled as they were with pieces of vegetable and lots of flowers, but they may just have been filled to look good as they caught the sun
a piece of garden statuary
We had an excellent dinner in the côté des jardins restaurant which was housed in the original school building and overlooked most of the gardens. Afterwards we wandered around the gardens in the dark, not attempting the barefoot garden of the senses in the dark although we did walk through it with our shoes on.
A strange creature in stilts and wearing a costume that looked a root vegetable with lots of rootlets sprouting out of it was wandering round the garden.
In another area a girl was making dreamcatchers while telling the story of the spider which apparently had inspired the original dreamcatchers.
Other dreamcatchers hung in the trees
and strips of fabric had been woven into this hut made of twisted vines
The gardens were quite different at night from the daytime.
On Saturday we had breakfast in the auberge des cascades where we were stayed the night
and then returned to the Parc to see the rest of the gardens.
we couldn’t quite walk through the eyes of these needles which had been threaded with strings of lights
the spiral water garden – you were supposed to be able to use the hand pump to pump enough water to run from the top of the spiral to the bottom but there didn’t appear to be any water in the reservoir
The back of the main building had been covered in this huge fabric mural produced by local art students
these two pictures depict a loom
I was hoping to be able to see the exibition of watercolours by the artist Bruno Mathieu but it was closed
In another part of the complex was a shop selling garden decoration. This piece of stone collage/mosaic particularly caught my eye as it is composed of pieces of semi precious stone
and a real scare crow
We left the Parc late morning and drove along the route des cretes, stopping for lunch at the auberge de Schmargult, where we tasted a potato dish called “tofailles” which was delicious (and probably very fattening as there was so much butter in it!) and then on to Riquewihr, a famously picturesque town on the Alsace wine route. We spent about an hour there wandering round the narrow streets, admiring the geranium filled window boxes and an artist’s studio before heading home.