Greetings! Barbara Robson, a quilter from Mahone Bay, Canada who reads my blog saw that Al and I would be visiting Cape Breton and wrote to me recommending that we consider going to see Anne Morrell Robinson while there. We took her up on it and I’m so glad we did!! Anne is a well known quilt maker who creates all her own original designs and does a lot of her work by hand – a kindred spirit, for sure!! She has made and sold hundreds of her quilts over the years. She is known for making fabulous medallion style quilts. Most people who go to Cape Breton stay on the famous Cabot Trail, but Anne’s place is quite isolated in a lovely valley in the center of the Cape. The last 12 kilometers to her place was a gravel road! Luckily we had beautiful weather to make the trek. Here is her studio (the section of her home on your right) and home (click on pics to enlarge):
Here we are in her studio where she proceeded to show me many of her quilts in a “bed-turning” style:
Anne graciously allowed me to photograph several of her quilts to share with you. Enjoy!!!
This is her award winning alphabet quilt about quilters – she wrote the verses that go with each illustration herself:
Here’s what’s on her design wall – I love her use of the phases of the moon!
And behind that design wall are shelves full of fabric! Anne hand quilts on a large floor frame – I don’t think there are too many quilters left doing this!!! Please go to Anne’s web site – http://www.kingrossquilts.com where she has some wonderful pictures of her studio (they show her quilting frame and the overall beauty of the space) and better pictures of some of her quilts than I was able to take. The visit to Anne’s studio was one of the highlights of the trip!!! Thanks again, Anne! I’m inspired to strongly consider making another medallion style quilt now!
After visiting the studio we still had time to see the western portion of the Cabot Trail. We drove the entire trail on a visit in 2012 but it was a cool, mostly cloudy, and sometimes rainy day so it was wonderful to see the views this time on a beautiful day. The coast reminded me a lot of Big Sur in California:
One of our overnights on Cape Breton was in Baddeck. The harbor:
That night we went to a “ceilidh”, which is the celtic word for “gathering”. Cape Breton is known for its music and almost every night in many places on Cape Breton there are musical gatherings featuring Celtic (Scottish, Irish, Gaelic, etc.) music. The musicians are always terrific – so much fun! There’s often dancing too, esp. step dancing.
Our next to the last stop on the trip was Mahone Bay, a loverly small town and a great place to visit, in and of itself, but we chose it mostly to spend time with our friends, Paul and Lee. We had a truly wonderful time seeing them and their family. The town is known for its picturesque 3 churches which are located side by side on the same street , facing the harbor, as you enter the town. Lee happens to be the pastor of one of those churches and she invited Al to play the piano at her Sunday service!
Here are Al and I in the garden behind our inn, ready to go to church!
The reason I tell you about the inn is because of an unexpected quilting connection!!! One morning I sat in the parlor at the inn and found and read a copy of quilter Laurie Swim’s book on the infamous collision and explosion of 2 boats on the harbor at Halifax in 1917 which destroyed quite a bit of the city. Her book is ostensibly for young people, is illustrated by her with some quilt art (Laurie is a well known art quilter who has a shop in nearby Lunenberg – unfortunately we were not able to make a visit to it). It’s called “Hope and Survival: A Story of the Halifax Explosion” and it is a fabulous story!!!! I loved it and am going to buy a copy of the book for my granddaughter for Christmas. I highly recommend it for everyone!
As I finished reading the book, the inn keeper came out and I commented on how much I liked the book and told her that I’m a quilter. She told me she’s a good friend of Valerie Hearder – well known for her landscape quilts! I have one of Valerie’s books! Then she brought out this art exhibit brochure from Judith Martin’s recent exhibit in Halifax:
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I am a huge fan of Judith Martin and I relish reading her blog regularly because she has a wonderful way with using words to talk about art and hand work and time. I knew that she was having a major exhibit in Halifax in August and I was very sorry I was going to miss it because it didn’t coincide with the timing of our trip. Turns out Judith, who lives far away in northern Ontario, stayed at the 3 Thistles Inn when she came to see her exhibit!!!!! The inn keeper also told me that when she received the email from Judith asking for a reservation she was on Manitoulin Island in northern Ontario – Judith’s home – for the first time in her life. What a coincidence!!! In my talk at the opening of my NEQM exhibit in January, I quoted Judith Martin on the “psychic power” of cloth. It just tickles me to think we both stayed at the same inn in Mahone Bay!
I’m closing this post with a quote from Judith that is in the little brochure pictured above:
“I use the aesthetics of simplicity, time, labour, and repetition in combination with the sense of touch. My inner cloud of immensity and the rush of everyday life both become stitched into the fabrics in my lap over lengthy periods of time.”
Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day, Gladi