A major part of my recent trip to Europe was participation in a family reunion in Neuchatel, Switzerland. While there I had a discussion with Caroline Junier, a cousin (I think we have the same great-grandfather, if I have kept my family history straight), who until recently worked for the Neuchatel Museum of Art and History.
Naturally we discussed quilting and I showed Caroline some photos of my quilts. She explained that there is a very active quilting (they call it Patchwork in Europe) community in and around Neuchatel. In fact she believes it is the largest such community in Switzerland. In her capacity at the Museum, she was very involved in putting together a number of quilt exhibitions. She offered to provide me with the catalogs from three of the exhibitions, and delivered them to me at my hotel the next day.
I was very impressed with the quality of both the quilts and the catalogs, which are beautifully done. Funding support for the exhibitions and the catalogs (if I am translating the French correctly) was provided by Bernina (our sewing machine friends), Loterie Romande (I don’t know who they are but it sounds like a Lottery), and Migros (big grocery store chain in Switzerland).
I have shown the catalogs to several members of my quilt guild and they enjoyed seeing them very much. I wish I could show you photos here, but of course the images are copyrighted. I include some web links and names below where you can see some of the work.
The following is a translation of the introduction to the catalog by some of the organizers. I first used Google translate to get this from the original French to English, and did some fairly loose intrepretation so that it would make sense. My apologies to anyone I may offend by my errors in translation!
“After having organized three exhibitions of contemporary patchwork of national importance in 1986, 1989 and 1993, Neuchatel Museum of Art and History once again wishes to show Patchwork to a wider audience, as well as how the assembly of textile elements has evolved and has become a means of art expression in its own right in Switzerland and Europe.
Caroline Junier, curator of the department of applied art of the Museum of Art and History in Neuchatel, has organized this new exhibit, EXNA 4 in 2010. For her availability, expertise and usual dynamism, as in 1993, we are very grateful.
We are grateful to the jury who, thanks to their skills and knowledge in the contemporary art world, with impartiality selected fifty-two works from those presented in the contest.
We also thank the forty-one invited artists- among the best in Europe – who responded eagerly to our request and have enabled the exposition to present their works in the unique format selected: 35 by 35 cm.
by Maryline Collioud-Robert, Lucienne Hool, and Zibull Masson”
I have tried to find a good link to photos of the included quilts and failed to find more than a few photos. You can find them yourself by searching for “EXNA 4 Patchwork Contemporain Suisse & Europeen”. One of the organizers, Maryline Collioud-Robert, has a web site and blog. She had three quilts in the show and shows these and others of her quilts at her blog: http://www.marylinecollioudrobert.com/en/Home.html .
Other quilters with multiple quilts in the show and current web presence were : Beata Keller-Kerchner, Cecile Trentini, and Malou Zryd. You can find some images of their work by typing their names in to the usual search engines. Nearly all the work is very contemporary, usually abstract, and visually striking. There is a lot of use of texture in the exhibit, much more so than in the earlier 1986 and 1993 exhibits for which I also have catalogs.