Jeanne Hewell-Chambers

& her barefoot heart

Tag: 70273 around the world

The Quilts at Lacaze Speak Quietly

Andy – The Engineer – created this video minutes after the doors opened. The only sound was the exquisitely appropriate music Cecile Milhau chose for the occasion.  Watch it when you can shut the door on the world for about 2 minutes. Let them speak to you, let them sing you a lullaby. Feel it.

Lacaze, Here We Come

Sunday morning
25 juin 2017
8:30 a.m.

Katell picks us up at our hotel in Albi, France and off we go to Lacaze with Katell behind the wheel and Kristine navigating.

The air is cool

the sun is shining

and the scenery is exquisite.

About an hour later, we round the curve

and we are at Lacaze, greeted with our country’s flag


and a sign to let us and others who will come later
know we are at the right place.



There are tears
at this first hint of the hospitality to come.

~~~~~~~

I will be writing the only way I can right now: in blurts, snippets, and bits – we’ll call them postcards, why don’t we –  that won’t necessarily be presented in chronological order, but as they rise to the surface of my heart. Which means you’ll receive these postcards all out of order, just as if I put a stamp on them and sent them through the postal service. That is how I will tell you about the first major European exhibit in Lacaze, France.

Now if you’d like to know more about The 70273 Project and help commemorate these people who deserved to live, here are some links you might be interested in:
~ making blocks
~ registering quilts
~ making middlings

And if you’d like to read the other postcards from this magical trip, here’s a road map for you:
Under Two Flags

Paris, Day One

Paris Day Two

Toulouse

Paris Again

More Kindness in Paris

“I drive you from airport. It is not much. This is how I contribute to this projet magnifique.”

They speak to each other in rapid-fire French. I can’t even pick out an “une” or a “du” or a “oui” – Chantal Baquin and the landlord to the flat we rent in Paris – so I give up trying and just stand there smiling, nodding when they look at me, hoping that’s appropriate. Suddenly the landlord’s face registers something – what? Surprise? Shock? She rubs each arm with the hand on the other arm and continues looking at me. Her eyes fill with tears. Chantal tells us that she’s just told the landlord why we are in France – for the Lacaze exhibit of The 70273 Project – and the landlord says she gets goosebumps and is very grateful for what we are doing.

They resume talking, and this time the landlord says she is so moved, she is doing something she’s never, ever done before: she insists that she will pick us up at the airport in Orly when we fly back to Paris after the exhibit. We thank her, never thinking about how we will be on our own – no Chantal with us to read and speak for us – trying to find her. We are blissfully stupid about this.

On Monday, the day after the exhibit, we arrive at the airport in Orly a few minutes late, fetch our bags, and head to the 10-minute parking lot – something we know to do because the thoughtful landlord called Chantal the night before and gave her instructions, except she didn’t mention where we find this 10-minute parking lot, and of course we didn’t think to ask till this very minute. I count aloud to ten in French – the only way I know to remember the word for the number ten – then scan signs in search of the word. Not seeing it anywhere, I do the only thing I know to do: I stand in the middle of the sidewalk and turn around and around with my mouth open while my face registers worry. Sure enough, before I complete the second turn, a man stops to ask if he can help us. He’s speaking in French, but I’m sure that’s what he asked. Yes, I’m very sure.

“Dix,” I say to him and hold up 10 fingers because I don’t trust my French, being only 4% fluent according to Duo Lingo.

Through hand gestures, he indicates we must re-enter the airport, walk to the other end, exit the airport, and walk around to the left where we will (eventually) find the 10-minute parking. “Merci beaucoup,” I tell him, and when he smiles, I do a little hop, so excited I am that he understood me.

At least, that’s the way I chose to interpret his smile. It could be my accent. I’m told I  have one.

Though I feel no panic like I think I should, I have no idea what we will do if Madame Landlord has already come and gone – which surely she has because it’s been more than 10 minutes after we asked Chantal to tell her we would be there. We are outside again on the other side of the terminal. I see the word “dix”, and I’m not sure if I’m happier that my French was correct or that we are finally in the right place. I stay with the bags and send Andy to find a car . . . oh no. We have no idea what kind or color car Mme. Landlord drives. There’s nothing to do but move forward, so I stay with the suitcases and tell Andy to go look for the landlord’s face. He is about 20 steps away, when she pulls up to the curb, leaps from her car, and runs towards us. She is sorry she is late and made us wait. I assure her we just got there ourselves. At least that’s what I meant to say. What actually came out of my mouth could be something totally different.

She had water and cups bearing a mid-century plaid. So thoughtful. Such hospitality.

She has a big bottle of water for us in the car, with the cutest paper cups (bearing my favorite mid-century plaid) I’ve ever seen. I am so touched by her hospitality, I surreptitiously save the cup.

She opens the sunroof so we can see better, and I have to tell you it is the most fabulous sunroof I’ve ever seen.

The Paris sky isn’t bad either.

She tells us of things we are passing, giving us a personalized tour. When she gets to The Bee Hotel, she is concerned that we didn’t understand about the bees that were raised on a floor of the hotel, so what does she do? She dials Chantal to ask for the words in English. Yes, she’s that thoughtful.

pairs of X’s everywhere

We get back to the flat, and Madame Landlord insists on helping us get our luggage into the flat. Once that’s done, we thank her again, to which she puts her hand up and tells us through tears, that she is quite moved by The 70273 Project, and picking us up at the airport will be her small contribution to this projet magnifique.

~~~~~~~

Because:
~ we had only one night between arriving home from France and flying to Florida to visit Nancy,
~ we had no internet in Florida,
~ we got home from Florida and left to come to Georgia where we have been working long hours every day,
~ I am still overwhelmed with thoughts, memories, and emotions from the trip to France,
~ there is so much to tell,
~ I am still processing it all
~ and receiving photos,
I will be writing the only way I can right now: in blurts, snippets, and bits – we’ll call them postcards, why don’t we –  that won’t be presented in chronological order, but as they rise to the surface of my heart. Which means you’ll receive these postcards all out of order, just as if I put a stamp on them and sent them through the postal service. That is how I will tell you about the first major European exhibit in Lacaze, France.

Now if you’d like to know more about The 70273 Project and help commemorate these people who deserved to live, here are some links you might be interested in:
~ making blocks
~ registering quilts
~ making middlings

Day Three in France: Toulouse

23 June 2017
Friday

You know when you are greeted with . . .

Tari Vickery and Katell Renon


a carousel

a statue listening intently to a bird,

and a dog so tired from playing that he went to sleep with the ball in his mouth.
(That, or the area is known for its dog-on-dog crime.)
it’s gonna be a day filled with fun and love.
And it is.
It really, really is.

Perhaps it’s because we’re two sleeps away
from The 70273 Project Exhibit at Lacaze, France,
that I spy pairs of X’s throughout Toulouse.

 

(I’ve fallen head over heels in love with Toulouse blue!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glass panels

at the Orly airport

and light through my upside down glass
that made me think of Nancy’s drawings.

There is a sewing shop

the courthouse where Katell and Patrick were wed,

bicycles that made me smile

shades of blue that come with history and story
(I don’t know why the photo is wonky.
Just turn your head or your computer screen
cause I’ve wrestled with it long enough.
I need to go to bed!)

 

and real windows and painted windows on the same home
that make me think how some people behave.

And hearts. Oh my goodness, there are hearts everywhere in Toulouse.

on the sidewalk

and  in patches of moss.

There are hearts that, if you look at them one way,
might resemble roosters

There are teapot hearts that short and stout,
with feet and handles of love
and spew love out into the world through their spout.

And as we head to the parking lot, I spy this tote bag.

Then we close out the day
at the beautiful, comfortable, welcoming home
of Katell and Patrick Renon.
I am one lucky, grateful woman.
Oh yes, yes I am.

I’m also a woman who’s a day behind with posts
because the days are full here
and when night comes, I fall asleep before I hit the bed.
There will be more photos of Paris and Toulouse on
Instagram if you’re interested,
and I promise to do my best to catch up tomorrow,
even though tomorrow is a Very Big Day, you know.

Day Two in France: Paris

Day Two is a day of stories, friendship, quilts, and pairs of X’s . . .

This morning, dear Chantal showed up at our rented flat with the first Friendship Block for The 70273 Project. What is a friendship block, you ask? Well, it’s something I’d planned to wait to tell you about till July 1, but looks like I need to go ahead and tell you now since I’ve got and spilled the beans early.

We’re borrowing a page from the history books and creating Friendship Quilts to raise funds for The 70273 Project. You take a red marker and write your name, using your first name as one of the lines in the red X and your last name as the second line that crosses the first line in the red X. For the other red X, you can write the name of the person you dedicate your block to – maybe an ancestor, a friend, a family member, a student – or maybe you do like Chantal did and make a collaborative friendship block. Ask a friend or loved one or even me to use their name to make the second red X. Then you send the block with a financial donation that will be much appreciated and well used, I promise. If you live in the US, you will also receive a receipt for your income tax report. So that, my friends, is what a Friendship Block is. Friendship blocks will be used only in Friendship quilts, too, by the way, and they will be counted as commemorative blocks.

Our first stop was heaven. Or, as some of you might call it, a fabric shop. But not just any fabric shop. This is the fabric store little girl Chantal visited with her mother, and every time they went, young Chantal secretly wished that this would be the day her mother bought fabric to make a dress just for Chantal instead of another hand-me-down dress she would get when her sister outgrew it.

When I heard that, I knew what I wanted – nay, I knew what I just had to do: buy the fabric for Calder Ray’s sleeping quilt. And I did. Found some beautiful soft fabric in the blue that he loves. And what’s in Chantal’s bag, you might ask? Well, she bought herself some lovely fabric . . . to make herself a dress.

I love everything about this shop . . . the quilted floors,

The doll-size mannequins wearing the most smashing outfits. Chantal says she remembers them being here when she was a little girl coming with a special wish.

Though we took our time looking around, it was eventually time to leave, and let me tell youThe Engineer was sad to leave, too . . . because the store was air conditioned.

We visited the Chapelle du Saint-Sacrement, where Chantal was gracious enough to find shady inclines instead of full sun steps.

There are quilts everywhere in that church . . . at the door, I spy borders.

On the floor, I spy quilts..

On the altar, I spy a quilt.

On the floor, I spy a colorful quilt of stained glass reflections appliquéd onto the floor “blocks”.

In the ancient stained glass, I see a 9-block with much color and intrigue surrounding it.

I fall head-over-heels in love with these modern quilts . . . I mean windows . . . and Chantal and I take a seat in front of them and talk about not just the windows, but Nancy and The 70273 Project and quilting techniques.

In the ceiling, I find two X’s, and I imagine they are red.

And on our exit, I get another view of Paris.

On the nearby multi-function place, I see more X’s that, if you squint your eyes just right, can be red.

In the area where artist have long set up stalls, I spy a blue, white, and red 9-patch.

We enjoy a French pancake breakfast for a late lunch. It was delicious, and there was a heart in my sweet pancake. A heart. That’s what this trip has been filled with.

I wish y’all would look at the bottom of the chairs, something I didn’t see till just now . . . two more X’s.

it was cooler today, in part because of the spectacular clouds, in part because of the constant breeze, and in part because Chantal went out of her way to find shade for us to walk in. And it was another lovely day spent with the darling Chantal who gives us time from her busy schedule. I am so very grateful for that and for all she does to commemorate the 70,273.

Three more sleeps till the first major European exhibit for The 70273 Project. How will I manage to sleep with all the anticipation and excitement? Pfffft. I can sleep on the flight home.

It’s Wednesday So It Must Be Paris!

A pictorial diary of our first day in Paris . . .

The Engineer and The Artist, on the plane!

finally what i dream about: hours and hours of uninterrupted stitching time!

i love this view of Earth

and this one

Though it began in a very stressful adventurous manner, we arrive in Paris on time and even better, so did our luggage!

a heart on the bathroom floor in the Paris airport portends how this trip will unfold and long be remembered

Dear Chantal Baquin meets us at the airport and will spend our time in Paris with us. We are so very lucky to have her!

Chantal’s friend Peter came to drive us from the airport, giving us a tour of the city of Paris on our way. We are lucky to have him, too! Our trip starts with much friendship.

love the chairs in the Paris airport

After leaving the airport, we see . . .

traffic!

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe detail

The Eiffel Tower from afar

The Eiffel Tower up close (It’s much bigger up close!)

The obelisk Napoleon brought from Egypt as a souvenir

A fetching tile mural

Moulin Rouge

The Louvre

The Louvre, old and new

a wall that on the left makes me think of a quilt

Notre Dame

a garden (with an available bench!) near Notre Dame where we rested and watched wedding photos being taken

statues

the siene river

 

It is HOT here in Paris. I glisten all day long. Scroll back up to see my hair at the beginning of the day, now see what it looks like at the end of the day. This, my friends, is the mark of a full and well-enjoyed day!

Blocks and a Story from Annie H

Blocks made by Annie H. who lives in France

Annie H.’s beautiful story in French, then English . . . 

J’ai exercé le métier de préparatrice en pharmacie jusqu’à 55 ans, puis je me suis occupée d’une tante âgée de 93 ans atteinte de la maladie d’Alzheimer, jusqu’à ses 98 ans. Je suis mariée et mère de 3 garçons, grand-mère de 2 petits-enfants. Je suis maintenant à la retraite et j’en profite pour faire toutes ses occupations que je n’avais pas vraiment le temps de pratiquer avant.

Mon hobby de prédilection est le point de croix que je pratique depuis de nombreuses années, mais j’aime aussi beaucoup le crochet, le tricot, la couture, les miniatures au 12ème et… le patchwork. C’est en inscrivant sur le blog de Katell: La Ruche des Quilteuses, que j’ai découvert Le Projet 70273.

J’ai été sensibilisée par ce drame, mais surtout en lisant tous ces témoignages de personnes qui ont des souvenirs personnels de cette époque. Et aussi par toutes celles qui ont dans leurs proches quelqu’un de plus ou moins handicapé, qui aurait été sans aucun doute des victimes de ces monstres.Moi-même, j’ai eu un fort strabisme jusqu’à ce que l’on m’opère à 12 ans, je pense que j’aurais pu avoir droit à mes 2 croix.

Ces blocs représentent pour moi un geste affectueux envers les victimes, et en même temps, la colère à travers les croix rouges pour les “médecins” nazis qui les ont tracées. Ces bourreaux ont les mains ensanglantées, c’est pourquoi l’un de mes blocs comporte une croix faite d’empreintes et l’autre de vernis à ongle rouge symbolisant le sang de la victime. Mes premiers blocs ont laissé place à l’émotion plus qu’au rendement. Les suivants seront plus simples et rapides à faire, pour faire “du nombre”, parce que bien que la mobilisation s’intensifie, il y a encore BEAUCOUP BEAUCOUP à faire pour arriver aux 1100 quilts.

Je suis fière de participer à ce projet, et j’espère qu’à son terme, il fera réfléchir les jeunes générations à ce qu’une minorité d’extrémistes peuvent accomplir en horreurs au nom d’un certain idéal. Ce projet prendra du temps, mais il ne faudra jamais l’abandonner! l’union fait la force, ne l’oublions pas.

Blocks by Annie H., France

And now, in English (with a little help from Google Translate, just so you know) . . . 

I worked as a pharmacy preparer until age 55, and then I took care of a 93-year-old aunt with Alzheimer’s disease, until she was 98 years old. I am married and mother of 3 boys, grandmother of 2 grandchildren. I am now retired and I take the opportunity to do all his work that I did not really have time to practice before.

My favorite hobby is the cross stitch that I have been practicing for many years, but I also love crochet, knitting, sewing, miniatures on the 12th and … patchwork. It is by writing on the blog of Katell: La Ruche des Quilteuses, that I discovered Project 70273.

I was sensitized by this drama, but especially by reading all these testimonies of people who have personal memories of that time. And also by all those who have in their relatives someone more or less handicapped, who would undoubtedly have been the victims of these monsters. Myself, I had a strong strabismus until I was operated at 12 years, I think I could have been entitled to my two crosses.

These blocks represent for me an affectionate gesture towards the victims, and at the same time, anger through the red crosses for the Nazi “doctors” who have traced them. These executioners have their hands bloodied, that’s why one of my blocks has a cross made of prints and the other of red nail varnish symbolizing the blood of the victim. My first blocks have given way to emotion rather than to performance. The next ones will be simpler and quicker to do, to make “of the number”, because although the mobilization intensifies, there is still MUCH MUCH to make to arrive at the 1100 quilts.

I am proud to participate in this project, and I hope that in the end it will make the younger generations reflect on what a minority of extremists can accomplish in horror in the name of a certain ideal. This project will take time, but it should never be abandoned! Union is strength, let us not forget it.

~~~

Thank you, Annie. Your words are every bit as beautiful as your blocks. And you’re right: There is much, much more to do before we’ve commemorated every one of the 70,273 disabled people who were murdered, and we won’t stop stitching until every one of them has been remembered in stitch.

Perhaps you’d like to make blocks, dear readers? Maybe you’d like to request a bundle of blocks for you to piece and quilt? Or maybe you’d like to make your own complete quilt using blocks made by you, your family, your friends. And hey, if you’d like to do something a little different, if you’d like to flex your creative commemorative wings, you can make Middlings or Long Skinnies. (Other ways to make quilts are coming soon, so stay tuned for that.)

A Letter from Christine Fitzgerald: Learning from Children

Coxhoe Quilters’ stall for The 70273 Project at Durham Cathedral. Photo by Chrissy Fitzgerald

Dear Jeanne,

As you know, Coxhoe quilt group worked with schoolchildren on Friday 27th January, Holocaust Memorial day, as part of a series of workshops. Three sessions later in the morning and we had a huge pile of blocks made. I must admit I was a little apprehensive about how it would go, and wondered if it was too big an ask to invite the pupils to sew blocks, rather than simply draw with fabric pens, which would have been quicker and easier.

Photo by Chrissy Fitzgerald

How wrong I was. The pupils listened to the excellent talk given by the museum’s fantastic, helpful education team and then when invited to start sewing, simply picked up the materials without hesitation and got stuck in willingly. Seeing the look of concentration on their faces – it was obvious that most of them were unfamiliar with basic techniques – brought a huge lump to my throat,and as another member of our quilt group mentioned, “goosebumps”. The stitches were huge, knots and the technique of threading needles were struggled with, and those who stitched with the squares in their laps were in imminent danger of stitching their clothing along with the blocks.

The material puckered, and I mentioned afterwards to the group that we could “straighten it out”. No, the answer came – leave it as it is: it is their work and we can work the feature into the quilting and piecing afterwards. How right they were; short of securing anything about to fall off, the quality of the work has a beauty to it beyond the finest workmanship.

It was a lesson to me in a number of ways: setting out to help teach on the day, I ended up learning more than I taught from these children. The way they willingly assisted, even though it was clearly out of their comfort zone: the persistance and diligence as they sended the scale and importance of what they were doing: and the value of standing back – except when asked to assist – and allowing the pupils to explore and create without “jumping in” the whole time and correcting. The unique visual impact that was the result of their creations, and is waiting to come together as quilts, is something the group is very excited and honoured to participate in.

The effort put in by everyone on the day to make this a success was overwhelming, and I feel honoured to be working with so many good, lovely, generous people.

As I contemplated the day’s victory over my control freak tendancies, I had a random memory from childhood: running up to my (Irish) mother and auntie, with two knitting needles stuck into what I now realise was just a huge tangle of wool. “LOOK!” I bellowed, “I’m KNITTING!”. My mother and auntie paused in their gossiping session and calmly regarded my, um, attempts. Auntie Pauline switched on her trademark full-beam twinkly smile and delivered her verdict.

Good girl yerself, she said.

I hope to make blocks with many other people this year, and will be taking a hint from that memory; the blocks will be their own creations, and I will help, but will be embracing the full spectrum of the beauty of creative work from all, and simply enjoying the moment.

With very best wishes from the UK,

 Chrissy

~~~~~~~

Dear Chrissy,

The best teachers learn from their students. Thank you for sharing this day with us and for all you and the other Coxhoe Quilters are doing there. May we all be willing to let our child self come out to play more often.

Thank you,

Jeanne

~~~~~~~

Children of all ages are cordially invited to help commemorate these 70,273 souls by  making blocks and participating in The 70273 Project.

Une Lettre de Mon Amie, Katell Renon . . .

Dear Jeanne,

Day and night you care about the wonderful Project 70273 and I am very proud to have joined Chloe, Cecile, Marie-Christine and all the other faithful friends around us in France and beyond!

I am Katell Renon, living near Toulouse, my pseudo is Quilteuse Forever. Everything is said, but just in case of questions about my surname, it is the Celtic form of Catherine in Brittany. Same origin as Kate, Kaitleen and so on.

To be helpful for Chloe, I gather the blocks coming from a part of my region, Occitanie (South-West France). Instead of sending all the blocks to Jeanne, we decided to make quilts with them. Thanks to Cécile Milhau, we will dispay them in a nice exhibition at the Temple of a small village, Lacaze. It will take place on June, 24 & 25 2017.

70273lacaze

Lacaze is a quiet, beautiful village lost in a large forest. The Château Renaissance hosts many art exhibitions, along with the Temple.

This is our first official counting. I am proud to tell you, Jeanne, that you can add 421 blocks to your account! 

Here are the kind persons from Occitanie who made them:

Evelyne Carrasco
Maïté Findeling
Brigitte Janin
Paulette Lacroix
Guillemette Marraud
Arlette Matas
Cécile Milhau
Dany Monnier
Angèle Peltot-Leccia
Katell Renon
Christiane Richard
Kristine Toufflet
Martine Toutain
Andrée Traversaz
Anne Vignals
+ 3 anonymous.

Thank you so much to each Maker!

So far, from all these blocks 2 quilts have been made, each one by one single quilter:

Quilt #23 is made by Maïté Findeling

Quilt #23 is made by Maïté Findeling

Quilt #24 is from Cécile Milhau

Quilt #24 is from Cécile Milhau

One top is to be added, made by The Bees from La Ruche des Quilteuses:

Made by The Bees from La Ruche des Quilteuses: Andrée, Evelyne, Brigitte, Maïté, Kristine and Katell

Quilt #25 made by The Bees from La Ruche des Quilteuses: Andrée, Evelyne, Brigitte, Maïté, Kristine and Katell

A club from Gers kindly sent us a parcel with as much as 60 blocks, thank you all!

Made by members of a quilting club in Gers, France

Made by members of a quilting club in Gers, France

Thank you so much Jeanne for this incredible Project, as much for the memory of the dear souls as for the education of people of today.

With my respect and admiration,
Katell, Quilteuse Forever

~~~~~~~

I thank you, Katell for penning this beautiful post to let everyone know about the enthusiastic commitment  block makers and quilters in France brings to The 70273 Project. Thank you to all those who have made blocks and who will make blocks in the future. And last and definitely not least, thank you to Chloe, Cecile D., Cecile M., Marie-Christine, Chantal, Kristine, and so many others who reach across cultures and languages to stand shoulder-to-shoulder to commemorate the 70273 souls. It was a lucky day when our paths crossed, and I look forward to calling you “Sugar” to your face next June!

The block count has been amended to reflect an additional 421 blocks added by the good people of France, bringing our official block count to . . . 6104!

~~~~~~~

There’s a French Facebook group, if you’re interested, sitting right beside the English-speaking facebook group. You can also subscribe to the blog to stay abreast of what’s happening in The 70273 Project, and don’t worry if you don’t read English . . . there’s a translator button in the sidebar.

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