Friday, January 13, 2017

Quilts de Légende

Buckle your seat belts; we are about to embark on a virtual trip to France to see an astounding exhibition of quilts from France Patchwork, a 34-year-old, non-profit guild of 12,000 members. While at Quilt Festival in Houston in November 2016, we had the opportunity to speak with Catherine Bonte, the curator of the exhibit and president of France Patchwork. 

Catherine explained that every two years, the guild plans a special exhibit of quilts that are reproductions of antique quilts, made with reproduction fabrics. The quilts must be made from a picture in a book or a museum, without kits or patterns. All of the work is by hand; no machine stitching is permitted. The members' work is strictly judged for quality of stitches, including quilting. According to Catherine, the quilts included in the exhibit are "the best of the best of the best." 

The exhibit, sponsored by Bohin—which has a needle factory in Normandy, France—travels all over Europe. This was the first time the exhibit was displayed at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. What a thrill it was to study these quilts! We agreed: the workmanship in these quilts was absolutely exquisite. We hope you enjoy this exhibit as much as we did. Many thanks to Catherine Bonte for her permission to share the exhibit on our blog, and for taking the time to share their stories with us.

USS Constitution by Jocelyne Picot
Design Source: American Quilts by Robert Shaw

Steventon, by France Aubert
Design Source: Antique British quilt

Antique Basket Quilt, by Ghislaine Lucas
Design Source: Baskets

Miss Rosetta, by Dominique Husson
Design Source: Log Cabin

Wales, by Aline Joulin
Design Source: Hexagons
Envol Oiseaux, by Marie-José Charpy
Design Source: Wild Goose Chase

La Bertauderie, by Monique Hovette
Design Source: Log Cabin

In Memory of Ann Randoll, by Martine Lanux
Design Source: From a British quilt

Céphée, by Marie-Josèphe Véteau
Design Source: Stars

Champ de Tournesols, by Gabrielle Paquin
Design Source: Compass and Flower
Border detail
Center medallion detail

Chesapeake, by Aline Joulin
Design Source: Broken Dishes

Jardin à la Française, by Nathalie Ferri
Design Source: Mariner's Compass

Légende, by Simone Patouillard
Design Source: Lady of the Lake

Bouquet d'ananas, by Laurence and Eric Durth
Design Source: Union Square

Potomac, by Yvonne Calvez
Design Source: Billing coverlet from York, England circa 1793-1805

Somerset, by Marie-Françoise Grégoire
Design Source: British quilt from Victoria and Albert Museum, dated 1802
Center medallion detail

Illusion d'Optique, by Anne-Marie Sierra
Design Source: Butterflies

Pieced Sampler Quilt, by Maud Trocque
Design Source: Sampler by Salinda Rupp, circa 1870, from Pennsylvania
Jeu de Dames, by Anne-Marie Uguen
Design Source: Rail Fence

Potomac, by Annick Tauzin
Design Source: Grandmother's Flower Garden

Les Oiseaux Roses, by Anne-Marie Schmitt
Design Source: Inspired by a Suzani design

Amish, by Anne-Marie Uguen
Design Source: Railroad Crossing

Sunburst Avec Étoiles, by Louise Marie Stipon
Design Source: LeMoyne Star
Scaramouche, by Dominique Husson
Design Source: Bridal Chest Quilt

Ensemble, c'est Tout, by Isabelle Muzeau
Design Source: The Graveyard Quilt, made by Elizabeth Roseberry Mitchell, circa 1836, from Kentucky

We so enjoyed this exhibit that we returned numerous times to study and admire these quilts. The thousands of perfectly stitched pieces in each of these quilts represents countless hours of talented handwork. Indeed, these quilts do a stellar job of telling stories—or retelling them—from areas around the world. What a privilege is was to see these treasures in person. 

Are you as inspired as we are? 
Happy stitching!


  1. I have always wanted to see quilts from this group of remarkable women. Thanks so much for sharing these. I hope to see some of them in person some day!

  2. Thank you for showing these French Quilts! We are very proud of our wonderful traditional quilters! Most of them are very humble but Thanks to France Patchwork their works are widely shown.

    1. We were honored and thrilled to be able to view this fabulous exhibit, which traveled across the ocean. Such marvelous talent!!