Thursday, September 21, 2017

The European Patchwork Meeting: Antique Quilts and Mary Koval

One of the four picturesque towns that takes
 part in the European Patchwork Meeting.
As I have discovered, living in Germany has quite a few benefits—besides the excellent beer, bread, and bratwurst. One such benefit was only living two hours away from the European Patchwork Meeting, in Val d'Argent, France. This quilt festival began 23 years ago as an homage to the Amish movement that began in the Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines, and with that movement, the heritage of Amish quilting. The festival is dedicated to all forms of textile art—antique, contemporary, or traditional. What is unique about this quilt exhibit is that buildings in four small towns are transformed into galleries to display more than 1200 textile works.

Beautiful scenery everywhere we looked.

When I found out about this quilt show, I put out the call to a few friends to see if they would be willing to share the cost of an Airbnb and spend a few days in France. Plans were made, lodging found, and off we went! Thankfully, we planned to stay for three days, and it was a good thing because there was so much more to see than I could have imagined.

Upon entering the first venue to receive our wristbands and programs, I was delighted to see that Mary Koval would have an exhibit. Last winter, Mary was going to speak at the Baltimore Appliqué Society; however, snowy weather postponed her lecture and trunk show. I was very disappointed that I wouldn't be able to see her, as I would soon be moving out of the country and wouldn't be around for the re-scheduled date. What a wonderful surprise to not only see some of Mary's collection, but to also spend a little time chatting with her. It was also slightly surreal to have this happen in France! 

Mary Koval with a few of her quilts

Piece by Piece, Our Life with Quilts was the title of the exhibit and is also the title of her new book available this November from Quiltmania. Seeing these quilts up close in such a wonderful venue was a special treat, and without further ado, I will share them with you!

The quilts were displayed in an elegant theater.

Maryland Album Quilt
Grisfield, Maryland 1850

Detail: Maryland Album Quilt

Detail: Maryland Album Quilt

Triangle Pieced Quilt
Berks County, Pennsylvania 1870

Detail: Triangle Pieced Quilt

Center Medallion Floral Appliquéd Kaleidoscope Quilt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania 1870

Detail: Center Medallion Floral Appliquéd Kaleidoscope Quilt

Mary Jane Carr Quilt
Columbia, Pennsylvania 1840

What an absolutely charming quilt and hands down my favorite! 

What a beautiful fussy-cut rose


Pickle Dish Quilt
Columbus, Ohio 1920

Fleur de Lis Quilt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

Never thought I would see a dog at a quilt show!

Album Quilt
Pennsylvania 1910

Eagle Folk Art Quilt
Berks County, Pennsylvania

A beautiful crazy quilt.

After viewing the exhibit, I went over to Mary's booth to say hello and tell her how grateful I was to have been able to see the collection, after missing the opportunity last winter. We got to chatting about some of the quilts, especially the crazy quilt, and she showed me some crazy quilt pieces that came with one of the quilts she had bought. What a bonus!

I really had to keep pinching myself throughout the day, checking to see if it was real—looking at antique quilts in France and chatting with Mary Koval. It was a day to remember, for sure, and that was just the first building! 

With 21 buildings of exhibits and vendors, there is just too much to share with you in one post. Tomorrow I will share the new Quilts de Légende exhibit, the amazing Ian Berry and his jean art, and many more examples of the wide variety of textile art displayed at the 23rd European Patchwork Meeting.


  1. Squeal! I have always wanted to meet Mary! Her quilts are stunning. I cannot wait to get her new book. Thanks for sharing.