Thursday, November 15, 2012

Carolyn's Travel: On The Grand Canal

We spent our 50th wedding anniversary in Venice with a twilight gondola ride through canals lined with old homes, each with their own dock post.  Our evening ride ended with a cruise along the Grand Canal.  I was intrigued with the elegant, black gondolas with their ferros, distinctive metal designs at the prow, the front of the gondola.  In the early morning it was a delight to see them lined up at the dock.  Their artistic ferro designs gleamed in the early morning light – each a piece of art.  In each gondola the gondolier’s hat, signifying ownership of the vessel, sat perched on the bench.  We learned from our gondolier that steering a gondola requires a license that takes many years to earn.  Gondoliers frequently come from families who pass down the skill from one generation to the next.  The oar and oarlock are the most important parts of the gondola and are often shaped to fit the hand of a particular gondolier.

My design was constructed on relief paper from my memory of our ride. The fabrics include recycled silk from a thrift shop, hand-dyed cotton, shot cottons and hand-dyed cheesecloth.  Parts of the design were accented with heat-set PrimaColor fabric pencils.  The colorful post on the lower left, seen all around Venice, was built by laying tiny strips of turquoise fabric onto white fabric and red strips onto white. The colorful, shadowy homes are highlighted with windows, some with closed shutters, and doors with beads for doorknobs. The back of the quilt is strip pieced into a design using shot cottons by Kaffe Fassett that complement the colors in the silk fabric.


  1. Carolyn, you are so creative in choosing a site for your 50th. Amazing.
    You did such a fine job explaining and drawing with fabric. The water and boat beckon me. I could have used your input on my 50th!

  2. The contrast, fabrics, subject matter and feeling of motion in this quilt make me smile and picture myself there. Ironically, if you squint your eyes you can see a smile represented by the gondola on a face with the man being the 'nose' and the doors being the 'eyes'. I hope that doesn't creep you out, I just thought it was cool. I especially like the fabrics you chose for the buildings.

  3. You have interpreted your significant and dream-come-true 50th anniversary trip in such a gorgeous manner! I had an inkling of this quilt before i ever laid eyes on it, thanks to the hints you had given me in Houston at Festival. But I was so trilled to SEE it and to read about the silks you incorporated, just after I, too, had visited a thrift store and purchased my own second-hand silk items to work into a future quilt. I love the way the colors of the buildings and the water shimmer and shine, and your gondola and gondolier are beautifully executed.

  4. What a great "moment" in time that you have captured from your 50th anniversary vacation in Venice. Your color choices and "feel" of the moving water are wonderful.
    Brilliant idea...acquiring silks from a thrift shop!

  5. This is gorgeous and so fun! I just love your fabric/color choices! Also love the touches of the fluffy blue fiber to add motion to the water.
    It cracked me up when Judy W. wrote about seeing a face in your quilt. I see faces in a lot of things so it was easy for me find it.
    Such a happy quilt!