Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Quilt, always...

A few days ago, I went to a quilt exhibition opening at the 5th arrondissement town hall, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy and France Louisiane. The work of several quilters (from Louisiana and France) was on display together with many portraits by the Alabama quilter Riché Richardson, including one of Barack Obama (take a look at the little Animoto I made with all the quilts). I thought this was the perfect day to post it as, unless you live under a rock, you know that today (Tuesday) it's the new US President's inauguration.


  1. Last day of Bush's administration. Let's hope he won't do anything silly! ;)
    Funny flag, kind of child's drawing...

    BTW, who's this woman?

  2. You find the coolest things to post and always so timely. How do you do it? Are you some sort of wizard?

  3. Well, it's still Monday here, but I canNOT wait for tomorrow. This is a super post for our big day here in the States. Thanks, Eric!

  4. LOL, Guille. We are all holding our breaths. I can never win when you compete for GF.

  5. Has anyone else been able to view the Animoto? I can't seem to view it.

  6. Yeah, way to go, Guille!
    Did this woman make this quilt? It's very cool, with the real tie & jacket, but our new president's eyes aren't that close together (I'm just saying).
    I can't see the animoto either, btw.

  7. Okay, silly question, it's Riché Richardson herself!

    Nice animoto, I didn't know this kind of art. The music is GREAT.
    I know where you took the Lafayette picture now!

    From Cali, It's just a question of will. Yes, you CAN! ;)

    One of my friend living in France (he's American) got back to the US just to see the inauguration.
    5 millions people are supposed to go to Washington (there are 500 000 inhabitants there!!). I think it will be madness.

  8. Yes Cali, I just viewed it and where Eric found the time to put it together boggles my mind. The quilts are amazing. You will even catch the bust of Gen. Layfayette if you don't blink.

    Thanks for honoring our inauguration day. I CAN'T WAIT.

  9. Alexa and From Cali, I had to wait for maybe 2 or 3 minutes to see it...

  10. Your post about an American quilt reminds me of a rather regrettable story about the traditional American art form of quilting.

    The Smithsonian Institution has had exhibitions of quilts for many years. Like many museums, it likes to sell reproductions of art in catalogues, but of course it takes a long time to sew an elaborate quilt, with many pieces and intricate patterns.

    So what did the Smithsonian do to boost its sales of quilts? It taught the Chinese how to make traditional American quilts, and it sells imported quilts in its catalogue. This has greatly damaged the prices that American women can obtain for true American quilts because the market has absorbed many quilts that look very similar, but are made in China. Many of the American quilters live in rural parts of the South and Appalachia, where they really need the income from quilting.

    Imagine, an agency of the U.S. government promoting off-shore outsourcing to the detriment of American artisans. It would be like the French government assisting in taking wine and champagne grape root stocks out of the country and then importing and selling bottles of wine and champagne with French labels, but with the words "imported" in very small print that no one notices.

  11. Guille: yes you CAN!!! That was a good one! I'll give it a few minutes. Thanks for letting us know.

  12. What design is on your quilted crown, Guille?

    Very apt, Eric.

    My mother was going into hospital tomorrow for a hip replacement. It was postponed today. From all the things she could have said, she told me "At least I'll be able to watch the inauguration."

    I'll let you into a secret: I'm a little bit fed up with the extensive coverage and the costs involved make me worry that it could have been better spent on the country's own people. Is that so wrong?

  13. By its own people I mean the ordinary people, not the big whigs who get to go to such things. Yes I know some ordinaries are going, but, well... you know.

  14. Sorry I don't want to be 'mood-kill' LOL I realise this is a great occasion of course. Forgive me; I just wrote my post about homelessness and lack of charity and it kind of killed my own mood in the process. Apologies! I too am looking forward to the coverage tomorrow, despite my comment above.

  15. Personally, I totally agree with you, Lynn. I think the $150 million dollars could be better spent, especially since 4 years ago, the a few Democrats asked President Bush to keep things low-key as times were hard and we were involved in a war. They must have fotgotten that memo.

    I am tired of all the non-stop coverage myself. It seems to me that people think he's going to come and save us all from whatever ails us. I hope he does a good job, but things are not going to be magically great just because Obama is president.

    That's my opinion.

  16. Thanks for the inaugural post Eric! Its still always a shock for me that you're ahead of us on the big events, but that makes it even better.

    Guille - After that story from David, I hope your wearing a made-in-America quilted crown! Shame on the Smithsonian - they certainly charge enough for those museum reproductions. But to you, Guille Brie: " Bien joue!!"

    PS - They're only expecting between 1 and 2 million (only!!) and they're not sure if cold will keep people from coming or staying. I just checked the weather. Can you imagine sitting on the ground or trying to stand for hours in 29F (-2 C) weather with a 15 mile an hour wind that makes it feel like 18F (-8C)? I can't!!! It may snow, too. I'm sure he'll appreciate everyone who shows up for him.

    Glad you're ok, PHX.

    Lynn - best to you and your mom - that's no fun. She seems like a pretty upbeat person. Wonder where you got your sense of humor from??!!

  17. Ooh, I just got the animoto to run for my Daily dose of Paris! Nice photos and I really like the one of the very bronzed Mr. Lafayette juxtaposed with the colors of the quilt behind him.

    I'm not that much into quilting and I really like these. Can you give us a plug on the music, Eric? I really like it as well and wonder who it is. I just realized - I don't know why its called a plug. Funny. Anyone know?

  18. Perhaps an American Baby Bear's quilt? What a little tiny thing - a bit naive and charming. I was a good girl and waited over 15 mins for the animoto to load but had no luck (I'm not usually so patient but I really wanted to see it and hear it!). I'm in Australia, though, so maybe it didn't like the extra travel ...

    Carrie, great question! Perhaps it comes from the idea that if you plug something, it will connect people to what you are plugging (like an electrical plug connects an appliance to the flow of electricity, rather than a sink plug)? No idea really, just throwing it out there :)

  19. Oui, tomorrow we'll be Baracking and Rolling! Ch,ch,cha..changes are around the corner. Cheers!

  20. wish us luck! We need it after 8 years of the dimwit who shall forever remain nameless, if not without considerable guilt

  21. Very à propos Eric!
    I like the way people are full of hope all over because of the new administration starting tomorrow. Even if it's a tough road, it's better to face it with optimism than anything else.

    Lynn send my regards to your mum, hope everything goes well.

  22. Jeff don't be heartbroken.

    Maybe you could change your trip to June. How about that?! I know that if you say the word and postpone it to June, everybody else here will just follow you!

  23. Merci Eric, for remembering our national party. There's a lot of excitement here. Though our country's mired in difficulty and we know we'll have to sacrifice, we hope our new president is the leader we've been looking for. He's going to need our support and he has mine.

    Costa Rica David, there's a tiny southern town where the women, many descended from slaves, sold their quilts to an honest broker and became better off. I read the story in the Smithsonian Magazine. Shame on the Smithsonian for selling those people out.

    ANNOUNCEMENT TO THE LOS ANGELES AREA PDP FAN POD! (Eric, you don't mind, do you?
    Jeff (yes, THAT Jeff, Minneapolis Jeff) is coming to LA in February. Save February 15th for an LA PDP get-together! Email me if you're coming and I'll keep you up-do-date. pb (at) petrea burchard (dot) com.

  24. Ken Mac: you said a mouthful.

    Whatever was spent on either of dimwits inaugurals was too much. We (as in the world) are still paying for it now and will for years to come.

    The historic nature of this inauguration warrants the non-stop coverage. I will be glued to the TV tomorrow to see history in the making. It sure took long enough.

    Coltrane: let's Barack and Roll!

  25. One of Obama's messages of inclusion has been to encourage people to stop name-calling and "us-and-theming". I certainly sometimes find myself going down that road and its good to be reminded that I can stop it.

  26. Thank you for putting together the video of the quilts. There are fascinating quilts that come out of the American south.
    Wish I could visit this exhibit.

  27. I have an alarm set on my phone to ensure I watch the oath of office at work tomorrow.

    UK Lynn: Let's be honest about expenditures on things--how much is spent on the Royal Family? Who is the wealthiest woman in the world? A big party now and then, while ridiculous in expense, is not uncommon for elections or other official government occasions.

    Monica promised she'd meet us in Los Angeles, right? Kidding. I've already booked my flights and my hotels in Italy. Alas, we'll need to rendezvous another year, Cher Monica.

  28. As a quiltmaker I really appreciate your making the little Animoto, Eric. It is always interesting to see what motivates others to make quilts. After seeing a small bio of Riché Richardson, it is doubly interesting. Another very good exhibit is the one of quilts from Gee's Bend, I think the town that Petrea is referring to.

    The incident regarding Smithsonian American quilt designs being made in China (David's reference) met with great outrage and was stopped very fast. However, there are still many quilts made there (for sale in France as well as in the US) for ridiculously low prices. I might add that the quality of the ones I've seen is not very good.

  29. Lupine Lady, thank you. Gee's Bend is the town I was thinking of, but I couldn't remember it. The quilts that came from those women were remarkable.

  30. Who could have thought that quilting could be so cool? What a super composite of photos Eric, but glad you chose this one to post today.

    Lynn, don't feel bad. I've been saying to myself for a long time, "Self, why don't you write a letter and tell them what you think. You know, out of the goodness of your heart." It would probably go something like this...

    Dear Mr. President-Elect,

    Firstly, congratulations on your election. I do wish you lots of success for the hell you're about to go through.

    Secondly, why not send a big message to the American people that you mean business and just cancel the whole Inauguration thing. You know, save money, have a picnic instead (you could still invite the media) and then invest the money into my pension fund.

    Good luck! You're going to need it!

    A Fan

  31. Oh, I understand what you mean you guys. I don't think you're wrong. But I have to say one thing: You know how when people have felt awful for a long time, they just need to celebrate? Let off steam? Feel good? We really, really, really need a party right now.

  32. Carrie, the music is noted at the end of the Animoto film on the lower left.

    Artist: Incendio
    Soundtrack: Duelo a la Muerte


    And Lynn, if you're anything like your mom, we know she's "hip" anyway. She just didn't want to miss the big day...

  33. I agree Petrea, but I'm also a bit nervous for this one. I just want to get past today.

  34. I just knew you would have something about OBAMA today, Eric, so I just had to go here,almost, first thing.
    I love the quilt, it's very well done, and there's no doubt that it's OBAMA.

    I think it's a day of joy, not only to America, but for the rest of us as well.
    I think OBAMA and he's administration will be able to do some changes that will affect the whole world for the better.
    And he has for sure a hard job waiting for him;cleaning up Bush's mess.

  35. Thanks Michael - totally missed that!

  36. Yea-a-a! Thanks a million, Eric, for posting the photos from the quilt show! The Animato is wonderful. For PDPers who are in Paris, the expo is still on at the Mairie in the 5th arrondissement, Place du Pantheon. Tomorrow is the last day.

    Guille, the woman in the photo is Riche Richardson, who made the Obama quilt. In addition to making a name as a quilter, she's also a professor at Cornell University.

  37. Elizabeth, you seem to know a lot about this. Are you a quilter yourself? Are there many in Paris?

  38. Carrie, Monica, Michael, thanks for the good wishes for my Mum. Yes she is a lovely person and very funny! She's now waiting for the next hospital date, still in pain, but glad to be watching Obama! She's even made her lunch in advance so she doesn't have to leave the tv.

    Like your letter, Michael. Send it! lol.

    Coltrane the Bowie ref wasn't lost on me. Saw him live about 4 times in the last 5 years. Still fab! Not my favourite ever, but what a voice.

    Jeff, I can't really compare the Queen to a president. The Queen doesn't involve herself in politics, she doesn't promise changes for the country, tell everyone how they are going to be better off because she's in power (and she isn't). Yes celebrations are good, but not when they use money which people sorely need and which is promised to reach such people. How can it reach them when a lot of it will be spent on those in power's own celebration of themselves? It's kind of "We're going to help people in poverty! Just look at this fab, sumptuous party we're throwing ourselves first! Yay!!! Be happy for us, poor people!"
    Like Michael, I think a smaller affair would have been appropriate in today's financial climes and would have been press covered in just the same way.

  39. That should read Poor People in caps. My grammar slipped, inviting a whole different meaning!

  40. I have Fox News on in the background, watching its coverage of the run-up. I am intrigued as to why the presenters (especially the blonde woman in the red coat) are shouting? Do they not realise they have microphones attached to their clothing?

  41. About time too, not just for America but the world.

  42. Quilt? I didn't know the word before. So, I've learnt something today! Thks!
    That's what we call in France patchwork, isn't it ?

    --'Something made up with miscellaneous elements'.

    No doubt that's well seen.

    Always ... a high and great cleverness, that's what we can wish.

    I like the photo with a new nice portrait (it is becoming more and more frequent, Eric, isn't it?) and a colored animoto animation.
    Always ... with us :)!

  43. You know what? I'm not worried about the cost of the inauguration. It doesn't matter who would have taken office today, a lot would have been spent on the day because regardless of who would have taken office today it's a big deal. Yes there is economic hardship, but that doesn't mean we can't put our best foot forward for special occassions. Had they gone low-key it would have said to the nation, to the world, that we have so little faith in the ability of our economy to recover that they just HAD to be frugal about the biggest day this side of the millennium and I think that would have been the same perceived message even if McCain was taking office today.

    Regardless this will only be an issue for a short time, then people will forget about it and move on to the next issue and Obama will still be president and we'll still have a lot to look forward to over the next few years. Don't worry about things today, celebrate progress and change!

  44. I agree, I'd have said the same whoever had got in! I think a less event would have said to the people we know how best to spend the money - back to the people. We'll have to agree to differ on this, Soosh' x lol I'm enjoying watching though!

  45. 35 words. And it's done.
    How many of you are crying guys?!!!! :)
    According to the Constitution he was actually already the President at 12, without saying these words...

    Only on the radio for me (I'm still at Uni)... I'll have to buy The International Herald Tribune tomorrow!

    Where is Robert Gates btw? Hidden in the mountains?! I love this story!

  46. I am smiling too much to cry. That will come when I have to leave in a few hours for work.

  47. Let America Be America Again
    by Langston Hughes

    Let America be America again.
    Let it be the dream it used to be.
    Let it be the pioneer on the plain
    Seeking a home where he himself is free.

    (America never was America to me.)

    Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
    Let it be that great strong land of love
    Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
    That any man be crushed by one above.

    (It never was America to me.)

    O, let my land be a land where Liberty
    Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
    But opportunity is real, and life is free,
    Equality is in the air we breathe.

    (There's never been equality for me,
    Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

    Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
    And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

    I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
    I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
    I am the red man driven from the land,
    I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
    And finding only the same old stupid plan
    Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

    I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
    Tangled in that ancient endless chain
    Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
    Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
    Of work the men! Of take the pay!
    Of owning everything for one's own greed!

    I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
    I am the worker sold to the machine.
    I am the Negro, servant to you all.
    I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
    Hungry yet today despite the dream.
    Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
    I am the man who never got ahead,
    The poorest worker bartered through the years.

    Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
    In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
    Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
    That even yet its mighty daring sings
    In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
    That's made America the land it has become.
    O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
    In search of what I meant to be my home--
    For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
    And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
    And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
    To build a "homeland of the free."

    The free?

    Who said the free? Not me?
    Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
    The millions shot down when we strike?
    The millions who have nothing for our pay?
    For all the dreams we've dreamed
    And all the songs we've sung
    And all the hopes we've held
    And all the flags we've hung,
    The millions who have nothing for our pay--
    Except the dream that's almost dead today.

    O, let America be America again--
    The land that never has been yet--
    And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
    The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
    Who made America,
    Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
    Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
    Must bring back our mighty dream again.

    Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
    The steel of freedom does not stain.
    From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
    We must take back our land again,

    O, yes,
    I say it plain,
    America never was America to me,
    And yet I swear this oath--
    America will be!

    Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
    The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
    We, the people, must redeem
    The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
    The mountains and the endless plain--
    All, all the stretch of these great green states--
    And make America again!

  48. An extremely eloquent and stirring inaugural speech, which doesn't surprise me. An event to remember, like walking on the moon.

    Thanks for your support, my friends from "over there".

  49. Rbt is holding the fort in case of some world crisis. He was the one designated to stay home!
    hOPE mUMMY BREeZES thru her operation, UKLynn. Try your witch cackle in case some errant intern makes a booboo.
    I read a great percentage of the funding for today's festivities was done by private donations.

  50. I, Too, Sing America
    by Langston Hughes

    I, too, sing America.

    I am the darker brother.
    They send me to eat in the kitchen
    When company comes,
    But I laugh,
    And eat well,
    And grow strong.

    I'll be at the table
    When company comes.
    Nobody'll dare
    Say to me,
    "Eat in the kitchen,"

    They'll see how beautiful I am
    And be ashamed--

    I, too, am America.

  51. Well back home after watching the inauguration from the office with another American, a South African, a French, a Tunisian, and a Bangladeshi. Pretty awesome I have to say!

  52. "I may not agree with you but I will defend unto death your right to say it." I can always agree to agree and agree to disagree! Besides, I can 100% see and understand your arguement. My last thought on the subject is this: Who amung us has been in a tough financial spot and still spent perhaps a bit too much on a special occassion (birthday, anniversary, much needed relaxing massage, something to mark the beginning of a new era in our lvies, etc)? Perhaps not the best justification, but we all deserve our special days!

  53. As an aside from the festivities, for those of you who might be interested in finding out more about patchwork in Paris, you might stop by Le Rouvray, a patchwork shop in the 5th. Their website has the same name.

  54. Thanks Phx! So kind.

    Snr. Senator Kennedy had a seizure at the lunch and another Senator became ill too. Both elderly gents, I suppose the long day was a bit much, would tire anyone.

    Looking forward to the parade; I believe Obama will walk some of the way? Michael we are still holding our breath.

  55. I'm actually happy to see how the Americans (at least the ones who comment on PDP!) feel great about being loved again by the world (well, a good part of the world...)

  56. Thank you for your kind words, Eric. We have to EARN being loved by all of you out there in this world. At least our Theocracy of Dunces has come to an end.

    Thank you for ALL your great photos.

  57. Which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

    "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."
    (Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting, Jonathan Swift)

  58. Lynn...you are perceptive and fortunate to have seen Major Tom.
    "I watch the ripples change their size
    But never leave the stream
    Of warm impermanence
    So the days float through my eyes
    But still the days seem the same
    And these children that you spit on
    As they try to change their worlds
    Are immune to your consultations
    They're quite aware of what they're goin' through
    Turn and face the strange
    Tine may change me
    But you can't trace time...."

    Straight ahead now...and no looking back.

  59. Merci for the poems, anonyme.

    It's a great day. I've been smiling and crying all day. Can't tear myself away from the TV.

  60. I have to put my opinion in here. It is great to have a party, great to celebrate and have fun, great to remember a historic occasion, but still the fact remains that I agree with Lynn. Surely this could have been reined in just a bit. I know that the inaugural committee raised some funds (about 41 million) but the whole cost is said to be around 150 million. Where is the other 109 MILLION dollars going to come from? Hopefully there will be those who will buy lots of souvenirs from the inaugural committee so they can raise the rest of the funds. :) (Spending is good for the economy, right?)

  61. Ditto, ditto and ditto Petrea! I just got away from the TV for the first time.

    I have to add that I was just terrified when Obama and his wife were out walking the parade route. I'm so glad that all went well. There probably won't be that many opportunities for that kind of public exposure in the future. I hope he stays safe.

    I was also thinking that four years from now we'll have many people alive who were injured and who know folks who died in moving towards today at the same time as there will be a generation of kids who won't be able to really grasp what the older group went through because all they'll conciously know is an African American President. No big deal for them! How quickly reality can change.

  62. My thoughts exactly Christie.

    Ahhh Coltrane I like that... :)

  63. "During the January 18 edition of MSNBC Live, host Tamron Hall stated that "the inauguration festivities" for President-elect Barack Obama are "estimated to reach as high as $150 million," adding that "[i]n 2004, to note, the inauguration of George W. Bush cost roughly $40 million." However, the $40 million figure that Hall cited for Bush's second inauguration reportedly does not include certain costs incurred by the federal government and the District of Columbia such as security and transportation costs; these costs are included in the $150 million estimate that the media are reporting for the Obama inauguration. When the costs incurred by the federal government and the District of Columbia are factored in, the total cost of Bush's 2005 inauguration was reportedly around $157 million, as Media Matters for America senior fellow Eric Boehlert noted."

    "Where is the other 109 MILLION dollars going to come from" probably the same place the billions will come from to pay for an unwarranted war.

  64. Enjoy your party day, tomorrow comes bright and early with a host of reality. May we all move forward together through it.

  65. Party day? More like 4 years. :D

  66. So apt. I have a beautiful Amish quilt I bought in America, and treasure. The Inauguration day was HUGE....we watched much of it on TV here in Sydney, but not the actual inauguration - it was on at 3:30am! One Sydney-sider celebrates Barack Obama’s inauguration by tinkling the ivories

    Personally I think the money spent is fine, because it gives the momentousness of it a focus, and it held so much meaning to so many people.

  67. I was reading before bed last night and there was a quotation in the book:

    "There be three gentle and goodlie things,
    To be here,
    To be together,
    And to think well of one another."

    I must say that this is very much how I see this forum. It is great to be here, great to be together, and even though we may not agree on some things, (or even many things), we can still be friends and think well of one another. And you are all in my thoughts today!

  68. Wow, quite a lot of excitement here!!! First of all, great quilt. Now, here are my 2 or 3 cents .

    Whoever said "I am tired of all the non-stop coverage myself. It seems to me that people think he's going to come and save us all from whatever ails us. I hope he does a good job, but things are not going to be magically great just because Obama is president. " I agree almost entirely with that.

    And I also had a reaction when I read in the paper that the cost of this inaugural party is going to be $170 million. Wow. I sure could use some of that myself at the moment!

    But you're forgetting something. Look at ALL the people who came to Washington from all over the States to see the event. And I don't mean just people like you and me, I meant all the dignitaries... even Ted Kennedy, as sick as he is, showed up. And look at the whole world watching.

    Look at this "party" as a business expenditure, not as a frivolous thing. It sends the world and the public a message: "We're the US, and we're one of the most powerful countries of the world, and we're going to come out of this, so believe in us, invest in us, do business with us."

    I think downgrading the party might have sent a negative message to the whole world, and to the public, and would probably have sent the stock market tumbling even more (remember we lost something like 300 points yesterday). We want the world (and by that I mean the business world, globally, to believe in the US, right. So we send the message that we are solid, here to stay, and we'll pull through.). That's one thing.

  69. Another reason it's very important to throw a party is that he really does represent hope for the African American population.

    Most people on the board, including myself, can only understand the concept intellectually. But there were older Black people crying yesterday (inauguration day), people old enough to remember life before the 60's. What more can I say.

  70. Since the invasion, occupation and nation-building in Iraq has cost the US of A well over $500 billion so far, the money spent on this inauguration doesn't seem so enormous.