Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Provencal fabrics

Here are the fabrics I bought in Arles.
Provencal fabrics
I bought about 2 meters of each except for the small prints on the right - the ones that coordinate with the stripes on the right. I bought 4 meters of those because I had in mind that I might make placements and napkins with them and so I needed two sides to the mats and napkins to match one of the sides. The four fabrics on the right strike me as essentially Provencal, with their patterns and rich colours.

I also bought all of the fabrics except the two on the left at one shop in Arles and they cost 9 Euros per meter. I bought the two on the left at the Saturday market in Arles for 6 and 7 Euros per meter and they seem a little less substantial than the slightly more expensive ones. Also, I bought them first, before I went to the one shop. I am pleased with them but I could have bought more, I am sure. I think I got a little less of the market fabric so I got about 19 meters in all.

To answer Heather's question from the previous comments, I carried them home in our back packs! We are allowed 12 kilos for one carry-on piece of luggage and when I left Canada, mine weighed 7 kilos and Peter's weighed 8. When we came back, they each weighed almost 10 kilos but we were still under the limit. Amazing what you can do when you find a laundromat and do two washes in two weeks. Of course, in most of the photos of me in France I am wearing the same yellow jacket! But you can't have everything. The weather was quite nice, even if it did rain a little here and there and it was warmer than it is at home right now. We went down to 3C last night and are only getting up to about 17C today, but in Provence, it was over 20C every day.
ceramic cigale
After I spent so much at the fabric store, I saw the woman who cut my fabric put a wrapped thing into the bag as a bonus or treat but I didn't think to look at it until I got home. It is a ceramic "cigale" or cicada, which has become a symbol of Provence. You see them everywhere and they are quite attractive, even if they are insects. The thing is, I can't figure out what function mine may have.
ceramic cigale
It is hollow and fairly large but it doesn't stand up on its end.
ceramic cigale
Underneath, there is another small hole as well as the large one where the "mouth" would be and it is unglazed on the "belly". So if anyone knows, let me know!

Other than place mats, I really haven't thought what I might make with all this fabric. Most of the things already made up were household items and not clothing. There were some very cute little girls' dresses made with this fabric but no clothes for grown-ups, except for the cowboy shirts. Apparently, the Gardians of the Camargue wear shirts made from these prints, although I didn't see any actually being worn while I was on a "safari" there. So I am planning to wash and dry it and hang it over the railing along with the red linen I got as a present, and try to think what shall I do with it all.


muralimanohar said...

A hanging vase?? A hook through the hole, and flowers in the top??

Lynne said...

A type of flute or whistle?

Anonymous said...

Blow on it. I think it's a whistle.

Mizzle said...


Our ceramic ceramic cigales come in two shades, and can lie flat or be wall mounted. When mounted an opening on the top allows the cigale to double as a wall vase.

muralimanohar said...

Ha..I feel so smart right now. :p

Lorna said...

Could be a cool napkin ring for a special guest?

Welcome back ... I've missed seeing you at work! Can't wait to hear about all the sights! Maybe we can have coffee one afternoon next week?

Chicago Sarah said...

I came back from France with fabric, from Spain with yarn, but then from Guatamala with so much fabric (I got really really carried away, it was cheap) that I failed the carry-on limit by x3. Luckily the guy waved me through anyway, but I was exhausted hauling it all over the airports. :) It's such a great souvenir!

Lory said...

I love the blue fabric (third from the right)

What are your plans for the fabrics?


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you made it home safe and sound! We are all anxious to hear your plans for all the beautiful fabric you bought! You look so lovely in all those pictures wearing your stylish clothing!!

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the decorating diva pam damour said...

Hi Julia,
I'm French Canadadian decent, and I believe you cicada is like my "pie bird". I have a ceramic bird which is designed to sit in the center if a pie when cooking, and the steam escapes through the small hole at the top, so you pie doen't bubble over in the oven.

alicia88 said...

The cigale could be nice filled with flowers. At home or as a present.

Melissa said...

I agree, the cigale is a little wall vase, which is kind of fitting, as cicadas hang out on walls, and Provence is all about flowers, yes? I'm so envious about your trip! Used your bias tape tutorial with a bunch of 16 yr olds this past weekend! Thanks again!