Heidelberg exhibit to showcase American military spouse's artistry with quilts
What do you do if you’re an artist married to a soldier who takes you to Germany for a decade?
If you’re overachiever Kristin LaFlamme, graphic artist, mother and maintainer of two Web sites, you start making quilts, which evolve from traditional patterns to more abstract, complex art forms.
You teach at the base arts and crafts center, which happens to be known for its fine fabrics.
You meet another American who decides to open an art gallery. And soon, you have your first art exhibition.
“I said, ‘You’re an artist, I’m a curator. We should have a show,’” said Kate Emery, an owner of the gallery and shop called the Bourgeois Pig, a former butcher shop located on a narrow street in Heidelberg’s old town and the site of LaFlamme’s opening.
“Impressions of Germany,” LaFlamme’s marriage of a very American art form with the glories of the local German landscape, begins at 2 p.m. Saturday at the gallery, at Ingrimstrasse 7. “Maybe we’ll have 50 to 100 people, and I’m hoping for more than that,” said Emery.
A dozen of LaFlamme’s art quilts will be hanging on the walls, available for purchase with prices ranging from $600 to $3,000. Each of the quilts, whether postcard-size or one that would fit atop a bed, tells a story, said LaFlamme, 40. “To me, the purpose of art is to tell a story, and a story’s no good if you don’t have someone to listen to it or to look at it,” she said. “Each one does tell a story — not necessarily a narrative, but a point in time, a response to something I’d seen, an emotion, an experience … as I’m driving around, the things I notice.”
Among the larger quilts is a patchwork depicting a German village — crafted from cloth shopping bags. On the other side is a map of the U.S., along the lines of Route 66. Another, much smaller, piece is a sort of trippy, textile version of Heidelberg’s old bridge. “I lay over the fabrics like wet paint,” she said.
LaFlamme still teaches classes at the arts and crafts center, where most of her students are women.
“It’s a very feminine thing. That’s one of the things that draws me to patchwork. It’s fabric, linens, warmth, caring and comfort. The fibers that bind us together. All the things that are feminine,” she said. “And to take it from practicality into an art form is just a wonderful outlet for an artist.”
LaFlamme’s exhibit runs through the end of January.
The Bourgeois Pig, which opened two months ago, also sells bags, blankets, stuffed elephants, tea cups and tea bags, all created by contemporary designers. “Practical and graphic: It’s what we really want to do here,” Emery said.
Gallery hours are 11 a.m to 7:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. The phone is 06221-326-9814.