Friday, March 16, 2007

Tahitian fabric and quilts

Okay--I know this picture is a bit blurry, but I think THIS is the "franjepan" (or something like that) flower. The other one is a form of plumeria, I believe. I'm a quilter, not a gardener. :) Am I right Jenni? Thanks for giving me the correct name.
The "Scotties" that were done by the end of the Bora Bora portion of our trip. The lei is what we received when we arrived. I had a little memorial for the "Scottie that got away". I'm still not sure whether he hid on purpose or really did blow away, we will remember him and wish we were with him! :)
This was an appliqued quilt on the hotel wall in Tahiti. It was hanging too high to see how well it was done, but found it interesting that it was framed behind glass!
This was another appliqued quilt, again too high to see details, but still quite nice.
Okay, I admit it, I fell off the wagon! Now it is bad when you have new friends that you meet on vacation looking for fabric for you! Our friends asked us AFTER we came back from town (which was a 3 hour venture including a boat ride,and a bus ride to a very tiny village) if we had seen the fabric in one of the little stores? Fabric???? I was sick, we missed the last boat across to the main island that day, so that meant another trip back! And 3 more hours out of the sun! But hubby was good, he offered to go with me to hunt down this fabric. How on earth did we miss it? The town had one gas station (about $8 per gallon), a tiny grocery store (that had empty shelves by 6 PM), 5 Pearl shops (Tahitian Black Pearls are from these islands--beautiful!), a little burger joint, a few souvenier shops and a fancy dress shop and that's pretty much it. So, off we went again. It turned out after searching every store, it was on the other side of the grocery store, named Chin Lee that carried cheap clothes, souveneirs AND fabric! 100% cotton! From Tahitian designers! I was thrilled to find local fabric--the selvedge said "designed in Tahiti". When I asked if it were made there, she sadly shook her head and said "no, in China". But it was designed by Tahitians. So, I bought a couple yards of each one. There were so many tropical prints from which to choose, it was hard to narrow it down. Remembering that I am part of the SABLE club (Stash Accumulated Beyond Life Expectancy), I chose only 5 prints. I have some ideas already, and some of them include non-quilty things. I hope to have it all used by the year end, then I'll feel better about my purchase! But, how often would I ever be able to buy fabric from there? Am I justified? maybe not, but I don't feel guilty at all. :)

Interesting facts about Bora Bora/Tahiti:
* the main road around the main island of Bora Bora, along with the airport and the schools were all built by the American GI's during WWII. We took over the island thinking it was going to be targeted like Hawaii. It never was invaded, but the Americans did a lot for the islands while they were there.
*Ma-tu is the name given to the transvestites that are part of the culture in French Polynesia. At one time, it was common for a family that was full of boys to choose one son to be "the daughter" of the family. To dress them like girls and raise them with feminine qualities. At adulthood, they had a choice whether to continue in the feminine manner or revert to manhood. They are not gay--but some can be. They are very much part of the culture here, as they are employed in all sorts of occupations, including the service staff of the nicest hotels. It is a little disconcerting to be waited on by someone who is built like a man but with breasts, has the voice of a man but has better make up than you! We were a little surprised at first, but came to enjoy the diversity that this world is made. The custom is not done so much anymore, although many men decide at adulthood to become a "ma-tu".
*Black pearls are harvested here--they use a special oyster with a black shell (nacre) that creates the black pearls. It is one of the largest industries in the islands, with pearl farms everywhere.
* The French own the islands and a lot of the goods are from France. The food is French (mmm, love the baguettes and croissants!), the language is French (although they have their own dialect) but the currency is uniquely their own, the Polynesian Franc. They would like to be their own country, but they rely too much on the subsidies of the motherland to break away.
* Bora Bora is comprised of one main island and many other mini islands (motu) ALL surrounded by a large reef of coral. There is a small passage way into the lagoon where all the islands are. It made for some stunningly blue/green waters, tropical fish that were numerous and gentle waters.
*the airport is on it's own island (motu)..the building is open and can accomodate only one plane at a time. The only way to get to your hotel is by boat. All the main hotels have their own boat shuttle that whisks you to your destination. Our hotel was on it's own little island. So we had to take boat shuttles if we wanted to go to the little village on the main island.

1. New friends that join in my quilting enthusiasm!
2. Seeing quilts in foreign places and given a place of honor
3.the diversity of people that inhabit the world and the chance to meet them


Norma said...

Your membership is not the only one in the SABLE club! *LOL* It sounds like you had a wonderful holiday!

Tonya R said...

You mean we're supposed to use up all this fabric? D'oh. Thanks for all the posts on your trip - I've enjoyed them all. Of course you had to buy that fabric. Not like you're expecting to go back to the islands anytime soon. Those are souvenirs you've got there.

ruth said...

Think of your fabric as a usable momento. Much more useful than something that will sit on a shelf gathering dust. It's very pretty!

Nancy said...

Well of course you had to buy that fabric. Those are lovely. I wouldn't have been able to stop with those few pieces!

paula, the quilter said...

Many years ago when I was staying at a hotel in Princeville in Hawaii on the island of Kauai there were full sized antique bed quilts framed behind glass on the walls in the common areas. I believe it is to protect them from insects, smoke and other pollutants.

Anonymous said...

My husband's sister married a Tahitian. They were wrapped in a blue and white tifaifai (quilt) during the ceremony. Great fabrics for the stash, and yes, you DID have to get them :-)

Diana said...

Wow!! I have been to that grocery store with the Tahitian fabric. I had to buy another suitcase to carry the fabric home in. I just couldn't decide what fabric to take home so I chose more than I really needed. After almost 2 years, I am getting down to the last 3 designs. It must mean it is time to go back and see Francine in Bora Bora.
Thank you for reminding me of these wonderful memories. Diana

Anonymous said...

You never said what town the fabric store was at. Let me know, I'm going there in February 08. susan

Diana said...

Iaorana Susan,
The island of Bora Bora has a town center and marina. Once you get off the ferry or boat whichever way you choose to get there, you will hit the main road and make a left, it is Chen's Grocery store, it is not a fabric store.....It is hard to miss. If you still cannot figure it out ask one of the locals.
Hare Maru, Hare Papu