Two things that are often thought of when contemplating French Provincial designs are olives and sunflowers. Both are beautiful, and both were inspiration for my quilt entitled “Sunflowers and Olives.”
French farmers actually grow both sunflowers and olives for the oil they produce. How amazing to cultivate something that provides beauty and sustenance. The French word for sunflowers is les tournesols which means to turn towards the sun, and indeed this is actually what the flowers do. The faces of the flowers travel from east to west as the day progresses, following the source of light. The phenomenon is known as phototropism.
I once toured an ancient Stone Mill in Provence that was still in use. It was where all the locals had brought their olives to be ground and pressed for centuries. The fruit would be ground into a paste and spread onto woven mats. The mats would then be stacked and squeezed. The smell was heavenly and made me wish for a spoon.
This quilt is a combination of piecing and appliqué with easy shapes that makes the work go fast. The sunflowers are made using a method for making a Dresden Plate. The overall design has a touch of the whimsical, and it is well suited for fabrics in bright tones.
Kathleen Khosravi of Olive Leaf Quilts