Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Handmade gifts

Now they have safely been delivered by Santa, I can show you the gifts I made this year :o)

Patterns from Biloba

Pattern from Judith Baines

Friday, 21 December 2007

December BJP in progress

At last I've started my December BJP page... Don't know if I'll have time to finish it before we travel to see family...

3'50" of activism - we can change the World

Winter Solstice

"Le Soleil a rendez-vous avec la Lune/Happy solstice"

This is my new Spirit Doll, that has arrived in her new home today. She's called "Le Soleil a rendez-vous avec la Lune/Happy solstice".

"Le Soleil a rendez-vous avec la Lune" is a famous song by Charles Trenet which you hear here (hear, hear). While stitching and beading, many songs came to me.

A classic French nursery song :

Bonsoir madame la Lune Good evening Mrs Moon
Que faites-vous donc là ? What are you doing now ?
J'fais mûrir des prunes I am ripening plums
Pour tous ces enfants-là. For all these little children
Bonjour monsieur le Soleil Good morning Mr sun
Que faites-vous donc là ? What are you doing now ?
J'fais mûrir des groseilles I am ripening redcurrants
Pour tous ces enfants-là. For all these little children

A Bruce springsteen interpretation of a Martin Luther King text, We Shall Overcome.

Music from the film Devdas. Not my favourite Bollywood film (I hate sad endings) but great music and great singers.

The person who received this gift seemed very pleased.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

In France, at 14, all the kids are asked by school to have a compulsory work experience which lasts a week. My daughter's teacher asked the kids not to go through their parents but rather try and find a workplace on their own. My daughter contacted her favorite video game store and was accepted. For a few days now she's been going to work every day. She manages to wake up every morning on her own, she accepts to take something for breakfast, she takes a shower everyday and hasn't been wearing her trainers for days. She does everything from helping customers to sweeping the floor ! It's the first time I've seen her so happy since she started school 11 years ago, she radiates energy and charm. I'm amazed and soo proud. But I'm beginning to feel old and humbled, beginning to foresee the day when she'll spread her wings to fly out of our little nest... Obviously, we parents are there for that, to prepare them to fly on their own, but I can feel our bond moving. It seems only yesterday that we felt anxious for her first day in school :o)

Monday, 17 December 2007

Spirit of Christmas

I know many people feel sad or uncomfortable at this time of year. I love Christmas but feel pessimistic about mankind in general.

Christmas is also the time of year when we celebrate the longest night in the year, and the return of light. Therefore it is a time when we can concentrate on our inner lights... just like Dalaï Lama.

May you and your loved ones experience serenity, love and warmth during the Holidays !

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Flea Market and trolls

I went to a flea market with a friend today, and I found these extraordinary things, I love them although I have no idea what they were meant for in the first place - my youngest daughter thinks they are molds...

I have also discovered a wonderful blog today, dedicated to trolls, TrollMoon. This is in relation with an idea I have for my December BJP (adapting an Elsa Beskow picture) - check out the great illustrations !

Friday, 14 December 2007

"Take it further"

Following her "Take a Stitch Tuesday" challenge that ran in 2007 and gave many stitchers around the World the opportunity to learn dozens of embroidery stitches, Sharon B is launching the "Take it Further" 2008 Challenge.

You can read more about it here.

Having admired everybody's work on the "Take a Stitch Tuedsay" for the last 6 months, I have decided to join the 2008 challenge.

Er, well, back to my December BJP page then and my christmas presents... :o)

Monday, 3 December 2007

Nice quote

Sometimes you have to play a long time
to be able to play like yourself.
– Miles Davis

Friday, 30 November 2007

November BJP


So this is my November BJP effort, turning around the idea of speech therapy, and cleaning my wounds. My children thought I was doing an advent calendar, a good idea for next year.

I have used a bit of a fabric designed by Kaffe Fassett, which made me happy just to look at it, and the three others are textiles I bought more than 6 months ago with the idea of turning them into spirit dolls.

The water one I actually intended to use for my first BJP page, it may relate to a famous text by French philosopher Gaston Bachelard entitled "Water and Dreams" (which I haven't read but should have really), it may also have something to do with the fact that I spent my whole childhood on a riverbank. The shell comes from a Tahiti necklace that I was given.

The jaguar relates to my therapist, and is also a reminder that I have been busy reading the superb "Secrets of the Talking Jaguar" this month.

The green peas relate to the Princess and the Pea, a fairy tale that I disliked as a child, and it is also a salute with a touch of wry sense of humour to my oversensitivity. Above them is a bush with pink and white flowers. This can relate to a fairy tale about two sisters, Snow White and Rose Red, or to the War of the Roses between York and Lancaster (my dad was raised in Yorkshire), as I was told as a child that when the war was over a rosebush with red and white flowers was invented. Or maybe it relates to the Queen of Heart in Alice in Wonderland (I have been very impressed by Sacred Artist's november page).

Between the flowers and the water are white feathers, like Finist the Falcon feathers.

In the middle is a path in golden thread, with no visible beginning and no visible end - it is said that the uncounscious is not aware of Time... Magic gold threads are often found in myths and fairytales.

But I have worked improvisationally, the meanings came after :o)

I guess you could sum it up by the idea that human beings are made by stories as well as flesh and blood. Compared to last month's page I have the feeling that I have grown up a lot. Funnily enough I had to expand the format a little in oder to prevent the cloth from tearing next to the openings. Therefore it carries the meaning that through therapy I am extending my options, opening up.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

I get very shy and embarrassed when someone calls me sexy

CNN-IBN's Entertainment Editor, Rajeev Masand, caught up with King Khan at the International Film Festival of India and quizzed him about everything from Om Shanti Om to being voted the sexiest man in Asia.

Rajeev Masand: You've been a cine freak all your life, so did you attend a lot of film festivals when you were in Delhi and when you were training to be an actor, during your growing up days?

Shah Rukh Khan: Yes, earlier in Delhi, there used to be a lot of international festivals and they used to be competitive. But I never attended as an invited guest. I used to be one of the ushers. The theatre groups used to give us between Rs 50 and Rs 100 for ushering people inside. This is the first time I have been invited to a film festival.

Rajeev Masand: Very few people know that your latest film, Om Shanti Om has been invited by the Berlin Film Festival. Are you going there in February?

Shah Rukh Khan: I don't have the details but yes, that is what our international film distributor said, that we have been invited.

Rajeev Masand: It's really interesting that a film festival like Berlin, which is meant to be a serious film festival, has invited a film that really celebrates the glory of mainstream masala film making. So is that sort of an indication that Bollywood is becoming immensely popular?

Shah Rukh Khan: Well, I think Om Shanti Om is a seriously funny film so there is a part seriousness there and so I think its okay to go to the Berlin Film Festival and showcase a film like it.

Rajeev Masand: The UK paper, The Eastern Eye, has voted you the sexiest Asian alive. Give me a final word on this.

Shah Rukh Khan: As hard as I am trying to be the chief guest of an international film festival and be serious, you declare me the sexiest Asian and make me look rather flippant again. Just when I thought I could be an actor, you've taken my chance of roles in serious cinema away again. I don't think it's amusing. I get very shy and embarrassed when someone calls me sexy.

Thank you vluvshahrukh

Friday, 23 November 2007

A fantastic morning

This morning I did something fantastic.

Twice a year there is a special flea market somewhere in Paris, and my bead teacher had told me I should really come. There was a flaw in this project ; I am not a rise-early person and I had to be there at 6:00 am latest, though the metro service has not recovered from the 8 days strike yet... plus I'd been to a screening of "Other Worlds" followed by a discussion yesterday evening.

A few days ago I'd read a great piece on procrastination on Christine Kane's blog. It said at the end "Don’t ask yourself how you “feel” about doing the activity, just do it". And so when the alarm clock set off at 5:00 am, I only waited a few minutes before getting up. Am I glad I did that effort ! As soon as I got there, I saw a small crowd. Connoisseurs were frantically searching through old boxes and fishing out the most marvellous treasures at bargain prices ! I spent all the cash I had on me. That was a really great experience.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Amazing !

I've just from my mum that her village is in turmoil ; a black cat has been spotted regularly since 11th November in the Fontainebleau forest... nobody is sure if it's a puma or a panther, but what's sure is that some areas of the forest are not recommended for walkers until further notice !

News clip here.

For the Kichwa, black pumas are the traditional guardian of the forests and the animal that maintains balance between the human and natural worlds. But this one is very far away from home...

More on the puma here (French) and here (English).

Friday, 16 November 2007

To tell or not to tell, that is the question

November BJP in progress

For some time I have been troubled by a campaign launched on the internet which encourages people to stop complaining, moaning, bitching etc for 35 days in a row. On the one hand it seems a very nice and intelligent thing to do.

On the other hand what would happen if everybody stopped complaining, to pretend the World is a very nice place to be, that as Voltaire put it humourously in one of his novels "tout est pour le mieux dans le meilleur des mondes possibles" (everything is as best it can be in the best possible world) ? There would probably be no strikes, no petitions, no demonstrations.... no social progress.

However what strikes me most is that if you stop complaining and moaning, then obviously that means you basically stop all speech therapy. I know that for most of us, being able to admit pain, anger, resentment, fear is a difficult issue. It is not easy to say "I am victim", "I was abused", "my basics needs were not satisfied" even to oneself. People who have had a difficult childhood will shut up about it more often than not, and they will use many stratagems to protect their toxic parents from blame and criticism. They'd rather take the blame for themselves. Alice Miller wrote a lot about that, and how some well meaning therapists subtly urged their patients to shut up when it comes to complaining too much about child abuse for instance. It is difficult to feel you are the ungrateful kid that is always moaning and complaining - however admitting one's true feelings is a major step in healing.

I once read that what a therapist basically does it to keep your wounds open until they are thoroughly cleaned. This is the theme of my BJP page, still in progress ; keeping the wounds open until they are clean.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Against all odds

Over time, I have heard many people (including myself) complaining about their parents, childhood and even their birth and in utero life, and I have also heard many people (including myself) complain about their ungrateful or difficult children. Each time I listen and nodd and never know quite what to say. But overtime I have come to realize that people (and I) can complain about just anything, and I find this baffling. Not that I think that complaining is bad, because behind these complaints there are emotions like pain, sorrow and repressed anger, and it makes you feel better and more human to share your thoughts and emotions, it makes the burden lighter. But somehow I wonder if somewhere there's somebody who has the perfect life, or has nothing to complain about.

Today, I read this piece by Clarissa Pinkola Estes :

"I think being born, no matter how a person came to be conceived, is like winning the lottery. Most of us were not planned. Some of us were not ‘wanted.’ Some of us arrived through a loveless act or a perfunctory one. Some of us came by accident. Some of us are called ‘the ooopsie baby.’ Some of us came from unsanctioned moments and are called ‘love child.’ Some of us were sick in utero, even sick unto death, but somehow recovered. And some of us, well…

More here.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007


I didn't have time to photograph the young boar that my mum's dog insisted on presenting to us... however I managed to take a few pictures from our little holiday... :o)

Friday, 26 October 2007

October BJP

The Woman in the Shaman's Body

I'm done with october.
This month I've learnt to do 4 new things : sew a patchwork, attach a shisha mirror, mold a face and attach it as a cabochon. I feel very proud of myself.

The theme is about the retreat I did at the end of September and which brought me unexpected images as usual. This time I had to face vulgarity, and I saw a mocking little green devil. After that I read a lot of feminist essays including "The Woman in the Shaman's Body" by Barbara Tedlock, a great anthropology book. So this is what I'll call my october page :o)


Kaffe Fassett's "Wheel of fortune" quilt

I'm working on a few projects, most of which I can't really show before end of December :o)

Meanwhile, my interest at the moment is shifting more and more from jewels to fabrics. I have "discovered" (lol) about Kaffe Fassett. I'm madly in love with his work and prints, and I've found a way to buy fabrics designed by him here.

Perhaps because I'm reflecting about the Heroine's Journey which I just finished, I feel a strong urge to do something with old fashioned flowery fabrics. I feel it's like connecting to who I really am. It reminds me of dear old gentlemen and ladies which I knew as a little girl, when the World seemed like a magic place to be in. Well, so maybe if I put lots of flowers in my home, magic will come back. I suppose it's all about love and tenderness. I always tried to be strong and reasonable, whereas I'm really a softy eccentric person. I can't believe it took me so long to face the obvious ! The warrior is very tired. Bring on the heroine.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Pay it forward

" I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog."

Thank you Acey for forwarding this sweet gesture :o)

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

In the name of love

Stone Child (in progress)

Today, Bertrand Cantat came out of jail. The lead singer of pop/rock band Noir Désir hit his actress girlfriend to death 4 years ago, during the shooting of a film dedicated to the life of feminist writer Colette. Because of this tragedy, France had started reflecting about domestic abuse. Yesterday, there was a debate on TV ; should this guy come out after 4 years etc etc... All of a sudden I felt a deep-rooted anger come out and had to go to bed.

This morning, I painted the cab faces I'd made earlier on and felt like working on my second spirit doll shape, which I'd left in a corner for months. She was meant for a special someone until I realized I was still angry with this person. I gave her a sweet face and worked on, thinking she must be called "In the name of love (still angry after all this time)". I was trembling while beading. When my partner came home he commented that she looked like an Inuit. I then realized she must be the "Stone Child" (as in Clarissa Pinkola Estes' "Warming the Stone Child") and added a stone collected from the Seine riverbank . We share similar scars.

I also painted the face of Alice's Spirit doll today.

Alice doll (in progress)

Friday, 12 October 2007

Rune Amulet Purse

This is my first amulet purse and my first brick stitch effort. The pattern is by Judith Baines and is published in the Journal No.35 of the Beadworkers Guild (UK). The symbols are runes associated with well-being. The colours are my own interpretation, I saw them in a dream, and the fringe too. I still have to decide what to do for the strap...

Monday, 8 October 2007

October BJP

I've been working all day on my october BJP page. I'm very excited and proud so far ; I have done my first mini-patchwork (learnt loads of things in the process), I have cut my first shisha mirror from an old CD (thanks Annie's Crazy World) and attached it to the fabric (thanks Sharon B). I've been wanting to do this for years !!!!

So far, the piece looks like I imagined it and it's not too bad - I'm amazed :o)

I did the little game on Morwyn's blog - I chose the number 1-12-27-49 which gave me the colours yellow ochre, burnt orange, pewter and gold. Not sure I can incorporate all those colours in this piece, but I'm thinking about it....

Thursday, 4 October 2007


Julie made me think about grandmothers. She reminded me what a loss it is not to know one's grandparents.

I asked for a dream about ancestors. I had a dream that included tears and clean bones. I guess this is another riddle from my friend Coyote. Though one of my grandfather had a serious bone disease.

When I was a child my mum used to say, "be careful, you must be good, some curses go on for 7 generations". I didn't know what that meant but it really scared me.

Today (thanks to one of Acey's hints) I have found the website of the Grandmothers' Council. There are little films to see here. It is full of tears and laughter. They claim that by taking care of ourselves we can also cure our children, our neighbours and our ancestors...

May you walk in peace.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Ivon's Grigripwalu safely received

Ivon's Grigripwalu Spirit Doll includes a lot of traditional good luck artifacts ; mirrors, eyes, a berry, a clove, a button, a feather, a bell, the blue colour, the triangle shape, a pink quartz and an amethyst chip (supposed to be good for emotional balance)... I think he likes it...

Monday, 24 September 2007

September BJP

There it is... :o)
"Don't stop, breathe on"

Sunday, 16 September 2007

What I've been up to...

The kids got back to school almost two weeks ago, and we had to organize their room, and buy all sorts of things and organize their activities.

I finally painted my shelves...and Emilie arranged the sculptures so that Goethe and Schiller listen carefully to what Coyote is saying.
I also tried to do a jewelry pattern by Marie Le Sueur, only to find out at the very end that :
1. I used a thread of the wrong colour
2. I didn't read the instructions properly and the jewel is somewhat skewed :o(

I finally received the wonderful book "Amulets" by Sheila Paine and have done a special Spirit Doll for a special little boy. Here's the package as I don't want to spoil the surprise :o)

I was recently offered "Beading with cabochons" by Jamie Cloud Eakin, and I look forward to doing a project from that book in the next weeks. Plus I have ordered supplies to do 2 projects from Bead and Button magazine, I can't wait ! :o)

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Rock Art /Art rocks

When I got interested in Shamanism again, I first began to read about American Shamans. Then I found out that the word "Shaman" itself was first used in Siberia, and in a negative way. I began wondering what had become of the European Shamans. I had always though the modern Druids of Brittany were a bit of a joke. I suppose it's always easier to get interested in faraway places and folks than in our next door neighbours... :o)

Anyways, "from thread to needle" as we say in French, I got interested in the Barbarian tribes from the steppe and then on to the various invasions that plagued Europe for centuries and that produced amazing art. The Huns, the Vikings, the Celts, the Saxons... you name them...

True, our parents took us to see various archeological sites throughout Europe and it had deeply impressed me, for years I even told everyone I would become an archeologist when I grew up and play the lyra. And I have been strongly drawn to rocks recently (including graffitis). But yesterday, thanks to Marija Gimbutas, I found out about the site of Bohuslän in Sweden, which is protected by UNESCO and I'm really excited about this ! These carvings/paintings are 4 000 years old !

Both photos (c) A. Lecus Objectif Suède

While on the subject of rock art, I have read that C G Jung had a rock art phase while he was discovering a new way of healing people. I seem to recall that in his memoirs he claims that this saved him from collapsing.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

August BJP

"Step by Step"

So this is my August BJP. Let's say it's finished. My philosophy about the BJP is to learn and content myself with what I have done in the month, whatever the outcome. If it's finished, great. If it's not finished, I'll have to take the piece as it is and live with it. You may think it is a weird idea. But somehow for me it is some kind of a deal with Time. It's also a trick to fool my very strong inner critic.

During the month, a discussion took place on the BJP blog around the theme of baby steps. I have experienced that healing is a step by step process. I believe experienced artists when they say that creativity and art is also a step by step process. I know that I am still in infancy as far as creativity and techniques are concerned, and I am aware that it is the way, the process that is of the uttermost importance for me at the moment ; just creating one thing is a tremendous progress for me.

Going through one of my favourite magazine, I found out this summer that some of the earliest representations of Buddha are sculpted footprints (known in Art History as the Aniconic phase) and that even today these representations or "Phra Putabat" are objects of veneration.

Next to these feet, you can see a fish in water and a bird in a tree ; these are the three states of animal life.

It also happens that my first baby was born in August, 14 years ago.

This month I have been remembered to show my work in progress only to certain chosen people. Otherwise it somehow drains the creative energy from me. I have also remembered how mean I am with myself as I 've had great trouble with my cheap fabric and thread.

All in all it was a great experience. Now, on to September ! :o)

Saturday, 1 September 2007

One step at a time

I am very pleased and honoured to announce that I have enrolled for regular bead lessons with Marie Le Sueur until June 2008. Marie Le Sueur is a leading French bead artist and you can see glimpses of her work here for example.

My first lesson was this morning and I have done half a bracelet from one of her models which is called "Fireworks". Having run out of beads I have to wait a few days to finish it, which is terrible. However I am really thrilled as I have learnt a lot of things already.

I know, it is already September 1st but I haven't finished my august BJP yet. It is supposed to be about "one step at a time". I have done and undone a lot on it already. Here it is as it looks today. I'll tell you more about it's significance when it is finished...

Thursday, 30 August 2007


At the moment I am fascinated by all the interdictions that seem to pop up in everyday life in my country. All alcohol beverages now bear a sign representing a pregnant woman in a "forbidden" circle. Each time you see an add on TV related to food or drink, there is a text urging you not to eat to much fat, salt, sugar and to go and get some exercise... One of the funniest message I saw recently was on a packet of British cigarettes : it said in very large black letters "smoking causes slow painful death" (well maybe I made up the "slow"). Well, I have to laugh not to scream. Health is important, but this is harassment. In this context, I was striken by the above sign, found at the entrance of the newest public garden in Paris. I must say I am not even quite sure what it is you are forbidden to do.

Fortunately, look what I found on the roof of the largest fabric store in Paris. It is Mr Chat (mister Cat), a street art figure that Parisians have been meeting here and there since 2000. His creator is called Thoma Vuille.

You can see more photos of Mr Cat here.

* * *

We have just celebrated Alice's 14th birthday. I gave her a simple stringed necklace with a medal for her zodiac sign and Swarowsky cristals.

Her little sister gave her this necklace, which she designed on her own. I helped with the focal bead. I think she did a really good job, especially as she gave up some of her favourite beads for this project.
I have been experiencing a lot of frustration with my August BJP page, which is about "one step at a time" and funnily enough I have finally found comfort in painting my brand new shoe cabinet in green and gold. Inspiration works in weird ways, doesn't it ? :o)

Friday, 17 August 2007

Introducing a new artist : my mum

Here a few samples of my mum's work. She also does pots but I didn't take any pictures of these...