Tuesday, 30 September 2008

To bead or not to bead

I am having big trouble with this year's Bead Journal Project. I am amazed that just musing about 3 colours, I get to visit powerful archetypes and uncomfortable emotions. My theme of the month is love, my piece is entitled "That old black magic"...

Anyways, I have heard interesting news today. Near the town of Toulouse, there is a church in which you find a Black Virgin Mary with child, la Vierge Noire of Notre-Dame de Daurade. This statue is adorned with clothes, and she is supposed to help especially pregnant women, mothers, and people affected by floods and fires.

A few days ago the Society for the Protection of the Statue, APPD, has asked famous stylists to design new clothes for the Black Virgin (Sonia Rykiel, Christian Lacroix, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Paco Rabanne, Prada, Gucci...). Saddly enough, they haven't responded yet.

Anybody interested ?

Here is a link to her old dresses. And here is another link more general (in French).

Little hearts given to the Black Virgin

Sunday, 28 September 2008

A wild week

Phew, it's been a wild week.

It started on tuesday. I did a Feng Shui ritual in my office, as there is much shouting and vexations going on all the time. That night I dreamt of being brought to a shrine by two crones, and seing a glimpse of the Goddess surrounded by roses and jasmin. Strangely enough one of the crones was Mrs McClusky from "Desperate Housewives" :o)

Next morning, when arriving at work, I learnt that a pipe had burst two floors above my office during the night ; water everywhere, no electricity, no computers, no elevators. No safety instructions from the bosses. My office was one of the very few that was spared by water. Strange.

A few days later, I went to a conference by distinguished anthropologist Jeremy Narby, and learnt that Swiss magic mushrooms are nicer and funnier than South American Ayahuasca, but give less visions. It's just a wild week !

Sunday, 14 September 2008

My workpace

Denise has challenged us to show our beading workplace. So here is mine ; the kitchen table. This summer I finally put all my beading books and materials in just one cupboard, what a relief ! In the corner, near the spice basket, you can catch a glimpse of the Asa Foetida box that came with us in Italy, because it rolled out of its shopping bag.

And this is what the workspace looks like when I get excited over a project. Yes, I am a very messy person. Personal message : Stellou we have found the Coyote statue at last !

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Hidden friends

Theodora, San Vitale, Ravenna

When I was a child I was given a poster of Empress Theodora. For years she stared at me from over my bed. It didn't always feel comfortable, such a weird gaze, but sometimes it made me feel good or it sent me into long daydreams. It was my mother who gave me this picture, saying very little but with much intensity. I just knew it was a precious gift.

And so this summer, we visited Ravenna and saw the original mosaics. I insisted on that. Funnily enough, everybody enjoyed the visit of the Basilica San Vitale and the mausoleum nearby. In the Basilica, I found many red, black and white tiles. An interesting website with many photos is here.

My pictures of the floor of Basilica San Vitale, Ravenna

A few moment ago, I followed a link suggested by my friend Tally and suddenly found a story of Theodora's life (longer version here). A truly wonderful lady. I'm amazed that my mother casually gave me a feminist (christian) icon with many jewels to put in the traditional place of the crucifix.

Isn't it strange how we are surrounded by hidden friends all the time ? If we manage to stop the noise inside and outside just for a moment, then we start to hear their voices...

And from a textile point of view I am amused to hear that in her time, the Blues and the Greens were fighting each other :o)

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Why red ?

Why red ?

This is going to be a long wordy post, I’m afraid !

I was welcomed into life with a drama and a red flower bunch ; a gift by my grandpa’s excentric 3rd wife, which my mum thought very shocking and unappropriate.

Later on at age 7, I was gifted by my parents with a red bedspread which became my dummy and helped me stop sucking my thumb. I am quite ashamed to reveal that I still have it on my bed, although it has grown very dishevelled with the passing of time. On last year’s Bead Journal Project I was tempted several times to do a page with a piece of that old bedspread, and also to work on the red thread theme.

I love colours and when I started reading the book “A Perfect Red” by Amy Butler Greenfield which had just been translated into French last year, I got really excited and fascinated. I had no idea that the quest for a colour was so intimately linked with political, economical and scientific issues !

Then just before I left for the holidays I read somewhere the claim that black, red and white are the three major colours of mankind. Elsewhere Michel Pastoureau, a French historian specialized in colour, claims that red is THE ultimate colour. Black and white are sometimes said to be no colours. These 3 colours are associated with many symbols ; day, night, bone, earth, blood, life, death, power, desire, church….

Obviously as soon as I had made up my mind I saw red everywhere, in paintings, road signs and even insects !

Finally the Museum of Arts Décoratifs in Paris is organizing an exhibition on the colour red next March.

For me, working primarily from colours rather than concepts is an attempt to harmonize my efforts and also to go towards abstract.

Plus I have decided to buy a minimum of supplies this year, and a very large part of my existing stash is red based.

There you are ! :o)

Added later : the BNF - French National Library organized an exhibition on red and the costumes of designer Christian Lacroix a few years ago. The text is only in French but there are nice pictures of the costumes here.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Back from Italy and Bead Journal Project 2008

Alley in the fishing port of Chioggia, Venetia, Italy

Vegetable stall along the road, Venetia, Italy

Hello, I'm back from a lightning trip to Italy, one of my favourite places on earth ! I am very tired but I have the impression that everything is new in my head.

Graphosoma Lineatum

Today is the first day of Bead Journal Project 2008. Last year I chose to work mainly around the journal theme, trying to express faithfully moods, thoughts and dreams that came each month. In the end, I was a little annoyed by the lack of formal unity of my efforts. So this year, I have decided to work mainly with 3 colours, red, black and white, and to expand my format to a felt square.