Meanwhile I had arranged for some other books to be delivered for sale at L'Amour du Fil from 22-25 April 2015 where the Medieval Project will be launched ( I shall be blogging about this in the next few days- so many fabulous inventive rich gorgeous pieces- I thought women had outdone themselves with the Sentinelles- but the pieces that have been arriving daily are simply marvelous!) Those books arrived in 3 days.... so no rhyme or reason. But I am glad to say the boxes passed the "cat inspection"!
I am also teaching at L'Amour du Fil- Transfer Painting/Printing and Stitching on the Wednesday 22 April and Tifaifai on the Friday, 24 April. There are still places available and details are on the website
Teaching in Mons was fun- it was part of the 20 year Celebration of the Embroidery Centre in Mons which also has a wonderful exhibition of work on display. A great variety of different textiles, some of them stunning and well worth a visit. The exhibition is being held in what was once a nunnery- so very atmospheric in Mons Centre.
I love the onion shaped domes on many of the churches in the town.
Mons itself is a charming town with a central square boasting some medieval buildings and a monkey which adorns the Hotel de Ville. No one knows from whence it has come, it has been there for many years but the story is you must rub it's head with your left hand in order to attract good luck. Of course this was duly done- I need some in my quest to find an affordable house in which to live ( I am afraid that whilst travel seems exotic and wonderful and it often is, that the lack of a permanent abode is playing with my mind a little especially as the bureaucratic nightmare surrounding my block of land which I had hoped to sell by now will continue for at least another 12 months at a conservative estimate, so it feels like the only thing I can keep doing is keep moving- peripatetic)
I did go and see the Van Gogh- The Birth of an Artist exhibition at the Borinage - Mons is the European Cultural Capital for 2015 and is hosting many exhibitions and festivities and in fact opened 5 new museums whilst I was there- so culture can be a drawcard! I must admit I went ,not knowing what to expect as after all Mons is not a big city and to attract a big exhibition is a big ask for such a small place. I also suspected that the beginning years would prove insufficiently interesting to sustain an exhibition without the luminous work of the later years. I have to say you should not arrive with expectations or unexpectations- because this was a thoughtful beautifully displayed eye-opening exhibition which did indeed play close attention to the title- the Birth of an Artist.Van Gogh spent 2 years in the region when he transformed himself from failed theology student, into lay preacher and ultimately artist. There are some letters to Theo of course, Early awkward drawings, then the immersion in the work of artists whom he admired and copied and copied and somehow managed to emerge with his own tweaks and emotion of the later work. He had seen the work of Millet in Paris whilst he had worked as an art dealer but his copies of Millet are remarkable as they were made from engravings and his memory of the colours he would have encountered in Millet's original paintings ( which would not have been beautifully displayed in Musee Orsay as they are now). Already there is evidence of the brushwork the emotion and his adoration of his subject matter- the ordinary every day things encountered by working people. At this time Van Gogh still thought he was going to be an illustrator rather than a painter- so the exhibition contains many drawings also done in emulation of artists/illustrators he admired and indeed some of his collection of engraved images sourced from the papers of the time ,when newspapers still had real journalists and iillustrators to elucidate the articles,( Oh how I wish some of the money that is made in Van Gogh exhibitions could have made it's way to Van Gogh's pocket whilst he lived) In the end I enjoyed this exhibition very much and came away with food for thought! And I mentioned the radiance of the later work- I will comment on that some more a bit later in this post.
Then back to Soissy- sur-Seine, and Saturday I went into Paris to brave the crowds and tour groups at the Bonnard Exhibition- Painting Arcadia at Musee Orsay. I hope the link works as it seems to be impossibly long. If you click on the further information ,10 pages of information about the different periods of Bonnards' painting life comes up. Bonnard has been a favourite for a long time as I find his use of yellow to be simply the best there is. The exhibition was an eye opener in that the early work had little yellow and indeed surprising amounts of green and blue green and even turquoise- which had not been readily been apparent from books I have seen simply because turquoise does not print well ( turquoise is often a difficult colour in dyeing and transfer painting as well)- and then Bonnard moves to Cannet- and literally the work becomes an explosion of yellow- it is so powerful and strong that I felt as if I was in the middle of a yellow blast and I felt incredible joy- it was wonderful- oh to be in that room without all the other viewers.... But it brings me to luminous- that explosion of colour also occurs in Van Gogh when he moves south and Dufy and Matisse. I have no photos of course so please do look at the website!
Later that day after a brief interval snuffling around a Brocante in Place St Paul and some irresistable books( why is it that I encounter so many books that simply have to go into my luggage and when I have no bookcase to put them in). The Cahier is dated 1922 and seems to have been written by someone called Katz , who refers to some of the observations as Katzismes and the introduction creating no less of an enigma. It continues for about 12 pages of Katzismes in conversation with several different persons and with some diagrams of body positions whilst suffering from certain contagious diseases....well who could leave that behind??
And then onto the Indigo at the Bibliotheque Forney. Again difficult to take photos and it was packed with visitors. A wonderful exhibition of indigo in its many myriad presentations across many cultures. The space, 5 rooms is not big and in all reality not big enough for the rich contents of this exhibition- with many many examples of woven, printed and stitched textiles. It was also difficult to read some of the etiquettes because of the space limitations. Indigo seems to be the new must have experience so I feel lucky to have had such first hand experience with it at the Creative Arts Safari Creative Camp in India earlier this year and to hopefully go back and immerse myself some more later this year.
The entrance to the exhibition with various shades of indigoed umbrellas ( I am afraid my flash did actually go off and I was duly told, but unfortunately without a tripod it was impossible to take any decent photos and my phone was flat as it always seems to be when I put it in my bag)
And then my own little effort on indigo cloth bought from the Stitching Project ( Creative Arts Safaris) using the technique of Sujuni embroidery taught to us by Sandju whilst I was on the Creative Camp.
And last ,after what seems to have been a full on essay, as I said I have been a little down in spirit lately- the worry of the books in customs and meeting the Pozible campaign commitments and the lack of a home ( I use home rather than house- there is a difference) seem to have played on my mind. I have also applied for many residencies over the years , but have not been successful- though have ranked highly some of the time, even missing out by one on two occasions.So I have decided to create my own experience of sorts. So, as I am in Europe for the month of May with no teaching, I decided I would go and research for the next book Musing in Textile:Italy by spending a little time in Florence. To my surprise the cost of accommodation to go for a month, cost almost the same as going for 2 weeks ( and I used a french speaking accommodation site rather than an english speaking one which seems to inflate the prices)and is much cheaper than living in Melbourne for a month ( in similar abode), plus I get to experience all the glorious art of the Renaissance in one of the lovely cities of this world. I may even do a print making course at Il Bisonti all things going well- immerse myself in something other than textile, but if that does not happen then there is plenty of other things to do and see. In my search for information I came across this very informative website the Florence Web Guide.