Monday, March 25, 2019

Chartres- Croisement des Arts

Have been in Chartres this last week for the annual Croisement des Arts held in a magnificent 12th century building , Collegiale st Andre, on the river Eure. However because it is on the banks of the Eure it is also bone-chillingly cold even when the sun is shining. There has been plenty of visitors but few sales unfortunately. I sometimes think that  when people visit these events they view it pretty much as visiting a museum- as in you look at the artwork, but in the museum situation it cannot be bought- so you don't even think about it. And it is not just a hobby, it's a job. when people ask me how many hours it takes to make one of my pieces I don't actually give a direct answer any more but say- it is my job, it's like going to the office, but more- I turn up for work most mornings at 8 and don't finish until 6 pm and often on the weekend as well especially when things have to be finished. So if something takes 4 weeks how much would a salary earner expect to earn? Every week has to count, especially as during my illness and recuperation I could work very little.

 The sculpture in the foreground is a bronze by Manuala Papeians from Belgium.

On the upside it has been quite beautiful spring weather with lots of sunshine so I have been trying to walk as much as I can, simply to build up strength in my leg again.

The theme for this years Festival was "La Joie, dans tous ses eclats..." and I made a forest quilt of sorts in response to the theme. One of the requests from the organisers is that you provide a written explanation of your work addressing the theme which is collated into a booklet. It is interesting to see how other artists responded to the theme. Here is what I wrote:

Recently I have had many reasons to engage with thoughts about joy and how it touches so much of my life if I let it. I realised joy is not some big effervescent bountiful moment but many little moments that start with waking and end with sleeping. A whole day of joyful moments, and when you let the joyful moments reign you can encounter happiness even in the darkest hours.
But I think my greatest joy derives from the fact that I am able to walk and enjoy nature. About 4 months ago I found myself unable to walk due to an operation. The result was unexpected, and it’s restitution was largely up to me if all things went well. The nerve in my right leg had somehow stopped communicating with my leg and it was up to me to reawaken the channels of communication, with exercises and visualising what I expected my leg to do. It was an unusual task to have to actively think how I wanted my leg to move when I was so used to simply being able to do it. Each time I slightly moved a muscle where previously it had not moved, and each time the sensation was a little different than the day before meant somehow that I was reawakening the nerve to begin it’s talking with my leg muscles.
I progressed through first steps with a walker , then a crutch and finally walking without a crutch about 8 weeks after the operation. That first walk without a crutch was one of wonder, that i could simply walk without something to aid the walking. As time progressed I found myself to be able to go on long walks again and to walk on beaches, in parks and in forests.

Every time I step out it is with a sense of joy that somehow I can do it- that I can enjoy the marvels of nature by simply ambulating myself to a place of wonder, and to feel part of the magic of existence. I love how the light dances amongst the trees in the forest, how there is dark and hidden places, and how nature finds ways to be breathtakingly beautiful even in the darkest of places.

This piece is called "Light in the Forest" and measures  approximately 105 cm square, has been hand dyed and printed with bracken leaves and sheoak leaves. It is for sale for $1500 AUS plus shipping.
There are many lovely encounters to be had in Chartres., lovely old tertes ( stone stairways/walkways) and old cobbled streets. And of course there is the magnificent Cathedral- one of the Notre Dames. It has been sunny and in the late afternoon light she looks beautiful indeed .( I am never here for the illuminations they do at night on the front of the cathedral which is a pity as i am told they are very beautiful)

Below is the lovely cobbled road I walk every day to get to the exhibition venue .

Below is my favourite window display in Chartres- it's a shop for bookbinding/restoring and always has a lovely display of books and working equipment.

 As always there is street art, part of all modern cities, this is one by EZKStreetArt - there are several pieces by this artist around the city , and he is part of a small Street Art exhibition in a small city gallery around the corner from where I am staying.

My cousin came to visit last week and we went to Picassiette- which is always a delight.  It is just outside the old part of the city and was the house and garden of Raymond Isidore. I guess it is art brut, in that his paintings are naive, and his passion  and obsession turned his entire house and garden into a surface for mosaics which he gathered from initially the graveyard where he worked but acquired more and more whimsy as  he covered more and more surface

 Chartres is famous for its stained glass, and there are studios around the  region of artists making stained glass. There is also the  informative Musee du Vitrail, that allows you to get up close to fragments of very old  stained glass pieces. I love the image below because the braids of the woman in the foreground is beautifully executed, and of course braids in the early medieval period were much admired
I am still fundraising for the women from Boneca, and we are very close to our target even after the amount we were seeking had to be increased- so we are incredibly grateful for your support! However we are still waiting on visas- what a process, and actually very stressful, , 20 pages of documentation to fill in ( and I can tell you it challenged my english, plus one question that was completely unintelligible) plus all the support documentation to accompany- times that by four for four women- it took more than a week to get everything together . Who devises these things??? I understand the need to vet applications but when I go to East Timor- I pay $30US to a small window, say I am staying for 30 days , no further questions, just the address where you are staying and bob's your uncle, oh and if you overtsay your visa there is a hefty fine.


Penny said...

Love hearing about your doings. I get terribly tired these days but enjoy small things, managing a half hour walk on the cliffs is an achievement. Think of you often.

Dijanne Cevaal said...

Thanks Penny- I think of you too, but somehow I missed that you had moved?

Mary Contrary said...

Wonderful photos of Chartres! I think it is difficult for people who do not understand the creative process to appreciate the sheer amount of time and work and skill that goes into making pieces. It is a dilemma - to price attractively andmake a living!!