Friday, May 23, 2014

Kloster Maria Hilf

I am in Germany to exhibit my work at Nadelwelt Karlsruhe from 23-25 May.It looks like there is some terrific work being shown and there is a large variety of shops. We have to provide out own accommodations which is not always the case when you are an invited artist so initially I was thinking I would camp. Then I found Kloster Maria Hilf which is about 45 minutes from Karlsruhe ( I am Australian so driving 45 minutes is nothing in the big picture). What a delightful place. It is a convent founded by Mother Alfons Maria Eppinger in 1849 though most of the buildings are reasonably modern and you can stay there a night or longer and the prices are very reasonable particularly if you are prepared to share a toilet and bathroom. It also looks to me like it could be a fabulous place for a textile retreat! Anyone interested?

 The inner courtyard of the building I am staying in- that is a fabulous walnut tree in the centre, and various other "shrubberies" . I keep on thinking Monty Python and Knights Of Nee though in actual fact that was a Pythonesque take on a Shakespearean quote in Hamlet- "Get thee to a nunnery"

Pine cones strewn on the little road accessing the complex

 A poppy in a small field left to go fallow and filled with all sorts of flowers. And some currents- I am suspecting these are white currents.

 A path in the garden and the oldest part of the kloster with the church behind.

And the beautiful colours in this foliage!

It is kind of fitting that I should find myself accommodated in a convent after all the medieval  religious art I have been looking at- though foremost in my mind is the word "medieval"- it was just that in those times art was commissioned by the church and anything textile related to creating tapestries or embroidery for clothing.

Kloster Maria Hilf has the most fabulous kitchen garden, with a great variety of fruit and also hot houses for vegetables , and at breakfast all their jams looked as if they were home made.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Pinocoteca Bologna

Once in awhile your cotton socks get blown off by a wonderful experience, something breathtaking and sublime and unexpected, that makes you fall in love with a place. Yesterday I had such an experience in Bologna. I decided I would go and see the Pinocoteca ( which is in the university quarter) and then walk on into the old city. Guidebooks had mentioned it had a nice collection of works from the region with some better known names, such as Rafeallo  and Tintoretto with one  piece each - what i found just blew me away. I would have to say this is one of the finest collections of "minor" works I have seen, it set my heart racing and kept me there for hours. There were few tourists and the ones that were there were mostly Italian,  so often I had a room totally to myself, not only that, photography without a flash was allowed.

Where do i begin??? A breath taking collection of 14th and early 15th century religious art- and a beautiful Giotto the centrepiece of the collection. The pieces were at eye level most without glass so you could get so close that you could see every minor detail- and what gorgeous detail. Forgive me me for waxing lyrical- it's the best 4 euros I have spent in a long time!

So here goes......

St George and the dragon by Vitale da Bologna 1330

And then the Madonnas.....  this piece by Tomaso da Modena circa 1345 "Anconetta"

left: Pseudo Jacopino

and right:
pseudo Jacopino
"Visione di san
a stairway to heaven

Andrea de' Bartoli
circa 1360
Madonna col Bambino e Angeli

Simone di Fillipo detto dei Crocefissi
circa 1378-1380
Madonna col Bambino, Angeli e il Donatore Giovanni da Piacenza

Simone di Fillipo detto dei Crocefissi
 circa 1365-1370

Lippo  di Dalmasio
Incoronazione della Vergine. Cristo Benedicent(?)

 left: Simone di Fillipo detto dei Crocefissi
circa 1375-1380
Saint'Elena in Adorazione della Croce ed una Monaca

right: Simone di Fillippo detto dei crocefissi
circa 1350-1355
Arcangelo Gabriele

 And then Giotto....

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

In Bologna

Last Saturday I gave a class at Cucilandia Bologna. I want to thank Adele and Simonetta for their hospitality, their attention to detail and  the wonderful  Italian food but most of all for enthusiastic students who achieved above and beyond- as a result the room was abuzz with excitement and bonhomie! See what they achieved ( and apologies for not naming the students but they know who they are!)

I am teaching this same class on friday with Cuci Service  in Oderzo. Oderzo is quite close to Venice and in the past I would probably have stayed in Venice, but  due to the time of year it is possibly consumed by hordes of tourists and it is expensive  and I have been there a few times before. On Saturday May 17th I will be teaching  in Torino at Hobby Cucito working with lutradur , transfer paint and stitch!

 So I decided to stay a few days close to Bologna and get to know Bologna itself a little better. It is a city I have bypassed in the past as most people seem to, as it is between  Venice and Florence. I was glad I made the effort. It is always fun getting to know a new place and Simonetta had shown me some of the spectacular views of Bologna from surrounding hill tops with it's tall towers of the old city dotting the skyline on Saturday morning.

And today i went for a  wander around the city, decided that the queue for the Girl with the Pearl Earring was too long ( I will have to go early tomorrow) and generally  got a feel for the city and it's many narrow streets through which motor bikes  scooters and bikes lurch amongst the pedestrians. There was the usual "designer" stores ( that inhabit every city- see a prior rant about this) but also a pleasing number Bolognese businesses( especially food ones). Bologna is off course famous for it's ragu ( Bolognaise sauce to many) for pasta, tagliatelle and of course tortellini. Both  these pastas  are claimed as dating to the early renaissance period but surprisingly weren't registered until the seventies.So what is a girl to do in a city famous for it's pasta and sparkling wines whilst an accordion player busks???

And then there is the market street with  all kinds of pasta, parmagiano,  cured meats and fresh vegetables. Imagine what Italian cooking would be like without tomatoes as they didn't arrive until the New World was discovered- and oh my goodness what a selection of tomatoes...

And the tortellini aren't just any old tortellini- they are giant ones made from egg and flour and filled with all sorts of fillings which require you to walk at least an extra hour.

All sorts of wonderful buildings with inner courtyards and two towers one of which leans about 3.5 metres. They do not have doors as in the past they were entered by wooden walk ways from the houses nearby that were above ground.
 Bologna is renowned for it's covered walkways which number some hundreds of kilometres including the walkway up to the sanctuary of Madonna  of San Luca.All the walkways are arched and it means you can walk ( and shop) rain or shine .

But last but not least- I have an emerging pet peeve. I know signage is universal for ease of interpretation by all who encounter them, but do they need to be quite so ugly? For example below is a sign forbidding the parking of bikes against a wall and a sign next to a wonderful lantern and frescoed ceiling which just defies and ugly is all I can say and spoils the lovely image!

I will be back in Australia at the end of May- I have been looking for a house sit as i do not want to rent again and the sale of my land has been affected by new legislation which means there will be no movement in the sale of it until at least next year. It puts me in an awkward spot so i thought a house sit would maybe work as I  will be back in Europe from September 2014. However I have not found anything suitable as yet- does anyone need a house sitter in Victoria? I am good with animals and am able to maintain  a lawn etc, even your vegie patch.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

A Blog to Share

My daughter Celeste has a giveaway of some of her print design on her brand new blog. She has been studying Visual Communication and Design at RMIT University and is nearing completion of her  study. Anyway I will let her blog tell you her story.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Chartres- What Can I Say?

Chartres......Endlessly fascinating, endlessly new and surprising whilst visiting old friends, each time something new catching the eye. There is something to be said for revisiting old places, things change, your seeingness changes,you change, details you had never noticed jump out, patterns  emerge, and you marvel at the sheer size of this extraordinary outburst of faith and sculpture in stone- the only thing you have to add in your own mind is colour, but aren't the best stories where your imagination has to  fill the gaps?

Yes the Madonna and child revered by many has changed, the dress however is looking  a bit dreary and dare I say it dirty, you almost feel  like offering to make another?

 I saw a marvellous exhibition in Lyon  in the Museum of textiles of  processional dresses worn by  Madonna and child including modern interpretations- they were so colourful and inventive. At the time I refrained  buying the catalogue, but I regret it now because they are not to be found anywhere high or low. The  Madonna on the right I photographed last year and the one on the left I photographed yesterday and the pear wood has been given a clean as you can see.

 And the figures on the different portals. The ones on the left on the Royal Portal and the ones on the right on the North Portal. The  figures of the north portal are more frequently seen in photographs but the ones on the royal portal are more fascinating in my mind. I guess the elegance of the arms of the ones on the right are more accomplished, but I love the individuality of the faces of the royal portal.

The sweetness of expression of this queen of the royal portal  is entrancing I find, and then the adornment of her dress on her right shoulder- I wonder what it means, what symbol it's communicating? I have looked but cannot find anything about it. Too many bits of information go missing down the march of time.

And then there is the patterning of the columns within the cathedral- many of the small decorative columns have been finely carved in sections measuring approximately 4 inches by about 18-20 inches high. There is a discernible difference in the style of sculpting the patterning whilst maintaining an overall uniformity- one can image men in workshops working on their bits of stone and marble chiselling away to a design. Was it drawn out in detail? The image on the left whilst arches also reminded us of trees, and then there is the wonderful bestiaries. The detail in these are amazing given their size, and there are so many and they would have been coloured in medieval times.

And of course there is all the marvellous stained glass- although this one of the  Madonna and Child containing the famous Chartres blue which is actually the pales blue is my favourite window and tells the story of the lineage.

And then there is this puzzling little relief- in this one , it appears to be feminine but in other reliefs it was more androgynous- always arms raised, in some the genitals perhaps more exposed with the giving birth of something bulbous, but not apparent , usually but not always surrounded by bestiary- what does it mean?

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Sentinelles Update

It has been a  bit of a saga getting the sentinelle embroidered panels to Canberra for the Creative Textile Show this upcoming weekend. Unfortunately due to space restrictions not all will be hung, of course every effort will be made to hang as many as possible, but Expertise Events have assured me that all will be hung at the Craft & Quilt Fair in Melbourne late in June, and I shall be there as well. Firstly I would like to thank Elizabeth Dubbelde from Berry Patchwork for all her help in getting them back to Australia and then to Canberra, and to Libby  Campbell from Canberra for being mother to them during the Creative Craft Show.

And Exciting developments....
And remember they will then be shown at the Berry Retreat the last weekend in August- before they go back to France. France Patchwork were so blown away by the wonderful  atmosphere and work in the individual panels that they are at this stage busy securing further venues in france for them to be shown. I will be able to give you definitive dates soon, but they will see more of the world in 2015!

Older Works for Sale
And when I was recently  in le Triadou I rediscovered some of my older work which I had stored and almost forgotten about.Storage of older work has become a challenge and so  I am selling older work at very reasonable rates ( basically materials only) I made one version of Bindi's and Billabongs in 2001 and decided to make another version in the right size for  Under the Southern Cross travelling exhibition in 2002.

The work measures 100 cm x 120 cm  and is made of hand dyed cottons, has been machine stitched  and quilted and also has soem foilling on it. It  was widely exhibited with the Under the Cross travelling exhibition including the Mesdag Museum in the Netherlands. The price is $200.00 ( AUS) plus postage. Email me if you are interested.

River Systems was also made for a travelling exhibition entitled Twisted which was shown at various venues in Europe and Australia. It also measures approximately 100 cm x 120 cm and is made of hand dyed fabrics and has been hand printed and machine stitched. The price is $200.00 (AUS) plus postage. Again email me if you are interested.