Friday, July 8, 2011

Florence and THE Vase

It is true, my folks took my family on excursions to the beach and we would stop in Florence, Oregon—a nice town—however, I’m referring to THE original Florence in Italy. I’ve wanted to visit Italy for years and years. In fact, I could almost swim across to Sicily, or maybe take a rowboat. I even took Italian lessons and watched the RAI (TV), which is easily picked up in Tunisia. The problem was that when it came to exchanging Tunisian dinars for Italian Lira or later Euros, I found that little remained in my pocket. And for many years, Tunisia had tight restrictions on the amount of currency that could be taken out of the country. Considering prices in Italy, I could have visited for a day and a half or two.
          Then, I was invited to participate in a conference near Florence (in Montecatini) a year ago. Dream come true! Of course, I managed to work in several days of sightseeing in Florence and this is what marked me most: It is difficult to draw a line between Italian artists and artisans for they seem to converge and the result is a way of life that touches everybody. Everyday objects are bestowed with a magic that takes them beyond utilitarian. Take, for example, the humble door knocker.

Or the doors.

Then there are the floors.

Having done a good deal of house painting recently, I stand in awe of Italian house painters of old.

And, of course, there are the fountains.
Window shopping reaches new heights--just over the top!

I do not profess to know Italy well, so the idea that artistry—or the artistic—permeates Italian life (including Italian cuisine) is strictly my opinion. But I didn’t have one mediocre meal while I visited and I felt a sort of joy and appreciation when sitting down at a table or entering a cathedral or museum. It all blends together to create a pleasing whole. And don’t get me started on the gelato!
This brings me to THE vase. It sat in the window of a small antique store in the old part of Florence. It beckoned to me, but the shop was closed. I could only admire from a distance.
This is the object I carry in my mind. Lovely, elegant, sophisticated, luminous, graceful, colorful, tasteful, perfect craftsmanship, a work of art in a humble vase.
So, when I returned home and I decided that my garden would become one of my canvases, I began making mosaic flower pots, not only for utility’s sake or to provide visual delight, but to create and possess beautiful objects. And always, the memory of THE vase reminds me that artistic inspiration and fine craftsmanship enhance each other.


Carole said...

Great photos and post! The vase is beautiful and very inspiring. Just look at the colour!

JennyPennyPoppy said...

Saw your blog post on the stitchin' fingers site. Lovely pics & comments. I've been to Germany a couple of times & loved the huge old doors, gargoyles & beautiful buildings.

Jeanne said...

Fantastic photos! Isn't Florence wonderful, I don't think you could go wrong anywhere in Italy...and the food!
You are so right about that vase...a work of art!

Jeanne :)

Robin said...

I am so glad you happened on my blog and wrote a comment, because now I'm here at yours. OMG, your pictures of the door knockers, doors, floors, painted exteriors are amazing. And the vase... how you have captured with your image the exact words you used to describe it, I'll never know. Only the Italians make glass like that!

You may not take to beads, but I'm into fiber and quilting arts too, so we'll probably meet again.

MulticoloredPieces said...

Thank you, everyone, for such admiring comments--how can photos of Florence not be beautiful? The vase is actually ceramic with an exceptional glaze. Whenever I have regrets about not possessing it, I think of having to dust it every week--I'll settle for the picture!

Francien said...

Thank you Nadia for the lovely comment on my blog...and two favorite hobby`s are patchwork and quilting and mosaics...i think i have a very impressive pile of books about mosaics and the one from Kaffe Fasset have a nice blog too...what a great pictures you have the doors and the window with the colorful ornaments...looking forward to your posts with your mosiacs and if you should install "followers"i will become one!
greetings from Holland....Francien.

MosaicMagpie said...

Thanks for dropping by! It is HOT but you have us beat with over 100. When it is hot like this it just zaps my energy. Did a lot of work in the yard yesterday so today I am staying inside too. Thanks for the comments you left and yes that avacado green I saw plenty of too. I did not hurt the sewing machine I only removed a large screw that worked the pressure foot and screwed the lamp in there. I kept that piece and it can be easily replaced. I did remove the old cord so I would have to replace that but looks like it would be easy to do.
I tried to email you back but you are a no-reply blogger. There is a link on my sidebar that will help you change that if you want. It is nice to be able to write back to those that leave comments and a great way to make friends.
Love photos on your blog and I look forward to reading more. I am following you now, so I won't miss a thing!

Annie said...

I would love to travel to these far away places one day and see these amazing things, thanks for coming into my world through my blog.

Katie said...

Hello. Thank you so much for your nice comments on my neglected blog. :0) I love yours and these photos are great- those doors! that architecture! Everything! So much fun stuff to read too, I need to get all caught up. See you soon.

Emma said...

Good to meet you. Went to France last year & saw some beautiful rustic doors but haven't been to Italy for 25 plus years but was in Sidi bu Said (sp!) 30 years ago can you believe! I'd just left Photography college & found the colors wonderful.

I'll come back & read more but as I whizzed thru (got to go to work soon) the last post on the 'page'caught my eye. Here you never ask a direct question either - I'm an artist in a crofting (farming, but more...)community & after 12 years, haven't reached eccentric status yet. But I'm a still smiling Englishwoman in Scotland, that speaks for itself ;)

Kathleen From Eggs In My Pocket said...

Hi! Thanks for stopping by to visit me and I am so glad to have visited here. I have always wanted to visit Itally and that vase is so pretty! I would love to your mosaic vases! I think the art of creating mosaic pieces is so wonderful. I have a book on making mosics out of pebbles for the outdooors, and I have not yet leaped into that venture. Come back to visit!

jackie said...

I loved Florence, especially the old fashioned icecream shop, with the great varieties. Thanks for visiting my blog.
I will come back and look at yours again, I'm tired tonight after a short family holiday.
Best wishes to Tunisia.

Karen said...

Just beautiful!!!

Connie Rose said...

I love your photos of Florence. I was there myself in late 2007 and although I dream of going back to Italy, the chances of it ever happening are very small.

So you're from the States. I live in Humboldt County, CA, not that far from Florence, OR in the big scheme of things. How did you get to Tunisia?

Thanks for your delightful blog!

Crafty Pleasures said...

Love your pots, haven't tried mosiacs yet! They look lovely with the plants and in the garden - how clever. I just loved reading the history of Tunisia. I really don't know much at all about the country. Thank you for telling us the story. I loved Florence. My favourite city of all. I was there for only 3 days in 2005 but fell in love with the city. Looking forward to your posts.
Annie Schuiling

aracne said...

I love your article on Florence! Thank you for visiting my blog, I will come here often.