Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Couple of Quiet Days at the Beach

Off we went for a couple of days at the beach, two grandmas, one daughter, and three granddaughters--a girlie party. The weather was lovely, the sea sparkled, and the beaches remained fairly empty.

While the kids dabbled in the sea, the grandmas stopped by the local brocante as usual. If I still made yarn, I would've bought the primitive spinning wheel.

And I'm considering the large, odd-shaped copper teapot sitting in the middle of the center table. Very heavy and unusual in shape.

My favorite remains the horse-
head knocker, however, I have nowhere to put it.

We celebrated a birthday with another one of those beautiful cakes that my friend makes.

This one was simple, elegant, and delicious. Everyone got a sugar high and bounced off the walls, including me.

Of course, I took along my stitching for lost moments of quiet time. I finished one wing of the Wing Cloth. 

The idea of doing a mirror image (although not an exact copy) annoys me, but the piece demands it.

So I'll now set it aside for a rest and work on something else for awhile.

Early in the morning I managed to find some sketching time while everyone slept. Looking out the window onto the beach at Hammamet (Tunisia): As usual, it drove me nuts to work so small and on paper, however, I was pleased that I had taken time in the end.
And while I sketched and then stitched I thought about a page for my textile sketchbook with turquoises and golds, and remembered four machine stitched shells I made a long time ago. It's time to use them.

Then, rather suddenly, things went topsy-turvy. While beginning to think about returning home after such a leisurely break, we heard the news that another political assassination had taken place in Tunis, so we rushed home. Funny how a day can start so pleasantly and end with such worry. A national general strike was called. Another page for the textile sketchbook is now required, a marking of the passage of major events...

Linked to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Friday."

Monday, July 22, 2013

My Favorite Color

Hot summer days require a few trips to the beach at Hammamet, and consequently, a visit to the brocantes (antique stores) while the kids splash around in a turquoise sea and dig in the sand under a turquoise sky. 

Yes, blue leaning toward turquoise is my favorite color. I posted about THE vase found in an Italian antique shop here. Such depth of color and intricacy of design.

Quite unexpectedly, I ran into several striking pieces of fine craftsmanship in a Hammamet brocante that took my breath away.
A pedestal and large bowl with a diameter of about 18"/45cm stood in stately splendor. 

A set of pedestals and bowls, however, nearly brought me to my knees.
Despite a thick layer of dust, the depth of color shines through.
I would have taken these home if I could have. The proprietor certainly didn't have much respect for these lovely objects covered in dust. However, he had a fair idea of their worth--he wanted about $4,000 for the set. Gulp. 

So turquoises and blues have been on my mind lately.  I usually avoid using them in my artwork because I would put them everywhere. However, the intensity of these colors reflects well the idea of summer in Tunisia. Maybe I'll pull out some fabric from my stash.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

An Interlude

Big projects that seem interminable rule my life. However, occasionally an interlude happens. First of all, we went to the local weekend frippe (flea market).

The 25-cent pile offered quantities of shirts, blouses and skirts. 

A treasure pile--my basket runneth over.

Then we had to get it all back to the car.

My daughter snagged a 25-cent linen top and asked me (pleaded) for a small 
appliqué flower to cover a spot on the front. 

She chose an interesting black fabric (formerly an ensemble) from my stash.

Me being me, little appliqué flowers seemed out of the question. Just can't bend my mind around the concept. Needleturn appiqué to the rescue.
I tried to catch the whole design--tricky.

Finished and ironed.

However, the proof is in the pudding, as they say. 
It was meant to be worn.
The proud owner modeled her new top. 

I have to admit, I dazzled myself--a knock-out!

And then she handed me a pair of pants with a spot. Could I do just one small appliqué flower?

Linked to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Friday."

Saturday, July 6, 2013

An Intriguing Museum Visit, 3

At the Carthage Museum, my friend and I stumbled upon this intriguing exhibit of recovered treasures from the palaces of the ex-dictator and his family. 
Well, of course, they had to have a classic amphora in some sort of alcove:

The sign tells us where it was "Saisie" (seized) and that it dates from the 5th century A.D., however, its provenance remains unknown. This was the case with most of the pieces shown--their origins are lost. Thieves have no respect.

And of course they required a classic Roman draped figure in a beach palace.

A monstrous white marble fountain head sat in the beach palace as well.

This artwork is unusual for the sign mentions the provenance: the Algiers Museum. Hmmm...
This Roman stela pleased me with its palm tree and the man's friendly-looking, peaceful expression. 
It was from the first century A.D. and found cemented into a patio wall at the beach palace--and worse for the wear.
The dictator had a curio cabinet in his palace with all sorts of bric-a-brac rather carelessly tossed in, making it difficult to see much of anything. 
In fact, those shelves contained unusual and valuable antiquities.
However, the most interesting piece was this angel-like figure of Eros, which was placed horizontally on the middle shelf of the cabinet.
As my friend pointed out, a two thousand-year-old terra cotta statuette rarely has any paint left at all. So this piece was remarkably preserved as well as showing superb craftsmanship.

At this point, I suppose I could stand upon my soap box and rant about the abuse of power by the ignoramuses of the world. However, plunderers find art theft a lucrative business and the rape of a national heritage and common patrimony has a long tradition. One need only consider the extensive collections of major European museums established during the colonial period...Need I say more?

News Update: Over 30 million Egyptians demonstrated for four days until the army stepped in on July 3rd. Friends took pictures in the midst of the crowd.
The army had given President Morsi 48 hours to negotiate a viable plan with the opposition, however, Morsi defiantly maintained his legitimacy and did not take advantage of this slim opportunity. So the army, with the approval of opposition leaders and the organizers of the demonstrations, named the head of the Constitutional Tribunal as temporary president while elections were to be organized. The constitution was suspended and is now under review, and the Parliament was dissolved. The army made it clear they had no intention of governing, but sought only to respect the wishes of the People and return the country to order, emphasizing that security, which has disintegrated over the last year, would be restored. 

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief: the deposed government would have run Egypt's economy into the ground and the transition could have been much worse. News reportages showed the blockades of huge blocks in front of the presidential palace (seen in the previous post) being hauled away--a good sign, I think.

And yet, as with the Revolution two years ago, the deposing of the government remains only a first step. Leaders must organize elections, breathe life into a dying economy, improve infrastructures, and provide security and stability for all. A Rocky Road lies ahead.

Note to myself: I must do a piece with the Rocky Road pieced quilt pattern. It's appropriate for the times.