Friday, April 15, 2016

Getting Ready

The suitcases are packed. We leave for a Parisian hospital soon. After sinking in the quagmire for so many months, I feel like we are finally moving forward.

In line with my Finishing Rule for 2016, I completed a bag that will go with me. I did the panels for it when I made my recycled bathrobe (here) way back in January 2012 (gulp!). A couple weeks ago I added the sides and strap (old jeans), put in a lining with a zippered pocket, and sewed in a zipper across the top. I've been test driving it lately and it holds all the necessities, such as stitching, sketchbooks, and art supplies. I will be able to self-entertain for hours on end.
And so, we face another mountain to climb, but with hope. See you on the other side...

Sunday, April 3, 2016

It's All in the Finishing Touches

We went to a restaurant, Fondouk al-Attarine, in the Medina (the old city) in Tunis. It was such an astoundingly pleasant surprise that I had to think about why that was. The ancient building had been renovated and the restaurant had a traditional Tunisian theme done with such good taste that it made one regret the fine craftsmanship of the past. The food was very good, the waiters were pleasant, the background music (Fairouz songs) was low, the ambient temperature was perfect, the restrooms were impeccably clean. I had a bit of time to sketch and then, inspired by the sepia colors, painted a bird statuette the next day.
Leaving the Medina, I went home still pondering. After ruminating on the experience for a couple of days, I finally figured it out. Everything had been carefully planned, every detail from the glass ceiling and ventilation to the tablecloths, and everything was finished. I haven't seen anything well-finished in Tunisia in a l-o-n-g time. The difficulty of finding qualified tradespeople defies reason. My own walls are cracking, but the masons we find never show up; there are moldings that need finishing, but the carpenter is too "busy"; the list is long.

Since the "revolution", it requires superhuman willpower to maintain anything in Tunisia. For the moment, I can highly recommend Fondouk al-Attarine if you are in the neighborhood. 

However, if they can maintain their standards, I will suspect that they are superhuman, or possibly from another planet...