Thursday, October 14, 2010

The world is all gates, all opportunities...

... strings of tension waiting to be struck.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prayer beads in hand, photograph Sam Webb 2010

I too have prayer beads in hand.
They have been very useful 
ever since I realised last night 
that I'd COMPLETELY forgotten 
Which gave rise to a lovely discussion between three girlfriends 
about all the horrible diseases I was likely to catch while I away...
If I wasn't vaccinated
... did I mention my car's broken down
and has been for two weeks?
Oh well
Lucky I have a bike
and strong shoulders

Anyway, I don't need a car to announce the winners of the giveaway.
Thanks to the horsey, arty, muddy fingers of my 3 messmonsters
We drew 3 lucky numbers!
Once I had wiped the smudges off the paper
these are the names I found:

Julie, from Being Ruby
(A chic chick whom many of you know already, and if you don't you should)

Helen Lewis, from Illuminating Words
(who popped by for the first time to join the game - and won!)
Caterina at La Dolce Vita
(Whose fabulous talent I very much admire)

I do wish I could send something to all of you.
Maybe I will when I get back from India
Create a giveaway where everybody wins 
a trinket, a colour, a thought, a word
Just for fun!!

In the mean time I'd better get to bed with those prayer beads
Or more than one messmonster is likely to strike my own chords of tension
tomorrow morning ;-)
Bonne nuit and love to you all

PS - don't forget to email me your addresses tomorrow girls!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Every journey conceals another journey within its lines...

"... the path not taken and the forgotten angle. These are the journeys I wish to record. Not the ones I made, but the ones I might have made, or perhaps did make in some other place or time. I could tell you the truth as you will find it in diaries and maps and log books. I could faithfully describe all that I saw and heard and give you a travel book.  You could follow it then, tracing those travels with your finger, putting red flags where I went. "

Jeanette Winterson
Sexing the Cherry

 This is the feeling I get when I sift through the dusty old objects in the many vide-greniers and brocantes that are held every weekend for most of the year around France. Fragments of memories decorate the stalls, calling out to the passers by as if searching for their lost home. Each object has a past life. Was one of them mine? Are these lives still carrying gaily on their merry way in some parallel universe? If so, how did these random pieces slip through the cracks into our own realm? Maybe they passed through the twilight zone with the adventurous sock that always leaves an orphan in the laundry basket.  For all the socks that have disappeared from my laundry through the washing machine, not one 18th century stocking has taken its place so far. I'm still waiting though ;-) I guess some things will just forever remain a mystery.

These little goodies are only some of the items I'll be sharing between the 3 winners of my giveaway, which will  be announced Wednesday. Other strays are sure to meander their way into the pile as I'm still ruthlessly decluttering tidying up a little before I leave for my India/Australia trip this Friday. 
It's not too late to enter. 
All you have to do is leave a comment HERE (on yesterday's post) and if you want a second chance to win, 'Spread the Word' by putting the giveaway on your sidebar. Don't forget to come back and let me know.

I still have to add a sliver of calligraphy to each package, for I couldn't have a giveaway without a word or two of my own hand.

This was just a sneak peek at some of what will be in the wee packages...

And of the journey? 
I humbly travel to Dharamshala next week with no expectations. 
In spite of my big plans. 
This is uncharted territory for me.

I take nothing but an open mind for a compass 
and a  blank page for a map. 
This is how I most love to travel.

There will be artists, women's refugee groups, Tibetan calligraphy and pigments in colours so vibrant they leave me breathless... but in what way we will link up I can't even begin to imagine.  I dare hope I'll find some pieces of wood discarded in a corner somewhere, relics of other lives, that require little more than a tender brush stroke and a word of encouragement to draw out their wings so they can fly out to the four corners of the Earth.
Your kind words of support so far really warm my soul. I'm shy. I'm nervous. I'm afraid I'll come back to you "empty handed." I know it won't 'happen' overnight, or even during this first three weeks in India ('You mean there's more planned?' laments Beaker from his position at the helm of the finances??) 

I may have nothing more than my tales of friendship and discovery with which to regale you on my return in December.

A thousand thank you's in advance though for making this journey with me.
If I'm lucky, I'll have some regular internet access so you and I 
can put those little red flags on that page 
and mark our map together.  

Cross fingers :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Spread the Word!! Giveaway!!

"Naked I came into the world, but brush strokes cover me, language raises me, music rhythms me. Art is my rod and staff, my resting place and shield, and not mine only, for art leaves nobody out. Even those from whom art has been stolen away by tyranny, by poverty, begin to make it again. If the arts did not exist, at every moment, someone would begin to create them, in song, out of dust and mud, and although the artifacts might be destroyed, the energy that creates them is not destroyed."
- Jeanette Winterson Art Objects

found again at Whiskey River but read, 
and re-read here at La Rivière

Been reading alot of Jeanette Winterson lately. So mesmerised have I become by her eloquent story telling that I race to bed every evening just to be rocked to sleep on a tide of words as wave after wave of emotion washes through me.   

On Friday, in the wee hours of the morning, my Messies and I will take to the skies on an A380 (which, incidentally are made just down the road from us so it will be soooo amazing to be in one instead of watching it circle gracefully from underneath) from France to Australia. With Beaker here to hold the fort and feed the raging beast faithful hound, and my dearest Mama in Australia to look after the grandchildren she hasn't seen for a few years, I can safely embark from there on my humble journey to Dharamsala.

If you have missed the reason for my trip you can read about it here. Wish me luck friends. This is the adventure that is my life and I know not where it may lead!

In the mean time, as many of you will have read, I've been sorting through lots of chippy crap (to coin the phrase most often used by dearest US  bestie) as I gaily set up the new studio in preparation for my return and the multiple surges of inspiration I'm sure to have after 2months away from my nest. Fingers crossed. Toes crossed!

This means I have accumulated a little trove of French vintage treasures that are just 'trop' (too much) for me to tidy away. So I thought, "Why don't I just share them with my wonderful friends out there in Blogtopia?!!!" With that I have devised and can now officially announce the 

(And thanks for helping me reduce the chippy crap collection)

Unfortunately, I managed to have a camera failure today so we will have to wait for tomorrow for the 'official' photos.

What will be included in the package?

Ahhh - you'll have to wait till tomorrow for the photos ;-)
All I can tell you is that it won't be these little piano parts off an early 1800's piano 
as I haven't made them into anything yet ;-)
It will consist of pretty bits and pieces.
Definitely vintage
Definitely French
 oh and...

all packaged up in special packages
with more handwritten words
of friendship and good will
from moi

There will be three winners.

You don't have to be a follower.
Anyone can enter by leaving a comment on this post.
Even if you don't have a blog.
But I'd love it if you would 
by putting me up in the sidebar of your blog
(for which you get an extra entry)

As that is to be the new name for my ethical art project

See you tomorrow with more...

Oops! Forgot to say that the 3 winners will be announced
on Wednesday October 13th
at midnight Toulouse time.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Il est Interdit d'Interdire! The jury's still out on this one...

Whoever made that up didn't have real kids!

Messmonster:|mesmonster  ˈmesmänstər |noun [usu. in sing. ]:

* Accomplished perpetrator of immediate and apparently permanent chaos disguised in a miniature human body. Thrives on a mixture of bribery, threats, stolen jelly beans and what appears to be NO sleep. Characterised by its uncompromising strength and determination in the face of authority. Known to harbour a blatant disregard for homeschooling mothers that is cleverly dissimulated under a joyous, devil-may-care attitude. Allergic to all forms of housework and cleanliness.

Homeschooling Mother / Artiste: |ärˈtēst|noun]:

* A professional entertainer seemingly normal female adult, with l'extraordinaire capacity to understand and teach foreign languages or complicated math problems that she can't recall ever understanding at school. Thrives on champagne, the faint prospect of sleep, and bribing messmonsters with jelly beans. Allergic to housework but paradoxically addicted to cleanliness. Slightly masochistic tendency to create more housework and less cleanliness through keeping 3 messmonsters at home during a normal school year. Dreams frequently of calligraphy and paints...

Problem n°1 (Maths, Art & English all rolled into one):

If a bottle of pink champagne = 75cl,  how many glasses can Mummy have to steady her nerves while cooking dinner before emptying the bottle? 5 points

Describe the champagne's exact shade and tone of pink: 2 points

Spot the French word in the sentences above and explain the difference between Champagne and Méthode Champenoise: 3 points 

No really, I'm just joshin' ya!

I'm R.E.A.L.L.Y enjoying the challenges and rewards of homeschooling the possums, especially now that, since I've finally started transferring truckloads boxes of paints, inks and papers across to the studio once lessons are finished, I've almost been reunited with my bedroom floor. 
Still sort of tracing a path through a minefield of soon-to-be-moved books and bits just to reach my bed. You can all see a glimpse of carpet there though, can't you? It wasn't there last week!! I'm making slow progress I assure you :)

Been saving the drawers below, that I found in a vide grenier just 2km down the road, for the day I would have my very own atelier.

Loved this chippy old home-made block of drawers that I found in a mechanic's garage in the Ariège region at the foot of the Pyrenées.

All this organising has allowed me to re-acquaint myself with lots of long forgotten vintage treasures off which some will be going into the giveaway that I'll be announcing officially this weekend. Still got a bit more putting awayering to go before I can actually work in here, but it's getting there!

Pop by over the weekend for a 'full of gratitude' giveaway
The one I've been promising for months now.
French vintage. Paper. A touch of calligraphy.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Just another drop in the Ocean?

If each drop of water were to say: 
one drop does not make an ocean, 
there would be no sea.

If each note of music were to say: 
one note does not make a symphony, 
there would be no melody

If each word were to say: 
one word does not make a library, 
there would be no book

If each brick were to say: 
one brick does not make a wall, 
there would be no house

If each seed were to say: 
one seed does not make a field, 
there would be no harvest

Zambian saying found here, at one of the most harmonious places on Earth...

Thought you'd like this as much as I do 
Fitting for a 40 year old state of mind :-)

I wanted to add lots of photos... but my attempts have been thwarted twice.
So I hope you'll just enjoy this one, 
taken from a wee boat off L'Ile Rousse in Corsica 

May your oceans be full 
Your symphony be melodious
Your library be verbose
Your crops be plentiful

Laura, thank you so much for your amazing post 
about my fair trade project over at Kim Klassen's 
'The Inspiration Studio'
I am very honoured
and truly blessed.