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Sunday, 2 March 2014

On Being a Gauzy Butterfly in Dublin

I have left the country.

I am neither on my sofa at home, nor in my bed, writing this blog, I am on a sofa bed in Dublin, with a pot of tea beside me and a crisp white duvet with gauze butterflies sewn on as if they have just flown in through the window and rested.  I am here with Eileen, my photographer friend, and we are as those gauze butterflies, we have flown in (not through the window) and rested.  We are visiting our old friend Rhona, and her family.  Both Eileen and I think we are in Heaven. I will check with Rhona in a minute to see if she thinks she is in Heaven too with us here, I expect she does, she is very nice indeed.  

It will be a short blog this week, I am needed next door in the kitchen.  Ah, you say with approval, you are cooking breakfast for your friend and her family, how they must love having you.  Well actually, we have taken over the kitchen a bit, Rhona has a whole studio full of craft materials, paints, pretty things, papers, pens, metal stamping stuff, beads, feathers, fancy bits and pieces. Eileen, Rhona and I are spending our time playing and making whatever comes to our minds, and saying To hell with cooking and cleaning, away with you, sight seeing and strolling the Dublin streets,  I'm going to make a bag out of old dresses and Eileen is going to make a mysterious collage and Rhona is going to make some birds.  So the whole of yesterday was spent in happy, messy, silence.  We sat in deep concentration, cutting, sticking, sewing and creating. There was a flurry of movement at about 3pm when Eileen and I went out to buy chocolate, and Rhona still had to look after her family, but on the whole, this is how we spent yesterday.  

Me, Eileen and Rhona, making wonderful art at the kitchen table.  We did stop for lunch, and the food was as colourful as our arty stuff. 

Today, Eileen will photograph us for a painting  I have in mind, a painting of the three of us based on the idea of the Sacre Conversazione, a sacred or holy conversation, from the Italian Renaissance.  Paintings of a Sacre Conversazione involve a group of saints having a conversation with the Virgin and Child, in an informal and unified space.  I love this idea, and though none of us are that divine, Eileen, Rhona and I have known each other long enough, and well enough, to take part in a composition such as this. The idea is that it is possible to be in the presence of the Holy Family, and to talk informally. Here is an example of a Sacre Conversazione from about 1445, from Domenico Veneziano.  It is part of a St Lucy Altarpiece, and it shows the Virgin and Child (baby Jesus), with saints identifiable by their clothes and the objects they are holding as part of their story.  Here, from left to right are the Saints Francis,  John the Baptist, Zenobius and Lucy. Even though they don't look as if they are chatting, they are informally grouped, and are within the sacred circle.

Sacre Conversazione, the Saint Lucy Altarpiece by Domenico Veneziano from about 1445.  Mine won't look anything like this wonderful painting, it is to show you how a Sacre Conversazione works.  I could put Eileen in a mitre, Rhona on a throne and me in animal skins, it may work.

My painting will take the idea of the sacred conversation, and will be more base on this composition of three angels, taken from an old Greek icon

A lovely grouping of three angels, I will base our painting on this format.

Except, and we all know this, what I say I will do in a painting, never turns out that way.  When I start a painting, it takes over and I never know what will actually materialise.  My aim is to begin, with the intention of creating something for the three of us, and to go with the artistic flow. 

Other news

Here on my sofa bed with the floaty gauze butterfied duvet, I can see some of Rhona's husband's family arriving.  I must go and say hello, so the news here will be short and succinct.  I sense breakfast too, which means I am needed in the kitchen to eat something.
  • I am in a bit of a Place of Unknowing at the moment.  I have many ideas, but what is it all for? A bit of angst probably doesn't do anyone any harm.
  • I am meeting with the documentary film maker on Tuesday and we will talk and do some preparatory filming.  This is to see how it all comes across, the work this lady is doing involves many people and ideas, I may or may not be right for her.  I will have a bath and practice my most sincere expressions so that she likes me.
  • AGD Brighton is going ahead big time.  We are all just getting on with the organising.  Rhona here is a graphic artist and does the invites and posters for me, and so we have had a little chat about what I need.  (Rhona, can you do another AGD invite?  Yes.  Thanks.)
  • I spoke to St Helier's hospital on Thursday last week, and oh.  I went to the wrong hospital and messed it all up.  I was half an hour late, and kept everyone waiting.  They were so nice, but with less time, I think I spoke like those cattle auctioneers in the USA, who speak so fast you can't understand a word unless you frequently buy cattle from them.  Not my most inspired talk, but life is full of mishaps that keep us on our toes.
  • I am meeting an interesting Funeral Director in Hove this week.  The nice man from Dying Matters put us in touch with each other, we have the same outlook I believe, so he must be pretty fab.
  • I am speaking to the Martlets Hospice in Hove too this week, about the Swansong Stories.  This, if you rememberer, is the one to one creative projects I want to do with people at the end of life.
And now!  The Artist needs to fly away, unlike her gauzy butterflies sewn onto her duvet. The Artist has seen, amongst all the arty stuff on the table, breakfast.  It has galvanized her into action.  I will dress, she says, and fly away next door to be fun and frolicsome, and have something to eat with my Irish friends.  

Here then, are the bags that I have made.  



Little bag, front and back, a teeny creation for teeny things


Unlike this one, the absolute star bag of all time.  It is, as we decided, for putting things in.

This is a big bag, and it could be a teacosy too, for a very big, long, low pot.

Inside, we have polka dot lined pockets.  A useful kind of bag, undefined, but useful.
Until next week my darlings.  I may see if the big bag could be a hat.  With secret compartments inside for loose change.  It is all go here, creatively, in Ireland.