I finished my Wingspan and I love it.
I finished my Wingspan and I love it.
Sue’s book is amazing, but I already knew that. She also included a Strathmore Visual Journal. I’ve decided to use it to copy or work in the style of the artists in The Sketchbook Challenge. I think I’ll learn a lot that way. She also included this adorable little notebook which I bet she made. It is a bit smaller than a business card and has a hook so you can attach it to your purse or whatever. Perfect for jotting down ideas on the go.
These are the 8.5 X 11 inch stamps from the Backporch Artessa ( I love that name.). I am a poor stamper, so they don’t show their best, but I will get better now that I have these. I’m thinking to use the bead string stamp to make some notecards similar to this; I can just add a card with the sentiment.
This is Jane Lafazio’s video. I already own it so I will have the chance to share this with someone who needs some inspiration. This video showed me that I can draw. Can make art. She is a fabulous teacher and cheerleader.
Then fellow North Carolinian Lyric Kinard sent her beading DVD. This is all about embellishment. You can see a sample of it at the Interweave Press store. They are the folks who publish Interweave Knits and my new favorite mag Cloth, Paper, Scissors. Lyric creates all kinds of fiber art, as well as teaching and writing.
Lyric also sent a card suitable for framing. Can you tell a whole wall is art is developing here? The combo of music and dragonfly is so very fitting. Of course, the purple is perfect. How did she do those gossamer like wings?
Wednesday I received stamps from Pam Carriker. These really excite me. The middle one is Desdemona. As a former English teacher, I love that. I can see so many ways to combine these images with words that move me.
The card that Pam sent with her prize has the same romantic, historic quality of the stamps she designed. The art wall grows as does my gratitude for this opportunity.
Pam also sent her Liquid Graphite which I will show you when I do some sketching with it.
Thanks for bearing with me as I skitter and twirl through all these art prizes. I am also knitting. A finished project in the next post. Promise.
While writing thank you notes for my prizes, I discovered this new app on Lyric Kinard’s blog. It is called Paper Camera. My main purpose in getting it is to help me with seeing color value, but . . . it is so much fun!!!!!
I do own Photoshop and use it often, but this costs $.99 and can be put on your smartphone or tablet.
Just another toy for my old age.
And I didn’t even know I had entered.
I just received this email from Sue Bleiweiss, artist and author of the book The Sketchbook Challenge on which the flickr group and a blog is based. She and a huge group of very talented artists are sending me an amazing gift of their work and their favorite supplies. Check it out.
Then take the time to look at some of these folks’ work. Most have written wonderful books, and Jane Lafazio’s workshop From Art Journaling to Art has changed my life. She’s the one who made me realize I could sketch and paint a little something that others would recognize and like. Hoping to do a workshop in person with her next year.
Most teach and their techniques cross the boundaries of all art and craft. Traci Bunkers designed the cutest knit hat I have ever seen. The hat and Traci were featured in Handpaint Country by XRX (Knitters magazine folks) in 2002. Last year I bought her book The Art Journal Workshop which answered a lot of questions about all those products that Golden sells to do stuff to your art.
Sue’s book, The Sketchbook Challenge, is a feast of techniques you can do on fiber and paper and anything else. There are short articles from many of the donors to the prize and you can hear there voices as you read the articles. These guys feel about sharing their art the way the knitting community does about sharing their craft.
This book is at the Char-Meck library here in Charlotte. I know because one of their copies is sitting beside me right now. I promise to return it tomorrow, because my own copy is on its way.
Can you tell I am excited?
I love the colors of this yarn. I’ve loved them for several years. The yarn is now discontinued, but a similar color way creeps into other Noro yarns. I’ve swatched the yarn and started several projects. The last one was a modular thing I didn’t like. So I frogged it.
The things we do for the love of yarn!
June, 1944 — We think of D-Day. The Allies stormed the beaches of Normandy, and Hitler’s destiny was set. Thousands still visit those beaches and honor the men who fought and died there. It was violent and beastly and horrific–but it was a war we understood, and we believed it was necessary.
A few days later, June 10, 1944, in a small village, home to less than 1500 people, along the river Glane in central France, another violent, beastly, horrific event took place. But this event was neither necessary nor rational– just the evil in man in full array.
And there were homes, some over the shops, and two schools for the children of the village. There was, of course, the village church.
The people of Oradour lived, worked, loved, laughed, prayed, ate, grieved–all the ordinary things of life. They cared for others in need. When the Nazis expelled people of the Moselle district from their homes, the village took them in. Think of the towns in America who responded to the people left homeless by Katrina. These were simply people who quietly went about the business of everyday living.
At 2:00pm, the SS arrived. They smiled and reassured the villagers that they were only doing a routine security check and would soon be gone.
By 3:00, all the villagers and any visitors to the town were gathered on a common. The children had been brought in a line from the schools. The people chatted and wondered a bit, but they cooperated fully.
At 3:30, the soldiers divided the people into smaller groups. Women and children were sent to the church. Men were sent to various larger buildings such as barns and the local garage. Everyone was friendly; everyone did as they were told. The soldiers began to set up machine guns–just part of the exercise. Still the people seemed not to be concerned.
At 4:00, there was an explosion somewhere outside the village. It was the signal. The machine guns fired, killing the men and older boys of the village simultaneously in the various locations. When the shooting stopped, soldiers walked among the dead, head-shooting anyone still breathing. The soldiers in the main area of Oradour began to loot the homes and drink the wines from the local shop. Then they set fire to the piles of bodies and the village buildings.
At 5:00, SS men entered the church at the edge of Oradour where all the women and children had sat listening to the events taking place. The soldiers carried a box from which hung fuses which, when lit, filled the church with suffocating smoke. When the women tried to escape through the doors, they were met with gunfire, forcing them back into the church. The doors were locked and the church was burned; all but one of those inside were killed. Among the dead were almost 200 small children, the youngest but eight days old.
One woman threw herself through a window near the altar and escaped to the nearby woods. Back at the barns, several teenage boys had managed to slide out the back door of a building and move from one hiding place to another as the soldiers checked for survivors. They, too, finally managed to get to safety. It is from these eyewitnesses that we know what happened that day.
The war ended. General de Gaulle came to Oradour, a shell of a village, destroyed because . . . well, no one really knows why Oradour was destroyed. Retaliation for D-Day? Suspicion of anti-German behavior? Maybe just because they had the power to do it?
De Gaulle asked the survivors who had been working in Limoges or other areas on that day to allow the village to be left just as it was. It was to be a visual reminder to the future of the costs of war. It was to be a memorial to the innocent who were massacred there by unimaginable evil.
Walls have and continue to crumble. The remains are mostly rusted metal frames of ordinary objects. They are haunting. Largest are the automobiles parked where they were that day. Farm equipment and tools are scattered in and around buildings. Bicycles still lean where left, as do tricycles and the frames of prams.
Most haunting to me are the sewing machines. I photographed eight of them and I only walked two streets. I felt driven to locate as many of them as I could. I looked in every building for them. Sewing machines I understand! They represent women who make things. Things they need and things of beauty. The sewing machines connected me to those women who died before I was even born.
Finally Steve and I joined each other and sat on a curbstone. We didn’t say much. Then he said, “In its own way, this whole place is a piece of art.” He was so right. That explains the strength of this memorial. It not only represents the deeds done here that day, it confronts us with where we would have fit had we been here. It moves us exactly as great art does.
The horror of Oradour is like that of Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald, Warsaw. In the camps, the Jews were stripped, shaven, dehumanized. It is easier to understand why they were unable to resist, unable to rebel. It is less so, for me, here. Surely the people relocated from the Moselle region had shared their experiences. How could these villagers not suspected something, not tried to escape, not sent their children off to hide? According to the eye witnesses, none did. Why?
Does fear also create calm in our brains that helps us cope? Is it simply impossible for us to believe something this insanely horrible could actually be happening to us? Is it our humanity that prevents us from seeing or realizing how evil man can be?
I don’t know.
All I know is that I sat on that rock and thought of the mothers in that church and of their despair as they realized they could not protect, save their children. I couldn’t feel their pain, or their panic; but I could feel my connection to them. It was strong, like a huge knot–and there was fear.
I’m glad I discovered Oradour-sur-Glane while planning this trip. I’m glad I went there.I wish everyone would go, especially the political leaders of today’s world. The hate that created this massacre cannot be dismissed as a result of race or creed or even greed. The men who planned and carried out this act gained nothing. There was nothing to gain. This act had no rational purpose.
And those men–The men were found; they were tried; they were convicted; they were sentenced; and then, on the day of sentencing, they were released.
The war was over. It was deemed time to move on.
How incredibly quickly, and how ruinously, we choose to forget.
I am putting off writing a blog about Oradour-sur-Glane because it will be hard to capture our feelings without being mawkish. I have never used that word before. I hope it means what I mean.
So this morning I drew my October entry for The Sketchbook Challenge. The theme is Cabinet of Curiosities. I had lots of ideas, but most were beyond my skill set. Looking at some pictures online, I read about someone collecting a coffee measure to use in a future mixed media project.
Well, that reminded me of Betsy Blount, a friend and colleague I haven’t seen in years. Once, on a trip, she bought me a wooden coffee measure. This was in the 1980s. I still use it almost everyday, and thus, I think of her that often. Being ADD, I don’t act on those thoughts, but she is still a great inspiration to me.
Then I thought about other small, unexpected gifts I have received over the years. I thought of ones that showed me someone had looked through all my bluff and seen a glimmer of the real me. There have been quite a few, but I am still limited by my skill set for my drawing.
This is my sketch.
It includes my flower tattoo that my daughter gave me for an early 50s birthday. She told me Steve had said I’d never do it, so naturally, I did. I also knitted the entire time. The artist loved that.
The circle pin was the rage when I was a teen. The aunt who gave it to me always seemed to find the perfect gift for me. She, too, was a bit of an outsider in the family. Maybe she felt that connection with me.
Before I went to Australia for an extended stay, friend Rachel organized a little send off for me and brought a journal for everyone to write travel advice. It became my special travel journal where I recorded the best about a wonderful, life-changing adventure. It always shocks me to discover I am liked. Bad childhood there.
Meghan lived in Colorado so I saw her rarely. One Mother’s Day she sent me two knitted dishcloths. My baby had learned to knit. It was such a gift that she would share even a tiny bit of my passion. I cried all day.
While in France, the only green thing we ever saw anyone eat was lettuce or basil. By the time we settled in our seats for the return flight, I was craving green veggies. I told Steve I would kill for a head of Broccoli. The night we returned he served me one for dinner.
I hope my little skip down memory lane has triggered some pleasant thoughts in your mind. I’d love to hear about them.
So much I haven’t told you about, but I do want to respond to Chris and show you what I made while traveling around.
Here are some of my sketches:
There are more which I will share later, and I am knitting socks. Also bought some European knitting magazines.
We had a great time inFrance, but home is always so good. Especially when you have two sweet dogs waiting to greet you.
Restaurants advertised their fares.
I saw a sign with a picture of a sculpture I fell in love with while researching the trip. Part of the lure was the mystery of it. There are hundreds of photos of this sculpture on the web, but none of them explain it. I did take a picture of the sign.
A bit later I noticed the sculpture—–just in front of the shop with the sign! Duh! I jumped up to get closer. I had a small conversation with him about his mysterious self and when I went to take my picture—-dead battery! At least I know where I can steal some pictures.
I asked Chris (our B&B owner) but he didn’t know the origin. Thank goodness he had excellent wi-fi so I searched and found this on Flickr.
“A bronze statue ‘le badaud’ (bystander) ponders the view over the market square. The artist is Gérard Auliac of Vitrac.” He is smaller than life size, or maybe he is medieval life size, fewer vitamins and all. I’m not the only person to talk to him.
I would love to spend more time here. But it is on to the caves and the Hotel Cro-Magnon. Seriously. Steve couldn’t resist the name.
The whole day yesterday was spent trying to get Steve into a cave. Limited tickets, no reservations, schedules not followed, but finally he agreed to go to Lescaux Two, the reproduction of Lescaux. Even then we had to wait 90 min. for the ticket booth to open.
During the wait Steve met a cycling tour and talked to the guy leading it. Turned out that Christian has his permanent home in Arlington, Mass. Go, Kate. Steve seemed to really get interested in doing a tour after he saw these guys and learned there are tours for the fit, experienced rider. Yeah, don’t believe anything your wife says about these things.
He was moved by the cave and learned bunches. Later he left me in town and went to see some prehistoric sculpture which he liked. I knit and drank another Leffe in a bar filled with old French women traveling in small packs. By old, I mean they looked older than I do. Maybe.
We had a luxurious dinner at the Hotel Cro-Magnon. Starter was goat cheese ravioli set in a bowl of a carrot purée, garnished with tomatoes and veggies. Then I had salmon with julienne veggies and Steve had slow cooked lamb in a pastry. For the finish Steve had marscapone cheese and cake. I had salad and cheese. Major good cheese.
Up early this morning and headed north to Orleans, with a very moving stop at Oradour sur Glane, a village burned by the Nazi SS shortly after DDay, killing all inhabitants. The village has been left untouched since that time as a memorial to the horror of war. I’ll give that a blog of its own.
Carcassonne was a bust. Sorry, Chris. It is a collection of tricky-tacky tourist shops and Renaissance Festival acts. The walls are impressive, but . . . .
I got about 100 feet from the Chateau Comtal before the tendons felt like they were tearing loose from my right hip and I couldn’t go on. Sat on a bench and dropped a tear before making a list of good things in my journal. Sent Steve on after agreeing to meet at the tavern. With the lure of wine, I managed to hobble there.
With wine and journal, I mused. Notice I haven’t mentioned food. Next to me were a couple from the States and a Brit currently living in Japan. The Brit told lovely stories and I shamelessly listened in while sketching the walls and the crowd.
Steve come back and wisely reported that I wouldn’t have liked the chateau. He had bought me a book about Carcassonne. He never buys that kind of thing so it was really sweet. He ordered me a second wine and went off to find us a place to eat. I toasted my neighbor Anne, as I had promised to do, and relaxed.
Dinner was neat. I required Steve to order a cassoulet–white beans and lots of sausage and duck. I had some of the beans and they were tasty. I had cheese omelet and a big salad plus I felt compelled to drink a glass of Leffe in honor of Vicki and Joe. That it is an incredibly tasty Belgian beer had nothing to do with it.
By this point pain had no hold on me. Usually a bit too much makes me sleepy. This time I felt invincible which answered the question of how I was going to get to the hotel.
While I slept, Steve went out and located a medical supply store. This morning we went and bought me a cane de marche. Maybe I can get a few more steps each day from it. If not, I’ll knit and sketch and be happy.
We are headed to Sarlat and caves with pre-historic paintings. It is also market day there and I am thinking of cheese and strawberries.
Sorry I have no wonderful story to tell today, but as Scarlet said, “Tomorrow is another day.”
Later same day in Sarlat.
Joy. The hotel for tonight is lovely and old fashioned. Owned by Chris who is British, it has a flavor of what I’ve read in Brit novels of the 1930s. He is an elegant gentleman in every sense of both words.
The land around Sarlat reminds me of our lower mountains. We passed beautiful villages and many nice homes. I have no real pictures of that—Steve doesn’t stop the car for pictures, especially art pictures for which he sees no need.
Think large forests of trees, like sycamores or something, planted in rows. Fields of sunflowers mostly harvested, but with a few flowers left. Stately farm homes and then summer homes with lovely gardens. Narrow twisty roads going up, up, up.
The cane is helping me a lot, so I may walk down to the garden I can see from my window and knit a while.
This is the first time I have ever photographed the bathroom in a hotel. I love this tub.
In fact the bath is larger that our entire room last night, but the rate is less.