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Friday, April 30, 2010

P.S.

Since the naughty blog gremlin stole in and wouldn't let me complete my post as planned I will use this post script to share the almost finished puppet I previewed yesterday. She is designed to be worn over one extended hand and arm while the operator's other hand controls the rods to the puppet's hands and articulated arms. (At this point she still lacks finished hands and rods for manipulation). If the body appears a bit flat it is because it's designed to be "fleshed out" so to speak, by the operator's arm and hand---and since no one was around to model and my own arm not long enough you'll have to use your imagination to provide her rightful form. (Whew!!! There were an awful lot of "hands" and "arms" in there!!!).

And lastly, the mystery flower from the front yard of our borrowed house finally showed itself to be a lovely iris. Happy May Day to all !!!

April Travels

As promised, I have begun to sort through all the recent photos and have some to share, beginning with the town of Die (French pronunciation takes away the bad associations we have for this spelling in English, creating a sound more like "dee"), nestled among mountains in the south eastern quadrant of France.


In the old city the buildings block the intense, pure light and seen to lean out to each other, like neighbors chatting across a fence. There are frequent stone supports that look like narrow arched bridges at second story level, presumably to prevent this leaning from becoming more disastrous. (They don't seem to be placed in a manner that could be easily used as an actual bridge between houses since they seldom have window or balcony access reasonably close at hand).
A window full of vintage lace and one with a Picasso poster. If you look closely you can see me reflected in the upper left behind Pablo, with my obligatory morning baguette in hand.

The cathedral with its Romanesque bell tower...

Architectural details...

More views..

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Enchanted April

Spring has been really lovely here in France and was a magical first experience for me of March and April in this country. My recent travels have taken me from intense heat one day to a high elevation blizzard in the glorious Alps, back to picnics beside the turquoise waters of southern rivers in short sleeves and finally to the west coast again. On the drive across the country it seemed there was a wonderfully romantic looking castle ruin on every hilltop and I wish I could have stopped to photograph all of them! As it stands I have an alarming number of interesting photos I want to share with you--- but they will have to wait for a bit of sorting and selecting---soon, I promise! Meanwhile I'd like to show you what else I've been doing with my time besides snapping pix.
A sampling of cut paper shadow puppets for upcoming performance works...
Another sort of  puppet---a hand held rod version in process--with recycled newsprint papier mache head, faux fur hair and the beginning of rag wrapping to give her body and arms shape. I wasn't initially certain how I felt about creating a more standard, doll like face than my usually fantasy, but it seems to be called for in the particular production for which it is destined. I think the clothes and final touches will help to make her more memorable. To give you some idea of the proportions, the head and neck measure 15 centimeters. Below her are three older creations in my more "normal" fantasy style for comparison.




               And a lovely, merry month of May to all from my house of faes...until next we meet!!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Travel back in time with me, just a short distance to the final days of February when I actually signed up for this blog whilst visiting the city of Metz, in the north east of France. Metz is a beautiful and ancient city that carries the architectural mark of both German and French creativity along its integral waterways. It boasts legends of a saint banished dragon that can still be seen in a 16th century papier-mache effigy in the cathedral crypt and in a more recent likeness dangling over a street lined with fashionable shops.



Then there is the cathedral itself, a Gothic marvel rising up to neck craning heights in the interior as well as exterior. And everywhere there is the presence of the stone masons and sculptors who fashioned this city and peopled it with a plethora of fantastic personages---foliate heads, gargoyles and mermaids cohabiting with saints and madonnas.






I took a walk one late winter day under leaden skies, past lingering remnants of snow and wet cobblestones and discovered a park near the medieval German gate (pictured at the beginning of this post). The path is lined with stonework of a more melancholy nature--- ancient sarcophagi with interiors shaped to hold human cargo now home to reflecting pools of leaf filled water. There was one tiny child sized coffin among many larger ones.

And so I will leave you for now with the image of a heraldic lion from the facade of a renaissance hotel near where we stayed. A passerby told me the poet Verlaine had lived there for a period, but I have yet to verify this tidbit, preferring to keep it alive as an interesting possibility.