Misty morning

September 26, 2009

This is the first sign of Autumn’s arrival. A light mist over the landscape. The  humidity  covering the grass, quite different as the dew of warmer days. Subtle shades on a green landscape and this nip in the air that makes you look for  a sweater and go for the morning walk with the dog. Nino-the-beagle would not feel this new cold  though, too busy looking for new tracks and his nostrils filled with scents of the hunting season.

foggy morning

Niño, chasseurNiño, mélèzes

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Two books, two women

September 21, 2009

Laura Diaz and Mari are two characters that could not be more further apart.

Carlos Fuentes (Mexico) and Haruki Murakami (Japan) are also two favourite writers of mine. Both readings were fascinating and yet, how different their main characters.

Diaz-After Dark

Laura Diaz is the passionate woman who fascinated me in Carlos Fuentes’ book : “The Years with Laura Diaz”.

Mari is a shy and rather reserved young person around whom Haruki Murakami  wrote an eerie novel, “After Dark”, a book  you cannot put down easily. In fact I read it in a few hours, almost in the story real time.

Laura Diaz lives mostly in Mexico  whereas Mari’s story is set in Tokyo.

“After Dark” is a story of encounters in the hours between midnight and 7 am on a particular night. “The Years with Laura Diaz” lead you all along the 20th century  and the main events that marked that period.

Tetsuya Takahashi is Mari’s encounter during that night. The men in Laura Diaz’ life bring her to various places in Mexico, North America and Europe.

The writing style of these two books is very different too. In Carlos Fuentes’ novel it is flamboyant and very descriptive,  South American writers excel in it.  In “After Dark”,  Haruki Murakami writes about reality or dreams with a more concise style and shorter sentences, always making you want to read further and see beyond the story itself.

Laura and Mari are women you get attached to until the last page.  I almost regretted closing these two books, wishing that the story would go on and on. Imagining another end. Laura, Mari will stay with you for a good while should you decide to read those novels.

Ronsard’s garden

September 15, 2009

A French poet from the XVI century, Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585)  whose poem “Mignonne, allons voir si la rose…” inspired me for my first “watercolour” quilt.

Ronsard's gardenIt is  the first quilt that I dared sending to an exhibition in France. It is also a quilt I sewed for my only and favourite sister, Françoise. So much fun to sew, first choosing amongst the many flowery fabrics in my boxes. Picking red, white and pink roses and sewing them in the garden of my imagination. Would dear Pierre have liked it ? Maybe. I hope so because his poetry was very much part of my inspiration.

Ronsard's garden (detail)Here is  a detail of the quilt and of some materials I used to bring Ronsard’s garden to life. The greatest part of the work in creating an impressionist quilt is the choice of fabrics (with green background preferably) and the exact cut to give the illusion of a flower garden. The technique itself is relatively easy. Squares of 5x5cm sewed  diagonally. I learnt about this new art of quilting in the very good book by Gai Perry “Impressionist Quilts” (C&T Publishing). Since then I sewed other impressionist quilts, always with the same pleasure.

Some medieval poetry for you now…  “Mignonne, allons voir si la rose…”

The first strophe of Pierre de Ronsard’s famous poem dedicated to the lady of his heart. It is a poem about time that passes. About youth that goes by. And about the present moment that should be lived fully.

A Cassandre

Mignonne, allons voir si la rose
Qui ce matin avait déclose
Sa robe de pourpre au soleil
A point perdu cette vesprée
Les plis de sa robe pourprée
Et son teint au vôtre pareil…

“Sweet and fair Lady, Let us go and see if the rose, Which this morning had blown her purple dress to the sun, Has not lost this evening the pleats of her dress As well as her rosiness…”

Skies

September 2, 2009

Skies always fascinated me. Maybe because I come from a country where the horizon is almost always limited by hills, forests or mountains. To see a sky as big and wide as in Texas (see below),  you would have to go climbing on a mountain…  Or go hiking, driving to one of those high alpine valleys. There you would get this strange and unique feeling of being somewhere between sky and earth.

Texas mai-juin 2008 069“The world could have been as simple as sky and earth”

André Malraux

The vastness of Australian skies also made me wonder. Clouds looked different to me, as if more free to expand in all directions. The clouds over St-Kilda, Melbourne just slid away in the immensity of the Southern hemisphere, ignoring the  static world underneath.

vastness

“There are more things in the sky and on earth than your philosophy can dream of”

William Shakespeare

A sky I know well, at all times and all seasons. Vibrant colours of a sunset or dark clouds announcing a storm from the West. This is my part of  sky as I open the windows facing South-West. The forest as a skyline.

Fall, 21.10.07 023“Hope is like a night sky : there is no dark corner where the obstinate eye will not discover a star”

Octave Feuillet

Here is a sky I never get tired of admiring  in the Alps. Mountains are towering in a wide amphitheater. No soft and round hills here but a natural circus of peaks and glaciers. Some say they feel oppressed. If one looks above the mountains the sky shines or darkens like nowhere else I remember of. As if telling ancestral stories of continental drift.

Patch of sun“As long as you are happy, you will have many friends.

But as soon as the sky will darken, you will be alone”

Ovide