Sunday, December 13, 2015

Renaissance Quilt

In response to a challenge posed to one of the Quilt Guilds to which I belong, I made a quilt that had to be inspired by any dictionary definition of the term "renaissance" or anything thing that represented that particular time period.  

My choice was to focus on perspective by making an open window with its shutter also open - thereby giving me a chance to show perspective.  Naturally, I also felt I had to have something worth looking at inside that open window.

While we were in Italy, I noticed that the museum shops were selling lens cloths (used to clean eyeglasses) with fine art reproductions printed on them.  I thought that was a possibility for my open window (thinking of a still life, for example) but didn't see anything that would work.  Once we returned home, I went on line and bought a couple that I thought might work.  One really captured my imagination as you will see shortly.

Our "Italian trip" also answered my question as to what the building around the open window would look like.  In my stash I knew I had a remnant of home decorator fabric that was absolutely perfect for a Renaissance building.

Basically, I had solved all my problems - except making the quilt.  What with everything else that had to be done, I didn't get the quilt completed until the night before the Guild meeting where the Challenge quilts were to be displayed with makers' identities carefully hidden and voted on. 

Here is my entry:

It wasn't easy to get a good photo because of the dark background, so Vermeer's Girl with the Pearl Earring is more shadowed than it should be.  In the close-up below, you can almost see where the lens cloth began and ended, but the fabric that I added in constructing her arm and lengthening her back may obscure it a little.  She is wearing her earring, and as you can tell, she has received a letter with a jewelry pouch containing a pearl necklace.  What will she do?  

The Guild membership voted this quilt the best of those that came in. 

A bit embarassing as I am the sole member of the Challenge committee!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Venice - Entry 5 - Art

What I will be sharing with you this evening, are photographs taken at the Museo Correr in St. Mark's Square in Venice.  As one would expect it was an amazing museum, but I will try to limit myself to the photographs of things that I found especially noteworthy on a personal level.

I love furniture that is designed for storage purposes - I really appreciate things that make organization not only possible but also a pleasure.  And that may also be because I love imagining what I would put in the drawers or cabinets and/or because I have so many things that could be/should be organized!  Whatever the case, here is a beauty:

 The ceiling is a marvel:

The first rooms we visited focused on the industries in Venice here the weaving of cloth:

Spindles used in spinning:

Now these are fun!  I knew the Japanese have their gaitas, other cultures have their versions of shoes that help keep their feet above wet and unpleasantness, but the Venetians put them all to shame.  Look at these zoccoli or "clogs".  After seeing pictures of aqua alta (high water), I have a better understanding of why someone would risk his/her neck by wearing these!

Remember the importance of images?  Here is a beautiful, very large banner:

and a close up:

This painting  (the glass shielding the painting reflects an image from the room, but if you look carefully you can see the red robe covering the shoulder) of Dio Padre or "God the Father".  It was mounted above a doorway and was a very effective placement!

The labels are for the painting above and the Durer below.  (Sorry, I couldn't find a modern German font - no umlaut for the "u" in Durer's name.)

This is one of the works of art that really spoke to me.  As a teen I used to pour over Durer's woodcuts in books I borrowed from the library, and here is a real woodcut by the master (and still in the book which you can't see).  With color!  Just look at those dragons!  St.Michael certainly has his hands full!  There is so much going on in this tiny space.  Durer was carving a battle, and the viewer can feel the energy, the swirl of bodies, and the thrust of weapons.  He was a master!

Another incredible ceiling:

Design on the floor:

Gorgeous shadow play:

Two fabulous Murano crystal chandeliers:

Another of my idols - Breughel.  This one just took my breath away!  First, it's a genuine Breughel's, and it's tiny (relatively speaking) - roughly 14" X 10.5".  Second, to the best of my knowledge, I have never see it in reproduction in any art book that I perused (trust me, I used to spend hours looking through books with color prints of art), and of course, I'd never seen the original, either.  Deep breath needed.  

This is a restoration in progress - a truly lovely wooden carving of Mary if I remember correctly or possibly an angel.

There is such calm in its/her face.  If it's Mary, I would say her expression shows acceptance or resignation.

And the library with incredible wood and a HUGE globe!

And that's only part of it.  The museum is very large, and it is full of glorious things. 

But this ends my photographic journey through Italy - severely edited, of course.  It was a dream of a trip thanks to DH and C.  They listened to us when we told them what we wanted to see and do, they planned everything - from sites, to hotels, to meals, to transportation, and more.  They were unfailingly calm and cheerful.  In fact, they were such fun to travel with, we're ready to sign on whenever they feel they can tolerate us again.  Or should I have said, "IF they can tolerate us again.
You two are the best, Thank You!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Venice - Entry #4

For my quilting friends, this may come as something of a surprise, and it certainly was for me.  On this trip, I did not purchase any fabric.  Indeed, the closest I came to doing so was this:

. . looking in from the outside.  It looked very promising, but we were heading back to our hotel, and I figured that we would pass this way again. Wrong!  We didn't, and I had no idea where it was so couldn't even ask if we could head that way.  It's a good thing I didn't need any fabric!  And, how would I have carried it all?  So I blithely continued collecting doors.

This was a picture begging to be taken; no translation needed!

It was a rainy day, but that didn't stop either the tourists or the gondolieri (notice how the one on the right is using his oar and his leg to keep his gondola in place).

Even on a rainy day, the views are lovely.

A wonderful lamp -

The water is rising as you can see.

A gorgeous door, but watch out for that first step!

While I should apologize for showing such a poor photograph, I won't.  We went to tour La Fenice  (the Phoenix), the famous opera house in Venice.  I had forgotten that it had burned down in the 90's and didn't reopen until the early part of this century.  You'd never have been able to tell, though. Anyway, we walked into a rehearsal for Mozart's Magic Flute and were able to enter a box to listen and watch for a bit, but taking photos was not allowed.  I took this one (which I shouldn't have, but I reasoned that I wasn't taking pictures of the rehearsal) and took it as quickly as possible.  Too quickly judging by the blurriness!

At dinner on our last night in Italy, we had our first bottle of Chianti presented in the basket we all remembered from our college and newly married days!  

In this entry, the focus has been on our last full day in Venice . . . except for one thing.  We spent a long time in one of the museums on that day, but I decided to save those photographs for another entry.  Or two.

Consider yourself warned.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Venice - Third Entry

I finally realized that the titles for some of these posts are misleading.  This is the third entry about Venice, not the third day there.  Sorry if this has confused you, but since that's my usual condition, I didn't even notice.

These photographs are from our trip from Venice to Isola de Burano which is one of the islands that form the archipelago in the lagoon around Venice.  We skipped going to Murano since DH and C had been there several times, and we didn't feel we had to see how their beautiful glass is made.  It is for sale everywhere so I knew I'd be able to pick up a few items to take home elsewhere.  Burano turned out to be a perfect place on what was a lovely sunny day.  You'll see what I mean in a minute.  But first a few photos of our trip via water taxi out to the island.

No, this isn't our water taxi!  Once out in the lagoon, the gondolieri have to work very hard.  Theirs is a strenuous job at times.  According to the information we received at one point, gondoliers in red striped shirts are in training (400 hours) and haven't passed the required exam (including knowing every canal, proving one can handle a gondola, and knowing several languages) yet. But they though the work is physically demanding, it's well worth it as they are highly paid.

Here is the dock area at Burano.  You might begin to get a hint as to why this island is a special attraction.

So here are photographs (only a few of the vast number I took while here).  See if you can figure out why we wanted to visit this island.

Have you ever seen a more vivid locale? Well, I know the answer could be Yes because there are other places in the world where color is brilliant, but oh my!   We had been told what to expect, but the reality is stunning.

There was an added bonus for me here:

A lace maker!  When I asked if I could take a few pictures, she very graciously assented, but I was so fascinated I managed to take only two.  Her fingers flew as she hand knotted the lace she was working on.  She wasn't crocheting or tatting or using bobbins at this point.  I tried asking her a few questions, but she didn't speak any English.  It didn't matter.  In the picture below, she is making her lace so quickly the thread is a blur that looks like filaments of silk but isn't.

Out on the streets vendors had all sorts of things for sale, and I was hard put to pass up this very pretty blue and white ensemble (with black lace skirt).  It was wise since I rarely dress up these days, but it was really tempting!  Notice the lace parasols on the ground, too.

And finally, some random shots from Burano.  We wandered away from the main streets as we worked our way back to catch the taxi to Venice.  It was well worth it as there were fewer people and still much worth seeing.  Windows, for example . . .

The wind over the years has all but obliterated the wall designs below, but they're still striking.

More windows . . .

I love the way this home is painted.  One building, two families.

Wow, who'd have thought - another window!

More Venice to share tomorrow.