I’m hosting the workshop of Kari McKnight Holbook this week-she has a group of lovely ladies who are busy in the studio and out and about seeing the area for inspiration.
Today was the Lautrec Vide Grenier (flea market) and it is one of my faves. Lautrec is one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France and tho Toulouse- Lautrec was not born here (he was born near Albi) the Lautrec family had a large manor house here. The Village square is particulary beautiful with timbered houses and flowers in bloom.
I ran into the workshop ladies at Lautrec and they had really “scored” with treasures to use in art and to go home with. I myself got a wonderful handknitited sweater, a charming wire rack, two lovely antique pots to sit out front and fill with flowers. And a gorgeous antique soup tureen. Total for all: under 15E
Speaking of flowers- we have a flower fairy in our village. Our street- Rue des Martineurs (street of the Copper beaters) is looking very lovely this year with lots of flowers outside the fronts of the houses. Our dear friend and silk painter- Ann Mason- has inspired all of us with the beautiful “garden” in front of her house. She also gave me a gorgeous hanging basket of flowers and has given plants to many others on the street. Merci Ann!
In the tres petit (tiny) village of Giroussens is a jewel of a museum- the Museum of Contemporary Ceramics. This lovely village is close to Gaillac, which is the center of the wine producing area closest to our vllage of Durfort- about an hour and a bit away. I came upon this museum by chance (par hasard) in 2007 and make a point each summer of going to see the exhibition.. They have been outstanding!
One side of the modern building is the current exhibition featuring work by comtemporary French potters. The other side of the building features local and regional potters in a smaller exhibition space. Inbetween is a lovely gift store with beautiful pottery for sale.
Here’s a few of my favorite pictures from the exhibitions.
And a couple more:
It is lovely to be here in our beloved village of Durfort in France and to be on the verge of hosting and teaching again (for the 10th year!) at La Cascade.
We arrived to quite cool and rainy weather. It is the first thing that all our village friends tell us: We have had no spring at all! So we wait for summer to begin NOW. The weather is finally turning and soon the sunflowers will start to grow. Right now the poppies and roses are blooming like crazy.
We woke up early on our first morning and rushed to the renowned Revel Saturday Market- white asparagus, strawberries are fresh from the farms and wonderful. I made a strawberry granita right away. And we attended a Medieval Fair in Issels- about 15 minutes away- the French take these fairs seriously- everyone dressed up, singing, dancing, horses, chain mail, good food, crafts -Delighful!
Have spent the last few days getting the La Cascade art studio all in order- the first class arrives next week and I am looking forward to hosting Kari McKnight Holbrook.
And I had a special short holiday last weekend with my husband Dan and our good friend Ann Mason. She lives here in the village in the summer (she’s from Great Britain) and is a wonderful silk painter- many of you will meet her this summer during my workshops! The three of us went to Portugal and stayed in a mountain top B&B in the middle of ancient vineyards (the area near Porto which produces white, tawny and red port). Those that know me well, know I love to end the studio day with a white port down at our village cafe and have made many converts- I’ve asked Bernard, the cafe owner to have lots on hand this summer!
As I made many of the flowers I was trying to pay attention to which styles were interesting for me to make, exciting to make, boring to make,or “I never want to make this style again”.
Once I settled on the three main “contenders” for a line of brooches and earrings. I next set out to make five of each of these. Making a multiple of five helps me to think deeply about the design and the mechanics of the “making of”, refine the techniques, try out different color palettes, and see which designs excite me the most.
For this particular series I decided I wanted to add fabric. I had so enjoyed making the initial fabric collage that I wanted to explore different ways to add fabric to the brooch design. I also wanted to use my French flea market metal” treasures”.
Each of the flower brooches was made specifically for each of the four women in my original story.
I leave soon for workshops in France and will be writing weekly from there about what I see, what I am inspired by, where we go during the workshops, and anything else I find that you might be interested or inspired by for making art. Please join me!
Last post on using “Narrative or story” as inspiration I showed you my first steps in developing a new line of jewelry. Remember my inspiration is the gardens of Versailles and four women who were there. I wanted to develop brooches and earrings that these women might wear.
I started by drawing 20 different flower shapes.
Then made several in polymer clay.
Here are some of those.
Next step was to decide which one had the most potential (and interest) for me to make as a possible new jewelry line.
I’ll show you next step next post.