A Little Bit of History

For some time readers have asked about my weaving, so as I am pretty much housebound these days, this seems a good time to write about it and weaving in general.  Let’s begin with some background that I hope you find interesting .

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADid you know that that the only surviving being that has been weaving longer than man is a spider?  History suggests that man discovered early on that lacing reeds, grasses and twigs together provided items such as clothing, shelter, vessels  and sleep mats that made life more comfortable. So it is that weaving is said to have preceded other skills such as pottery making, metalsmithing or glass blowing he/she eventually developed.  Knowing something of the history of weaving makes me very proud to continue this ages old tradition.

st-petersburg-191As time passed, weaving became not just practical but an art form.  Skilled weavers were held in high regard among royalty who frequently appointed them to court positions.  Here, weavers created beautiful tapestries that were used for decorative purposes as well as taken to battle where they made encampments more like home.  Often tapestries were prized spoils of war.  Thankfully, many survived various ransacks and have been preserved so that we might enjoy and marvel at the work done by hand in another time.

Now, here’s a little tidbit that may be fact or fiction.  Christopher Columbus’s father was one of those court appointed weavers.  As a youngster, Columbus was an apprentice, and it is thought that his dislike of weaving resulted in his going to sea.  The rest is history!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

While weaving is a respected tradition in other cultures and patterns are passed from one generation to another, in America it is less so.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEarly on in this country, hand loomed fabrics were for clothing and bed linens made of wool and cotton spun and dyed by the weaver.

FranklinSlaveholders often had an outlying shed where women and children spent their days weaving fabric for necessities.  

Today, much of what was once handwoven is produced by machinery which contributes to the scarcity of weaving in developed countries. However, language is peppered with references to weaving.   We speak of the tapestry/fabric of life, the threads that bind and tales/lives woven together.  A woman who spun yarn and remained unmarried became known as a spinster.  On an on it goes, but I’ll leave it at that today and come back later with a fascinating look at looms.  

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Wow Us Wednesday

Thursday Favorite Things

Share Your Cup Thursday

Imagining: the Olson House

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo matter how many times I visit the Olson House, I am intrigued by its history, the people who lived there and the art it inspired.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI imagine a young Christina Olson shrieking with delight to the creaking of her rocking horse.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI imagine her sitting in a sunlit kitchen gazing past her red geraniums to the world outside.

Olson HouseI imagine her brother Alvaro walking through the blue door after a day’s work,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAone that may have seen him putting his dory away for the season.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI imagine their friend Andrew Wyeth sitting in the kitchen with Christina and Alvaro enjoying their, perhaps, silent company.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI imagine Wyeth looking out a second floor window toward the St. George River and finding subject for his next painting.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI imagine him sitting in this room painting Christina’s World, which would  become his most famous work and inspiration for the creative output of many others.

Yes, the Olson House gives birth to many imagined wanderings, but there is a reality here, too.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Olsons

Olson Houseand Andrew Wyeth have left this place for another that they share.  Their presence here together speaks volumes about their relationship, one that I can only imagine but much of which is told through Wyeth’s art.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Have (he)ART

IMG_5636Meet Greta Van Campen, a young Maine artist who just happens to have a show in Houston this month.  Greta travels the U.S. recording what she sees and interpreting it in her unique style.  

IMG_5635Wherever she shows, her work is reflective of the region and has resulted in quite a following throughout the country.

Afternoon12:31:15I like her meticulously done creations, but what I like even better is Greta’s desire to make a difference.  She feels very blessed to have enjoyed success at her young age, and while she doesn’t feel she yet has the resources for significant philanthropic giving she has found an alternative.

1452521794976This year Greta plans to auction a small painting each week that interprets the ever changing view outside her window in Tenants Harbor, Maine.  The successful bidder donates the bid amount to a charity of his/her choice, sends the receipt to Greta and receives a jewel of a painting in return.  Can you think of a better win/win?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mine!

I plan on bidding frequently in hope of acquiring several of Greta’s little gems, at the same time donating to a few of my favorite charities.  I am touched by her desire to give back and excited at the prospect of having my own collection of her small pieces.

I hope you will join me in supporting Greta’s generous heart.  For more information, take a look here.  Then follow along until you find your favorite painting and bid, bid, bid.  I’ll try real hard not to outbid you!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Through My Eyes: Quebec City

When you look at a map of the U.S. the northern part of Maine looks like it could be part of Canada, so that’s the first clue that it’s a pretty easy trek to places like New Brunswick, Montreal or Quebec City.

MaineAt the last minute the hubby and I decided a trip to Quebec City would be a great way to wind down our time in Maine. It’s little more than a 5 hour drive through small towns and beautiful wooded areas with the Kennebec River running through them.  

IMG_5275In places, one could almost feel as if nothing had ever been there except for the moose which motorists were warned to be aware of. Though Maine is said to have lots of moose, would you believe I’ve not seen a single one!

Quebec CityOn to Quebec City and the old town where French is the language of choice though on this trip it seemed that folks were a little more open to speaking English. Exploring the area is an absolute delight.  The streets are narrow and cobblestoned meant for pedestrians only.

There’s quite a lot to do there, but you can find out about all that on Trip Advisor or in a guide book.  What I’m going to share with you are the things that caught my eye.

Window boxes which no doubt change with the season.

Shutters, the kind that remind me of Provence.

Clever signs outside every shop and restaurant.

Art in unexpected places!

Quebec CityMurals so lifelike you felt like you’d entered another time.Quebec CityRooftops with their differing lines and colors.

Quebec CityThe market filled with local produce, meats, cheese and prepared goodies.  No way can I pass up a good market!

Quebec CityAnd, of course, the Frontenac Hotel built in the late 1800’s by the Canadian railway cannot be overlooked.

Quebec CityLocated high above the old town, it reminds of chateaux built in the 14th and `15th centuries in the Loire Valley.  No matter from which angle it is viewed, it is extraordinary.

So there you have it, my view of Quebec City.  If you’ve been there, please share what caught your eye.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Florence My Way

From the beginning, my intent was to immerse myself in Florence not as a tourist but as an explorer.  I wanted to capture this magnificent city by finding beauty in the ordinary, by wandering streets and paying attention to its sights, sounds, smells and people.  Here is Florence my way.

FlorenceFlorence was walking the same street and seeing it differently each time. 

Florence4It was observing people working in small shops, the market, on the street.

Florence8It was coming across artists sketching 

Florenceor creating street art too beautiful to be no more than temporary.

Florence9Florence was marveling at graffiti, seemingly on every bare surface.

FlorenceIt was appreciating the beauty of Santa Croce any time of the day or night

Florence1and shooting the Duomo over and over without ever capturing its real majesty.

Florence11It was the unexpected surprise of spotting remnants of art created on buildings hundreds of years ago.

FlorenceIt was going from one side of the Arno to another on lovely bridges 

Florenceand stopping to notice that the real beauty of the Ponte Vecchio was the richness of color on its back side.

Florence2It was exploring quirky flea markets

Florence5and one street market after another.

Florence12Florence was noticing people taking photos with selfie sticks.

Florence7 It was being fascinated by doors with character

Florence6and door knockers that could waken the dead.

FlorenceIt was enjoying sidewalk cafes,

Florence gelato again and again and again

Florence3and at the end of a day’s exploring, an aperol and an antipasti plate at home.

FlorenceIt was taking in Florence and all its glory knowing that the experience will fill my heart with memories for years to come.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

The Scoop

From Dream to Reality

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

For years I’ve dreamed about being in Italy, this time not in a country villa but in a town/city where I could immerse myself in everyday life.  Now the dream is a reality and Florence is where I’ll be for a month.  Why Florence?

FlorenceIt is one of the world’s most beautiful and intriguing spots

Duomo

Duomo

well known for the domed Duomo that can be seen from all over the city.

Santa Croce

Santa Croce

It is home to stunning architecture

David as he stands in Plazza della Signoria

David as he stands in Plazza della Signoria

and familiar works of art created centuries ago.  

FlorenceNow I’m sure to see much of those sites, but the real reason I’m here is to discover markets with all their temptations.

Florence/foodI want to buy fresh ingredients for meals we will eat at home

Florence/gelatoand sample every flavor of gelato. 

Coniglio stuffed with salami, spinach and fennel

I want to try as many authentic Tuscan dishes as possible.  In Florence, that should be no problem as there are thousands of restaurants.

FlorenceI want to explore tiny side streets hoping to find artisans at work

Florenceand when I need a break I want to stop at a sidewalk cafe for refreshment.

FlorenceIn the evening, I want to be part of the noisy crowds that eat and drink late into the night.

Hey, I better get started if I’m going to find out whether the reality is as good as the dream!  Won’t you join me for the adventure?

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Your’re Gonna Love It Tuesday

Wow Us Wednesday

Share Your Cup Thursday

Thursday Favorite Things