December Fine Art Calendar
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Because this is the last calendar of this year...and because I've chosen to design my next year's Fine Art Calendar around Italian laundry - I thought I'd share here a re-printed version of the backstory of how my love of Italy and its laundry came about.
I expected to fall in love with the language...the culture...the history...the food. I expected to be romanced by the ancient religious stone, and inspired by its accompanying Renaissance art. In Venice – I expected that thewinding canals would sweep me away, and that the colors and light would bedazzle. I was not disappointed. It was everything I expected...and so much more.
It wasn’t the picture-postcard views and sights that captivated and caught my attention. As so often happens with me, it was the art of the everyday ordinary that most intrigued me...and that I most loved. In every corner and alley, I found lines of colorful laundry softly blowing in the autumn wind. Across canals, the lines appeared to lace and hold old buildings together. Between balconies, these same laundry lines tied neighbors into a community of intimate friends.
Soon, I began to make up stories about the invisible people who lived behind the hanging wash. I’d heard of the Venetian ‘casalinghe’ – the traditional housewife – who raised the children and ruled the home. It was clear to me as to how this century’s old ritual and tradition had begun, but I did wonder why it is still practiced in these days of such modern convenience and amenity. There had to be more to this than what caught my eye. I imagined – perhaps – it to be some sort of ‘art’ form passed on from one generation to the next. I thought that – perhaps – it was something that daughters learned from their mothers… who learned from their mothers before them...and those before that. It was not an ‘art’ that was studied, but one that was learned thru observation and osmosis, much like ‘mother tongue’.
And – I thought about my daughter, and what it is she’d observed and absorbed along her journey. As a young child, she was often found perched on a stool beside me, assisting and helping with daily dinners. In the afternoons when she returned home from school, she’d sit in the chair next to mine in my office, imitating my drawing with drawings of her own. She watched..she listened..she learned. Now 20-years old and living her own adventure and semester abroad, it was my turn to visit and follow her in her life. Studying in a language that I have never mastered, and living in a country and world that is foreign and new, I expected to learn as much from she as she’d learned from me.
It was my chance to observe..to look..to see. I was curious to discover what it is she’d held on to…and what it is she’d let go. I thought of the centuries old traditions of the casalinghe – how each and every one had had their own language of ritual and routine. Some – I imagined – liked to put their clothes out to dry sorting them by color… others by order of size. Some hung in the sunshine...others in the shade. Some – I was quite convinced – hung their clothes out in the light of day...whereas others did it secretly in the darkest hours of the night. I thought about all of the unspoken little things and day’s rituals daughters learn from their mothers. I wondered what mine had learned from me…and hoped that just a little piece of whatever it was, was good enough to take with her as she embarked upon her adult life.
Without question, Italy is magical. My travels and time there met and exceeded all my wildest dreams and expectations. The little girl who once clung to me…who cried when I left the house…who shadowed me wherever I went – had found wings and learned to fly. She’d grown up and into a more adult version of her childhood self. From that little girl, ayoung woman is emerging. One who is beautiful, strong, self-aware and self-assured…and is very slowly finding her own voice and means of self-expression. In our very last moments together I glanced out her window, and noticed the line of hanging clothes suspended there. It bore a familiar resemblance, yet – it was a creation and ‘art’ form that was all her own.
That was the best gift of all.
It's 5 years later now...and that emerging young woman is now fully grown and married and definitely creating art in a voice that is all her own.
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2015 calendars now available for sale.
This year's yoga calendar is meant to inform and inspire the practice by incorporating the teachings of the late B.K.S. Iyengar.
This year's art calendar celebrates the art of Italian hanging laundry.
To order yours now - click on the images below.
With gratitude for your kind support.