Artistic Tradition Woven in Time and Odyssey

A quick post this week featuring the famed Venetian house of Bevilacqua textiles and their artistic tradition woven in time along with some pictures from New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA’s) 50th Odyssey Ball.

A magical setting from the 50th Odyssey Ball at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Some artwork featured Venetian Masters.

odyssey-ball-highlights on Art Is Everywhere

Odyssey Ball photos by Lorre Lei Jackson

desserts-at-odyssey-ball on Art Is Everywhere

A range of delectable desserts

Timothee Lovelock, the DJviolinist on Art Is Everywhere

Timothee Lovelock, the DJviolinist was one of the featured musicians. I like his violin!


The Human Rosebud

What a perfect topic for April showers bringing May flowers on this 1st of May.

I never knew the details about St. Mark’s Day. It’s a tradition in Venice for celebrants to form a human rosebud in St. Mark’s Square.

Over a thousand people participated to celebrate the Festa del Bocolo, translated as the Feast of the Rosebud.

There’s a romantic history behind this celebration.

St Mark Rosebud_AIE

The tradition calls for Venetian men to give a red rose to their beloved on this April 25th  holiday to honor St. Mark, Venice’s patron saint, on the day he died.

Here’s an interesting site, Venezia Rivelata where I found colored photos of the above + a time lapse video.

In typical Italian style, it takes a little longer to create the flower and in fact, the video never shows the completion.

This made me smile, because that carefree lifestyle just made me long to be back in Venice.

St Mark Rosebud_AIE

St Mark Rosebud_AIE

St Mark Rosebud_AIE

Other events like the famous Regata di Traghetti boat race takes place during this Venetian holiday.

Regata di Traghetti on Art Is Everywhere

In addition…

…to Monday’s post about Snow, Snow and more Snow, here are a few pictures that my Venetian cousins sent of Venice sadly under water but beautiful with a dusting of snow. There’s lots of snow going around.

Venetian Church Doors with Snow. Photo © by Pietro deScarpis

Venice under Snow. Photo © by Pietro deScarpis

Venice with Snow. Photo © by Piertro deScarpis

A music link to Patricia Snyder’s Snowbound to Kick Start Your Weekend, as we’ll be digging out:

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be skiing during this blizzard:

Here’s an art opportunity that I wanted to mention before it’s too late. The City of Seattle is looking for artists to paint murals on 46th Street. Click on this Fremont Universe link for details. Applications are due by February 19th.

Cherry Blossoms, Tribute & Anniversary

Sorry not to post yesterday. I needed a mental health day of recuperation after the NOHGS. When I returned the first thing I noticed was the Cherry Blossoms have popped and are in full bloom. Gorgeous! Then I entered my house, and no pets to greet me. That was a strange feeling and one to get used to.

flowers-for-dad. Photo by C. Ashley Spencer

Today is the day for many remembrances. Today is the 2nd year anniversary of my father’s passing. I remember how beautiful the cherry blossoms looked when he died. Yesterday, my 91 year old Aunt Katherine, my father’s sister, passed away. This is more than a bit uncanny in the timing. She was my eccentric, artistic namesake. My first name is Cathryn and although, I do not go by it, I keep it in my name as C. Ashley as a tribute to her. She taught me a lot about art at an early age and about connections. She introduced me to my Venetian cousins, who have since become dear friends and she discovered when I was working at the National Gallery that my boss’ wife was related to a family friend. Coincidentally it’s that family friend who owns the funeral home that is taking care of her now. She was full of surprises. I always enjoyed listening to her many stories. Sometimes, she’d just show up, having driven all the way from Danville, Kentucky with her trunk full of shoe boxes (I never quite figured that one out), and we’d go painting.

I know I have more recent pictures but here is one of my Aunt when she came to visit in 1997 (one of those, Hi, I’m here times). Piers was 8 and Jackson was @ 4 years old and my sister Lindsey, who was living in the area at the time is the photo.

Aunt Katherine Jackson. Photo by C. Ashley Spencer

Here’s a photo of my illustration studio with some of Aunt Katherine’s artwork. She knew I loved Venice and when I asked her to please paint something for me, she copied some well known pieces and wouldn’t sign her name to them; even though, they were her stylistic take on the originals, so she signed for the original artists, giving them the rightful credit. She never felt comfortable about her artwork, however, and was always resigned to be humble about her talent. She was quite prolific and would paint au plein air when and wherever the mood struck — even if it meant climbing over a convent wall just to capture the moment in the nuns’ private garden. I think she got caught that time but they let her go when they saw her work.

My Studio with Aunt Katherine\'s artwork. Photo by C. Ashley Spencer

Timing is more than a mysterious thing sometimes. My sister Hilary is having her first baby today and his name will be John, named after my father. I just got the call and mother, baby and father are doing fine.  As all three of the older generation of Jackson siblings are now gone, my Aunt makes way for another to enter the world….Beyond mortal explanation, I think.

Just a side note that I also find timely and something I just learned. VanGogh’s birthday was on March 30th:

I’ll post again on Monday with more news from the trade show that we attended. Have a great weekend!

Mardi Gras, Masks and Typography

In advance of Fat Tuesday! Here’s a combination of Venice and New Orleans. This is Gabriela Coutinho’s Venice Carnavale 2008. The costumes are wonderful:

And from Irishaikidoka on YouTube: Hermes Wrestling for Pollens Float 18, just this past Friday night:

I’ll have to ask my brother it this was his float.

Here’s an interesting story behind a commissioned  Sri Lankan Mask.

And something we use everyday — not a cover up but maybe a hidden art —  of creating typography. There is an interesting lecture tonight at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, called “The Designing Type: The Work of Matthew Carter. He is a founder of the fonts: Verdana, Georgia, Tahoma and Postoni — ones we may use everyday. Personally, I’m a fan of Verdana.

Christmas Trees

The photos and text (in italics) in this post have been circulating the email network so I can’t take credit and I do not know the original author. However, it’s definitely worth posting because just seeing the photos with their descriptions, helps me get in the Christmas mood, and and I hope it does you as well. I am fascinated how each country displays their Christmas trees differently, and the very artistic takes on some like Murano, Tokyo and Libson. It’s very comforting in these stressful times to see how widely Christmas is celebrated.

My boys are back in town (isn’t that a song?) and we’re looking forward to a few relaxing days, hopefully. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and happy holidays. I hope you enjoy the visual feast below.

Subject: Christmas Trees ‘Round the World

1. Christmas at Rockefeller Center in New York.

Rockefeller Christmas tree. N & S Silverman/Taxi/Getty ImagesBefore the ball drops in Times Square, the Big Apple turns on its holiday charm with the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.

2. A holiday tree is shown lit in front of the U.S. Capitol building.

Capitol Hill Christmas tree. Photo Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Capitol Christmas tree in Washington, D.C., is decorated with 3,000 ornaments that are the handiwork of U.S. schoolchildren. Encircling evergreens in the ‘Pathway of Peace’ represent the 50 U.S. states.

3. Italy, Umbria, Gubbio town, Christmas tree on hillside.

Gubbio Christmas tree Italy. Photo Fantuz Olimpio/SIME-4Corners ImagesThe world’s largest Christmas tree display rises up the slopes of Monte Ingino outside of Gubbio, in Italy’s Umbria region. Composed of about 500 lights connected by 40,000 feet of wire, the ‘tree’ is a modern marvel for an ancient city.

4. A 100-meter tall Christmas tree is illuminated on the wall of a Tokyo hotel for the upcoming holidays.Tokyo Christmas tree. Photo Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty ImagesA Christmas tree befitting Tokyo’s nighttime neon display is projected onto the exterior of the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka.

5. Czech Republic, Prague, Teyn Church at Christmas time.

Prague Christmas tree. Photo Schmid Reinhard/SIME-4Corners ImagesIlluminating the Gothic facades of Prague’s Old Town Square, and casting its glow over the manger display of the famous Christmas market, is a grand tree cut in the Sumava mountains in the southern Czech Republic.

6. Glass Christmas tree in Murano.

Murano Christmas tree. Photo Sandra Raccanello/4Corners Images

Venice ‘s Murano Island renowned throughout the world for its quality glasswork is home to the tallest glass tree in the world. Sculpted by master glass blower Simone Cenedese, the artistic Christmas tree is a modern
reflection of the holiday season.

7. A Christmas tree is shining at the Manezh Square in Moscow (?Maxim Marmur/AFP/Getty Images)

Moscow Christmas tree. Photo Maxim Marmur/AFP/Getty ImagesMoscow celebrates Christmas according to the Russian Orthodox calendar on Jan. 7. For weeks beforehand, the city is alive with festivities in anticipation of Father Frost’s arrival on his magical troika with the Snow Maiden. He and his helper deliver gifts under the New Year tree, or yolka, which is traditionally a fir.

8. A 72-meter-tall Christmas tree stands at Praca do Comercio in downtown Lisbon (?Francisco Leong/AFP/Getty Images)

Portugal Christmas tree. Photo Francisco Leong/AFP/Getty ImagesThe largest Christmas tree in Europe (more than 230 feet tall) can be found in the Praça do Comércio in Lisbon, Portugal. Thousands of lights adorn the tree, adding to the special enchantment of the city during the holiday season.

9. Chapel in winter, christmas tree, Klais, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Karwendel mountains.

German Christmas tree. Photo Paul Freytag/zefa/Corbis‘Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree’: Even in its humblest attire, aglow beside a tiny chapel in Germany’s Karwendel mountains, a Christmas tree is a wondrous sight.

10. Large Christmas tree inside the Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris.

Paris Christmas tree. Photo Marco Cristofori/CorbisOoh la la Galeries Lafayette! In Paris, even the Christmas trees are chic. With its monumental, baroque dome, plus 10 stories of lights and high fashion, it’s no surprise this show-stopping department store draws
more visitors than the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.

11. Faithful surround the Christmas tree in St. Peter.

Rome Christmas tree. Photo unkown originIn addition to the Vatican’s heavenly evergreen, St. Peter’s Square in Rome hosts a larger-than-life nativity scene in front of the obelisk.

12. Christmas Tree at Puerta del Sol in Madrid (?Marco Cristofori/Corbis)

Madrid Christmas tree. Photo Marco Cristofori/Corbis

The Christmas tree that greets revelers at the Puerta del Sol is dressed for a party. Madrid’s two-week celebration makes millionaires along with merrymakers. On Dec. 22, a lucky citizen will win El Gordo (the fat one), the world’s biggest lottery.

13. Trafalgar Square at night with Christmas tree, London,

Britain Christmas tree. Photo Romilly Lockyer/The Image Bank/Getty ImagesA token of gratitude for Britain’s aid during World War II, the Christmas tree in London’s Trafalgar Square has been the annual gift of the people of Norway since 1947.

14. The Romer and Christmas tree at night in Frankfurt, Germany.

Frankfurt Christmas tree. Photo Wilfried Krecichwost/Stone/Getty ImagesDrink a glass of gluhwein from the holiday market at the Romer Frankfurt’s city hall since 1405 and enjoy a taste of Christmas past.

15. Three trees in forest decorated with lights, location unknown.

Christmas trees-unkown location. Photo Werran/Ochsner/Getty ImagesAgainst a backdrop of tall, shadowy firs, a rainbow trio of Christmas trees lights up the night.

Twelve Days of Christmas

There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens,
swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won’t come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas? This week, I found out. From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.
-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit–Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit–Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
-The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.

So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol…so pass it on if you wish.’

Now check out the facts on snopes. Even though I like the symbolic Christian reference, this is actually a secular song that could have been confused with “The New Dial,” also known as “In Those Twelve Days,” which did assign religious meaning to each of the twelve days for the purpose of catechism:


tomb-of-unknown-soldier-christmas. Photo origin unknown.

Readers may be interested to know that these wreaths — some 5,000 — are donated by the Worcester Wreath Co. of Harrington,Maine. The owner, Merrill Worcester, not only provides the wreaths, but covers the trucking expense as well. He’s done this since 1992. A wonderful guy. Also, most years, groups of Maine school kids combine an educational trip to DC with this event to help out. Making this even more remarkable is the fact that Harrington is in one the poorest parts of the state.

arlington-national cemetery-wreaths. Photo credit unknown.

Italian Latte & Paper

Going from one of my favorite Italian Master artists, I thought I could use a pick-me-up (tiramisu), but instead of dessert, why not latte art (?), and consequently, this design remind me of Italian paper…Are these just rambling thoughts or typical connections of someone with an artistic bent?

Here’s a story, Latte art turns a cup into a creative canvas, by Jennifer Fong, featured in Canada’s Times Colonist paper. It describes how creating such designs in coffee is an art form and makes a latte all the more delightful to enjoy. It only takes a minute to achieve but there’s training involved to get the desired results. There is a process and difference between “free pour” and “etching” the design (including a potential, unwanted, metallic taste). Little did I know…The World Latte Art Championship was held in Denmark in July. Get your latte on for next year…

Long ago I watched a demonstration on how to create those fabulous designs of marbled Italian paper. I went looking for some information and I ran across this fascinating article, Marbled Paper from Florence (posted on the day, in which I was looking, how weird) by Susan Lumsden in the New York Times. Marbled paper was so cherished in Turkey, where it flourished in the 15th century, that it was considered sacred and was reserved for religious texts. It was called “ebru” or otherwise known as “the art of clouds.” It became popular in France in the 17th century and became the royal paper for the king. It may have originated in China but came to Europe via Venice and has since been known primarily for its production in Florence. Il Papiro is the company that I’m familiar with but there are many others, and the more faithful versions use water and natural dyes to create those swirling hues, not oil, which tends to muddy the coloristic clarity. Here’s an example from one of my collections that my father-in-law gave me. I fancy blue and green combinations.

I have only one sheet left in five colors, and they are so beautiful that I am reluctant to use them. But because I’ve had them so long, something has damaged a couple of the pages, so I had to use my pencils to remedy the areas. I had forgotten, actually taken for granted, that my colored art-pencils are also covered with this decorative paper. Now I’m wondering if my father-in-law gave them to me too? Hmm, old age setting in, I guess…

This photo above also shows a wooden box, overlaid with metal that my oldest son made for me when he was in middle or high school. I keep it on my desk to store all my paper clips. I’m getting a little reflective because he’ll be turning 20 ! in a week. “Where did that time go?” and “That’s enough to make anyone feel old,” are the phrases that come to mind that ring so true.

One last thing as I was closing up my il Papiro papers, I noticed their stamp. Although mine has been accidentally cut in half, it shows an iconographic, angelic figure with wings, which could bear significance to the historical, religious reference of marbled papers.

And just for the heck of it, I ran across this EyeItalia site that offers exquisite Florentine papers, among other luxurious Tuscan accessories. I really like this classic design:

Sound Sculptures

Bill Fontana’s Sound SculptureAs I’ve said before, one never knows where they might find art.

This posting started with the weekly check of my older son’s college, UVA’s Pictures of the Week. There was a lecture at the Architecture School given on March 19th by Bill Fontana, who is a pioneer in the art of Sound Sculptures.

This is incredibly interesting to me, not just the subject, which I think is fascinating because sound, similar to smell can evoke such deeply alluring and long forgotten memories, but the pathways of me finding this post. Some uncanny things are more than just coincidental — I believe.

If you know anything about me, you know I absolutely adore Venice, Italy. It is my favorite place on the planet (along with New Orleans, for other reasons and being my hometown). It’s where I traveled on spring break with my best friend while studying abroad in 1986 and where I met my Venetian cousins for the first time. It’s also where my husband and I went on our honeymoon and where we were finally able to introduce our sons on a long-awaited family trip and pilgrimage in 1996 to meet their Italian relatives. Their cousins are very close to their ages. It’s an other worldly mecca for me — untouched by the affects of modern time. It’s the most mysterious place to get lost without trying.

While finding this sound sculpture post, I can’t help but be reminded that coincidentally, just last week, my younger son asked for a family-tree diagram and synopsis (due Easter Sunday) of the story of his Italian cousins’ grandparents for a paper he was writing. Theirs was like an incredibly romantic tale partly similar to The Sound of Music (my favorite family movie), but only different, because it was not a movie. I have fond memories of when I first met them and I am reminded everyday how important people can be even though they may have passed away.

I invite you to “tour” Bill Fontana’s website, and listen to the Acoustical Visions of Venice which are so pure and peaceful. This is one I wish I could put on my iPod.Dogana — Sound Sculpture by Bill Fontana

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...