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