sexta-feira, 27 de novembro de 2009

Size matters. Length matters. Everything matters. More hanging things in the works: case in point

I had a wonderful conversation yesterday over breakfast in London with a friend of mine who is an architect. A creative professional & above all a person who has a rare gift in our day & age: she knows how to listen and asks you very intelligent questions. When I confessed how tough (maddening & agonizing but in a good way) the design process is, she said that she understands me (and I know she does, indeed!) & said that it will become easier with time.

Hmm, let's wait & see. As for now, unless things magically fall in place, which happens, too, I have to try out many different things before settling on what looks the best & feels just right. The tough part is that you move one little thing 10 mm to the left and it seems like the whole thing have changed completely. So you go back and try it again and then you change it again - not big changes, mind you, just little itty bitty ones, but they seem big to you, so you keep on trying.

The best thing that could happen is when something looks totally wrong. That you (I) feel and see right away. Throwing away what's bad is easy, deciding between good and a bit better is tough. Even for me, who is an extremely opinionated person and an only child (what's the connection, you'd ask? well, as an only child I delight in asking myself questions & looking for answers, analyzing everything I see or rationalizing impressions I get based solely on my instincts and impressions).

Right now I am in the midst of working on a brooch (with lots of hanging things) for someone who is probably the first person (besides myself) to have very clear ideas. And that feels great!

Here are some test photos (there were others before these) that illustrate a bit better a big difference a small change makes.

In the works: shadows, reflections, windows & many naughty things (more on that later)...

The truth is: everything's in the works at the same time. It depends on how of feel at any certain moment, what inspires me the most. At times I try to stick to a plan, but I am not good at it and luckily I can allow myself not to push it too hard, for if I am less inspired it shows, so I prefer to improvise & create much better pieces. Less rigidity, more frivolity, stronger appeal.

Pleasure principle 100%.

I touched upon my 'shadow obssession' today, so let's continue with that - when I lived in Rome I loved dancing with my shadow that would be visible on the wall of the palazzo in front of mine.
Here are some modern images from my last morning in Chicago before moving to Brazil & my fieldwork on the beach in Rio de Janeiro. And some antique/vintage/recycled images, which fall into my 'Recycling backwards: back to the future' design principle.

Hanging in there... only happily so!

I love things with holes, for I can put things/images in there and make nice jewelry pieces out of it, and I feel the urge to do brooches with hanging things, similar to trees' branches.

Maybe it's all due to the fact that I love 'hanging in there': uncertainty is the only way to be for me, it seems, so I feel at ease with it.

I have also always loved the swings on the playground. Posts about my 'swinging nature' were among the very first ones on this blog, but I could add some extra images here. And, boy, don't I have more than enough: pretty much every time I am near a swing I go for a 'ride' and take a picture, so I have plenty of photos from all over the world.

Here are some - mine and other people's.

Invisible presence

If an image is supposedly worth a thousand words, how about showing what does the abused phrase 'I am always there for you' means?

This is another Christmas gift for my god-daughter: while she is still too young to wear it, it will wait for her hanging on a Christmas tree as an ornament. There's a little girl dressed as a ballerina on the photo, surrounded by 2 shadows. That immediately made me think of being someplace, close enough, without actually being seen. Caring, being protective but (unfortunately) from far away.

And so off I went, to do one of my favorite 'thematic' gifts.

As usual, after having been too sweet & romantic, I start feeling 'guilty', so let me inject a healthy dose of cynicism right away: I have always found it interesting how many proverbs on the same subject totally contradict one another. Take "Absence makes the heart grow fonder' vs. "Out of sight, out of mind" for example. The outcome of one's absence would depend on many factors, personality being one of the most important of them all.

Dear Camille, please know: I am always there for you (invisibly) and once I will reappear from the thin air, I will take you for your first ride on the swings!

Method to my madness: Revolutionary geniuses

The Futurists felt it was their obligation to have a say on every matter possible, from cuisine to female fashion.
The above photo - a Christmas present for my god-daughter Camille (whose mother Marina is the world-famous meat-eater & an incredible art curator, truth to be told...) is a proof of how widespread their ideas became in their lifetime. The inscription on the back of the photo is Christmas greetings as well, sent some 83 years earlier - in Rio de Janeiro in 1926. And the girl, Mariana, is being called 'Mademoiselle Futurista' by her mother.
In a book "Social history of fashion" that I read over the summer in Rio, I found the following delightful exerpt from the Futurism Female Fashion Manifesto published in 1920: "It is absolutely neccessary to proclaim the dictatorship of the Artistic Genius over the female fashion ...that will also act as a cure against the routine... A gifted poet or an artist should be put in charge of all the most important female fashion houses. Fashion is art, just like architecture and music. Superbly planned and well-used item of female clothing has the same value as that of a Michelangelo's fresco or Titian's Madona. The Futurist Woman should have the same courage in wearing clothes of this new style as we did when we first exposed our thoughts to the public. Female fashion will never be extravagant enough. We shall also start abolishing the symmetry. We will do zig-zag decolletes, sleeves different one from the other, shoes varying in shapes, colors and height. We shall create surprising, unexpected, transformable outfits, armed with springs, sharp objects, photographic lens, electric currents, fireworks. We will project the most fascinating contemporary achievements on to women. Therefore we shall have a woman-pistol, a woman-radio antenna, a submarine-woman...An elegant woman will turn into the living plastic arts ensemble".
Only one comment: reading this made me feel very very good, or as we say paraphrasing Shakespeare, another Revolutionary genius: "There's a method to my madness".

The less you do something, the more you talk about it

I am pretty sure that those who do something & do it often, tend to talk less about it. So since my Thanksgiving yesterday was unorthodox (meaning 'healthy'), I will carry on talking about food.
But with a twist.

First comes a fond memory of my hometown Chicago - pig tails we bought at the most famous German store. Too sweet - the tails, as well as the memories themselves.

The other image is something I picked up at a restaurant in Turin years ago. It says: "You shouldn't eat while others are smoking". It's a good example of turning the logic upside down and coming up with something fun.
After all, why not see it this way? Who says you can't?
Continuing with being very politically incorrect (but very honest as well), I can say that even though I don't smoke & never did, I love the smell of smoke (Freudian? my dad is a chain smoker) & when I started spending more time in Italy I would buy smoking compartments train tickets only, for in my mind people who smoke are more interesting than those who don't.

And the "We serve vegetarians..." is a clever ad campaign that would appeal to my carnivorous friends like Marina.

Meet more meat!

I have a fair amount of friends who are vegetarians, but those who are not, are 'not' big time. My dearest friend, Marina, loves meat so much that she actually consulted a doctor to see if she could eat it raw and she says that her husband won her over when he came on a first date carrying a huge honey Virginia ham (a whole leg, of course!)

So when I am far away and can't go out for some ribs with her, I at least try to send some copies her way.
I also have a WWF-upsetter necklace in the works now that combines images above and some fur coats (surprisingly painted by El Greco!)

Happy turkey!

I am all for making jewelry that is meant to celebrate or at least take into account some important dates & events. Once upon a time it used to be like this - while doing research on the history of jewelry, I've discovered that for many centuries jewelry did indeed react to important political events, scientific discoveries (like the discovery of the Haley's Comet, which made a little comet a popular motif for the dresses' ornaments), etc.

So for yesterday's Thanksgiving I had a turkey ring made.

It's also one of this cases when the artist's hand is hardly recognizable.

The happy turkey in question was presented to you by... Goya!

And I did give it as a present to a friend yesterday in London - VSI FELIX, as the Romans used to say, 'Use this happily", Patrizia!

sábado, 21 de novembro de 2009

That's more like 'it'

Just wanted to add a picture of the 2 of us - me and my travel companion/source of inspiration and crazy ideas, Kae -

and this picture of us literaly and figuratively speaking- travelling does indeed look like trippin'...

Trippin' & letting your imagination run wild

These are 2 'old' examples of a collection I was asked to create for a fashion brand that had to be based on the 'flower power' days & I decided to revisit it now for it exemplifies what I just finished describing: not drinking or 'trippin' in other ways precisely because I want to see, as I say (quoting myself...hmm), 'what kind of crazy ideas I'll have with no external help'.
Now, trippin' is one kind of external help, but there's something that I miss a lot: letting your imagination run wild in a very good company.
In Brazil the word/verb you use for this is 'viajar', which also means to 'travel'. I am an independent traveller in all senses, but at times you are with just the right people, one person says something and the sparks start flying, one thing leading to another and another and another... And you've started the fire when all you wanted was to cool down, chill out, relax...
And there's no stopping it.
Or is there?
Unfortunately, yes. I miss my travel companion, Kae, a wonderful designer from Sao Paulo & one of the most beautiful people I've ever met more than I could say.
But I know that one day we will 'travel' together again & that's way before there's marijuana growing on palm trees!

I sleep too well & it worries me!!!

Yes, you did just read it and it's exactly what I intended to say: I don't like the fact that I sleep very well. Get 8 hrs of sleep every night, when I am at my best when I only get 4-5 hours.
Basically sleeping less means that I am very excited about something, have tons of ideas that wake me up (that's why I also sleep with a writing pad next to my pillow and at times scribble something down without turning the lights on), and am hiper 24/7.
Funnily enough when people ask me if I do like to drink I say: "No, ...because I don't like to sleep" - at first the connection is hard to grasp but I think it's crystal clear (or is it because I am never drunk?): I like the colorful thought that visit me (when sober!) & once they come I want to spend as much time with them as possible. If I drink, I relax & feel sleepy, so I am much less productive.
Anyways, all this to say that these days I sleep well, yes, but I also spend all of my time awake working on my collections only, so I think it all balances out in the long run.
One thing is sure: the moment I wake up the first thought is always some improvement on the pieces that are in the works...
Mind is a beautiful thing, for it's restless even when at rest!

Uniqueness is not for sale

I have many friends who are collectors & antique dealers & even though I am not directly involved in this business I am quite an avid buyer of unique old pieces myself. I quite envy other people's willpower for once I get hold of something that cannot be replicated I won't even think of letting it go. So I routinely disappoint my clients when/if they spot a piece that I wear and want to 'strip it off' me: uniqueness is not for sale.
It is, of course. The design of my pieces, modesty aside, is already quite unique. But my antique collector wannabe side is making the separation with what I hunted down or simply happened upon absolutely impossible.
Since the antique pieces stay in the 'family' (the only other person to whom I can generously give away some pieces is my mother - on the condition that I might borrow it at any time, so as you see it's not a total 100% separation), I like to invent flexible uses for them, so that the same piece could embellish various necklaces, rings or brooches.

Like these 2 antique parrots on the photo above, which paired up nicely with 2 Goya's women (it looks like they're gossiping or plotting).
It is a beautiful piece in itself, the parrots, that is, but these days I can't afford to simply put someone else's piece on & go out like that.
Uniqueness might not be for sale, but incorporating it with something I did makes me sell what I do, so there's always a way around the rules you set for yourself...

quinta-feira, 19 de novembro de 2009

Don't be blue (unless it's a fashionable color in Paris)

Am I a contrarian? Quite often yes, but I am also honest, so I wouldn't be simply doing the opposite of what everybody does simply because I think it's expected of me to be different.
Do I try to avoid predictable things & behavior? Yes, but if doing something predictable makes more sense than being uselessly provocative, oh well, let's go with the current.

All this digression just to say that I am quite excited about going to Paris as soon as I have my collections (yes, plural - we like quality and quantity here) ready. Getting them ready will be more a question of saying: "STOP!!!" then of getting sufficient inspiration to make enough pieces for a collection. Inspiration abounds, establishing limits is what's needed.

At any rate, so, all this talk about being a contrarian and avoiding predictable behavior was precisely because it's such a commonplace thing to say: "Oh boy, I can't wait to go to Paris!" I can wait and it doesn't feel like I am sitting around & waiting, for I keep extremely busy. The excitement stems from the fact that I feel going to Paris is the right move. Something's telling me that the Frenchwomen will understand my ose' & quirky pieces better than anybody else.

Now, I have just finished doing pieces for my mother's birthday coming up next month. Was feeling tired, started out with 1 pieces and finished with 7... All very pretty (my mother is the best guinea pig I could have, her prettiness barometer keeps me in check, for otherwise I'd go way too far...), all very blue, which makes sense from both the emotional (see yesterday's posts) & fashion viewpoint.
Can't wait to give them to her. And I also understand the constant reworking urge, for no matter how satisfied you are with the result you've just achieved, you know you could do so much better if you just keep trying, but then you get a fresh idea & go after it and the number of collections to take to Paris grows & there's never enough time even when you work 18 hours a day...

P.S. As you can see from one of the images, not all pearls bore me - if they are Ancient Roman oh well, i'd go for that!

quarta-feira, 18 de novembro de 2009

Work hard & you will...well, here it is!

I have a bijoux collection planned for which I have some pieces 'planned' already and a name that I love: "Pearls may be white but our sense of humor is not".
The images above are not part of that collection but they illustrate the principle: "Surprise!"
So here we go, continuing with the ups & downs mood and topic: you work hard, feel happy and then... booom. Here she is, right behind your back.
Well, on the positive side you can die happy if you've build a Cathedral grand enough!
Enjoy the process!

Water is suited for vegetarians: on ups, downs & obvious truths

We've all been there, got rid of them but they will return again: the feeling down moments. Sometimes you know they're coming, other times they catche you by surprise.
Was doing just fine today, engrossed as I am these days in my work and then... boooooooooom. And it wasn't even my fault. It's nobody's fault, nothing could be done about it for now and so we'll have to deal with it.
Face the music and dance. My way of doing it is by sublimation, but since I felt a bit demotivated to carry on working I resorted to my game of finding some images that best describe my current state of mind.
So here we go: one is an image from Sinai that depicts ups & downs of another kind. Another one shows a guy that makes me think of where my home is (yeah, right, I am not gonna go into this now) and of how you have to struggle, fight with real and imaginary (at times) problems.

As to the 'water being suited for vegetarians' announced in the blog's title - it's something else I found today reading a UK water label. Quite useful, since I am indeed not eating meat any longer but drink lots of water. Trying to keep my wits about me & my spritis high.

terça-feira, 17 de novembro de 2009

"I am doing well! Am I doing well?" Progress report

The mirror stage. Always important, even more so when you go on a diet. Except for, when you see yourself day in, day out, it's hard to notice any change in yourself.
Still, don't give up. It's the first step that counts and hurts. But we are on your case. Right behind you. Evaluating the first results. Keep going. You are doing just fine and things will get better!

Warmth, volume and...fat (sorry, i know it's not a PC word for this PC world)

While my friends in Rio complain about the excessive heat over there, here I pay extra attention to how people wear scarves and work on the Top 5 New Year Resolutions list.

I really wanted to do something that has substantial volume to it & that looks extra warm, something that you want to caress...

The result is my favorite '2 in 1' combination: a scarf accessory (could be worn over anything else, should you be ever so lucky not to need a scarf) that is also a New Year Resolution. As a matter of fact, a New Year Resolution number 1: loose weight.
This Rubens's female figure seems to be saying: "Just you wait and see how I shed all these extra pounds!"

Good luck to all of us!

segunda-feira, 16 de novembro de 2009

Mondays are tough: Suicide, Murder & a Strangled Woman

Monday mornings are supposed to be tough, but I always say that you know you are in the greatest of jobs if you are very happy on Sunday night, for on Monday morning you'll be back doing what makes you happy (who needs a break from that? let's abolish the w/ends!)
Which is precisely what I've been doing - today I reversed the order - research first, design second. And look what I found, first thing on a tough Monday morning: Murder, Strangled Woman (Cezanne, in case it's hard to tell) and a Suicide by Manet.
Quite a good start of the week, and to think that the Halloween is over...

domingo, 15 de novembro de 2009

This little thing called love (aka 'attention to detail')

Happiness and the creative process. Feeling proud of yourself. Picture in a picture. A copy worse than the original?

I think so. At least this happy and proud artist looks decidedly more attractive than his own portrait. Maybe it's because in real life he & the whole atmosphere around him appear less stiff (notice the laundry hanging to dry).

If I were blogging about travel, now would be the time for me to use the magic word 'authenticity', but I'll just say that simplicity is fine by me, and so is refined elegance. It just has to feel right and in the second example, too, the ambience agrees with the man. His dignified posture is beautiful, I can almost feel the texture of the wallpaper and I can't help but wonder what the painting behind him is.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. People always ask me what kind of photos I collect and I confuse them all for there's no clear-cut answer. It comes down to a little, almost invisible detail. Some photos don't have the 'it' factor for me. But if a photo has it, I spot it, and do it very fast. And I can even explain what is it that makes this photo so special. But every case is different, every little detail is unique and laundry hanging out to dry next to a stone wall is no less interesting than the silky wallpaper.