Friday, October 28, 2011

The Sky is the Limit

Obviously NOT the coat she was wearing, it was even more Fab
I love when this city inspires me. Now I know what your thinking, 'you live in Florence, aren't you inspired everyday?' Yes of course I am always fascinated and excited to be living in this amazing place, until life gets in the way,  but then there are days like today that I go for a walk around town and remember why I fell in love with Florence in the first place. And it is thanks to an old friend in a FABULOUS red coat (and two espressos) that I was filled with this tremendous inspiration today.

So what was it that was different about today than any other day? I'm not exactly sure. Maybe it was the excitement of having a wonderful chat with a lovely Aussie chick that I haven't seen in months even though it felt as if it was only a few days ago, as if no time had passed at all. She is one of the friends that I have had here since the very beginning. We have shared many of the same joys as well as some of the same struggles over the years of living in Florence. (Not to mention the same love of fashion.) It was comfortable and easy and refreshing and we were simply happy to see each other and catch up.

It's encouraging to know that after all of those who have come and gone over the years there are those of us who remain and who keep pushing to make our dreams a reality. And my dear friend Freya is a great example of that. She has worked incredibly hard to get where she is and she never let anyone tell her it was impossible or that it would never work. She went for it and that kind of positive energy and passion is what dreams are made of. So 'good on ya little chicken! "

After our coffee at Cantinetta Verazzano she had to get back to work so I decided to take a walk around the city. It had been a while since I've just walked and looked, I mean really looked. At everything.  Shop windows, buildings, cars, people, everything around me. I then began to think about all of the designers, artists, architects and historians who have been coming here for centuries, I'm sure someone probably told them they couldn't, I'm sure they heard 'no grazie' more than once. But they didn't let that stop them. After all "impossible is just an opinion"

That's MY necklace in the window of Prive
So with that I stopped in to talk to a few more boutique owners and tell them who I am and what I do....afterall "Obstacles are those frightful things that you see when you take your eyes off your goal."

Heck I even stopped into a real estate office to ask the price of a store space that was for rent! Might be getting a little far ahead of myself with that one, but hey it can't hurt to ask!

By the time I got home I was ready to conquer the world or at least a little piece of it.

So thank you my friend in the FABULOUS red coat and thank you to my lovely city. (ok, so I know I'm totally cheesy, but whatever)

What inspires you? I always love to hear what motivates others. Tell me in the comment box below.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Clenliness is Next to Goddessness

My husband and I are at it again. Cleaning that is. Getting ready to start a new project. Two years ago we moved from our little tiny studio apartment into what is essentially a converted garage. We had a big job, as we cleaned, scraped, tiled, painted and floored the space to make it livable. But that was just half of it, turns out there is another section in the front that is still full of tools and materials that he and his brothers have been using for work for about 15 years now. The plan is that we will be able to utilize the space as a studio and work space.

Moral of the story however, is that after 15 years of storing and collections things from who knows where, you can imagine some of the interesting things we've come across in the cleaning stages, such as this funkadelic clock radio from 1970-something, as well this bird cage(???) which we have no idea how it possibly got here because as far as we know, no one has ever had a bird.
And some Cosmopolitan Magazines from 1995, American mags nonetheless. But I have to say that THE absolute best thing we found was this little book called Casa Pulita, or Clean House. While, sure its nice to have tips on how to remove stains, it is really the image on the cover that grabbed my attention. A typical scene in many Italian households, including that of my MIL. It really is telling how the woman is vacuuming while hubby just hangs out in the chair watching her, mind you there is a full basket of laundry behind her just waiting to be washed, dried, folded or ironed and put away. But you relax honey, I'll take care of it. So not only are women expected to be brave casalinghe but they are also expected to look sexy while doing it. 
Is it just me or does she look a little annoyed?
Of course when I pointed this out to my husband he says "see, that''s how its supposed to be, and then you come along and want to change everything" Thank goodness his sense of humor is one of things I feel in love with! 

However, I must say that it has been a bit of a battle between me and my IMIL over the years. She just doesn't understand why her son is helping around the house and why his shirts aren't nicely ironed and hanging in the closet. And I cannot hold a conversation with my SIL without somehow discussing the various and best methods of cleaning and laundering or how long it took her to wash, dry and iron the bed sheets and the pajamas. Yes, that’s right, she irons not just the bed sheets but the pajamas too. Because you see that is how a womens brava-ness is measured in this country. How precise are the ironed creases in the shirts, how shiny is the bathroom floor and how tasty is your sugo? One friend even told me that she got the ‘dust check’ once form her MIL, as in she wiped the table then checked her finger to see how dusty it was. OMG!!

This is incredibly difficult for me to understand since I was not raised this way.

Of course this is an incredibly loaded topic of gender roles, equality and the position of women in Italian society. I could go on for pages, but really just wanted to share this very funny perhaps slightly disturbing book cover with you, and yes the publishing date is 1996, but honestly, it could very well be revised and reprinted and still be very relevant to many Italian women even today.

So what is your opinion on the topic? Are women making too big of a deal out of this?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fantasia Favolosa

The city of Florence has been inspiring great artists and designers for centuries.  I am continually humbled by the talent and imagination of others around me.  And while I always love to see what the big name designers are up to, its really the small indie artists and designers that leave me in awe.
Freedom, I think this is my favorite, but it really is so hard to decide.
The dedication and craftsmanship of Eleonora Marchi is quite fabulous. These headpieces are so amazing! Her work is gallant and whimsical and at times outrageous in the best of ways.
Nest Butterfly House
She calls her Etsy shop "On Your Head" and is continuously  coming up with the most -->
magnificent creations.  Yes, I do imagine that one may very well feel like a queen with one of these fantastic creations On Your Head.  She also makes these delightful little handbags as well.
Flowers Circle
  Which one is your favorite? Hard to choose isn't it?

Monday, October 17, 2011

The New Renaissance

The Primavera by Sandro Botticelli more than meets the eye

The Renaissance was one of the most important historical movements in history.  The very word itself, rinascimento , means rebirth. It was just as much of an intellectual movement as it has an artistic movement.  The Renaissance period allowed us to be who we are today.  It was about educating yourself and forming your own opinion, breaking free from the medieval ideas that life revolved around death and that your only reason for living was assuring your passage into heaven. The Renaissance was about presenting the viewer or reader with just enough information to allow you to form your own opinion. It was about breaking away from strictly religious points of view and taking the viewers experience into consideration. And while most of the work was still created on a commission basis for very specific reasons, there were some of the most important artist of the time such as Michelangelo and Botticelli who began to incorporate the ideas of artistic expression and conceptualism into their work as well as the sense that being an artist is about so much more than just making pretty things for people to look at but rather something to contemplate and consider in terms of personal thought and feeling. When you visit the city of Florence today you can feel that energy, the sense of creativity is everywhere.
Michelangelo's David is contemplative and mesmerizing, yet the only clue we have to him being the biblical hero is his name. But he is giving us so much more than that.
Charlie White addresses the subject of David and Goliath by referencing history though contemporary medium.
 When I worked as a tour guide one of the questions that I was often asked was “are their even artists that can do this anymore?” Or comments like “you just don’t see this kind of work anymore” Or similarly about how they just “don’t understand art these days” and how they or their "child could do that", and that “this is real art” There have only been a couple of times when I actually ventured to answer these questions and try and help people see things in a different way, mostly because the topic of contemporary art is much to complex to sum up in just a few sentences.

I guess the easiest way to explain the importance and significance of contemporary art is to compare it to contemporary music.  We all know how important Beethoven, Mozart, and Chopin were and the contribution that Elvis, the Beatles and Run DMC made to the music world. They opened the door for the artists after them and allowed them to experiment with new ideas and styles of music. Think of it like this, why would we want to keep hearing the same music over and over again?  Doesn’t that get a little boring?  Sure, we can still appreciate those artists and I for one will never tire of the Beatles, but the forward movement is what keeps the art world going, constantly questioning traditional ideas and exploring new mediums.  Sure there are still artists that sculpt with marble, but honestly in order to stand out in the art world something needs to be different about the work.  So don’t be so quick to dismiss contemporary art. Think about it; venture to go deeper than what is on the surface. Think not only about technique, but context and concept.  In our society we want everything to be easy, we want it all handed to us, we don’t want to think and we just want to look at pretty things. The question you should be asking yourself when viewing contemporary art is not necessarily what the image is supposed to be but rather what the artist is trying to say and why. 
Is this really no more than an unfinished sculpture? In the complex and complicated mind of Michelangelo who was constantly trying to break free from the restraints placed upon him, I have many doubts. 

  What is your favorite work of art? And why? What do you think about contemporary art? Tell me in  the comments section below.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Better Late Than Never!

I was just looking back on my previous posts and realized that it has been exactly one month since I posted 'Let's get it started' Time really does fly! I have to say with all honesty that I never expected the response that I received.  Every morning when I open my inbox I am so excited to see another message from another artist/designer who is interested in participating in the artist group! It's really wonderful to know that there are so many of you out there who are open to sharing your skills and knowledge. 

Of course, I have never organized anything like this before and I was little naive in thinking that I could get everything worked out in just a few short weeks. Of course the beginning stages of a project are always the most difficult in terms of knowing what the next step will be, but I think we are finally there.

I understand  that everyone has very busy schedules and since it has proven quite difficult to everyone in the same place at the same time I thought it best to start by picking a date and hoping that as many people as possible can make it. We will start with a meeting of the minds and then move things forward from there!

Next Thursday October 20th at 19:00 will be the first group meeting! It will take place at Cuculia on Via dei Serragli 3/r.

If you are interested in participating please, by all means come and join us! We would love to have you! You can RSVP by leaving a comment below or sending me an email here.

Salute! To new ideas!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Ultimate Inspiration

The news of Steve jobs death really hit me hard this morning when I turned on my PowerBook G4 from 2004 that is still going strong and read the news on my homepage. I don't know why it is affecting me so much but I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that his 2005 Stanford Commencement address as been an anthem for mine for quite some time now, and because I have watched this video and read the transcript so many times in fact I have it all but committed to memory, I feel as if I knew him in some sort of way. Whenever I am unsure, whenever I am questioning what I am about to do, I think about these words and it gives me the courage I need to make the necessary decisions.

There are very few geniuses left in the world and even fewer visionaries but Steve Jobs was both. This man changed the world as we know it and allowed us possibilities that many if us never dreamed possible. These words of wisdom are some that I will personally never tire of and that inspire me to do my best work every single day. They are also the words that encouraged me to follow my heart and pursue my dreams. As dramatic as it may sound, it's true.

If you have never listened to or read this speech in its entirety, be prepared to be inspired and to re-think everything you do in your life. And if you have heard it before, listen again, I assure you that you will find something new every time......

Stay hungry, stay foolish.

Written transcript can be found here.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


When I create new work its usually because I am inspired by something. Sometimes it will be the work of another artist, other times it will be a specific color or a particularly interesting person I see out about town. Sometimes I will sit on a bench in one of the piazzas and watch the people walking  by, always with my sketch book in my lap. Other times I will spend hours scouring the internet looking at jewelry and accessory designs. I usually scan through trying to get a feel for the current trends and what is happening right now.  And then every one in a while I find something that stops me in my tracks and I look at every piece that I can find from that designer.  And while this particular designer is not Italian, she is a fellow Los Angelen and am officially inspired by the use of color and the uniqueness of the work. The pieces are made with leather, chain and various other jewelry making materials. And they are just wonderful.

I know that some may think it is silly of me as a jewelry designer myself to promote or write about another designer on my blog, but I truly believe that it is important for artists to support each other and that a true artist is always inspired by others and uses that inspiration to help get their own creative juices flowing. I am always interested in the way that other artists think, how they interpret the world and what inspires them. But more than anything else I love when I find an artist who is not afraid to be themselves and who's unique vision and personality shows though the work. I find that to be very much the case with the work of Christina Anton at Boo and Boo Factory. Have a look at her Etsy shop and be inspired.  Enjoy!

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