~HAIRY DAYS by KELIE BOWMAN

yep, for sure I have my own little collection of handmade zines from CINDERS.
esp those made by CINDERS co-founder KELIE BOWMAN. I’m sure many of them are among those exhibited in the DIAMOND LEAVES show in CHINA, and in fact I’m willing to bet, this one – ‘HAIRY DAYS’ – produced in September of 2007, in a limited edition of 42 – is among the many “brilliant” gems currently on display.

hey, when’s the last time anything YOU (!!) bought for $10 – ended up in a museum show – and, one half around the world . . . at that !!


the zine cover is ‘hard-ish’ card stock folded over to make a book cover. the 19 paper & a few thin tissue insert pages are held in place by that slightly ragged, machine sewn binding edge – about 1 inch in from the left hand edge.
the price, $10 at the time – is still visible in faint pencil, on the top right hand corner.


open the book – and you can see the zine cover is maybe made from the re-cycled outtakes of a screen print ?
yes, she signed it for me: Kelie B.


Hairy Days by Kelie Bowman
edition 26/42
cinders press
info@cindersgallery.com
www.cindersgallery.com
September 07


the third page in – is a tissue insert with a hand drawn tree outlining or echoing the following page. it is done in brown marker and looks to be unique to each edition. that is, it is drawn by hand into each separate edition, while the rest of the book / zine seems printed, digitally, or silkscreened ? . . . in fine black ink ?
the marker gestures: the hand … of the hand … in the handmade book.


the following page: and we get to the ‘root’ of the matter.
trees/nature vs. people/nature
male vs. female
yin and yang – the endless circle of life. conflict – at play ? at rest ?
but wait her hair . . . is covering his face – doesn’t that mean something, too ?
are we at war ? and don’t even know it ?


“MAKE ME”
make me – do me ?
make me – perform ? make me obey ? make me – fight ? make me – confront you.
Make My Day ?
Make My magic ?


“STOP THE WAR”.
all zines want to say something. all artists want to say – something.
from the inside (magic) – going straight . . . out (the world).
hairy days . . what was happening in 2007 ? couldn’t be any worse than what’s happening today, SEPT 2012, the world seems to be on fire. set ablaze by the eternal yin yang, 2 halves of global civilization clashing head on – the western civilization vs. the muslim civilization . . . and the web itself is the arrow – YouTube !! being the arrow that shoots through – and sets an electricity, cursing through the global Tower of Babel.
tell me, is YouTube – handmade, or what ?
freedom of expression – is a zine. and when it speaks, with power and poetry: that is Brilliance, leave it to the Chinese to be upfront with great words, like that.


another hand drawn insert of tissue, and marker.
this zine is kind of contrary. it is very peaceful outwardly, but takes on the BIG issues.
it covers a lot of ground for a very small book.
oh yeah, it is approx 8-1/2 x 5-1/2 inches (!!)


the book is also about: the self.
the organic growing self. the rings of age, experience.
the portals – that allow others – to enter.


this is one of Kelie’s signature images. the tree head – on the top of the woman . . amongst the mountains.
it’s a great metaphor for ‘the’ artist, like Kelie – who looks out, and sees all, and stores much, and has even more to say. nature/nuture/communicate. house. store. open door – walk in. communicate. preserve the knowledge of the world. hitch hike through the mountains.
through the mind.

it’s a great metaphor for an artist/blogger. who sees much and stores more and communicates in trails of smoke.
puffs of smoke.

something sad going on there, I can relate.


the last page: “don’t fall.”
okay, I’ll try not too.
world says: me too.




~DIAMOND LEAVES: Brilliant Artist Books from around the World . . . BEIJING

‘Diamond Leaves: Brilliant Artist Books from around the World’ . . . an ambitious international exhibit opening tomorrow, TUES SEPT 18, 2012 at the state-of-the-art CAFA ART MUSEUM in Beijing . . . will include (nearly) 40 handmade books – from the CINDERS COLLECTION.

way to go, KELIE BOWMAN & STO !!!

the show is co-curated by BROOKLYN’S MARSHALL WEBER . . . and, XU BING.

this cutting edge survey exhibit will run thru OCT 28, 2012 – so if you find yourself in CHINA, you know where to go !!

more about the exhibit: DIAMOND LEAVES – CAFA

see: CAFA ART MUSEUM – BEIJING, P.R. CHINA / overview & history


CAFA ART MUSEUM – BEIJING, P.R. CHINA




~FESTIVAL RUE-STICK . . . PARIS

meanwhile over in PARIS, specifically PUTEAUX – this weekend, SEPT 15 & 16, 2012 – is a big 2 day festivity celebrating street art !!

they have a super catchy (!!) slogan: STAY STICKED !!!!!!

(and the ONLY words in English in the whole press invite, pretty much !! so, say what . . about global street / slang . . . invasion !!)

PUTEAUX is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France, located in the heart of the Hauts-de-Seine . . . 8.7 kilometers from the center of Paris.

see: Festival Rue-Stick a Puteaux

see: Riofluo – their graphic design/communications partner

they are also on FACEBOOK – where you can find translation (!!).
see: RUE-STICK Facebook

and where they have just posted some new, and pretty awesome images:


Asty + loeilpartoo – RUE-STICK / FACEBOOK


Infonews Rue-stick a Puteaux:
la grande fresque de 6m sur 10m sera realisee par Bims et rems des GF qui viennent d’etre rejoint par Darkelixir et Red du C3P – RUE-STICK / FACEBOOK

they also have posted a collection of diverse clips to YouTube, check this hub !!




~OPENING at Mr. FINE ART … to-nite SAT SEPT 15

JAMES MOORE will show sculptures, along with a new video, ‘Sacred Portal’ in this small group show opening to-nite. JAMES says “it’s about spirituality and the forest, and psychedelic transformation.”

the show also features work by BENJAMIN CHANTERAC and TIMOTHY STANLEY, and will include a performance by TIMOTHY STANLEY.

the show, titled . . . ‘NEON AND CANDLES’ is curated by THOMAS ARSAC – opens to-nite SAT SEPT 15, 2012 / 7-10 PM
and runs thru SEPT 30th, 2012 (the exhibit runs by appointment only)
MR. FINE ART – 105 Bowery, 3rd Floor, Lower East Side, NYC


IMAGE – BY JAMES MOORE / COURTESY of the ARTIST

see more work: JAMES MOORE

see: JAMES MOORE at the BROOKLYN COMICS and GRAPHICS FESTIVAL DEC 2011




~FLEMING BROS … ‘GAME ON’ … opens to-nite SEPT 14

yep, I made it to the opening. beautiful strong show.
pix going live next week – !!

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

DEDICATED, I GUESS (!!) TO: 9-11-01 ??? – WHETHER DELIBERATE or UNCONSCIOUSLY CONSCIOUS – no diff !!
this being SEPT 14, 2012.
though I guess the image of the NYC subway – is as ‘iconic’ a symbol and metaphor for the Big Apple as you can get – site specific – without invoking the date. but it’s the cardboard box -that did the trick !!
as for 9-11: you know I saw it go down from a bird’s eye view – so yeah, it made a lasting impression.

as for the CARDBOARD BOX: “IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING” – it’s getting up, there – along with the Warhol soup can . . . ha.

. . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . .


ALAN & MICHAEL FLEMING PRESENT . . . ‘GAME ON’ – OPENING To-NITE – FRI SEPT 14, 2012 / 7-10 PM
the show continues thru OCT 12, 2012

curated by LUCY SMITH, assistant gallerist at THE ACTIVE SPACE, an ambitious new ‘community-centric’ artist space in Brooklyn, this show marks her debut presentation – at the gallery.

the show features “two bodies of work . . . one from (a recent) year of separation and the other made after reuniting in New York.”

read more: THE ACTIVE SPACE/GALLERY POST

THE ACTIVE SPACE – 566 JOHNSON AVE – L TRAIN TO JEFFERSON STATION, BROOKLYN

we caught our first look at the FLEMING TWINS last Spring at the BUSHWICK OPEN STUDIOS WEEKEND, and it was a no-brainer of a visit. FAB !! on all levels: full speed ahead.

see: ALAN & MICHAEL FLEMING – ‘HEADS IN THE SAND’ – time for change, or what !!

see: the STUDIO VISIT PIX: ALAN & MICHAEL FLEMING – BUSHWICK OPEN STUDIOS 2012


ALAN & MICHAEL FLEMING – IMAGE COURTESY: THE ARTISTS & THE ACTIVE SPACE


ALAN & MICHAEL FLEMING – IMAGE COURTESY: THE ARTISTS & THE ACTIVE SPACE

UP-DATE: MON SEPT 24, 2012

PHOTO: ‘What’s wrong with this picture ?’ – NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY – NANCY SMITH, SEPT 15, 2012




~SPX 2012 . . . & UP-DATE . . CHRIS WARE to be at BCGF 2012 !!

SPX / SMALL PRESS EXPO is this weekend: SEPT 15-16, 2012 – BETHESDA, MARYLAND

founded in 1994 . . . this festivity celebrates ‘non-mainstream publishing’ and was ‘created to promote artists and publishers who produce independent comics’.

this year’s featured guests include: DANIEL CLOWES, CHRIS WARE, GILBERT & JAIME HERNANDEZ

as well as: FRANCOISE MOULY, ADRIAN TOMINE, MICHAEL DE FORGE, and NICK ABADZIS . . .

see: SPX / SMALL PRESS EXPO . . . for more info. plus, it’s a GREAT !! site to cruise!!


SPX 2011 – PROGRAM COVER BY JIM RUGG


SPX POSTER 2012 – LOOKS TO BE BY CHRIS WARE.

yep, the SPX 2012 POSTER – IS . . . by CHRIS WARE. it’s spawned a whole mini-universe of well-deserved, huge fan comments already, as in: “awesome, I have no words . . . ” – google it.

yep, it rates a close-up !!

in fact, the title slogan on the SPX 2012 poster is: “celebrating 200,000 years of non-mainstream publishing activity”. ha. though I think the earliest ‘documented’ cavemen drawings only go back 40,000 years, or so, but what’s a couple of hundred thousand years in the face of great art !!
we get the message, right on !!


detail: SPX POSTER 2012 – by CHRIS WARE


detail: SPX POSTER 2012 – by CHRIS WARE


detail: SPX POSTER 2012 – by CHRIS WARE

p.s. YOU CAN FIND THE LARGE SPX 2012 – CHRIS WARE – POSTER, here !!

. . . . . . . .

UP-DATE: SAT SEPT 15, 2012 – TALKING ABOUT . . . CHRIS WARE !!

. . . just noticed in the newest SMOKE SIGNAL – NUMBER 13 / JUNE 2012 that CHRIS WARE will be a SPECIAL GUEST at the 4th ANNUAL BROOKLYN COMICS and GRAPHICS FESTIVAL !!

as well they seemed to have moved up the date from the usual Dec 5th to NOVEMBER 10th – for this year, 2012.
same location.

see: BROOKLYN COMICS & GRAPHICS FESTIVAL

see: SMOKE SIGNAL

p.s.
btw: that BROOKLYN COMICS and GRAPHICS FESTIVAL LOGO, above – is by ANDERS NILSEN, another super awesome comic book artist – who was a special guest at the . . . 2nd BROOKLYN COMICS and GRAPHICS FESTIVAL (2010).
see: ANDERS NILSEN – BROOKLYN COMICS and GRAPHICS FESTIVAL 2010 – POSTER




~SAMMY HARKHAM & JONNY NEGRON . . .

booksigning at DESERT ISLAND, to-nite, THURS SEPT 13, 2012 / 7-9 PM

SAMMY HARKHAM and JONNY NEGRON launch their respective NEW books !!

SAMMY HARKHAM’s ‘Everything Together: Collected Stories’ gathers the very best comics by this acclaimed artist who is also well known as the editor of ‘Karmers Ergot’.

‘Negron’ contains an array of JONNY NEGRON’S highly erotic drawings and comics printed in glossy high def.

from DESERT ISLAND in BROOKLYN, Sammy and Jonny (!!) will continue their book tour onto SPX SMALL PRESS EXPO in Bethesda, MARYLAND, and then it’s off to LOS ANGELES, AUSTIN and PORTLAND.
click here: for more tour info

p.s. SPX will also see the debut of 2 limited edition booklets. FRANK SANTORO’S ‘Pompeii’ (painting and sex before the volcano) and RENEE FRENCH’S ‘Bjornstrand’ (enormous creature comes ashore).

DESERT ISLAND – 540 METROPOLITAN AVE – WILLIAMSBURG, BROOKLYN – JUST OFF THE L LORIMER STOP.

SAMMY HARKHAM – ‘Everything Together: Collected Stories’, more info: PICTUREBOX . . .

JONNY NEGRON – ‘Negron’, more info: PICTUREBOX . . .

ok ok, I’m sure it’s gonna be a great event . . . great books, great artists, that’s for sure.
but . . . I ALSO wanted to get that super cool book cover of JONNY NEGRON’S, with the inscrutable chick in big shades (!!) up on the same page as – TRACEY EMIN’S book cover !!
super cool chicks . . . in over-size shades – unite !!




~TRACEY EMIN . . . ‘STRANGELAND’

what a trip !! to go from NORA EPHRON to . . . TRACEY EMIN !!

if you’ve notice a ‘drift’ to the more emotional and deep personal/cloudy (!!) in my writing lately . . . you can blame it on TRACEY EMIN, whose enchanting, quick read, down-dirty a-plenty memoir, ‘STRANGELAND’ has consumed me feverishly . . . all this past week.

I would capsulize the experience as: FORNICATION vs FABRICATION !!

using fellow Brit Seal’s favorite word for the sex act – as in HEIDI KLUM vs SEAL !! exact words, or to that extent: “I wish Heidi wouldn’t fornicate with the help.” . . . as post marital break-up, Heidi is rumored to be having an affair with her bodyguard.

hey these fellow Brits seem pretty hot under the collar for such an uptight bunch, so a Brit . . . is a Brit is a Brit, and – it all connects, no ? plus Tracey is always alluding back to her great-great-great-grandfather on her father’s side – who was a slave in the Ottoman Empire. “A warrior from the Sudan with skin as black as the night. He wore a red fez, rode a great horse and carried a sword by his side.” pg. 13. (so, there !!)

anyways: it’s an interesting contrast. FORNICATION vs FABRICATION.

I would label myself more a FABRICATOR than a FORNICATOR, though I have 2 kids so don’t peg me, out !!

but just saying, I talk a lot about my own specific art and, more to the point in this conversation, I MAKE ALL MY OWN ART – hands-on, I take all the photos, and hand-stitch all the quilts, and self-post publish my ‘blog’.

TRACEY on the other hand, I believe designs her quilts, but has seamstresses ‘fabricate’ them. I’m not sure, but if memory serves at one time her Polaroid snaps were ‘found’ too, as in: not generated by her.

She’s more of a conceptualist than a craftsperson. I’m not making judgements, it’s called: the richness of creative diversity – right on !!

Tracey’s ‘Strangeland’, first published in 2005 – is a memoir, like this site, and just like the bulk of Nora Ephron’s writings. but there all paths diverge. though ultimately and very dominantly ‘Strangeland’ is about her FAMILY and the Family Jewels, hers (!!) very much. esp as she plots the blame for the runaway passion – squarely on her dad and inheriting his wild Turk heritage.

what you get is never a word about her art, as in ‘artwork’ per se. what you get is the inward seething passions and demons – that formed her, and which her work spurts out of.

unlike Nora Ephron, or even I, the writing in ‘Strangeland’ it is NOT about observation, and it’s not so funny. At the end of the day, Tracey is a mess and mad about her upbringing. mad at own her hard-to-live with personality . . . that never lets up on her. she seems to have happened upon success in a drunken stupor, and . . . “push my head” into the pillow, hard – trumps all.

it is a deep, messy, sometimes unfinished, pulsatingly raw journey that serves as the backdoor into her art – rather than being about the art. impressionistic expression, dreams, life, dreams that melt into life, Margate – a complete spilling of her guts . . . dominates all. the closest you get is on pages 176-177, about 30 pages away, from the end of the book.

“I find it difficult to concentrate and impossible to relax. My mind is hyper, my body taut. I’m frustrated, and at the age of thirty-three, I’m sick to death of turning myself on: the Great Wank, when you give yourself a really good going-over. The same fantasies – the cowboys, the lesbians, the skinhead boys – like the loop of a film going round and round. The dry orgasm, everything held inside . . .
. . . the constant meetings, the film crews, the phone ringing, the appointments – until, finally, the one important thing can seem like an afterthought: art The art of living and wanting, needing to feel whole.
Which was why the biggest kick of the last few weeks was joining my local video ship. For two reasons: (1) I never go the cinema; (2) I like to work while I’m watching TV.”

the bold ‘font’ emphasis – is mine.
that’s about the biggest direct reference you get, to her work – but as you might also see – what’s on the page is pretty illuminating, all the same. just, you get the info, sideways, obliquely. even though it’s right-in-your face – the way through !!

I have a special bond with Tracey Emin, not only because of the quilts – but because my photos of her 2002 New York solo show – were my FIRST EVER published pix !!

see: CHARLIE FINCH ‘EMINENT DOMAIN’ on artnet

read more: ‘STRANGELAND’ by TRACEY EMIN on Amazon

TRACEY EMIN, ‘Hotel International’, 1993
Applique quilt, 257 x 240 cm. Private Collection, New York.
Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York. copyright the artist.
image scanned from a museum post card.

‘STRANGELAND’, TRACEY EMIN, A SCEPTRE BOOK, HODDER and STOUGHTON. PUBLISHED in LONDON 2005.




~FAMILY JEWELS . . . PERUVIAN WEAVING . . at home

or: WHAT I DO . . . !!

DEDICATED TO: TRACEY EMIN. (I’ll tell you why – next post. 2 hints: ‘STRANGELAND’ & QUILTS !!)

I like to go out and see art. that’s why I live in New York City. all kinds of art.
I like to photograph what I see as a record – and I guess my photographs are informed by my artist light-seeking eye.

for many years my art journeys used to inform my watercolors, and then since 2005 . . . they began to inform a web blog, my ‘blog’, horrible word. this page – aka artlovers.

but they also, these journeys, they also . . . inspire my ‘repairs’.

usually I repair quilts – American quilts of any kind, in any way . . . that makes that quilt strong enough to see another hundred years. and yet also resonate with the spirit and intentions of the original, mostly anonymous maker.
just as no quilt repeats another, neither does the repair.

I have been doing this since the 80s when I arrived in New York, and vintage quilts were easily found, maybe tattered, maybe torn, often stained – but cheap !! in the thrift shops that used to dot the Lower East Side, when Basquiat and Haring ruled.
I am self-taught.

I came to New York from Montreal, Quebec, French Canada, though I am most definitely NOT of French heritage. where there was NO history, NO tradition of quilt making. at all. period. end of story.
I guess they used furs !!

maybe it was the lure of the unknown, maybe it was the young family I had just begun to raise, who needed bed covers, warmth, and as much magic, spiritual protection – as I could find them. maybe it was a rage against the ‘scene’, maybe it was intellectual revolt against acrylic paint, big paintings, big egos, staged photographs, too much theory. maybe it was my just . . . my kind of ‘appropriation’ ?

maybe it was simply a love of history, and ‘recording’, archiving. maybe it was a heightened sense of the fast fleetingness of our specific times and, in general: of life. maybe it was a nod to the rich colonial, (woman’s) history of the new land I had just immigrated to. maybe it was just ancient ‘knowing’ running through my fingers . . . my friend Dan Asher caught the last giant icebergs, I rescued the thrown-out quilts. Alfredo did the guns, I did the quilts.
America in a nutshell.

ever heard of the perfect storm – well, I am the perfect outsider.

usually I just say: I repair quilts.
but really, I restore ‘artifacts’. in a most serious, and absolutely sensuous, hand-stitched way.

yep, all by hand. stitch by stitch. by stitch. the quiet skills, woman’s workmanship. preservation, timelessness. stories to discover, stories to tell, sentiments on pass on. memories. not quite Russian Imperial miniatures . . but getting close. Amish diamonds, colonial bear paws, flocks of flying geese. Baltimore album quilts, Gee’s Bend work denims. Texas Lone stars and Appalachian Double Wedding Rings. Trees of Life and trees of thorns. Drunkard’s Path.

the backside, under a sewn-on patch or ribbon – showing the damage-control.
some pieces need a lot of stitching, some: just a little. some take years, esp if you are addressing dye ‘drop-out’- or, if you need to ‘re-quilt’ the whole thing. could be up to 2 years on one project – and some, well they – take just a week.

some like this one, just sit there for decades, till the right moment – strikes.

people don’t usually get what I mean by ‘repair’, and they sometimes don’t get what I mean when I say . . . my art journeys inspire this repair. there is a dialog between what I see and what I do.

mostly, they can’t make the leap to what a ‘photog’ . . . could know about ‘handiwork’ skills. people really like to peg you. in.

mostly, the art part – goes right over their heads.

so this is a little ‘blog’ journey that came to mind . . to illustrate what happens when I see art, as in when I go to an exhibit, that then works it’s way into . . . MY photos and MY artworks, and in specific – what happened when I saw the Faberge show at the MET, this past summer 2012.

it’s mostly about c-o-l-o-r. jewel tones, rainbow tones, color. hue.
then, it’s about a craftsmanship. history. beautiful old things that speak to us. endurance. expression. narrative. poetry.
if yin is to yang, than skills . . . are to sex ?
passion, love. drive and desire. little rocking boats – on big moonlit Greek seas.
(that’s the Tracey part !!).

I think it kinda speaks for itself, but here’s a little helpful text.

this is my ‘repair’ of a old vintage Peruvian weaving. I had it lying around with a little bit of damage in tiny parts – since the 70s, when I had acquired it directly from a friend who had just returned from a trek in the Andes in 1970. yes 1970. and it was already old, vintage at that point, 40 years ago.

you can tell from the fine, ‘miniature’ weave patterns and warp threads, the quality of the brilliant yet dark earthy hues . . . of the splendid multi-range hand-made dyes, and in the very fineness (!!) of the cloth itself.

the only thing separating it from the wondrous, exquisite . . . timeless beauty and workmanship of the Faberge Russian Imperial jewel work – is that the workmaster’s ‘name’ is unknown. at one time the weaver’s individual ‘signature’ was probably known and incorporated into the pattern – but that knowledge – oral history, has long been lost. there is probably a record of the village and of the decade – of the maker’s origin, but no record of the specific maker, herself. yes, another difference . . . these weave dream masters – were women. yes, of course – women wove these.

but treasured they were, even way long ago.
it’s said these intricate and endlessly various in pattern, native Peruvian Indian woven textiles were considered by the ruling Incas – more precious than even the gold the Spainards sought. they were treasured just like the Russian czars treasured their tiny wrought Faberge.

ok. back to the ‘repair’.
that is one of my vintage ribbons, ‘gems’ really, carefully foraged through the years – though most of the best and most ‘treasured’ are from Broadway below Houston back in the day – when ancient old wood floor creakin’ dry goods stores lined the street. they had stuff like, like real pearl buttons and calico trimmings, straight out out of HOME ON THE PRAIRIE, and I’m not kidding. they lasted so long, and then they were gone. . . H&M, PUMA and OLD NAVY, now.

precious vintage ribbons and patches that jump up, me me me !! – from the small collection stored in old biscuit tins and shoeboxes all around me. my ‘gems’. my precious ‘hoardings’. talk about quatre-couleur gold !!

I kept the ‘repair’ to a minimum – just over the few 5 or so, unraveled parts. just to make it strong for use again, plug up the holes. stop the wear. but it’s such a marvel to begin with. . so well-made, so strong and durable for such a finely boned textile. from the get-go.

obvious: the sense of history was just as pervasive as the skills. Faberge. touche.
sorry don’t know how to make French accents on this keyboard.

of course, I’m also interested in the HISTORY.
the history of the thing I photograph, record/preserve, whether really old or bleeding cutting edge . . . as well as the: man-made accomplishment.

these ponchos, and blankets of Peru were made by descendants of the Inca empire – who bye the way have the longest continuous textile record in the world, and knew of every kind of weaving technology there is know worldwide, under the sun – though mostly they are masters of what they call: back strap looms.

this is one is particularly fine. it is the kind of ‘artifact’ and ‘story teller’ that is handed down generation to generation, just like our quilts often are. it is, like all traditional Peruvian textiles – hand-spun and hand-dyed. the colors are like the rainbow. and are all plant derived. this alone speaks to great and ancient knowledge.

it is said the Inca nobility had storerooms full of these weavings, which they had gathered, and traded for, and demanded from . . the native Indian tribes they ruled . . . and that they treasured them so much – it’s said, they only wore each . . . once, and then put it away, and even if that’s just legend or metaphor, it speaks volumes.

and yes, they treasured them so much, they wrapped themselves up in their favorite weaving – for that final ride into the sunset – also known as: the journey to the afterlife.

the afterlife. there it is. google it. Incas. burial rites.

so you know what I felt – when I read that !! walk like an Egyptian.

not to mention – how absolutely wild, and TRIPPY – it would be to live, and weave all day !! up in the mystery, drama, and magic of the Andes. where it’s said they have more stars in one night – than we have in a year, well that’s what they say.

I believe this is what they call a K’eperina – a large rectangle ‘carrying’ cloth worn by women over the back and knotted in the front, into which children and goods are securely held.

‘WHAT I DO’ – ESSAY on MY (!!) ARTWORK – NANCY SMITH, SEPT 10, 2012. NYC.
TOP PHOTO/ARTWORK: FABERGE FROM THE MATILDA GEDDINGS GRAY FOUNDATION COLLECTION – NOW ON VIEW AT THE MET
ARTWORK: HAND-STITCHED REPAIR OF A VINTAGE PERUVIAN K’EPERINA – BY NANCY SMITH
ALL PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH

watch: TRADITIONAL PERUVIAN WEAVING

watch: PERU WEAVING – and check out those MOUNTAINS !!

watch: Chinchero weaving – esp hand vegetable dyes & hand spinning !!




~FAMILY JEWELS . . . RUSSIAN FABERGE . . at the MET

FABERGE & THE LAST IMPERIAL RUSSIAN FAMILY – A ROTATING SELECTION FROM THE MATILDA GEDDINGS GRAY FOUNDATION COLLECTION – NOW ON DISPLAY at the MET

question: does the word FAB . . . come from FABERGE – I bet, YES !!


Imperial Lilies-of-the-Valley Basket. yellow and green gold, silver, nephrite, pearl, rose-cut diamond.
House of Faberge
Workmaster: August Wilhelm Holstrom (Finnish, 1828-1903)
Inscribed (in Russian, at bottom) to Her Imperial Majesty, Czarina Alexandra Fedorovna, from the ironworks management and dealers in the Siberian iron section of the Nijegrodski Fair in the year 1896.
Russian (Saint Petersburg), 1896
Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation

Height 7-1/2 in x Length 8-1/2 in.
(source of dimensions: ‘FABERGE – Fantasies & Treasures’ by Geza Von Habsburg, published by Faberge Co. 1995, USA)

“This basket is considered the most important Faberge piece in the United States and the highest achievement of the workmaster August Wilhelm Holstrom. It consists of nineteen individual stems decorated with pearls and diamonds and was presented to Czarina Alexandra Feodorovna (wife of Czar Nicholas II) on the occasion of her visit to the Pan-Russian exhibition in 1896. The Czarina treasured it not only because the lily-of-the-valley was one of her favorite flowers but also because, in the language of flowers, it symbolizes domestic happiness and conjugal bliss.” – exhibit caption


Imperial Lilies-of-the-Valley Basket, FABERGE

lovers of art, history, fine materials, highly skilled craftsmanship, and design of the timeless order will be fascinated and thrilled by this small but exquisite new exhibit on long term loan at the Met.
when you enter the great hall, turn to the left (south) and walk towards the Greco-Roman displays, you can’t miss the showcases – they are on the west wall opposite the big marble staircase.


on the right: Orange Blossom Spray. Quartzite, olivine, nephrite, rock crystal, gold.
House of Faberge
Workmaster: possibly Henrik Emanuel Wigstrom (Finnish, 1862-1923)
Russian (Saint Petersburg), 1908-17
Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation


left: Imperial Anemones. Gold, polychrome enamel, jade, rock crystal.
House of Faberge
Workmaster: Unidentified
Russian (Saint Petersburg), prob 1899-1908
Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation

right: Lily-of-the-Valley. Moonstone, nephrite, rock crystal, gold
House of faberge
Workmaster: Unidentifed
Russian (saint Petersburg), prob 1908-1917
Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation

as a newly converted watercolorist (!!), going to graduate school in the era of large color field paintings, enough with the Agnes Martin already !! my ever-contrarian nature escaped to the wonders of Gustav Klimt, Japanese Edo period woodblock prints & the world of Faberge !! I was super fascinated esp by photos of these tiny wonders, esp the flower stems in glass ‘vases’ full of (crystal rock !!) water. forget the masking tape, huge canvas stretchers and harsh acrylic paint, give me those fine pointed sable brushes and a tablet of French hand-made Arches watercolor blocks – this is what I wanted to paint !!
how exquisitely wonderful – to finally see them in the real !!


Imperial Caucasus Egg. Yellow and quartre-couleur gold, silver, platinum, guilloche enamel, rose crystal, ivory, watercolor.
House of Faberge
Workmaster: Michael Evlampievich Perchin (Russian, 1860-1903)
Miniaturist: Konstantin Yakovlevich Krijitski (Russian, 1859-1911)
Russian (Saint Petersburg), 1873
Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation

“Czar Alexander III presented this egg to his wife Maria Feodorovna, created in the late (!!) LOUIS XVI style, the egg has 4 oval doors .. set (with) numeral(s) forming year 1893. Each oval door opens to reveal a miniature view of Abastuman, the Imperial hunting lodge . . . ”


Imperial Danish Palaces Egg. Green, rose and quarte-couleur gold, guilloche enamel, star sapphire, cabochon emerald, rose-cut diamond, mother of pearl, crystal, crimson silk velvet.
House of Faberge
Workmaster: Konstantin Yakovlevich Krijitski (Russian, 1859-1911)
Russian (saint Petersburg), 1890
Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation

“Czar Alexander III presented this egg to his wife, Maria Feodorovna, on Easter 1890 . . . Divided into twelve sections in opalescent (!!) pink enamel, it opens on a hinge to reveal its surprise – a folding ten panel gold screen in a crimson velvet pocket . . . (which) bears ten miniatures of the empress’s favorite Danish and Russian palaces.” – exhibit caption


detail landscape miniature – Imperial Danish Palaces Egg, House of Faberge.
the Russian Imperial family had intermarried with Danish royalty . . . I love this depiction as it really looks like – one big happy lived-in country house, as opposed to one’s standard idea of a palace !!
the sailing yacht, that precedes it – is pretty wonderful, too.


left: Green Napoleonic Egg, House of Faberge.
right: Imperial Danish Palaces Egg, House of Faberge.

of the Green Napoloenic Egg, House of Faberge, Workmaster: Henrik Emanuel Wigstrom, Miniaturist: Vassiy Ivanovich Zuiev . . “Czar Nicholas II presented it to his mother dowager Maria Feodorovna Easter 1912. It commemorated ‘the centenary’ of the Russian victory over the armies of Napoleon . . ” – exhibit caption


MATILDA GEDDINGS GRAY, ca. 1940.
Photograph: DOROTHEA THORP – courtesy Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation.

Matilda came from a western – yep, we hit OIL !! big time … family. an artist herself, she acquired her first piece of Faberge in 1933, when the firm was then still unknown in the United States. (remember those days . . back in the day before google !!)

the Faberge golden eggs, with their exquisite craftsmanship and lovely gentle romantic sentiments – are quite at odds with the real-life struggles going on in the world, esp Russia at the time. forever linked to their doomed patrons, the last imperial family to rule Russia . . . these testaments to enduring beauty and accomplishment only highlight the irony of history, keeping alive a family that is poignantly noted, and yes . . all their death dates are the same: 1918.

read more: Faberge from the Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation Collection – at the MET

PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH. NYC Aug 17, 2012.