Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I am home a week yesterday, which is difficult to believe and I have spent the first day since home in my studio. I have many things to catch up on and am finally feeling a bit more grounded and ready to work. I did, however, receive my Rosetta Stone Italian lessons in the mail today. But I have not a moment to spare with 4 weeks until I deliver work to the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum.

The last 2 posts were a tiny window into my experience with my new Italian friends at DHG. Before I began with the show and teaching events, I was fortunate enough to take a couple of days in the spectacular city of Florence (...or Firenze!) while I adjusted to the time change ;o). I will share some images and thoughts here in the attempt to convey some modicum of the beauty and history of this spectacular city.
I truly fell in love.
I cried (a few times)
I lived every minute in the moment. If this city is not on your bucket list, add now.

so, one more time...grab your nuno felted throw and your glass of Chianti and join me in Florence...
Oh, but wait. In transit. 
While in Frankfurt with hours to spare what is one to do but eat? Sauerkraut and sausage with beer? Yes. Yes, I did. I people watched (business men, couples in love, business men in was nice)

 Moving forward...I arrive in Florence and am met by my Italian friend, Daniel, who rides with me to my little place above a bar near the Palazzo Vecchio. THIS (below), my friends, is my view to the right from my window. I cry. I most certainly did! I am in friggin' Italy!!

 after wandering the streets and not getting lost after being awake 36 hours, I have a fabulous night sleep and awake to THIS.

 ...Pinch. Cry. No jet lag. Too stoked.

 Florence awaits!

 I meet with the curator of my exhibition, Eva Basile, at a charming little place (Thank you, Eva!)

 Then, on to the Uffizi where I have tickets reserved for 10 a.m.

 Up top a kind tourist (A forensic accountant from Atlanta on a birthday trip with his mother) took my picture. We had a lovely conversation....thanks :o)

 Oooops. Not allowed to take pictures. My finger slipped. No flash.
From the Uffizi..the Arno.

hmmm. Pretty.

Palazzo Medici

My Favorite!!! Cappelle Medicee. Inside is below...
CRIED! Chapel of the Princes...stunning (Yes, finger slipped again). A woman entered after me and gasped loudly...she then had to sit. I sat beside her and we both sat speechless: a rare occurrence for me. What you cannot see are the large sculptures and stone EVERYwhere. The next room is equally stunning but in a different way, the :New Sacristy". A tiny space full of oainfully detailed frescoes and Michelangelo sculpture.
 The Duomo...It sounds silly, but I wandered for a couple of hours before I found it even though I could see it from the Uffizi. I enjoyed every moment of being a bit lost and without bearings. Rounding the corner to see this was another teary moment. People must have thought I was crazy.

 A night time trip up to beautiful Fiesole! So spoiled! Filled on on some fascinating history by wonderful company.

I call him Dave.

inside palazzo Medici...below too.

Yes...amazing shops.

Lots of leather! I could hear them setting up bright and early each morning beneath my window.

Lunch at the Palazzo Vecchio.

 Nice. A bit of street performance.


Tuscan sun rising behind me as I go to the airport. This would have been "Ciao, for now" for Italy, but delays allowed me another 24 hours in the country (a whole other post). Not as I would have liked or planned, but another 24 hours, nevertheless. I did not mind in the very least. I have many more images I could share and so much more I could say, but I am still pining for Italy after being home for a week. All I can say is...Fino alla prossima volta. Google translate tells me this says, "Until next time" Whether accurate or not will have to wait until I begin my lessons!

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Italy! The Show...the Workshop

Welcome to Italy: Part 2
It is all out of order chronologically, but for some reason this makes sense to me. I guess taking care of "business" before I rant about Florence. Of course, even "business" for me is an absolute joy and when you work with people like I have come to know at DHG, it is difficult to separate one from the other.

So, grab that nuno felted throw blanket again and a glass of wine and come along with me again....

I say, "Ciao, for now" to Florence and take a short train ride to PRATO.

 I am greeted by Gaia of DHG and we zip through the streets of Prato headed toward my cozy retreat for the next few days....

 Prato (amore!)

 I know I am close to home by this landmark...What's that? Oh, just a fortress!

"Here you go! G'nite!"...Umm, really? The utilitarian door and the graffiti are zero indication of what lies behind and I just LOVE the juxtaposition of this door and the magical space.

A secret garden of olive trees and vines and a view of the dome. A stylish retreat to sip coffee and prepare for my day ahead. This is Buonanotte Barbarossa and I will return.

Dinner with my new dear friend, Lisbeth at a charming place that was a former stable. I still owe you a drink, Lisbeth!

 Night falls over Prato and I get to settle in here. Between Skype calls and FB updates, not a great deal of sleep was had, but sleep is over rated when in such a wonder place with such wonderful people.

Coffee never tasted so good. Very strong. 

 A fascinating guided tour of the Textile Museum of Prato. I was part of the touring group exhibition "The Climate is Changing" which opened here several years ago. This was the beginning of my connection with the Italian feltmakers and curator of my exhibition "Materia Vitale" Eva Basile.

 Back at DHG a handsome (and talented, and...) Italian man, Daniel, was setting up to film a video interview with me. I will, of course, let you know when it is available to view (that is if Daniel uses a magic filter that conceals my lack of sleep. just kidding!)

 A quick change and walk through the square to meet Gaia to attend my opening! I am so grateful for all the work and planning involved in putting it all together....I just had to show up.

 Tah Dah! More of what Daniel and DHG do...

 Wonder what we are talking about?!

 ..more handsome Italians :o)

...after opening dinner. I was so in-the-moment and enjoying the company of all those who came to dinner, a post dinner table shot is all I got. Olive oil, foccacia, wine, pasta...what can I say?

Good Morning, Fortress! Today the workshop begins...

 Lunch...catered. With wine and espresso and "Strepidosa" students. What more could I want?!

 Lisbeth was a wonderful translator!

 ...but we all spoke the language of wool.

 my sample assembled and ready to wet felt.

Day one came to a quick close. Time flies when you are having fun!


 I was NOT leaving Italy without finding the flat black leather boots I just could not find at home!
Success at Piumi
 Dinner with some of my lovely students.

Wonderful dinner at Mokha

 And a traditional drink to follow, Lemoncello!

After lunch on day #2 we went on a tour of the exhibition which brought me on a little side demo for an interesting 3D element. Marta takes notes!


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time to relax

time to relax
Liberatio Captivus