Sunday, October 18, 2015

Emilie Flöge and the Lady in Gold

In my last two posts, Beholding Beauty and Beads and Buttons and Books I wrote about our trip to Vienna (Austria). This post is also about our visit to Vienna, when we went to the Belvedere to see the work of Gustav Klimt - simply a must if you like the painters of the Vienna Secession. His most well-known painting The Kiss (The Lovers) and Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (The Woman in Gold) are admired by people from around the world.
Design by Emilie Louise Flöge
But not everybody is acquainted with Emilie Louise Flöge, who designed and made the dress for The Woman in Gold and for many other society ladies who were painted by Klimt! It is an extraordinary tale. Read about the multitalented Flöge sisters, how they became successful business women in the haute couture fashion world, how Emilie Flöge met Gustav Klimt and became his life companion, his muse and inspiration, yet stayed more or less behind the scenes and didn't live to see recognition for her work as she rightly should have.

A portrait of Emilie Flöge by Gustav Klimt was as ahead of the times as Emilie Flöge was herself:
"It is perhaps no wonder that Klimt's Portrait of Emilie Floge, painted in 1902, was the first to present its subject as a bejeweled icon, a gilded beauty whose decorative trappings constitute a metaphorical chastity belt. Directly anticipating the "gold" portraits of 1906-1907, the picture was exceedingly radical for its day, and perhaps for this reason neither Emilie nor her family liked it."

Emilie Flöge - painted by Gustav Klimt
Depending on where they live, designers these days are much less limited in their range of expressions. This is especially true in the field of fashion, including all types of textile crafts. I strongly believe that if you teach a child how to knit, you give that child a life-long gift of joy. The success of the textile crafts site supports this view, so many adult members fondly remember the person who taught them to knit or engage in other textile crafts.

 A few more impressions of our trip to Vienna:

This store is called: "Viennese Culture"
At the Naschmarkt: Herbs and Spices anyone?
All fresh and tasty - fruit and vegetables offered at the Naschmarkt

A wide choice of vinegar!
See and read more on Vienna in these posts Beads and Buttons and Books and Beholding Beauty

Beholding Beauty

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. What an ingenious and clever saying! Beauty is perceived individually, it  has many mothers and fathers. It gives us all a free ticket to love the perfect and imperfect, the wellknown and the almost forgotten, the sought after as well as the unappreciated and unrecognized.
Rose Garden (Hofburg, Vienna) Picture by Valerie Mader
It also means that if you do not see beauty in paintings such the mysterious Mona Lisa or golden bliss of The Kiss, it is perfectly acceptable. Instead you might prefer to see Goya's Black Paintings, or the work of Neo Rauch, you might want to listen to David Garrett instead of medieval music, prefer Mizzi Morawez' bold creations to the sleek Armani outfits. If it weren't for the liberty of taste, how poor would the art world be?
Egon Schiele (Tulln): I, the eternal child
Our recent trip to Austria brought this proverb to mind as we were visiting art-studded museums and galleries in and around Vienna. Egon Schiele was on top of my wish list:
We visited the museum in Tulln, his birthplace.
Egon Schiele Museum (Tulln, Austria)
The museum houses not too many of his paintings and they have not often been shown elsewhere, so do not miss seeing some of his lesser known paintings if you like Schiele!

Egon Schiele
Vienna is always worth a visit. The Mumok is a major attraction for those you who wish to visit a museum of modern art, and for those who want to relax in those ingenious blue plastic recliners, eat a delicious icecream or enjoy Viennese coffee in one of its many variations, listen to street musicians or just look at the blue sky above.
Museum of Modern Art: MUMOK (Vienna)
Relaxing on the Museumsplatz (Vienna)
Here some quirky Viennese special events::
Do You Yodel? (jodel?) As of 28 May...

Clairvoyance? Boycott FIFA
Footwalker = Austrian for Pedestrian
Always helpful!
Hofburg  Palace- of Sissi fame (Vienna)
See and read more on Vienna in these posts Beads and Buttons and Books and Emilie Flöge and the Lady in Gold

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Beads and Buttons and Books

Three of my four favorite things to have or work with start with a "B" - but this store even has another "B", a collection of badges. Recently, I visited Vienna (Austria) and chanced upon this incredible shop for buttons and beads and books and beautiful old things one would probably call vintage today. I hesitate to use that expression -

A wall full of shining buttons and beads
it is not just vintage in the present-day interpretation of the term, these items are truly classic in their style, their usefulness and practicality is still present as is their beauty of design - they are the very essence of form follows function. Exciting examples of how to use buttons and beads and ribbons and lace are found in just one click - the creations of Mizzie Morawez!
A few steps into the store and your eyes start shining...
The owner, Mr. Thomas (Heinrich Thomas, Burggasse 11/1, 1076 Wien, Austria, Tel. +43-664-3580701; speaking German and English) is still driving to markets all over Europe where buttons and beads and antiques are offered and sold - a true collector and a treasure trove for anybody who appreciates his collection -

Entrance to the store for buttons and beads and badges and...
and yes, you may acquire most things you see in the store, be it old textile craft items or other interesting books, china, glass bottles, dolls... click here another description of the store.

Vases and mirrors
if you love such stores, plan on spending a lot of time there, sifting through the treasures... (also see my last blog post about this store which includes some information like opening hours, tel. number etc.)
Spend a day in a shiny store!
And what do you think is in the envelopes at the top?
...gilded buttons, studs and badges, all in absolute mint condition!
Treasures - hidden away for a long time
One should turn this beautiful shop into a museum 
Below some pictures of beautiful china and glass vases just waiting for you to take to your home ...
A thermo-clad coffee pot - in the style of Art Nouveau Bauscher Weiden

Lovely cups that want to be held in both hands...
These decanters look like a still life painting
I am sorry but the lace found its way into my bag...

This stirs every lace lover's heart!
Heinrich Thomas (Vienna) - one more link - click here
Read more on our trip to Vienna in these posts: Emilie Flöge and the Lady in Gold and Beholding Beauty

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Paths are Made by Walking

This quote is attributed to Franz Kafka and in my view it translates so well into the technique of Freeform. With every freeform creation new trails are made, no piece must resemble the one previous, shapes and colors in countless varieties and combinations. It is also like writing a book, quoting Kafka again: “Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.”
Freeform Creation by Mitsuko Tonouchi (Copyright - All Rights Reserved)
Freeform pieces or scrumbles, single or joined, shaped into recognizable clothing styles or running wild, unpredictable and adventurous like the creations by Mizzie Morawez or the beautiful shapes and interpretations by Mitsuko Tonouchi  Freeform is a trail-blazing art, full of creativity and inspiration. 

Mitsuko Tonouchi is a renowned Japanese Textile Artist, especially her freeform work is met with a lot of admiration and high praise. Many of her fabulous imaginative pieces can be viewed on Pinterest. I posed two questions to Mitsuko Tonouchi with regard to her work

Wall Hanging - by Mitsuko Tonouchi (Copyright - All Rights Reserved)
Q: "Do you start out your project with a specific shape or color in mind, or an approximate design that you first put down on paper and then create with fabric or yarns?" 
A: "I start without a plan. I sometimes get something very quickly like in a flash. If anything, I conceived something from... a word, a photo and a connection... I look for inspiration (for example: popping up a picture book, looking at art magazines and go for walks to take photos...
Q: "Do the voids between the scrumbles / freeform pieces carry a meaning, or are they sometimes even the carriers of a message?"
A: " Sometimes, and I think I need to put a meaning or a message... I worry it would not have individuality."
Deep Sea Fantasy - Mitsuko Tonouchi (Copyright - all Rights reserved)

Please note that the 3 pictures above are copyrighted (All Rights Reserved) and belong to Mitsuko Tonouchi. Please respect the property rights.

My own freeform work is progressing all too slowly - my day job is in the way! The Wisteria scarf is finished and I found some lovely beads for it in a Button and Beads store in Vienna... here is a picture to give you an idea of how hard it was to leave that store: 
Buttons and Beads Store in Vienna (Austria)

If you can't wait for more pictures and happen to live in or visit Vienna, here's the address: Knoepfe und Perlen. Heinrich Thomas, Burggasse 11/1,1076 Wien, tel. +34 (0) 6643580701 - and the Opening Hours - note those whimsical Viennese distinctions!

For more information and pictures see the post: Beads and Buttons and Books

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Pursuit of Happiness

The other day I read in the Smithsonian Magazine (May 2015) about what made people happy: “Physical closeness, which encourages human interaction; proximity to amenities, which creates the sense that what you need is readily at hand; green spaces, cultivated and wild, that provide places to play and explore; and varied architecture, which fosters a feeling of security, because it creates the sense that a place has existed for a long time. “All of these things create a genuine sense of safety,” says Rebecca Williams, “which is the most basic element of community and without which happiness is impossible.”
Blackbird singing in spring
We all have our individual, special but often very similar happiness niches. But these days it is hard to settle down and relax in the safety of our home and safe surroundings with so many upheavals around the globe, wars breaking out, devastating earthquakes, people leaving their home and risking their life for an uncertain future, freezing their feelings to the bare minimum of survival - I find it hard to concentrate on knitting and literature, hence the longer intervals between posts on my blog. 
Evening Sky Over Berlin
Sometimes one has to break camp without even knowing the new dwelling - twelve months ago I moved from the least populated Departement in France to the biggest city in Germany, Berlin. A megalopolis with over 440 000 trees spread over a surface of 892 m², improving the air for approx. 3.3 million inhabitants. Fields and forests, farms and parks, rivers and lakes make up the web of the city that is growing every day. 
Weeping Birch Tree - Betula Pendula
I am still taking my daily walks, but instead of feasting my eyes on“my” own garden flowers and centuries old oak trees I look into other people’s gardens, admiring their carefully tended formal flower beds as much as their neighbors’ nature hang-loose green space, which translates into “let it grow.” 
Red Chestnut Tree
The trees in Berlin are magnificent. One can become a “Baumpate”, adopting a tree to water it in summer and keep the place around the tree trunk clear of litter year round.  
Linden Tree - with crocusses adorning the foot of the tree
Wisteria - Glyzinie - Glycine
During those walks I find myself thinking of yarn colors to match the flowers’ abundance, one garden resembles Jane Thornley’s beautiful designs with multicolor yarns such as Madelinetosh or Blue Heron. I started giving those gardens yarn brand names: Habu metallic or Rowan Kidsilk Lace or the emperor of multicolor yarns Noro Silk Garden! Watch Noro’s Brand Concept video and you know what I mean with garden colors… Or satisfy your color temptation with Jane Thornley's Spring Ascension Shrug. I am knitting a long thin scarf with the colors of a Wisteria plant:

"Wisteria" scarf, long, thin, moving in the wind
Easy Moss Stitch

Wisteria Blossoms
Being new to Berlin, there is plenty to explore. An especially meaningful and moving event was the Kirschblütenfest, the Japanese Hanami festival, celebrating cherry blossoms in spring of each year. This Berlin Hanami Festival has a special background. To commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall thousands of private Japanese citizens, adults and children donated toward the planting of Japanese Cherry Trees along the path of the former wall as a gesture of congratulation and celebration. 
Japanese Cherry Trees - Commemorating the Fall of the Berlin Wall
And as the wall came down, thousands of cherry trees now line the path of the former wall separating the two German states. TV-Asahi supported the donation. The last Hanami took place on 26 April 2015 in Berlin. More than 30 stands at either end of the Boulevard offered food and drink and commemorative items. What a beautiful idea to turn a death-bringing wall into an ocean of flowers!
Flowering Cherry Trees - Their Petals Softening Your Steps
Cherry Blossoms
From the Japanese People: the Cherry Tree Gift
Cherry Tree Blossom Boulevard - the Wall Turned Into Flowers