Tiddley-Bits tea

Tiddley-Bits tea

Friday, 29 October 2010

{all hallow's eve}

I've been preparing lectures on the danse macabre & themes of death in medieval manuscripts & incunabula, which became quite popular in the Middle Ages. They seem appropriate with Hallowe'en approaching in a few days.

{Jean le Noir, The Three Living and the Three Dead, Prayer Book of Bonne of Luxembourg, c 1345, Met}
 Some scholars have seen this preoccupation with death linked to the plague or Black Death which killed an estimated 1/3 of the population.
Death, however, soon became fashionable in the courts in the fourteenth century. It was celebrated in courtly poems and pageants, it was also celebrated in towns & cities where the theme of the Dance of Death (Danse Macabre) became popular.
Skeletons lead the different orders of society in a ghoulish graveside gambol, most famously in a series of wall paintings at the Cemetery of the Innocents in Paris (now lost), but probably similar to these paintings at the Abbaye Chaise Dieu.
These motifs were then taken up in incunabula, or early printed books, where all levels of society should be on the lookout for death:
 I have to admit, I love Hallowe'en. As kids, we'd spend weeks planning for the big day. We'd hunt the local second-hand stores to find the starting-point of a Hallowe'en costume and then my Mum would spend weeks at the sewing machine putting our creations together. 5 girls--you can imagine there was a lot of sewing to do! We had great old trunks (see my post of trunks) that we'd fill up with all of our costumes. These wouldn't just sit there unused after Hallowe'en, but we'd use them throughout the year. Like the March sisters in Little Women, my sisters & I would put together plays whenever our grandparents came over, or whenever we'd feel like putting on a play.

{my sisters & cousins playing dress-up (I believe I was too little for this one)}

I love the idea of a masked ball. I've been a nomad for the past few years, but the next time I'm settled in a home for a while, I'm definitely going to put on a masked ball for Hallowe'en.
Don't you love these masks from Venetian carnival?

I actually really like the images from the Commedia dell'Arte, a form of theatre that emerged in the early modern period, in which masked individuals performed, often in an improvised manner. Actors, in general, performed outdoors in temporary venues, but it soon became part of courtly entertainment. Stock characters were often used to characterise various levels of society and actors usually wore masks.
{these are by a French artist, Jacques Callot who published them under the name, Balla di Sfessania. This is a Neapolitan dance, but it draws from the stock characters of the Commedia dell'Arte. Images from Giornale Nuovo}

 Or some other prints of Commedia dell'arte:
I came across these costumes for pets on Etsy. I honestly couldn't stop laughing at some of these inventive costumes. Here are a few to give you a chuckle:

{this cat looks really pleased}

{scary looking shark. all from Etsy}

So how about decorations for your home? Last year my sister had just moved into her new home & there was Styrofoam lying around the basement. We got crafty & we got witty & made these fantastic tombstones (you need to read them to see how really witty we are):

{my sis hard at work, digging up the 'graveyard'}

{a friend of ours was actually the mastermind behind this one}

{ooooh spooookey!!!}

{you've got to check out the captions on these tombstones}

{'graveyard' helpers}

check out these great ideas from Odeedoh

These pumpkins are absolutely beautiful:


During grad school at McGill two of the profs in our department used to put on a fantastic Hallowe'en party. We'd all get dressed up & have loads of fun. We'd always have drinks at my place before the party:
{me as Audrey in Breakfast At Tiffany's chez moi}

{me as a cat}

{don't you love these 1920s costumes??}
{absolutely love these old vintage hallowe'en greetings]

{poor mice!}

{this one is highly freaky & disturbing all at once}

 I did French Immersion and a staple of my education was Telefrancais. To this day I remember the song about the skeletons in the forest "qu'est-ce que c'est, qu'est-ce que c'est, c'est nous partout dans la foret!"
 You can watch the episode here.
and of course, I can't leave out Matt Maxwell's "C'est l'Hallowe'en". You can listen to it here.
Have fun trick or treating, or giving out candy, & most of all, remember to be a kid & get excited about all hallow's eve!
From the Danse Macabre:
O créature raisonnable
qui désire vie éternelle,
tu as ici doctrine notable
pour bien finir vie mortelle.
La danse macabre rappelle
que chacun à danser apprend
à homme et femme est naturelle,
la mort n’épargne ni petit ni grand.

O prudent creature
Desirous of eternal life
Here is a remarkable doctrine

How to terminate your mortal life
The Dance of Death reminds us
That everyone must learn the dan
Man or woman it is all the same
Death spares neither small nor large.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

{think pink}

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.
I come from a family that is overdosed with estrogen. My mother was the 5th daughter of five girls, & I'm the 5th daughter of five girls. With all the great things that a strong family of women entails, comes the not-so-great things like breast cancer. Many family members have had cancer, not all breast cancer, but cancer all the same. Some incurable-I've lost a couple of aunts to the disease--and some who have overcome it-I have aunts & a sister who are survivors.

Around the globe people are doing a variety of things for breast cancer awareness.
You'll have noticed an increase in pink. My artist friends here at Alfred have put their creative powers to use and have decorated breast cancer awareness bags, displayed & on sale at the Cohen Centre. Some women are trekking all the way to Machu Pichu; others are cycling from London to Paris
So, I thought I'd make my nod to breast cancer awareness by blogging on pink.
Whenever I think pink, I think of the classic 1957 movie Funny Face, starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire.

We are introduced to the latest season's trend of pink early on in the movie through Maggie Prescott, the head of a leading fashion magazine, Quality. She serenades the viewer with her Think Pink song.

{Maggie Prescott during her 'think pink' song. Images from Glass of Fashion}

{this outfit starts off great: looks like a pink stole}

{turns into a ruffle, fur overskirt. just gives it that quel que chose!}

Think pink! think pink! when you shop for summer clothes.
Think pink! think pink! if you want that quel-que chose.
Red is dead, blue is through,
Green's obscene, brown's taboo.
And there is not the slightest excuse for plum or puce
or chartreuse.
Think pink! forget that Dior says black and rust.
Think pink! who cares if the new look has no bust.
Now, I wouldn't presume to tell a woman
what a woman oughtta think,
But tell her if she's gotta think: think pink!

pink for bags! pink for shoes!
Razzle, dazzle and spread the news!
And pink's for the lady with joie de vive!
Pinks for all the family.
Try pink shampoo.
Pink toothpaste too.

Play in pink, all day in pink,
Pretty gay in pink.
Drive in pink, come alive in pink,
Have a dive in pink.
Go out dancing but just remember one thing:
You can get a little wink
If you got a little pink
In your swing.

Think pink! think pink, it's the latest word, you know.
Think pink! think pink and you're Michelangelo.

Feels so gay, feels so bright.
Makes you day, makes you night.
Pink is now the colour to which
you gotta switch!

Think pink! think pink on the long, long road ahead.

On the road, think pink!
...think pink and the world is rosey-red
Everything on the great horizon,
Everything that you can think
and that includes the kitchen sink,
Think pink!
Think pink, think pink
Think pink, think pink
Think pink, think pink!

So how does Audrey fit into it all? Well, she's Jo Stockton, an unsuspecting intellectual, who works in a bookstore in Greenwich Village, NYC, and is drawn to philosophical inquiries. Quality  magazine decides they are going to feature the season's newest idea--the smart woman--and the photographer, Charles Avery (Fred Astaire) is in search of an intellectual backdrop to make up for the stupidity of the model. So Quality descends, unsuspectingly, on Jo's bookstore.

{Avery, of course, sees potential in the bookish Audrey}

{as a philosopher, modelling strictly goes against all Jo's beliefs, but Quality arranges for her to drop off a 'delivery' of books and they try to transform her}
{Audrey flees from the scissors, and escapes into the darkroom, only to find Fred Astaire there (who she has already found herself falling in love with)}

{He realises that Audrey's face really does have potential and he convinces her to agree to the modelling, since he guarantees a trip to Paris (side note: love the desk!)}

 Audrey is willing to put her scruples of modelling aside, if it means she gets to go to Paris. She has always dreamed of going to Paris because she longs to attend the famous lectures on empathicalism by the well-known Dr. Emile Flostre.
The rest of the movie follows Jo-as-model through Paris, while Jo-the-philosopher tries to fit in time with Dr. Flostre & the empathicalists.
The result is fantastic shots in fantastic Paris in fantastic givenchy!

& her stunning wedding dress:

inspirations from Polyvore:

think pink kitchen inspirations:

{how about this lovely old fridge?}

{or this modern version from HiSpek for £1059.99}

{Sid Dickens' tiles recently featured on design*sponge (Silk Road collection)}

{wouldn't these look great in a 'think pink' inspired bathroom or even funky kitchen? also Sid Dickens }

Some potential options:

{these are taken from Honey&Fizz with no credits on the designers, unfortunately}

{from annie schlechter photography}

{how about some fabulous pink doors?}

{or this pink Cadillac?!}

Tucked away in the back streets around Saint German you can find some great little restaurants and caffes similar to the ones Audrey visits in Funny Face. Sit down & have some moules frites, enjoy the people-watching, and sip a glass of wine.

{Passage St. Andre from le best of paris}

{I took this photo a few years ago when I went to Paris to join my middle sister who was on a business trip in Africa (but she had a stopover & some meetings in Paris). I was living in Italy, conducting doctoral research at the time, so made a weekend trip out of it}

& to end...here are some more pink ideas inspired by funny face. enjoy!
{a library inspired by the philosopher Jo's bookstore in the movie & most importantly in pink! from nami*&Chitaki}

{think bohemian pink. photo & the 5 photos below from la maison boheme}

{think pink at christmas}

{think pink for sipping tea. from wedding bee}

{think pink while entertaining}

{think pink in the loo & in the bubble bath}

& one last thing. think pink when decorating girly cupcakes for one's niece. You can read all about this fantastic Alice in Wonderland party on baker hill homes' blog.
{getting help from the birthday girl on decorating}