This last month has been a whirlwind of travel...I think Ryanair should pay ME for flying with them! But now that I've had a moment to breathe, the things that stand out from our trips are the Artists and Artisans we met, discovered and rediscovered along the way.
The first heart palpitation hit when we were in The Little Museum in Dublin and came across a photo of Samuel Beckett--that in itself set my heart a-beatin'--but the accompanying post card sealed the deal....
The homework assignment: write a letter to a person who lived in your house before you did (remember those assignments?) Well for this kid, it was Beckett! And he, Beckett, responded--
"If you ever meet my ghost in house or grounds,
give it my regards...yours antiquatedly, Sam Beckett"
The images were burned to my eyelids. My head was pounding. My blood sugar was low...I couldn't do another Dali without food. We had to break up our visit to the Reina-Sofia's traveling Dali exhibit into two 3 hour blocks to maintain our connection to the real world. The ants, disintegrated phones, dismembered bodies, monsters, real and imagined, cascaded, one upon the other, grabbing me by the throat and thrashing me about. It took me days to shake off the impact....To give you an idea, after the Dalis, we went to see Picasso's Guernica---I gotta tell ya, it is tame (but certainly powerful) compared to Dali's Premonition of Civil War....
All in one day, all in one place...both Dali AND Picasso...master works of each? Madrid is a wonderful city!!
Then we had the pleasure of discovering---for us it was a discovery, for Art Historians not so much---Juaquin' Sorolla and his home which has been converted into a lovely jewel box of a museum, also in the heart of Madrid, away from the Museum District. Sorolla combined the artistic aesthetic with a profound home life which informed his work, his studio and his vision. Whether it was the lovely, sunny day or the relief from assaulting images or the delicious garden or the adventure of finding a new place in a big city, it was a perfect Sunday afternoon.
We decided long ago to stop buying touristy crap...I have no room for it in my house and it gets stuck in a corner and gathers dust only to end in the trash in a year or two. Instead, we search for local artists and artisans whose work is specific to the place and we can either use or look at regularly, i.e. we bought hand-painted Cypriot bowls in which we serve ice cream and we hand-knitted sweaters in Ireland to wear on cold, cold days.
So, how excited was I to see a sign, "Milliner," in Kilkenny, Ireland, right across the street from the castle. (We like castles in my family and stop for every one we see!) I've never visited a real, live Milliner before. Rebekah Patterson makes hats- yes, she makes hats. Who makes hats these days? Many of them are works of art, spun sugar and lace and feathers and yes, I was seduced. I bought one of her hats. She is a charming, warm Irish woman dedicated to her craft, bringing fantasy and frivolity to your head!
Cute hats, huh??
You can find more of Rebekah's work at www.designofthetimes.ie/rebekahpatterson.php
or The Wishing Bone Gallery, Kilkenny, Ireland
Add together an English ex-pat, a Laguna Beach-type village, the wild, untamed Atlantic off the shores of Connemara, Ireland, and you've got...Art, fused glass art. The Connemara Blue Gallery, run by Ben Cross, who, by the way, is on his 3rd or 4th career, found something that fed his passions--the beauty of Ireland, the inspiration of Miro', and firing glass. An intimate gallery that features his glass creations and textiles made by his wife, The Connemara Blue Gallery offers the visitor unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. Yeah, we've got several small ones--we were, unfortunately, guided by flight restrictions.
You can find out more about The Connemara Blue Gallery and Ben Cross at
I am unspeakably proud of Gary's work...he has the courage to know when his work is not perfect and the strength of conviction to commit to redoing it until it meets his standards. His new-found humility provided him opportunities, opportunities that allowed him to see the makeup artist he wants to be, and the strength to explore that heady realm.
Art and Artists fed our souls this last month. We looked into the heart of beauty and rage and love, we saw the worlds of family and nature through new eyes, the creative spirit sparked discussion and envy and insight. We are fuller and richer for it.