About 25 years ago, I bought this briefcase at Porta Portese, Rome’s famous Sunday flea market. At the time, it was obviously used and an ugly colour of brown. This year I finally decided to give it a make-over and painted it with bright coloured flowers. It’s used mainly to transport my drawings to and from the studio.
I love color because it let’s me be happy and wild!
The easiest way to change the look of your home is with a can of paint. Just imagine your livingroom with all the furniture painted a different color (like everything painted yellow…yum!). Paint is like a magic wand.
My neighbour gave me an ugly brown cabinet that we repurposed so it could be used to store my thread. First the legs were cut off and castors added so that it could be moved around easily. Then it was painted white. ABRACADABRA! On top is a tray made from a fan covering that I found near the dumpster. I covered it with papier-mache then painted it blue and white. I use it for my current sewing projects so that they can be moved around from one room to the next.
On the top shelf are three purses made from wine cartons. The first one is covered with woven plastic bags, the second with fused plastic bags and pasta packaging, and the third with woven paper. The handles for all three are made from crocheted plastic bags.
On the second shelf are three flower pot coverings. The first two are made from plastic bags and the third from scrap yarn.
My mother gave this “Mexico” souvenir purse to my daughter when she was a little girl. Chiara rarely used but, because of it reminded me of trips to the Mexican border, I wanted to not only keep it but to make it useful again. It was too small for adult use so I added height via fabric scrap crochet. A shoulder strap was made from crocheted fabric, too. The pompoms were leftovers from another project.
And here it is at La Sussurrata hanging in between weights made from sea glass in plastic bottles and a basket made from woven paper and plastic bottles.
It was a lovely October morning in Rome. Like “Roman Holiday”, we were on the scooter cruising around with smiles on our faces. Our destination was the Edward Hopper exhibition at the Vittoriano. After the exhibit, lunch out and the holiday continued. I wanted the day to last forever. So I used the Edward Hopper dépliant and it’s “Second Story Sunlight” as the inspiration for a cardboard purse. Once the structure was created, I carefully cut out the image and painted a background. And to keep the “sustainable” spirit going, I crocheted plastic bags to make the handle.
When I look at the purse, I think of that Beautiful Day. I don’t look closely at the two women on the balcony, one young, one old but both with Jo Hopper as the model. Jo complained that she had obliterated her career as an artist when she became Hopper’s wife.
There was this big white space above the stairs leading to the bedroom that used to stare at me. I couldn’t stand the glare so I decided to stare back by creating a home gallery and had three rows of picture shelves put on it. To enclose the area, I painted it orange. When it’s finished, I’ll call my little gallery Ikastikos(εικαστικός) which in Greek means “representative” thus a word often related to the visual arts.
Obviously, the shelves need something special so I decided to make Greek retablos. That is, drawings that express an appreciation and expressed in Greek since we’re on Paros. Of course, I needed the help of my Greek teacher, Katerina.
Retablos are small ex-voto paintings (generally painted on tin) made as an offering of gratitude for an answered prayer. It’s all about the Aesthetics of Appreciaton: If you’re lucky and don’t know it, it’s like not being lucky at all. So to keep luck alive, it must be recognized. And retablos are a means of offering thanks for this luck.
Having many things to be grateful for, several years ago I made a series of cardboard retablos. They were so joyful to make. Because expressing gratitude is good for your health. It makes you more optimistic, keeps you from always rocketing around only yourself, and, if you think about what you have to be thankful for when you go to bed, helps you sleep better. In other words, gratitude detoxes and fortifies the spirit.
So, for my Greek retablos, I made a list of 15 things in my life worth appreciating. One of those was about a dress. More than a dress, it’s a long huipil and so very special because it was one of three El Suavecito brought me from Mexico. On the front of the huipil are two big embroidered birds. They are quite lovely and not something you would normally see on Paros. So often people stare at me when I wear it. Obviously I am happy to have this magical dress but the real gratitude is directed towards El Sauvecito who loved me enough to give me something he knew would give me much pleasure. Everytime I wear the huipil, I think about him.
ευχαριστω για τη μεζικανικη φορεμα γιος μου μου εδωσε στι ο γυναικες κοιταζουν
All the Greek retablo drawings are mounted on discarded cardboard. The frames are made from junk paper rolled into rounds glued together thus ecological as well. Because in my heart there’s constant gratitude for nature that keeps us all alive.
Janet Cooper is an extraordinary woman. Artist and world traveller, Janet collects no dust! Below are fotos of her wearing the Muy Marcottage dress “Enjambment” worn during her various travels including to the Easter Islands, Palermo, Valencia, Japan, El Camino de Santiago, and New York.
Janet visiting Studio Los Ojos in Rome wearing a hat she created herself.
Below is a post about Janet reblogged from ART FOR HOUSEWIVES blog in 2013.
Janet Cooper is a friend and one of my favorite artists. She also owns the Muy Marcottage dress “Enjambment” and gave me a thrill by having herself photographed in the dress in various situations. Scroll below to see some of these fotos.