Edward Hopper Cardboard Purse
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.
Related: Josephine Nivison + 4 things to know about Jo Hopper
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.
Rita and a Muy Marcottage woven purse, Paros.
Muy Marcottage with Eco Pink at the London Design Festival 2011
Chiara Pilar at her photo exhibit in Romewearing Muy Marcottage dress “City Walks”
Installation view of Muy Marcottage Exhibition at M’Arte Gallery in Liguria