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.
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.
“Enjambment” dress on exhibit, Paros
Janet’s incredible dresses
more of Janet’s dresses “Birds & Babies”and “Blossoms”
Janet wearing “Enjambment” surrounded by her delightful art dresses at the Die Formeister Exhibition.
Janet Cooper’s CHAIRS at the Die Formeister Exhibition.
Janet wore “Enjambment” while walking the last few miles of the El Camino de Santiago.
The term “enjambment” is a literary term. It indicates a line in poetry that continues going on beyond a line-break thus, in a certain way, goes beyond its boundaries. Just…
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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
Every summer while on Paros, I try to make purses using my household trash.
This is a little clutch made from a transparent detergent bottle. I cut the bottle open then used scrap materials to crochet the missing part. There’s a flap that opens on the front kept in place by velcro.
Another plastic bag purse. The base is from heavier plastic whereas the “ruffles” are from flimsier bags. It’s named “Piselli” (peas) because of the pea picture from a frozen food bag appliqued on.
On one of my walks to Krios, I found this deflated plastic football and decided to transform it into a purse.
Not liking the brown, I sewed on strips of plastic from garden dirt bags. The rest was made from plastic bags. Maybe when I get back this spring, I will make some additional changes.
More MUY MARCOTTAGE:
Many years ago, I accompanied my daughter to Aix-in-Provence for a language course. My reading companion was Edith Wharton’s THE HOUSE OF MIRTH. Published in 1905, the book gets its title from Ecclesiastes 7:4: The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
The protagonist is Lily Bart, 29 and unmarried. Lily will not marry the man she really loves because he is not rich thus dedicates her time trying to find a wealthy husband. Unfortunately, Lily sabotages all of her possibilities for marriage as she unwittingly gets involved in a scandal that will eternally ruin her.
I remember quite well the night I finished reading THE HOUSE OF MIRTH because I cried and cried…
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