May Day

FORGETMENOT

Blue Pimpernel Lysimachia monelli, known around these parts as forget-me-not, though that’s a myosotis

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School project: recycled materials

HORSES1

Ages 17-18 (Third year of Lyceum)

Sping has been super busy -as usual- full of projects, paperwork as well as the Easter break. Catching up just as it is about to expire, here is one of the things that has kept us busy: a project we had been working with in my class of seniors (17-18 yrs).

Our piece began as an attempt to cut down costs: we couldn’t afford supplies, but wanted something large and three-dimensional. Using recycled materials isn’t just better for the earth, it’s cheap, and the materials are readily available.

Drawing from previous experience, we came up with the idea of creating animals out of plastic bottles and papier mache. We were given the subject “Bridging Cultures”,  for which horses and their relationship to humankind seemed the obvious leap (no pun intended). Gradually we thought of a board to anchor the pieces to, so the idea of a modified chessboard came about, with horses form Art History painted in the squares. We kept the pieces to a minimum, with a castle (or rook), a pawn and a queen.

HORSES2

The art history influences were: cave paintings, pottery from the Archaic period in Cyprus and Greece, the Parthenon Marbles, Byzantine icons, Nordic carvings and Degas! The model for our Rook (formerly a large juice container) was Kolossi and other Cyprus castles. Our Queen was inspired by various paintings, and was meant to allude to any one of the queens of Cyprus, actual or legendary.

Plastic parts were put together with duct tape. Recycled printer paper was glued in strips to create volume, magazine paper and tissue paper for more delicate work. Tissue paper is excellent for creating a “skin” on top of the finished horses. The painting was done in acrylics, our only luxury!

QUEENIES

 

Happy Easter!

FLANFlaounes

Cypriot cheese-filled pastry, mainly consumed at Easter. I’ll leave the recipe to the experts…

Flaounes (Cyprus Easter Cheese Bread)  [excellent food blogger Cypriotandproud!]

…as for the
Etymology

…The English word “flan”, and the earlier forms “flaune” and “flawn”, come from the Old French flaon (modern French flan), in turn from the early Medieval Latin fladōn-em, derived from the Old High German flado, a sort of flat cake, probably from an Indo-European root for “flat” or “broad”.

Flan is an open, rimmed, pastry or sponge base, containing a sweet or savoury filling. Examples are the quiche lorraine, custard tart, and the South African melktert

[Wikipedia]

Fiadone 1. Dolce tipico trentino in forma di pasticcino triangolare, ripieno di un impasto di mandorle, burro, miele, chiodi di garofano, rum o altro liquore, cotto nel forno; per lo più al plur., fiadoni. 2. Nell’Abruzzo, dolce di Pasqua fatto di sfoglia dolce ripiena di formaggio, ricotta e uova sbattute.

i.e. two types of italian regional pastry, most notably the second kind, from Abruzzo, which is descibed as sweet dough filled with cheese, ricotta and beaten eggs!

La cultura italiana

Enjoy responsibly!

Palms and Fish

 

PALMSUNDAY2Κυριακή των Βαΐων – Palm Sunday

Ok, so no palms. But fish.

And olive branches. Also βάγια, which doubles as both bay leaves and palm fronds.

All of the above leafage features prominently in a triumphal entry, which is what Palm Sunday is all about after all. That, and the fish. Not sure which got the name βάϊ first, the laurel or the palm. My hunch says it’s the former, although the very ancient date palm forest on Crete is named Βάϊ, and it predates (oops, unintentional!) the Greek language, and probably even human habitation. Somewhere along the way, by association, other glorifying fronds acquired the title. Conceivably, they may always have been interchangeable. Depending on location, myrtle or willow, oak or the olive κότινος pass as palms these days. Unsurprisingly in our neck of the woods, the olive reigns supreme.

And the fish was delicious!

Spring in Cyprus

MARCHSALUTATIONS

March is, proverbially, never absent from Lent. Easter Sunday is a movable feast, and Lent’s start and finish vary accordingly, but March is always in there, somewhere, on that you can depend. The smell of bitter-orange blossoms outside Nicosia’s medieval churches, as evening falls, is one of childhood’s oldest memories, and one I associate with Fridays, when the Akathist hymn is sung. Also known as the Salutations to Mary, they are the most feminine of ancient rites, melodious and exuberant, crammed with ancient poetry, a relic of Orphism and the classics.

The Salutations are sung on Friday, the Goddess’s day. In an older and hypothetically less macho time, Friday seems to have held a special place, which is why it is named after Frija, Freya or Frigga, the Norse Venus, in northern climes. In Romance languages the day is named after Venus: Dies Veneris, Venerdi, Vendredi. The noun veneration and the verb to venerate also come from this concept, which reinforces the idea that Friday was the original Holy Day!

SPRING

Compare and contrast:

Hail, O Star revealing the Sun. 
Hail, O branch of the unwithering Vine. Hail, O Land yielding the untainted Fruit. 
Hail, O Field bearing abundant compassion. Hail, O Table laden with an abundance of mercies.
Hail, for you make the meadow produce contentment.
Hail, acceptable Incense of intercession. Hail, Oblation for all the world.

– attr. Romanos the Melodist: Salutations
to the Theotokos, 
6th c.

Γαῖα θεά, μῆτερ μακάρων θνητῶν τ᾽ ἀνθρώπων, παντρόφε, πανδώτειρα, τελεσφόρε, παντολέτειρα, αὐξιθαλής, φερέκαρπε, καλαῖς ὥραισι βρύουσα, ἕδρανον ἀθανάτου κόσμου, πολυποίκιλε κούρη, ἣ λοχίαις ὠδῖσι κύεις καρπὸν πολυειδῆ, ἀιδία, πολύσεπτε, βαθύστερν᾽, ὀλβιόμοιρε, ἡδυπνόοις χαίρουσα χλόαις πολυανθέσι δαῖμον, ὀμβροχαρής, περὶ ἣν κόσμος πολυδαίδαλος ἄστρων εἱλεῖται φύσει ἀενάωι καὶ ῥεύμασι δεινοῖς.

All-Fertile, All-Destroying Gaia,
Mother of All, Who brings forth the bounteous fruits and flowers,
All variety, Maiden who anchors the eternal world in our own,
Immortal, Blessed, crowned with every grace,
Deep bosomed Earth, sweet plains and fields fragrant grasses in the nurturing rains,
Around you fly the beauteous stars, eternal and divine

– Orphic Hymn to Gaia, 6th c. BCE
(T
ranslated by Virginia Stewart)

I am she
that is the natural mother of all things,
mistress and governess of all the elements,
the initial progeny of worlds,
chief of powers divine,
Queen of heaven,
the principal of the Gods celestial,
the light of the goddesses:
at my will the planets of the air, the wholesome winds of the Seas,
and the silences of hell be disposed;
my name, my divinity is adored throughout all the world in divers manners,
in variable customs and in many names

– Lucius Apuleius: Metamophoses
or The Golden Ass, 2nd c.

Analog Back Catalog

x-girl

Want to feed your artistic imagination? Start with a little observation!

Each time we revisit life-drawing, we are different. We bring something new to the experience, and we get something new from it, too. We are never too old to draw from life.

This sketch from the archives caught my eye for its spring-ish colours, and its somewhat post-carnival mood. Last day of February today, and the beginning of Lent.