incartamento

So there I was, happily holed-up in a casa di campagna, a  country hideaway near Alba in Piemonte, Italy. Beautifully restored by Swiss friends, it was a rustico offered to me for a summer’s studio practice. They knew that my teaching work left little time for my own artwork; they also appreciated how important it is for a teacher in any field to be personally engaged with their subject.

I have written previously about a few works from that precious time at Casa Columbina.  See, for example, one Italian summer,  farfalle, and saying the unsayable.  Also see this page in the ‘nomad collection’: Italy

But this little piece stayed in the shadows – perhaps because, at the time, it was too personal, something made for my eyes only, something made to help bring a chapter to a conclusion.  You see, a long relationship had come to an end, and although it was a mutually agreed and (mostly) mature winding-up, there was debris.  It took many moons for the debris to settle, and making this piece definitely helped.

I simply couldn’t toss out my ex-partner’s letters.  He wrote beautifully.  We shared so much: questions, ideas, travel, art.  I wanted to honour both our years together and the traces left in his letters.  I wanted to make some kind of a container for these letters, something simple and rustic, only using materials found at hand.  

As I was playing with possible formats, my Italian neighbour popped in.  I tried to explain what I was doing and she tried to understand… she spoke no English and my Italian is beyond pathetic.  Eventually, she conveyed her understanding that what I was doing was “wrapping it all up”, making a dossier or file… and that Italian word for it was incartamento.  

Oh, I liked that word – it fit my purpose perfectly, and in true Italian style it rolls off the tongue like honey.

Fast forward a couple of decades.  My memento comes out of hiding and a dear friend who knows how to drive a camera expertly documents it for me: thank you, Carol Brandt.


Miriam Louisa Simons - Incartamento 1

salvaged cardboard
khadi paper
acrylic and oil paints
resin stains
the letters
old drawings and photographs
gauze
beeswax
butcher’s twine and other threads
butterfly wings
shoelace

215 x 240 x 65mm

 

Miriam Louisa Simons - Incartamento 2

It can be opened vertically as a book, or horizontally as a box.

 

Miriam Louisa Simons - Incartamento, detail of letter bundle

The letters, wrapped in khadi paper, stitched, bound with butcher’s twine and sealed with beeswax.

 

Miriam Louisa Simons - Incartamento 3

 

Miriam Louisa Simons - Incartamento 4

 

Miriam Louisa Simons - Incartamento 5

 
And now, all these years later, the quiet pleasure of having this memento matures like fine wine.  It gives off a bouquet of gratitude and appreciation for the experiences shared, the learning and depth of feeling that flowers within intimacy.  I prop it up and smile.  

The capacity to make is nothing less than alchemy.


 

28.09.12

 

daily details 28.09.12

 

stained and distressed canvas, acrylic paints, market basket fragment, bamboo, sea shells, linen thread


There is a curiously sharp sense of joy or mild ecstasy
that comes when you find the particular form required for your creation:
… the experience of “This is the way things are meant to be.”
We participate for a moment in the myth of creation,
and at the same time know more vividly our own limitations.

– Rollo May


one Italian summer …


saying the unsayable

 

The inexpressible is the only thing worth expressing.
Frederick Franck 

 

Wonderingmind Studio: Miriam Louisa Simons, la madonna blu

la madonna blu
Scaletta Uzzone, Piemonte, Italy
400 x 850
painting on silk, laminating, collage, assemblage
silk Habotai, fishing net, shells, sand, sequins,
fiber-reactive dyes, acrylic paint, gold metallic paint

– – –

this is my way
to make visible, to voice
the unknowable mystery of creation
this womb of light and love –

this is my way
with color, texture, rhythm
small earth-spun miracles
and a devotional heart

this is my way
to say the unsayable

– – –


Federick Franck’s to-do list

Frederick Franck at the awakened eye

Pacem in Terris


nomad collection: Italy