Monday, May 23, 2011

Week 52: Comings and Goings

Looking up towards the village of Montmirail

My blog has been entitled 52 Weeks in a French Village. I began this series of posts exactly a year ago. This is my 52nd week, and time for a change of direction.

As I was considering what my blog might become, a little voice started whispering in my ear. It accompanied me on walks, was there at meal times and often bothered me when I was trying to sleep. The voice became louder as days went past. It turned out to be the whispers of a lovely young woman with red hair and green eyes named Musetta. She was introducing herself to me and asking me to turn over my blog to her.

She seems out of another time, as her wardrobe appears vaguely eighteenth or nineteenth century. When I asked her about this she rolled her eyes and explained that she is not bound to any particular time. She wanders freely from past to present and even into the future. What, I asked, did she intend to publish on my blog? She patiently explained to me that she has a broad range of interests which she intends to share with my readership. "As long," she hastened to add "as the topics covered have something to do with improving the quality and beauty of daily life." She seems to believe that fun, beauty,  harmony and craft are of utmost importance. Her favorite expression, she told me is "Don't worry, be happy." From all this, I gather, she intends to offer light-hearted posts on any number of subjects. "And, don't forget to tell them I like giving things away." Starting next week there will be a giveaway as a way of introducing herself. "Of course the entire design of the blog must change." she told me. I knew this. When you come back next week, which I surely hope you will, you will not recognize the blog at all.

Musetta intends to post every week, and sometimes she will require my narration help. She may not adhere to a strict schedule the way I have. I think she's a little more spontaneous than I. We'll see what she has in mind.

Here's her portrait. She's not entirely pleased with it, but she recognizes she has to be patient with me. As time goes by and I get to know her, hopefully I can represent her better. So far I've found her to be very interesting company. She's very cheerful, energetic and just a little bit bossy.


Before I leave the village of Montmirail, I want to remind you about the wonderful course that my very talented friend Gail Rieke will be giving at the Maison Conti in October called Art Mapping, Invisible to Visible.

Gail is not only an incredible artist, but also one of the best and most patient teachers I've ever had the privilege to work with. So few teachers can really see beyond their own techniques and view of the world to be of real help to others.  Gail is one of those rare individuals who is able to understand each student as an individual and knows how to guide them in a direction just right for their own personal needs. The work created in her workshops is highly personal and individual.

Rieke Studios is famous as an inspiring and beautiful artistic space. Her suitcase wall was recently featured on the cover of Where Woman Create. Each suitcase contains a travel adventure/installation.

She creates a working environment full of magic and delight.

Her work sets the heart to dreaming of far off places, time travel and mysterious unseen worlds.

Gail is an expert book maker, creating journals of great beauty as well as practical utility.

She has invented new ways to put bits and pieces together in surprising ways to tell stories and reveal histories.

Form and function work together in her creations to enable expression.

She makes cases, enclosures, wrappers, boxes that are inventive and rich to hold the content of travel experiences.

Her goal in her own work is to capture an event or experience in a luscious object which can hold the original moment. In the process the journal and wrapping, as one explores them, become a new and sensual journey in and of themselves.

It has always been difficult for me to pin down in words the magic that Gail is able to weave in her own work. She is very generous in sharing her techniques and creative processes with her students.

A course with Gail is one of those warm occasions that wakes up the best of one's self.

If you're free in October, I can hardly recommend this course more highly! There are a limited number of spaces available.


  1. Even if we had the number of the weeks and the dates, I can't believe that a year has already gone since you started 52 weeks. It was suh a delightful appointment, creative, funny, contemplative, everydaylife, sharing so many things with us. I am very impatient now to know more about Musetta ! Why this name ? Is there a special signification, a special reason for it ? I also like very much this precise moment of Musetta's birth when every thing is possible, everything opened. Thanks so much Nancy

  2. Oh Nancy...what fun!!!!

    I am so very excited to meet Musetta and will look forward to all her posts.

    It has been 52 weeks?????? Incredible.

    Gail sounds like a very talented and artistic lady. Her class will be a success I'm sure.

    Janet xox