Posted by Amy On July 15th, 2014
Registration is now open for another round of Happy Go Lucky as a workshop, including new live chats and active forums!
Take $5 off subscription price using the code: STITCH5
And if you signed up for Happy Go Lucky the first time ’round and want to join in the fun again, use the code STITCH75 to get in for just $5!! (You have forever access to the archived class but this will get you in for the live classroom interaction!)
Class starts August 21 and runs for 2 weeks.
To register, click here. And let’s get happy!
Posted by Amy On July 14th, 2014
Our guide for the day in Spello, Anne, introduced us to a real treasure of a man, Brother Paul. Brother Paul lives simply and alone as the sole custodian of the Franciscan church and adjacent monastery. He has lived there alone for nearly 20 years, living mostly off of the produce he grows in his garden. Anne is his connection to our world. He has no radio or television, nor, I believe, a desire for one.
One year as he gazed out at the beautiful infiorate spread on the streets before him on the feast of Corpus Domini, Brother Paul had the idea that he would like to present such a gift to Jesus too. After the festival was over, he swept up the flower petals from the streets, sorted them by species in jars, and set to work creating his own infiorata. Based on plyboard cut outs, Brother Paul affixes the dried petals to images to create vertical scenes. He displays each year’s infiorata in front of the Franciscan church and his sanctuary is home to all of the ones he’s made in the past, perfectly preserved.
When praised for his work, this humble man replies simply “Io solo gioco con la creazione del Signore” which translated means “I only play with the Lord’s creation.” I was so moved by Brother Paul and his simple devotion. I encourage you to read more about Brother Paul here. If you plan a trip to Umbria, you must include a stop to see him. Contact Anne to make arrangements. You’ll be glad you did.
Here is an example of Brother Paul’s Infiorata. It is translated “Among the trials of life may your soul be as a vigilant bird in a thicket of brambles under shady cloister hidden cries his nocturnal song.”
He created this sculpture which includes a tiny hammer. When he strikes the hammer to the loop the sound reverberates through the chamber.
Brother Paul makes rosaries from seeds he harvests himself from his garden. He had just 3 left; one for each of us. It is a “Franciscan rosary” with just 10 beads (1 decade). I will treasure it always, along with the memory of meeting this true saint.
Posted by Amy On July 6th, 2014
The whole town of Spello, Italy celebrates the feast of Corpus Domini (Corpus Christi) by preparing stunningly beautiful floral carpets along the narrow streets. My friend Lorraine has long dreamed of seeing this wonderful event with her own eyes. Since we were so close to Spello, Lorraine, Betsy and I ventured for the day away from our group to explore the festival, known as Infiorata.
But we weren’t on our own. We had vivacious Anne of Anne’s Italy as our most excellent guide. Here she is (below) after her glasses accidentally fell onto a floral carpet.
It was, without question, one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. Just imagine: the medieval city with its cobblestone meandering street lined with 88 separate floral carpets! According to Anne, the tradition started in the early 1900’s when a woman of Spello threw flower petals before the procession of Corpus Domini to welcome Christ. That simple act has developed through the years into what it is today, a marvelous spectacle. For more information, see Anne’s blog post: http://www.annesitaly.com/blog/umbrias-flowers-of-passione/
What impressed me most about the festival is the young age of most of the artists. They were young adults, in their 20’s and younger. They spend months leading up to the day planning and preparing. They start working on the floral carpets the night before and continue working through the night until the last petal is placed. Amazing, right?
Below is my favorite…it depicts the story of the woman caught in the act of sin brought to Jesus in an attempt to trick him. Jesus continues writing in the sand, presumably noting the sins of the accusers. He says without looking up “He who is without sin be the first to cast a stone”. One by one, the accusers leave. Jesus says “Woman, is there no one left to accuse you? Then neither shall I.”
A stroke of brilliance, the woman is depicted as Botticelli’s Venus!
Below you can see a catalog of the flower petals used in this infiorata as well as a description of the scene.
What makes the event most beautiful is its temporality. Just after Mass, shortly after the floral carpets are finally complete, the procession of Corpus Domini, including the bishop holding the Body of Christ, walks directly over the carpets. All of that beauty to honor and welcome our great guest.
Posted by Amy On July 5th, 2014
We arrived on Saturday afternoon to Bichi Borghesi, our home for the next week. It was like stepping into the set of a fairy tale. There were so many interesting nooks and crannies. After settling in and unpacking, we were free to roam.
Later that night, we gathered in the formal dining room for a fabulous multi-course welcome dinner. Introductions all around and we were all fast friends.
Posted by Amy On June 21st, 2014
I woke up earlier than everyone this morning so I ventured out on my own to the neighborhood coffee bar for a cappuccino. On the way there was a lady walking her dog right in front of me along the very narrow sidewalk. She bent down to pick something up with a tissue. You can imagine what I thought it was and why I was completely repulsed when I saw her inspecting it. I went into the street to pass her and enter the coffee shop.
She entered the same shop shortly after holding in the tissue not poo but an adorable little bat with a broken wing! Our very own little Stellaluna! I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera. I went back a few minutes later but she was gone. To my great pleasure, I found her later and she graciously let me snap a photo.