Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bowled over

Yesterday morning, in the bathroom, I made a decision. Being chronically indecisive, even from an early age when presented with a display of sweets in the box that passed for a sweet shop next to the cinema before going inside to watch our Saturday morning shows, this was quite a feat. Mind you, it's taken several months of not thinking about the issue for me to decide, enfin.

When my ex-h and I were building the house that we barely got to live in, we went to a lot of trouble choosing such things as tiles and paint. There were some beautiful Italian and Spanish tiles for the bathrooms. Naturally, several tiles and lots of bits were left over. I gave these bits to my friend Anne who was embarking on creating mosaics. With them, she made a coffee table and a bedside table.

I was then thrown into a quandary. I have been wanting a fossil coffee table for years, but have not been able to afford one. Now though, my friend had created a beautiful table with MY tiles from a house I would never set foot in again.

Finally, then, yesterday morning in the bathroom, I imagined someone else walk off with the table and that was enough for me to realise that it was my table and I would be deeply distressed to see it whipped out from under my eyes.
So, off I went to the opening night of the Expo with a mission. Not 'mission impossible', but 'mission it had better be probable or someone was going to be mightily pissed off'. To my relief it was still red sticker-less and I barely had time to say hello before I announced my intention before anyone else slipped in first!

What a palaver for a table. Yes, but how often do you change coffee tables? If you're not in the Posh and Becks league where you buy one a week before you tire of it, you tend to hang onto them for years. So I wanted to get it right! I also really wanted a fossil table before Anne came along and scuppered my plans.

As for the rest of her show, here are some photos of her work.

My other favourite of hers is the scorpion mosaic. The raku pots are delicate and elegantly shaped and the black pots are stylish and cool.

The other exhibitors were less impressive, in my opinion, except for one photographer. He had created a sort of metallic wire kite to display his photos which reflected the theme of the photos themselves of a red kite-like scarf seen from above somewhere in the desert with only the shadows of the people underneath visible. The people themselves came across as splodges, seen as they were from directly above, so you could only see what they were doing by looking at their shadows. It was an amazing concept and made the trendy black and white artistic photos on the next stand of people doing ordinary things fade into banality.

The Expo itself was located in the middle of nowhere in particular, behind the castle of the outpost of Viols en Laval. You walked down a stony track with fields and dried old garrigue trees on either side until you came to some dwellings. Most of these turned out to be outhouses for the creation of pottery and associated techniques. Anne's raku teacher lives and works there. He had some beautiful pieces in his workshop too, both in raku and another style where selected colours smudged over the pot in a harmonious impression of soft dreaminess.

A band played lively jazzy music and we sipped wine and nibbled saucisson and peanuts. We chatted, admired, absorbed the artistic ambiance and gave 'uninformed' on the spot critiques of the work on display.

I left euphoric, energised and looking forward to collecting my table after the show. I also realised, again, that a personal involvement in something is worth more than its intrinsic artistic or monetary value.


  1. Nice story, good post. The best epiphanies always happen in the bathroom, tho' not necessarily while looking in the mirror.

    Strange. We too built a house in which we never lived, for much the same reasons as yours. The former 'we', that is. But I think in this case that its monetary value far exceeded the personal involvement I felt for it.

  2. That's the best way, if you are obliged to leave it. In any case, it's essential to 'faire la part des choses' as the French so succinctly say. Not always easy though when one has slaved over a hot tile cutter.


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