Friday, October 31, 2014

Eve of Dia de los Muertos: An exploration of Catrina or...where did all these skulls come from anyway?

Jose Guadelupe Posada, a contemporary of Diego Rivera and engraver renowned for his social commentary,  produced a zinc etching called La Calavera Catrina (between 1910-1913)

Does she look familiar?

The engraving per wikipedia  "was meant to satirize the life of the upper classes during the reign of Porfirio Díaz". He was making fun of wealthy Mexicans who strove to live like European aristocracy. Wikipedia goes on "Most of his imagery was meant to make a religious or satirical point. Since his death, however, his images have become associated with the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos, the 'Day of the Dead'."

So perhaps Posada is responsible for the images and representations of the calavera (skull) on and about Dia de los Muertos. It does I suppose represent an archetype I think as the image has been absorbed into our culture and I wear mine on Hallowe'en.

Diego Rivera produced this image in his painting Sueno de Una Tarda en el Alameda; Posada is portrayed on Catrina's left, Frida stands between Catrina and a youthful Diego. Alameda is the large central park in Mexico City

Here is a nice discussion of this painting; apparently there are 400 years of important Mexican personages in this painting. A whole big history lesson in one mural; Rivera's goal may have been to edify as well as comment...

I was lucky to view this 50 foot long mural during my trip to Mexico in 2007; it is in a large building on the edge of Alameda Park.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Skagen Part One: Art and Knitting in Art

I will do my best to describe Skagen. It is the northernmost point in Denmark, in Jutland. It was a major fishing port in the past. It is surrounded by the Skagerrak on the east near Norway, and the Kattegat on the west, near Sweden.

It is a place of immense beauty and light. We drove there from Aarhus, the commuter train arriving more quickly than we did

A big draw to Mom and myself is the art culture in Skagen.  The Skagen Painters, Skagensmalerne, were a group of painters who retreated in Skagen in the summer from the late 1870's until the turn of the century. Much of their work was painted en plain air and their influences included the Impressionists and the Social Realism movements of the time. Some of their work is included at the Skagen Museum. Famous names from this group included: Anna and Michael Ancher, Peder Severin Kroyer, Marie Kroyer, Karl Madsen, Laurits Tuxen, Carl Locher, and Viggo Johansen. The artists would gather at Brøndum's Hotel and eat together in the dining room where they added their art to panels in the wall.

During World War II the paintings were removed as the Germans used the dining room as a gymnasium. In 1946 the walls of the dining room with the paintings in the panels were moved to the Skagen Museum, where we viewed them. 

Perhaps the most famous painting produced by this group was P.S. Kroyer's Summer evening on Skagen Beach

As the artists in this group were painting real people in true life situations, there was much depiction of women's work including sheep shearing, knitting, and  hand knits; here are some that I viewed


After our trip, we learned that my 3 Great Grandfather, Rasmus Pederson, drowned in 1851 (in a different part of Denmark) which made this painting, The Drowned Fisherman by Michael Ancher, more poignant….(this is a section of the painting)

Hmm,, a shawl recreation idea here...

 Michael Ancher (another shawl recreation concept)

Anna Ancher

Anna Ancher

Marie Kroyer

And of course some not seen but found online

Michael Ancher

Michael Ancher

There are so many more...

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Afghans for Afghans or…nothing like a deadline...

You may recall that there was a dyeing effort earlier this year to dye some fiber for Afghans for Afghans knitting so that there would be no white yarn with which to knit. 

In late summer, I somehow recalled that S, J and I had been working on Mary's yarn for Afghans for Afghans, and I decided to check the DEADLINE!  Why yes…September 8th (I think I figured this out around or about Aug 31st.

So  I had completed some items but not yet sewn them up…on the 31st J kept me company while I wielded the sewing machine to sturdily do my finishing.  Socks and mittens were favored over hats...Here are results

Two needle socks with seam on top

Two Needle Cable Mittens  (quite love this pattern, wish I lived somewhere cold so I could knit them for myself!)

And here is the poignant part…Mary had started to knit an Irish sweater (source of the rest of the yarn) before she became ill. I stitched up the 14" of the bottom of the sweater (all that she had knit) into a hat sort of shape. Later that week I used some commercial dye on it, so that it would not be "white." It definitely lost some of it's creamy white Irish yarn loveliness, but it will be used by someone who needs it this winter!


Below is a pattern that I "unvented" (thanks, Elizabeth Z) using not Mary's yarn, but some lovely handspun pink stuff that I bought at the Saturday farmer's market in Montpelier Vermont, long before all the other states including mine were doing it, plus some churro handspun. For a little girl, perhaps...

Here is someone (J?) being a bit silly

Sent off in the nick of time…but there is  more  yarn for next year!