The following blog post is from Suzette who was part of the French Muse Experience. Suzette's blog is:
At the brocante in Villeneuve les Avignon, we visit vendor after vendor and find a staggering number of 18th century and early 1900s prayer books, diaries, papers, copper, silver, old jewelry, paintings, pottery, old French linen and cotton knickers — you name it. It definitely is a passion.
Every vendor can tell you something about the provenance of the things they are selling. Old silver “coin purses” were worn on one’s belt or tied on with ribbons. An 18th century copper chocolate pot is engraved with the chef’s name and he must have been right-handed the way the copper is discolored on one side. I hope he used it every day to create delicious confections, I like to think of the pleasure on the faces of those he served. The pot pleaded with me to take it home.
I knew exactly where I wanted to use these 18th century silk sashes. Such precious handwork and colors in the tassel fringe. Now enjoying a new life on Madame du Pompadour. She was a little self conscious about the stain on her neck anyway. King Louis XV was starting to ignore her.
This handsome fella had paintings lying all around in the blazing sun and I spotted one I just had to rescue. After some clever and talented negotiating by Corey, I got it for almost half of what he was asking. He shows me the book where the artist’s work is documented for having sold at various auctions in recent years anywhere from 1,600 to 65,000 euros. The brocante is definitely the place to get a steal. He chatted away and I only understood part of what he was saying in French, but I think he wanted to know if I was married and perhaps could I take him back home to the U.S. with me?
Alfred Casile, 1848-1909
Photo by Suzette of her beautiful home.
Photo via Suzette's blog, she found the painting at the brocante
Then we move on to L’Isle sur la Sorgue, one of the most beautiful and picturesque villages in Provence. Gorgeous place to walk around, and some new places to look for treasures or just be inspired.
And at the brocante there is live music and an elderly white-haired gentleman with cigar in mouth begins to dance with a dark-haired beauty in heels. It is a joy to watch because they are having so much fun dancing outside on a beautiful Saturday. I long for a life filled with more impromptu fun and more dancing. How about you?
One of the best parts of the French Muse trip was the inclusion of visiting with artists, designers and exclusive dealers in their homes. It allowed a glimpse not only into the work of local artisans but also their homes to see their collections and decor. A wonderful opportunity to see how fellow brocante lovers use and display their special finds in their own personal way.
There is a very special and unique exhibition on the history of silk production in Provence that opened May 15th in Bonnieux by Joanna Staniszkis. We were treated to a private showing of her creations in a magnificent space adjacent to her home. The silk worm and the mulberry trees in Provence have a fascinating history and Joanna’s artistic interpretation is spellbinding. These photos do not do it justice. Please visit Joanna’s website to learn more about her and see additional photos of her current exhibition. Such a talented lady, and a gracious host. My world is bigger because of this very special experience.
One of the most impressive pieces in this exhibition is the World War II silk parachute, with attached carved wooden pins of moths and WWI fighter planes.
At the end of our visit, Joanna gave each of us a few mementos – a book about the exhibition, a carved wooden moth, a silk worm cocoon, and three woven pieces representing the stages of the silk worm’s metamorphosis. Treasures forever.
The following are some photos of mine that I took while The French Muse Experience visited Joanna.
Joanna's friend made her this ring a silk worm moth made out of mulberry wood.
Cocoons taking shape and their place nestled in the roots that Joanna found on the road side and had installed in her home as a piece of art.
The WWII parachute, handmade in silk made in France, found at the brocante by Joanna.
Wooden sculptures of moths and planes that Joanna had made to show what brought the silk parachute to life, letting it be life giving to the victims of the war below.
Thank you Joanna for sharing your exposition with the French Muse,
and thank you Suzette for the blog post.
I hope this inspires those of you reading to join us and or to tell your friends about the French Muse Experience in Provence. Please feel free to share on your Facebook.
The next dates are:
17th – 24th September 2016,
2nd – 9th May 2017,
12th – 19th September 2017,
17th – 24th October 2017,
Each French Muse Experience is limited to four or five people and is tailored made for the desires and expectations of those coming. If you have a group of four (counting yourself) and want to come during or at another time, please let us know and we will plan something for you.