Sunday, November 23, 2008

Musings On Thanksgiving & How Hermes Scarf Madison Ave. By Kermit Oliver Relates to My Thankful Musings

Many people in America will celebrate a special holiday this week. Our children in school have been learning all about the "pilgrims" who came to this great land, and stopped for a moment in time to be grateful, and to share and show their gratitude with the Native American people who now permitted them sanctuary on these shores.

Looking back over this past year on my personal life, and the lives of people across this vast land I realize that for many thinking of things to be grateful for may prove very difficult this up coming Thursday. But I am reminded of words my mother continued to speak almost daily during her last year as she lost her battle with cancer.

I would be driving her to her chemo therapy appointments and she would suddenly turn to me as we looked out and enjoyed the changing leaves of fall on the trees planted on the parkway we took the medical center. She would turn and say "You know DeNice, we are very blessed...", and I would always stop and think for a moment how strong she was to be going through what she was enduring, and to still see each new day as a day filled with blessings of some sort if we but opened our eyes.

All over the world finances are in turmoil, people who saved lifetimes are now watching stock markets tumble to the ground. People who worked for most of their lives for major companies are now either without a job, or worried that the doors will close tomorrow. People who realized the dream of home ownership are now watching those dreams fade away to dust. People with children are worrying how will they continue to to keep them clothed, fed and housed. And many will ask themselves "Thankful, what can I possibly be thankful for???"

In 1620, a group of people left the only home they had ever known, aboard a ship to travel over 3000 miles to a land they had never seen. Their trip was perilous, the sea was beset by storms. They did not turn back. When they landed, on these shores it was the middle of winter. Many were already very weak from their hazardous 2 month voyage. The local Native people shared their knowledge with people who today would be called "illegal aliens". They helped them to survive, to flourish, and to establish the beginnings of what would the first of many colonies to come. Colonies which would develop into the land that I call home today.

This great land has gone thorough many changes since those days, some for the better, and some we as citizens have lived to regret and to learn from the mistakes made all along the way. But we are blessed, we are blessed that those early pilgrims did not turn back, we are blessed that they felt led by faith to make the journey, we are blessed that they were befriended by a people whom they could not even communicate with, we are blessed that those living here first allowed them to live amongst them.

And today we are blessed, because we still have leaders who have asked to lead, who will not give up, we are blessed because others in history traveled to this land also to make it what it is today. We are blessed because today technology, connects us to others far far away and makes the world seem smaller. It is for all of this and much much more I will be grateful this Thanksgiving, I will be grateful for all of those who came before so that I could live so blessed.

Kermit Oliver's Madison Ave. to me speaks to the rich bounty of this great land, the flowers, the animals, the people, those here now, and those from the past. The title when standing alone, may speak of material things, but Oliver's painting makes us realize what is truly valuable. He contrasts true wealth, with what is perceived wealth or bounty. He leaves it up to us to decide.

I hope you enjoy the video exploration, and I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving

The song is a Native American piece called "Mahk Jchi (Heartbeat Drum Song)"
Written by Pura Fe, Soni, Jen. Saponi translation by Lawrence Dunmore. Performed by Ulali: Pura Fe, Soni, Jen. Album: Music for the Native Americans

Saponi translation:
Mahk jchi tahm buooi yahmpi gidi
Mahk jchi taum buooi kan spewa ebi
Mahmpi wah hoka yee monk
Tahond tani kiyee tiyee Gee we-me eetiyee
Nanka yaht yamoonieah wajitse
The words translate to English as:

A hundred years have passed Yet I hear the distant beat of my father's drums.
I hear his drums throughout the land.
His beat I feel within my heart.
The drum shall beat so my heart shall beat.
And I shall live a hundred thousand years.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Les Amazones A Musing

It never ceases to amaze me that it is true that if something is meant to be it will come to pass, and that wonderful things are worth waiting for. A few years ago, my Aunt and I had lunch with some fellow scarf collectors. A very dear to me "sister in silk" had chosen to wear a wonderful caramel Les Amazones. My Aunt and I were really taken in by this design and the coloring. Ever since then I had tried many times to find one or win the bid on one, and was never sucessfull. Well recently I was united with one and it still has the same effect on me now as it did a few years ago. Below is a video exploration of the scarf. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Musings on a non Hermes Scarf Design, "Flora" by Gucci designed by Artist Vittorio Accornero

"Flora" patterned shawl design by Vittorio Accornero for Gucci

As I have said before, it is the artist and the intricate designs that draw me into the love of scarves. I do believe that it is very hard to find a match to the quality of workmanship that is present in an Hermes scarf, but there are other companies with long histories that have quality pieces which display equally wonderful designs. One of those companies is Gucci particularly the designs commissioned to artist Vittorio Accornero.

Vittorio Accornero born in 1896 in Casale Monferrato (Italy), Accornero's work debuted as an illustrator; after the first world war under the pseudonym Victor Max Minon. Under the name Minon, Accornero would become well known and win many awards for his illustrations of children's books, posters and illustrations for cruise lines (ie. menus, and advertising). He would also collaborate with his wife at the time Edina Altara. All of this happening before the 1930's.

In 1934, Accornerno and Altara would divorce and go their own separate yet very successful ways in the art world. Accornero continued to illustrate children's books most notably editions of Grimm's Fairy Tales, Hans Christian Anderson, Pinocchio, and Shakespeare. He would also claim fame in the world of theatrical set design for movies, opera, and stage.

And so it should come as no surprise that when Rodolfo Gucci would go searching for the best artist to design a new line of scarves for the world renown House of Gucci, his choice would be none other than accomplished artist Vittorio Accornero.

The story goes that Hollywood actress and later Princess, Grace Kelly one day entered the shop of Rodolfo Gucci in a bit of a panic for a last minute gift for a friend who was getting married. She desired to purchase a floral scarf. Gucci had nothing in a floral design at all. Much of the shops textiles consisted of coarse materials for bags and bag linings, and other sturdy accessories.

In 1965, Gucci wanting to pay homage to the then Princess Grace, commissioned Accornero to design the now famous "Flora" pattern to honor the princess because she had a passion for flowers.The design itself a botanical piece consisting of 37 different colors within the design. Intricately dispersed among lilies, carnations, daisies etc. there are also butterflies, dragonflies, lady bugs and various other types of small beetles.

Flora was an instant success, and surpassed all sales records within the United States. Still today more than forty years later, has become a beloved and sought after design by collectors all over the world. Gucci resurrected the pattern in the early 80's and placed it not only on scarves, but bags, shoes, ready to wear pieces, and luxury items for the home.

Most recently in 2004 Frida Giannini then design director for Gucci's accessory line, once again resurrected the Flora design on handbags, wallets and other Gucci accessories. And once again with overwhelming success the pieces sold out rapidly making Flora again much sought after by collectors.

2004 Billboard Add for Gucci's re-release of "Flora" design

in their bags and accessory line

Accornero did other designs for Gucci's line of scarves. His work is most notably recognized by the inclusion of fanciful insects hidden throughout the piece.

However not all of Accorneros prints include insects. There were many floral patterns done after the original "Flora" they are easily recognized as Accornero designs by those who admire his work. Most of all of his pieces for Gucci printed as silk scarves include his famous V. Accornero signature.

Gucci used the "Flora" design in ready to wear resort type wear and wool shawls. Those pieces do not carry the Accornero signature, but are easy to recognize. The original "Flora" design is distingished in that it includes tiger lilies as one of the flowers in the design.

A summer dress from the Gucci line done in the "Flora" pattern

Circa 1980's and not signed by V. Accornero

Accornero died in 1982, but he lives on in his beautiful designs, that although rare can be found on other fabulous Gucci pieces other than scarves.

Gucci Tea set in "Flora" pattern signed by V. Accornero

There is one internet reference that states that Accornero also designed for Hermes. I have never been able to verify this, and in all of my collecting I have never seen any Hermes pieces done by this artist.

Now Open

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Musings On Impose Ta Chance

Rene Char (1907-1988) was called the greatest poet of all time by writer
Albert Camus .
He was part of the surrealist movement, among his contemporaries were
Andre Breton, Paul Eulard, and Pablo Picaso.

His poetry emphasized hope in the face of struggle, which would later serve him well
in his efforts as a resistance leader against the Nazis in WWII.
Artist Valerie Dawlat-Dumoulin takes words from a poem by Char for her design,

Impose ta Chance.

A line from one of Char's poems is quietly inscribed among the rocks of this design.

The words read:

"Impose ta chance, serre ton bonheur et va vers to risque. A te regarder, il s'habitueront"
Loosely translates to:

Impose your luck, use your good will and to your risk,
a look at you they will get used to.
I take that to mean that we are what we dream,
we must dream big, believe in ourselves and others will believe in us.

This past year has had historical depths not just for our county but for the world.
Many people need hope in the face of struggle during these times.
The past few months have been no different, we have all been a part of
historical moments, that will be discussed for generations to come,
long after we are gone.

This next week may just prove to be among one of the most
defining moments in this nations history.
And so I dedicate the musings on this particular design
to the week that lies ahead.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Musings On The Muse Of Annie Faivre's Rencontre Ocean

There is a new aquarium in San Francisco at the California Academy of Arts and Sciences. The underwater displays are all updated placing the observer, deep in the midsts of the undersea world. Recently one particular exhibit looked very familiar, and then I realized that I was viewing the living contents of the central portion of Annie Faivre's Rencontre Ocean. I wonder where she was when the muse for this design struck her?

Here I have overlayed a picture of the habitat at the aquarium in San Francisco over a picture of my Rencontre Ocean. Viola! The undersea world of Rencontre Ocean.

Discovered A Wonderful Blogger Today...

Ok that is a fib, I had found Eric Tenin the friendly Parisian's blog "Paris Daily Photo" a while back. It is delightful. Eric features a new photo everyday taken somewhere in and around Paris. And friends, he even takes requests. So for those of you who like me love living through other people's lenses, or maybe you need your "Paris Fix" until the January 2009 Hermes Paris Sale. Please visit Eric's Blog at

Below is my most recent favorite for very obvious reasons.

The ominous sky reallty matches the mood of the sky here today in the Wine Country, as we go through the first really good rainstorm of the season.

Now Open, But Still UnderConstruction