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Myth, Symbol, Creation

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Life is an illusion the World War I double agent Mata  Hari confessed in 1917, as her eyes met a French firing squad. You know what they say about confessions on the way out; it’s the truth whether you believe or not. She lives in illusion. First, she seduced French officers into divulging, military secrets that she passed along to the Germans. Then she cajoled the Germans into giving her information coveted by the French. But the trouble with illusion, as the femme fatale discovered to her regret, is that you can’t keep it up forever.    mata-hari-cover_u5f832Mata Hari myth is dominated by the espionage. Over the years many historians have come to her defence. She was sacrificed – some say – because the French needed to find a spy to explain their succession of reverses in the war. She was a creation from beginning to end, a character in a play that she continuously rescripted. Her compulsion to spin tall tales about her background helped to make her an icon: a unique embodiment of sex, glamour, intrigue and danger. But it also led to her death in October 1917, at the age of 41.mata_hari_3Mata Hari was an immediate sensation, not least because her daringly sensual dancing involved throwing off the veils she was wearing, one by one until she was naked but for a jewelled head-dress and breast-plate. If this taboo-busting display wasn’t enticing enough by itself, she insisted that she was demonstrating authentic Javanese temple-dancing, so audiences could tell themselves that they weren’t paying to see a striptease, but an educational glimpse of a religious ritual from ‘the mysterious East’. Nothing about Mata Hari was simple and clear, not then, not now. Rising from the ambiguity are a thousand legends and interpretations.  Mata Hari -Margaretha Zelle MacLeod, a middle-class Dutch divorcée from Leeuwarden, died, but Mata Hari, femme fatale and exotic dancer, has become eternal. 100 Years Since Her Execution, Was Mata Hari a Sexy Spy ora Sexy Scapegoat?

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This statue of Mata Hari stands in Leeuwarden today – she’s become a symbol of female empowerment and agency for many. 

George_Luks-Armistice_NightFor the Poland is Independence Day.  11 of November at the end of the tragedy of World War I,  it was a time the restoration of a sovereign Polish state after 123 years of partitions by Russia, Prussia and Austria. 11 of November 1918, 99 years ago, the Polish state was reborn and regained its independence with Marshal Jozef Pilsudski as head of state.

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He had great charisma and great authority. The most famous is his saying: “The nation is just gorgeous people fucking.” The Polish Independence Day is interwoven with the celebrations of St. Martin name day on 11th November. In Poland, name days are widely celebrated and have traditionally been given a greater importance than birthday celebrations. Printed in every local calendar, these name days represent the feast days of Catholic saints. At the head of the procession is marching St Martin, whom the mayor of Poznań gives the keys to the city. Traditional goody on this day is delicious st. Martin croissante. Such a special holiday calls for a very specific treat to honour St. Martin, and that’s  a crescent-shaped croissant-like pasty filled with a poppy seed and almond paste and topped with a healthy pile of sugary glaze. Legend has it that the tradition of crescent-shaped croissant began at the end of the 19th century when the parish priest of St. Martin’s urged the richer parishioners to help the poor as winter approached. A baker by the name of Józef Melzer prayed to St. Martin for ideas and turning to the street was inspired as the horse carrying the saint in the parade slipped a shoe – hence the crescent shape of the pastries.Rogale_swietomarcinskie2So just who was this Martin character, and why is he worthy of such sweets and fanfare (not to mention sainthood status)? Born in what is now Hungary in the fourth century, Martin was raised in Italy where he became a member of the Imperial Horse Guard in the Roman army. Stationed in France he came across a shivering beggar and decided to cut his cloak in half to share with the man. That evening Martin, aged 18, dreamed of Jesus wearing the half-cloak (in some stories, Martin wakes to find his cloak fully restored) and decided to be baptised.martinstagAfter being discharged from the army he became a disciple of Hilary of Poitiers (Saint Hilary nowadays), a proponent of Trinitarian Christianity that was at odds with the Arianism of the day. St Martin’s day (and St Martin’s Eve) customs perhaps unsurprisingly share similarities with those of Hallowe’en: In Germany, for instance, children going from door to door begging gifts of food, sweets etc in return for songs (Martinsleidis associated with St Martin’s day (Martinstag). In Germany – as elsewhere in Europe – this custom was also associated with the medieval ‘souling‘ traditions observed variously on All Hallows day (1st November) or All Hallows Eve (31st October) as well as All Souls’ day (2nd November). In ‘souling’ people would go door to door offering prayers for the dead in return for the gift of ‘soul cakes’. This seems to have evolved into the modern Hallowe’en ‘trick or treat’ custom but was a feature of other festivals of the ‘winter quarter’, such as the Christmastide ‘wassailing’ and ‘guising’ tradition parties of ancient European tradition. Ritual begging was, therefore, an ancient and important cultural custom, and the idea of receiving divine favour in return for bestowing hospitality on the poor and needy was a key element to religious observances of the Christian and pre-Christian eras (for example, the Roman and Greek festivals of Saturnalia and Kronia).

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Another legend tells how later in life Martin did not want to become a bishop so tried to avoid those looking for him by hiding among some geese. The noise of the geese apparently gave him away and Martin was made the Bishop of Tours. With Christians traditionally beginning a 40-day period of fasting on St. Martin’s Day ahead of Christmas Eve, the night before (St. Martin’s Eve) saw feasting where the roast goose was a favourite dish as it is at this time of the year when a goose is at its plumpest.jarvis_582c9460498e2b983c8fc5aaSo if you are in Poland, the Czech Republic or Germany  keep your eyes out for restaurants offering St. Martin’s Goose. As bishop Martin continued to live a largely hermetic existence; his work included sowing Christianity among the Druidic heathens and promoting the interests of the Church at the Imperial court in Trier. the-charity-of-st-martin-by-louis_anselme_longa-featured-w740x493One such example includes Martin’s efforts to save Priscillian, a Christian bishop he opposed, from punishment by a civil tribunal that accused Priscillian of heresy. Despite Martin’s efforts, Priscillian was the first person in the history of Christianity to be executed for heresy, and the sadly disappointed Martin died in Gaul in 397. He said “Lord, if your people still have need of my services, I will not avoid the toil. Your will be done. I have fought the good fight long enough. Yet if you bid me continue to hold the battle line in defense of your camp, I will never beg to be excused from failing strength. I will do the work you entrust to me. While you command, I will fight beneath your banner.” (St. Martin of Tours, Bishop and Confessor, Patron Saint of Soldiers)Remembrance day poppiesFreedom is something that money can’t buy, it’s the result of the struggles of many bravehearts. Let us honour them today and always.

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Happy Independence Day, Poland!shutterstock_225924757-e1460519578556There are 50 days remaining until the end of the year. Ask yourself whether you are happy and you cease to be so.

Ela

 

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Did all within this circle move !

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I decided for few months to concentrate on one thing only. Zero juggling tasks, jumping on projects and fighting with a thousand things at once.

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How was it for me? In short: was terrible.

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I felt bad about it. For me, it was natural and quite comfortable when I was tired of everything and just to go back to painting, writing, running or dancing. Focus on one thing is boring.  Same topic, from morning to night, day by day, week by week, month by month. In the long run, it destroys motivation more than a new thing every day. If you had prepared the best cook for you in the world, with the best ingredients, but every day the same, then after a month will change to an average meal. You need a change. Poison is often determined not by the substance itself, but by its dose. Even water in too much dosage is harm. img_52091

If you are working on a work that is based on ideas and creativity, then the wide context is for you oxygen without which you will suffocate. A narrow focus on one thing closes you in the bubble. You notice more in the subject you are fully dedicated to, but you do not really see anything else. Now after a few months, I feel like I’m back from another planet. paperartist_2017-10-15_22-56-30

 

I’m sure you’re right focusing on one thing is a chance that you will achieve an absolute top in this field, but even greater that you will end up burned out, without motivation and other ideas for yourself. If you play the guitar, but with one leg tapping on the drums, you are not focused on the strings anymore. For me, “multi” starts with two things. Either you do one thing and you sacrifice it, or you do at least two things at once. It’s zero-one and there are only two sides of the barricade. You’re right if I will focus on one single thing and it will not let me go too fast, if at all. I prefer to take my time and live life at a slower pace and healthier life.

Too many things, Yes I am who I am. So, I am starting again. Began at the beginning.

 

 

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The life we want is not merely the one we have chosen and made.It is the one we must be choosing and making.

Booo to You and Happy Halloween

                                                 Ela

La Serenissima and serenella

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Close your eyes for a moment and let an azure-lidded fantasy flood your mind. hqdefaultIf you could pick one place on Earth where you could return at least for one moment, where would you go….to Rome, Florence, your home or maybe other places? I take myself to Venice. DSC04476Venice is an absolutely amazing place to visit. Even the most sceptical of travellers can’t help but fall prey to its charms. It’s a strange one really as it can be bustling with a lot of tourists in some parts of it and then just a few minutes walk away and you’ll find yourself exploring quiet, hidden streets – devoid of the throngs of tourists.

Without hesitation, Serenissima with the air perfumed with intoxicating fragrance is always worth it!

DSC04135Today I take a trip down memory lane by sharing my Easter trip to Venice.  “Everything that can be said and written about Venice has been said and written.” The author of these words was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in 1786 no less. Anyway, I am going on here to tell my story. I will write myself into well-being  🙂DSC04919Serenissimo’ was a Byzantine title, bestowed upon the Doge and the Signoria at first, then extended to the entire Republic of Venice.

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Venice. The Piazza San Marco Looking East Towards the Basilica. Date: c. 1730

‘Most Serene’ was an honorary appellate and an indicator of sovereignty. But there is another reason why Venice has continued carrying this nickname, which has become legendary, just as the city itself, through the centuries.DSC04373From the outside, Venice looked like a peaceful place, spared from the turmoil affecting so many other cities. The choice to focus on maritime trade brought prosperity, and the establishment of an oligarchic, liberal republic laid the foundation for a solid state, universally accepted by its citizens, who, no matter their class, seemed to get along well, united by the devotion for the territory they lived in. Even when dealing with foreign policy affairs, Venice often tried to avoid conflict and disputes, preferring mediation and peace.

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Venice: A Regatta on the Grand Canal  c.1733-4

On these bases, Venice could well be described as ‘serene’, so much so that it was able to survive for three centuries its political, military and commercial decline, caused by Turkish expansion and the discovery of the Americas. Diplomacy, wealth, justice and prosperity, the main aspects of the history of Venice, have indeed made it ‘Serenissima. Even when dealing with foreign policy affairs, Venice often tried to avoid conflict and disputes, preferring mediation and peace. On these bases, Venice could well be described as ‘serene’, so much so that it was able to survive for three centuries its political, military and commercial decline, caused by Turkish expansion and the discovery of the Americas. Diplomacy, wealth, justice and prosperity, the main aspects of the history of Venice, have indeed made it ‘Serenissima. Venice has been an inspiration  …for… many famous’s writers, artists and musicians …

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Return of the Bucintoro to the Molo on Ascension Day, painted 1729–32

Of all the artists who’ve glorified Venice in the paint, Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697-1768) – better known as Canaletto – probably knew and loved her best. From early on, he was favoured by the English aristocracy, many of whom commissioned works directly from him while they were on the Grand Tour, or bought his paintings, drawings and prints from British agents or Venetian publishers whenever they were unable to travel to the Continent. We know that he was born in Venice in October 1697, that his father was a well-known painter of theatrical scenery, and that his earliest training consisted of designing theatre sets with his father. The latter fact may account, in part, for the strain of theatricality that runs throughout Canaletto’s work and that became quite pronounced in some of his later paintings – although seldom at the expense of the overall accuracy of the views depicted.

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Rome The Forum with the Temple of Castor and Pollux – Bernardo Bellotto Canaletto

In 1719 he went to Rome for further study but returned to Venice in 1720 to begin his career as an artist. Success came rather quickly. His views of Venice caught on – not among the local art lovers, who tended to look down on his efforts, but among the high-ranking “tourists,” especially those from England, who wanted them as souvenirs of their visit.

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London Somerset House Canaletto

Sales declined, however, shortly after 1740, and so in 1746, he went off to London. He remained there – except for a brief trip to Venice in 1751 – until 1755, painting and selling views of that city and of the country houses of the British aristocracy. His final years were spent in his home city, where he died in 1768, honoured rather belatedly by his colleagues and with no possessions beyond a few paintings, a little cash, and a small piece of property. Close your eyes for the second moment please imagine the sea, ship, sun. DSCF8316Here’s the story: in 2008 a wreck was discovered off the coast of East Africa.http-hypebeast.comimage201704damien-hirst-treasures-from-the-wreck-of-the-unbelievable-1

 

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It was the remains of a sunken ship called the Apistos, means ‘Untrustworthy’ as well as ‘Unbelievable’ in ancient Greek, which was laden with treasures from across the ancient world. The ship and its precious cargo belonged to the vastly wealthy Cif Amotan II, a collector who was transporting the artefacts to a specially built temple. Instead, they languished for centuries at the bottom of the ocean, suffering various kinds of sea-change, collecting multiple encrustations of coral, barnacles and shells. Please wake up we are travelling by Serenella boat to visit Palazzo Grassi in Venice, see the Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable’  🙂  We are travelling by Serenella boat to visit Palazzo Grassi in Venice, see the Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable’  🙂DSC04957It is the first major solo exhibition dedicated to Damien Hirst in Italy since the 2004 retrospective at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples (“The Agony and Ecstasy”) and presented at Palazzo Grassi.DSC04401-1It is the first major solo exhibition dedicated to Damien Hirst in Italy since 2004. The exhibition is displayed across 5,000 square meters of museum space. Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable’ has been almost ten years in the making. I don’t want to mention about cost.damien-hirst-treasures-from-the-wreck-of-the-unbelievable-palazzo-grassi-designboom-1800He turns ancient history on its head and gives a nod to the way fake news and post-truth culture has us second guessing everything.It is made up entirely of rusty knives and spoons, ancient tablets and crumbling, coral-covered statues that were “salvaged” from the wreckage of a historic fake ship: The Unbelievable. The statues take inspiration from real artefacts in museums and historical sites across the globe.

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While many of the sculptures are made of bronze and marble, aluminium, polyester and fibreglass are all used to recreate damage from the sea.

Some of the ‘artifacts’ are accompanied by ‘salvage’ videos from the archaeologist’s expedition to the underwater shipwreck, adding another layer of confusion to the fakery. Love it or hate it. DSCF8219-1I find marble painted to look like leather or polished to look like vinyl, jade carved to look like barnacles, malachite carved to look like skin, and everywhere bronze gilded or roughened or recoloured and refashioned. DSCF8186-1The figures — mostly human forms, though a whole menagerie of animals real and mythological features too, including a gold unicorn’s head at the seaward prow of the Dogana building — echo every phase of cultures past, from Renaissance to Buddhist, classical to pre-Columbian.DSCF8179-1There is Mercury, there is also Mickey Mouse.

eeeIf the narrative has a presiding deity it would be Medusa, the blood from whose severed head, you will remember, was believed by the ancients to have turned into the coral.DSCF8233-1I find also conservation story: the bust-up relic recovered from the wreck, then a restored cleaner version, and finally the smooth “copy” often made from ancient originals. DSCF8194 Thera is freestanding museum vitrines, with orderly shelves of ancient implements, nuggets, coins, weird natural wonders — all of course specially created, and in astonishing detail. But before all this, filling the entire central courtyard as one enters the Palazzo Grassi, is the biggest, most gobsmacking piece yet. Some 18 metres high, towering right up the four storeys of the building, is a mighty headless figure — recognisably William Blake’s “Ghost of a Flea”, with its talons instead of toes and its scaly back.

There is awe-inspiring craftsmanship on display here: some of the marble carving, done by a single quarry in Carrara, is superb. The attention to detail is almost obsessive, all objects are oversized, overcoloured, overemphasised. Definitely, Damien Hirst’s new show in Venice is causing controversy.

DSCF8215It’s very easy to say, I could have done that after someone’s done it. But he did it. You didn’t. It didn’t exist until someone did it. Few artists have attacked him for using their ideas. John LeKay said the skulls were his idea. John Armleder … was doing spot paintings. And some say Walter Robinson did the spin paintings first. Hirst’s tribute was: “Fuck ’em all!” In 2006 he said  “Lucky for me, when I went to art school we were a generation where we didn’t have any shame about stealing other people’s ideas. You call it a tribute”. Hirst’s exhibition makes you question the fakeness and reality of what you’re seeing, and why we go to museums at all. Believe or not; is he lying or is he telling the truth or everything he says is false or is neither true nor false, maybe this is something between true or lie. Just moment if is both true and false, then is only false. But then, it is not true. Since initially was true and is now not true ………what means maybe it is a Liar’s paradox.DSCF8211-1 To seek, to get lost, to go beyond. This is why I visited Venice.DSC05110To push beyond the horizon line, to hit new horizons.  Return to Glasgow – inspired, renewed.

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A thing of beauty is a joy forever

Take a photograph and

share the secret dream of someday living

Ella

Europe, I love you

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The map marvelously and efficiently compresses time and space, legend and fact into a single image. It is in some ways a one-page visual précis, presented in geographical terms, of the vast information contained in the encyclopaedia it introduces. Map’s colours make it one of the most fascinating drawings.

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For me, the most important map is Europa Regina. I don’t think it is my best map nor in artistic neither in historical reasons but it means …very much for me. Europa Regina, Latin for Queen Europe, is the map-like depiction of the European continent as a queen. Introduced and made popular during the mannerist period, Europe is shown standing upright with the Iberian Peninsula forming her crowned head, and Bohemia her heart. Her long gown stretches to Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, Livonia, Bulgaria, Muscovy, Albania and Greece. In her arms, formed by Italy and Denmark, she holds a sceptre and an orb (Sicily). The cartographical personification of Europe as a regal woman is tied to the Hapsburg court and the engraver Johannes Putsch, or, as he latinized his name for humanist readers, Johannes Bucius.  Bucius’ map was reproduced in a  widely popular Cosmographia assembled by Sebastian Munster’s Cosmographia from its 1570 edition. The map was first printed by Calvinist Christian Wechel.

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If you tell me whom you admire I could probably tell you a great deal about hopes, dreams, and personal styles and I am not a psychic………….

I just want to live in the European city.

I do not need anything fancy, but I do need a bed to read and sleep in, a big table to eat and write on, as well as some space for my books, and something to put my clothes in.

I want to wake up and drink coffee overlooking the city that I do not know very well and am very hungry to explore.

I do not want to spend my time with people, who do not really care.

I want to wander around and truly live.

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Ella

……Imagine all the people sharing all the world…. 

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one   JOHN LENNON

Is come to me

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The birthday of my life, was come, was come to me.

My Birthday!

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Every birthday, not just the one special marking a new decade and all of them are special as the milestones. Every year brings its 365 life lessons. We turn not older with years, but newer every day. So, last month I reached a point where I asked myself about why we even bother to celebrate birthdays?

IMG_20160531_130855-1 I am not really big on major birthday gatherings. Many people who love you will try to celebrate your birthday, but no one can celebrate your birthday exactly the way you need for. This because no one really knows you need this day.777

The ancient Greeks believed that each person had a spirit that attended his or her birth, and kept watch. The Greeks most likely took the idea of birthday celebration from the Egyptians, since just like the celebration of the pharaohs as “gods,” the Greeks were celebrating their gods and goddesses.They offered moon-shaped cakes to Artemis, as a form of tribute to the lunar goddess. To recreate the radiance of the moon and her perceived beauty, Greeks lit candles and put them on cakes for a glowing effect. The lit candles symbolized the moon’s glowing light. Ancient Romans were the first to celebrate birthdays for the common man (but just the men). The prevailing opinion seems to be that the Romans were the first civilization to celebrate birthdays for non-religious figures. Romans would celebrate birthdays for friends and families, while the government created public holidays to observe the birthdays of more famous citizens. Those celebrating a 50th birthday party would receive a special cake made of wheat flour, olive oil, honey and grated cheese.

tumblr_inline_nvsebrNaAw1spmxnr_500Sad to say but female birthdays still weren’t celebrated until around the 12th century. And as if this were not enough, Christians initially considered birthdays to be a pagan ritual. In the past, they didn’t celebrate birthdays historically, because of that link to paganism. Pagans thought that evil spirits lurked on days of major changes, like the day you turn a year older. Due to its belief that humans are born with “original sin” and the fact that early birthdays were tied to “pagan” gods, the Christian Church considered birthday celebrations evil for the first few hundred years of its existence. Around the 4th century, Christians changed their minds and began to celebrate the birthday of Jesus as the holiday of Christmas. This new celebration was accepted into the church partly in hopes of recruiting those already celebrating the Roman holiday of Saturnalia44444

Although the general idea of celebrating birthdays had already started taking off around the world — like in China, where a child’s first birthday was specifically honoured. Eating long noodles or “Mee” which signify a long life. Eating and passing out red dyed eggs to symbolize happiness and the renewal of life.

There is evidence of the use of candles on cakes at birthday celebrations in 18th Century Germany. This version of the tradition can be traced to Kinderfest (Kinder is the German word for ‘children’), a birthday celebration for children. This celebration was held for children and involved both birthday cake and candles. Kids got one candle for each year they’d been alive, plus another to symbolize the hope of living for at least one more year. and making a wish was also a part of these celebrations.Ludwig_Knaus_-_Ein_Kinderfest_(1868)The Industrial Revolution brought delicious cakes to the masses. For quite some time, birthday celebrations involving sugary cakes were only available to the very wealthy, as the necessary ingredients were considered a luxury.Girls_with_birthday_cake._Postcard_from_1920

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We need to remember that Glasgow had been refining sugar since the 1660’s, and so much of what was brought ashore at Greenock and Port Glasgow was shipped up the river by cart. However, the first commercial refinery was not established in Greenock.  It was built by Mr Mark Kuhl, and employed just a handful of men. At this time, there was no town in the Empire, outside of London, carrying out the trade so extensively and Greenock rightfully earned the title of Sugaropolis, the sugar capital of Scotland.

But the industrial revolution allowed celebrations like kinderfest and the subsequent equivalents in other cultures to proliferate. Not only did the required ingredients become more abundant, but bakeries also started offering pre-made cakes at lower prices due to advances in mass production, such as the scene above capturing workers of one of the many Cadby Hall bakeries of the late 19th century.hip0244324Meanwhile, the introduction of baking powder saw the style of cakes change from dense, yeast-based bakes, into cakes made with flour, eggs, fat and a raising agent and the advent of baking powder sees cakes become lighter. Probably the most popular in 19 century was a just traditional fruitcake.50031665.tifAlso, it’s unclear who change  the words  of the song “Good Morning To All,”  to the words of “Happy Birthday To You.”happybirthday1Yes, famous The Birthday Song is a remix, kind of. In 1893, Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill wrote a song they called, “Good Morning To All,” which was intended to be sung by students before classes began. The song eventually caught on across America, giving rise to a number of variations. Robert Coleman eventually published a songbook in 1924, adding a few extra lyrics that would quickly come to overshadow the original lines. The new rendition became the version we now all know, “Happy Birthday To You.”999

So, Today it might be your birthday.

If it is

Happy Birthday!

Laugh more often

Stop trying to please everybody

Start pleasing yourself

Don’t worry be happy

Cherish your dreams

Express love every day

Search for authentic self until you find her

Breath deeply and often

Move, walk, dance, run…….

Happy Birthday to you!

🙂

Ella

 

 

Hello, Rabbit

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Hello, Rabbit, he said, is that you? Let’s pretend it isn’t, said Rabbit, and see what happens- Milne

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Time to hop into March!

And who better to do it than the Rabbit and his cousin Hare. In general, both are associated with the Moon, magic, luck, love, creativity, success, sensitivity, agility, spontaneity, abundance, and rebirth and, of course, fertility. In Chinese myth, it is said that the Buddha called all animals to his side before he was to leave this world, but only 12 came – the rabbit being the fourth to come bid him farewell.  In Indian legend, it was said that Buddha was a hare in one of his earlier incarnations. In Christianity hares and rabbits, associated with the Goddess and unblemished white rabbits symbolizing purity, piety, and the Holy Virgin. In Judaism, the rabbit is considered an unclean animal, because “does not have a divided hoof.” In Greco-Roman myth, the hare is symbolic of romantic love, abundance, sexuality and tremendous fertility. 340px-pederastic_gifts_macron_louvre_g142_n3

Hares were also associated with the Artemis, goddess of wild places and the hunt, and new-born hares were not to be killed but left to her protection. In Greece, the gift of a rabbit was a common love token from a man to his male or female lover. In Rome, the gift of a rabbit was intended to help a barren wife conceive. Carvings of rabbits eating grapes and figs appear on both Greek and Roman tombs, where they symbolize the transformative cycle of life, death, and rebirth. In Egyptian tradition, the rabbit is connected to the very essence of being.  These mystical creatures, known throughout the world in legend, lore, and literature, are gentle leaders, pushing us toward fertile grounds, physically, mentally and spiritually. f7c3b6fffeca6b802a16c9fc618f90c610ce7e39tutankhamuns-tomb

Even in the stars, we can see the mysticism of Rabbit.

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Across the night sky, the constellation Lepus is the Hare that forever eludes Orion’s hunting dogs. However, also rabbits and hares have long been associated with witches or as witches themselves in animal form and the ability to walk between the worlds and commune with the faeries.

However, also rabbits and hares have long been associated with witches or as witches themselves in animal form and the ability to walk between the worlds and commune with the faeries.

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They were animal’s witches, playing the role now given to cats. Their ability to dart quickly amidst the shadows as they walk between the earthly realm and the spirit realm, often disappearing and reappearing in the blink of an eye, makes them privy to hidden knowledge and wisdom. Rabbits serve as witches’ familiars and messengers and were believed to be the form into which witches most frequently transform. The association of rabbits with witches is not limited to Europe. In China, rabbits are identified with witches, alchemy, and sorcery.

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Instead of a man in the moon, China has an alchemist rabbit in the moon, endlessly grinding the elixir of immortality with his mortar and pestle, a servant of witch goddess Hsi Wang Mu.

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At the 16th and 17th centuries in Scotland as well as elsewhere in Europe, the Christianity we know about from history books was mainly practiced by the elite. Royals and the aristocracy were the first converts, often for political reasons.

King James VI of Scotland is most well-known for commissioning the King James Bible. For this, he is celebrated by Christians in the English-speaking world to this day.

daemonologie_1356163726But, many people don’t know about his role in the Scottish witch hunts. Another book was also written by the King’s own hand.  Daemonologie was a handbook on demons, witchcraft, and the devil. Prior to James’ reign, witch hunts were not especially common in Scotland. James developed an interest in witchcraft that appears to have bordered on obsession. He signed a law in 1591 which made the torture of witches legal, and he is said to have attended witch trials personally. His writings on witchcraft became incredibly popular and influential. Shakespeare is said to have used Daemonologie as a source for information on the witches that feature in such plays as Macbeth.

About 75 years after James’ book, in 1662, Isobel Gowdie, a Scotswoman, apparently volunteered a detailed confession of witchcraft. She described how she and her fellow coven members transformed into hares via a magical chant. Isabel was a young housewife from Auldearn in Nairnshire who is remembered not just for being tried as a witch, but for her detailed confession. She claimed to have been in league with the Devil for fifteen years and first met him at a church in Auldearn. She claimed that her coven members could even change the shape of animals.

Rabbit witches serve as entertainment for children: in Katherine Pyle’s illustrated 1895 children’s book, The Rabbit Witch and Other Tales, a rabbit Witch in a head scarf steals naughty children; in Walter De La Mare’s children’s poem, “The Hare”, “an old witch-hare” gets spooked herself.

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I remember the Hansel and Gretel story, the classic fairy tale where the Witch Hazel plays the witch who tries to cook and eat the children. Once Hazel realizes that Bugs is a rabbit, she tries to cook him instead, using a carrot as a lure.

I am asking myself is that cute little a bunny doing horrible violence to people and it does beg a question? What the hell is going on?

999Through the Easter rabbit, the Chinese zodiac sign of the rabbit, the Energizer bunny, the cereal Trix bunny, the animated Bugs Bunny, Beatrix Potter’s charming Peter Rabbit, Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”‘s White Rabbit, and March Hare, the phrase “Mad as a March Hare” ,” The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams, “Watership Down” by Richard Adams blog-rabbit Disney’s character Thumper from “Bambi”, the African American tales of B’rer Rabbit, the animated film “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” (with the famously sexy Jessica Rabbit), the trickster rabbit from Native American to African tales, in Monty Python’s “Holy Grail” as the famous Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog, the sexy Playboy Bunny, the rabbit’s foot for luck, the rabbit in the moon, as a witch’s familiar, bunny slippers, the American name for a Volkswagen car………………………………… the list goes on.

The usual imagery of the rabbit in Medieval art is that of purity and helplessness. But in medieval manuscripts, the image of the rabbit’s revenge is often used to show the cowardice or stupidity of the person illustrated.

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However, what about the hare? Well, the hare, called by its Latin name ‘lepus’, also has an entry in the Bestiaries and, of course, it has a Christian symbol behind it. In theory, the hare represented the man that feared God, but put his trust in him, and not in people.800px-1505_piero_di_cosimo_venus_mars_and_cupid_anagoria

Piero di Cosimo: the image of Venus and Mars, a cupid lying on Venus clings to a white rabbit. The three hares at Paderborn Cathedral- The Hasenfenster called as hare windows in Paderborn Cathedral, in which three hares are depicted with only three ears between them, forming a triangle, can be seen as a symbol of the Trinity, and probably go back to an old symbol for the passage of time.paderborner_dom_dreihasenfenster

More hares in Albrecht Dürer’s woodcut and also Titian’s painting.

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Titians’s painting the Holy Family with the Three Hares (1497) is the unusual presentation of the rabbit.40-07-07/50Madonna with the Infant Jesus playing with a white rabbit, together with the basket of bread and wine, a symbol of the sacrificial death of Christ, the picture may be interpreted as the resurrection of Christ after death. I find, in contrast to this painting is a tiny squashed rabbit at the base of the columns in Jan van Eyck’s Rolin Madonna symbolize “Lust”, as part of a set of references in the painting to all the Seven Deadly Sins.

In non-religious art, for example in the Hunting still life with lap dog and monkey by Jan Weenix .(1714) the rabbit appears in the same context as in antiquity: as prey for the hunter, or maybe representing spring or autumn, as well as an attribute of Venus and a symbol of physical love.  b15ae303840d60e93ced299d1bdf54d5-jpghunting-still-life-with-lap-dog-and-monkey-by-jan-weenixIn Italian Renaissance and Baroque art, rabbits are depicted more often than hares. In an allegory on lust by Pisanello, a naked woman lies on a couch with a rabbit at her feet. a45a86b391b5958e27f3026eec3cb399Pinturicchio’s scene of Susanna in the Bath is displayed in the Vatican’s Borgia Apartment. Here, each of the two old men is accompanied by a pair of hares or rabbits, clearly indicating wanton lust.hunting-still-lifeBack to still lifes painting in Dutch Golden Age. These Flemish equivalents often included a moralizing element which was understood by their original viewers without assistance: fish and meat can allude to religious dietary precepts, fish indicating fasting while great piles of meat indicate voluptas carnis (lusts of the flesh), especially if lovers are also depicted. Rabbits and birds, perhaps in the company of carrots and other phallic symbols, were easily understood by contemporary viewers in the same sense.jan_weenix_-_still_life_of_a_dead_hare_partridges_and_other_birds_in_a_niche_-_google_art_projectAs small animals with fur, hares and rabbits allowed the artist to showcase his ability in painting this difficult material. Dead hares appear in the works of the earliest painter of still life collections of foodstuffs in a kitchen setting, Frans Snyders, and remain a common feature, very often sprawling hung up by a rear leg, in the works of Jan Fyt, Adriaen van Utrecht and many other specialists in the genre.

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In modern art, Joseph Beuys was the artist who always finds a place for a rabbit in his works, sees it as symbolizing resurrection. In the context of his action “How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare”, he stated that the rabbit “…has a direct relationship to birth… For me, the rabbit is the symbol of incarnation. Because the rabbit shows in reality what man can only show in his thoughts. He buries himself, he buries himself in a depression. He incarnates himself in the earth, and that alone is important.

The Welsh sculptor Barry Flanagan (1944-2009) was best known for his energetic bronzes of hares, which he produced throughout his career. Many have a comic element, and the length and thinness of the hare’s body is often exaggerated.

 

66The most famous hare in the history of art is probably The Young Hare, a watercolour painting by Albrecht Dürer, now preserved in the Albertina in Vienna.6a00e54fcf7385883401bb07c6a418970d-800wiDürer’s image is seen in the context of his other nature studies, such as his almost equally famous Meadow or his Bird Wings. He chose to paint these in watercolour or gouache, striving for the highest possible precision and “realistic” representation. This hare painting probably does not have a symbolic meaning, but it does have an exceptional reception history. A reproduction of Dürer’s hare has often been a permanent component of bourgeois living rooms in Germany.

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The picture has been repeatedly printed in textbooks, published in countless reproductions, embossed in copper, wood or stone, represented three-dimensionally in plastic or plaster, encased in plexiglass, painted on ostrich eggs, printed on plastic bags, surreally distorted in Hasengiraffe by Martin Missfeldt, reproduced as a joke by Fluxus artists, and cast in gold or to be sold cheaply in galleries. Sigmar Polke has also engaged with the hares on paper or textiles, or as part of his installations. Dieter Roth’s Köttelkarnikel (Turd bunny) is a copy of Dürer’s hare made from rabbit droppings, and Klaus Staeck enclosed one in a little wooden box, with a hole cut out of it, so that it could look out and breathe. And one more, it wasn’t until the 18th century that rabbits began to be seen as a food for the poor since by then they were ubiquitous in the wild but it is another story.

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I have been born in the year of the Rabbit.

I am Rabbit.

I can be anywhere.

I can be everywhere.

I am outside time.

I am outside dimension.

Time to hop into spring!

Ella

Winter holiday in the snow.

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227094-hello-january-winter-quote January is a fresh start.  This is the month to dream, to look forward to the year ahead and the journey within. A new chapter in life waiting to be writing, new questions to be asked embraced and loved. Become open to the changes that the answers will inevitably bring. There are challenging times in which to live. But, we are not the only generation to have difficult days.Each year, as Bing Crosby sang, I’m dreaming of a white Christmas and it’s happened for me. My Christmas Holiday Season was white :).

Away from  Scotland, I was digging through some of the fascinating chemistry behind the white stuff! I know that winter holiday in the snow is always the season challenging, I am enjoying my winter vacation. Even though it is cold, there are lots of fun. Things I wish I’d known when I was younger.cofSnow is of course formed in clouds where the temperature is less that zero Celsus degree this means that the water vapour present will start to crystallise and form a snowflake. Snow crystals are structures with a very high level of order and we can see this when we look at a snowflake in a lot of detail. Whilst they are not always absolutely symmetrical, snowflakes do follow similar patterns.86218b43fa3605ae7d6af6370034fb81This is because a snowflake’s shape reflects the internal order of the water molecules. Water molecules in the solid state, such as in ice and snow, form weak bonds (called hydrogen bonds) with one another. These ordered arrangements result in the symmetrical, hexagonal shape of the snowflake. As we know water and ice often appear clear and colourless but snow appears to be white, this is because snowflakes have so many surfaces, owing to its crystal structure, that reflects light and scatters most of the rays that hit it.cofBut the winter holiday in the snow is always the season challenging, many winter sports rely on having well-carpeted slopes throughout the season, and sometimes a helping hand is needed in the form of artificial snow. Like so many scientific innovations, the first artificial snow was created by lucky accident. In the 1940s, a group of Canadian scientists were trying to study the effects of rime ice (the white ‘frost’ that forms on surfaces) on jet engines. In an attempt to re-create real outdoor conditions they were throwing water in front of a running engine in a low-temperature wind tunnel. Instead of ice forming on the engine, they got mid-air snow, as the water cooled and froze into the characteristic hexagonal crystals that grow into snowflakes. At that time their ‘invention’ was more of an annoyance than anything else, as the snow quickly collected on the ground and had to be shovelled out of the tunnel. They published their findings but didn’t try to commercialise them.

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The first patented snowmaking machine came later, during a slump in sales at a US ski manufacturing company in the early 1950s. Engineers at the Connecticut-based Tey Manufacturing Company came up with the idea of blowing water droplets through freezing air. Their first crude device was cobbled together using a paint spray compressor, a nozzle and a garden hose.Over the following years, snow cannons based on the same principle have caught on at ski resorts and indoor snow domes – today’s versions incorporate heavy-duty air compressors and water pumps, as snowmaking requires huge amounts of water (it takes about a tonne of water to make a 10cm-deep layer of snow over a 20m2 area). snow-machineAway from the slopes, you may want to create the appearance of snow without any of the cold. In this case, a fairly decent decorative mimic can be crafted from white, fluffy-looking hydrated superabsorbent polymers.788This kind of ‘snow’ is often used on film sets, as frozen water would quickly melt under hot studio lights. It may also pop up in festive – but cosy – Santa’s grottos, and you can even buy it in packets for home decoration.In the long history in which humans have been getting caught in snowstorms, the way we have reacted to snow and interpreted it. For the Impressionists and the Japanese ukiyo-e artists, it was a force for beauty and contemplation. For the inhabitants of the Alps in the middle ages and after, it was associated with evil and witchcraft. fffEach society has interpreted the unusual and often spectacular event of a snowfall in a different way. Snow, that falls on a full moon is purified water and protective properties. Now, scientists seem to discover that snow is efficient at removing aerosol particles from the air. Perhaps the best way to track the cultural significance of snow is through art.zima-obrazy Until the 16th century, artists showed little interest except where it had a religious context. Then came the shocking winter of 1564-5, the longest and most severe for more than a hundred years, and the first great winter of the intensely cold period in northern Europe that we now call the Little Ice Age.7f1384201c18a83b579531c3653b6ee1It was early in this exceptional winter of 1565 that Pieter Bruegel the Elder created what is regarded as the first winter landscape painting, The Hunters in the Snow. What did he see in this, the earliest detailed account of people’s reaction to snow? Like a snapshot, Bruegel captures the bustle of a Brabant village during his time. Each character is depicted in action. Children play with spinning tops or slide on the frozen water, while a couple advances cautiously on the ice.7Further afield, carts are being loaded with sacks of grain and people warm themselves by the fire. 5Here, chickens peck and birds soar while the donkey obediently follows his master.8Once Bruegel had found snow as a subject, he couldn’t stop 🙂472aadorationAmong a number of paintings of ice and snow that survive, he created the first scene with falling snow and the first nativity scene to include snow, The Adoration of the Magi.bruegel120He also started a vogue for Netherlandish snow painting that endured for a century and a half.

January, the month of the new beginning the month. This is a month of dream

When snow comes it’s a winter’s day. Can you make a pot of some soup for supper?

Can you make a pot of some soup for supper?

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I relish this joyful simplicity, during my holiday. Chopping colours of vegetable enjoy life and new beginning.  We must learn the new value of life and become a specialist in living. Are you ready to become a pioneer?  Then it’s time to invest your soul with all the creative energy at your disposal.

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…. with snow is so much fun!

Happy Rooster Year!

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