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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Living above the Clouds

Today was such a lovely day. I woke up on the earlier side, walked out my door, and saw this...Its like we're living above the clouds! It was a great start to the day, and then it just continued to get better! The fibers ladies were lucky enough to visit Les Olivades, the last manufacturer of fabrics left in Provence. We got to witness their process of screenprinting provencal fabrics from start to finish. And then we got to buy some as well!
We were taken through the whole factory where we could see rolls and rolls of beautiful fabrics. We made it to the room where they take the prepared fabric and screenprint it on a table that is probably 200 meters long! Its huge. There is a machine that holds the screen and moves along the fabric printing the whole length. Here is the huge table with the fabric they were working on today. They had done four of the eleven colors so far, and had the pigments and screens ready for the next seven!Before we went into the showroom to look at the finished fabrics for purchase I found this awesome rust on one of the machines.In the showroom they had lots of beautiful fabrics hanging, most of them out of our price range. But we found the hidden back room where there were scraps of fabrics you could purchase by the kilo at a reasonable price. I got four great fabrics, a pot holder, and a bag of lavender for gifts! I'm excited to start making some new things!Since we were so excited about the factory we missed lunch back in Lacoste, so we stopped in St. Remy, a really nice town, and got some lunch, and of course some ice cream and chocolate!When we arrived back to Lacoste, the clouds I saw in the morning were gone and it was a beautiful clear day. La vie est belle.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

La Vie Est Belle

Its another beautiful day in southern France. Its also a day to remember for me. Four years ago a new high school friend died in a car crash with two other boys. It was a sad day, and I cant believe its been four years. I'm sure everyone who experienced this day is thinking of their angels today. Rest in Peace Tony, Nico, and Chris.

Today our Fibers class went to Jean-Pierre's studio again. Although what we heard was information we had heard last week, it was again inspiring to be in a working studio with great things to find and photograph. From the plants outside to antiques hanging from the ceiling and designs of the tiles laid out, I felt inspired by what I saw.
We once again were taken inside Jean-Pierre's home to hear about his amazing collection of ancient finds and a great collection of artwork. His house is charming and he has this great coffee maker, that apparently is famous and has been in a movie or two. When he saw me photographing his kitchen sink he said "what? its just a sink?" but it looked cute and I wanted a photo!
I realized today how lucky I am to be where I am and to be seeing such beauty every single day. God has truly slowed down my life and brought me to a place where I can relax and gaze at his beautiful creations. So many distractions have been taken out of my life and I am able to feel inspired again and I am loving it. Once I have a few more items made I will be sure to share them on here! But for now... another beautiful picture of my new surroundings.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A weekend in Lacoste

So our first week in Lacoste is over! The weekend was beautiful weather so a lot of it was spent outdoors. Saturday morning we woke up to go to the market at Apt again. Since we had been there once we had an idea of what was there but it was nice to go and enjoy it in the sunshine this time. Lara, Janelle, and I went around sampling lots of foods. We accidentally sampled p√Ęte so we hurried over to sample jams and Lara and I wound up buying 4 jars of it (there was a deal, and theyre great gifts!) Janelle and I bought 5 avocados for 2 euros to fix our guacamole cravings. Then we went into the cutest cafe with the cutest little dog and we had some yummy cafe au lait.

When we returned Lara and I finally did our laundry. We were running out since we had packed so lightly and I had traveled a week before this week in Lacoste! Because of the dry air we get to dry our clothes on our cute little terrace!
We spent the rest of the afternoon doing our journals out on the terrace and enjoying the lovely view. That night after dinner a bunch of the fibers girls, and Lara the adopted fibers girl, had a movie night and watched Father of the Bride.

Sunday we woke up very motivated after a good nights sleep. After brunch Lara and I decided to walk to Menerbes, a town 8 km away. (10 miles round-trip!) All we really wanted was some exercise and some ice cream. The town is kind of on the other side of the mountain, not as steep as the roads in Lacoste, but a slight incline that was going to make walking back a challenge. We found this praying mantis in the middle of the road, probably praying for our trip back!The walk was very long and it was pretty hot, but there were a few nice views and sights along the way (plus we were greeted by a bunch of french guard dogs).
We were excited when we finally saw Menerbes in the distance! Once we got to the bottom of the hill we had to go up another but we finally made it. We were greeted by this building that says "Life is beautiful!"The town was small, with just a few roads and a few cafes. I politely asked a woman at one of the cafes if we could order only ice cream, in french, and in french she says, "only ice cream?... No." So we were mad at Menerbes and decided to head back to Lacoste, but we did see a few pretty things while there. Great views of the mountains, and beautiful ivy on one of the old buildings.The hike back was long and tiresome. You would think that after running a marathon I would be fine, but man do I have to get back in shape. We stopped for a few minutes to get a picture of us in "agony" and to catch our breath. It was quite the adventure, and we were excited to get back to Lacoste 3 1/2 hours later!
When we got back Janelle and I tried to make guacamole. We had been hoping the cafeteria would have tomatoes and onions, but they hadnt for two days and we needed our guac! So in Janelle's coffee mug we smashed two avocados, lemons from dinner the night before, and salt and pepper packets, and ate it with potato chips. Desperate huh? Happy to say there were tomatoes and onions at dinner, so we snatched them, and will probably make more today! After dinner our Advanced Fibers class had a makeup class where we shared our powerpoints about ourselves. Although there are only 8 of us, it took 4 1/2 hours and we were there until 12:30 at night! But it was very enjoyable and inspiring and it made me feel that this is going to be a really great class.

Well its now Monday morning. I have the whole day to catch up, do work, and enjoy another beautiful day in southern France! "La vie est belle!"

Friday, September 25, 2009

Aix-en-Provence

After a nice cup of wine at Cafe de France with the fibers girls last night, (cause we can) I got some sleep before our early morning to leave for our excursion to Aix-en-Provence, the home of Cezanne. We arrived after an hour on the bus and headed to the Tapestry museum. Mistake. Besides getting this lovely photo of Lara and I, we were "entertained" by these two sterotypical looking french characters. They made us sit on the cold, hard ground and proceeded to take us on a "tour" of the tapestries, all in french-- sound effects and all. We felt like we were being recorded on some hidden camera show, but apparently they were just really excited to be around American women...After that experience we walked the streets of Aix finding some great fabric stores, art supplies stores, bookstores, and antiques. We were able to catch the last weekend of the Cezanne and Picasso exhibition at le Musee Granet. Although it was very packed with people, it was a nice exhibit.

Afterwards Lara and I made a pit stop for more ice cream, and sat down at a cafe to share a banana-nutella crepe and I got a cafe au lait. It was all very yummy, and I ordered in French again!
We finished the day by just walking and doing some people watching. When we returned to Lacoste we were all ready for dinner, and I realized that I should invest in some Dramamine!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

So far in Lacoste

It has almost been a week since we arrived in Lacoste and already there has been so much to see. Living in a tiny medieval village on the side of a mountain with less than 200 people in it you would think there wouldnt be too much to do. But it seems that each day there is another (steep) path to discover.

After taking an overnight bus from Barcelona to Marseilles, I met the group at the airport and we headed to Lacoste in the pouring rain. We were greeted by hail! which was ironic because it had not rained all summer. It was ok because once the rain stopped we were delighted by this!
Once we checked in we began to set up our new rooms and explore the village! Lara and I are sharing a loft in the charming Olivier Upper. We have a great terrace, courtyard, and cute blue doors.
Lacoste was built as a fortress to keep it secure from the enemies that they used to fight. So, it is very steep and very compact. We get a workout every time we leave our doorstep. Beautiful buildings line the steep roads, and SCAD has turned old buildings into what we call our campus. The old boulangerie (bakery) is now our cozy library, for example!
Day 2 took us to the market in Apt! Lara and I walked around and wound up buying anything made of chocolate. We made a pit stop at the Pont Julien, an ancient bridge that was used for travel between Italy and Spain.Sunday Lara and I walked to the nearest village, Bonnieux, which is 6 km away. We explored the town and found la glace! I got some tasty lavender ice cream and lara tried apricot. I even ordered in French! Monday classes were starting, but both of mine are on Tuesday/Thursday, so I had a free day to run, catch up on emails, and prepare for classes the next day! I am taking Treasures of Provence which takes us on many fieldtrips to go see what we are learning about! I am also in Advanced Travel Portfolio which will count as my first Senior Fiber Studio! When I return from Lacoste I will officially be a senior, and if everything goes as planned, I will stay the summer in Savannah and finish school a year early! Our professor Pam is great and the group of girls in the class will be really helpful and inspiring. Yesterday was spent doing artwork on the terrace looking over the valley, and it was Janelles birthday! I attended a french class and enjoyed the day off!

Today (Thursday) we went on our first art history fieldtrip to the small town of Caseneuve to see mosaic artist Jean Pierre Soalhat's studio. He makes amazing mosaics out of ancient materials and sells them all over the world. He also has a great collection of artifacts that date back to 42,000 BC! Crazy.
We returned to Lacoste to find out that our fibers class was canceled, so I have been enjoying the beautiful day. Tomorrow we leave early for Aix en Provence! a bien tot!