Traditions Home has an extensive collection of artwork. Each one tells a story.
Speculum mentis est facies et taciti oculi cordis fatentur arcana. St. Jerome letter to Furia 394
In a letter dated 394 AD to Furia, a recent Roman widow, St. Jerome advises her to not remarry and instead devote her life to her children and aging father. He goes on to say, “The face is the mirror of the mind and a woman’s eyes without a word betray the secrets of her heart,” which has come down to us as general advice to both sexes. Perhaps that is why eyelids are painted, closed, or hidden by bangs.
“Not on one strand are all life’s jewels strung,” says William Morris.
Men and women have adorned themselves with jewelry throughout history, but why?
It serves no immediate purpose. No one is made stronger or more healthy by the use of jewelry. It does not serve to protect us from the weather. Its value lies not in practical things, but in the esoteric.
Stones that glitter are attractive. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and a beautiful necklace, bracelet, or set of earrings will attract our attention to the wearer. One sees something extraordinary. One becomes beautiful by association.
Jewelry also becomes a status symbol. Precious stones are rare. They are reserved for the rich and powerful who can afford the price of purchase.
Lastly, let us not forget that jewels are powerful symbols. Gems are both brilliant and long lasting. Diamonds are forever, and hopefully so is the love a diamond is given in token of. Consider the Crown Jewels which are synonymous with the power and dignity of the British Royal Family.
A gem is fine, but nothing compares to the value of the love and friendship that is behind the stone. William Morris is right, look not to the wealth of the jewel. Look instead to the love of two people for each other.
And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.
Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it. -Roald Dahl
Wishing you the Merriest of Christmases, the Happiest of Hanukkahs, the sweetest of holidays. Wherever you are and however you celebrate the season, remember that no act of kindness, however small, is wasted or lost, and know this that kindness is the greatest magic of all, for it blesses two.
A Stressless recliner is a lovely place from which to travel.
Today, this moment, let us rise and go to the misty isles of Faerie and join William Butler Yeats as he recounts the 300 year old tale of Ireland’s greatest poet, Oisin and his wife, the fairy princess Niamh.
… And in a wild and sudden dance We mocked at Time and Fate and Chance And swept out of the wattled hall And came to where the dewdrops fall Among the foamdrops of the sea, And there we hushed the revelry; And, gathering on our brows a frown, Bent all our swaying bodies down, And to the waves that glimmer by That sloping green De Danaan sod Sang, ‘God is joy and joy is God, And things that have grown sad are wicked, And things that fear the dawn of the morrow Or the grey wandering osprey Sorrow
We danced to where in the winding thicket The damask roses, bloom on bloom, Like crimson meteors hang in the gloom. And bending over them softly said, Bending over them in the dance, With a swift and friendly glance From dewy eyes: ‘Upon the dead Fall the leaves of other roses, On the dead dim earth encloses: But never, never on our graves, Heaped beside the glimmering waves, Shall fall the leaves of damask roses. For neither Death nor Change comes near us, And all listless hours fear us, And we fear no dawning morrow, Nor the grey wandering osprey Sorrow.
I am on this kick right now of looking for unusual things in out of the way places. You don’t have to look hard. You just have to see with your eyes and your soul. Saper vedere, Leonardo da Vinci called it. Knowing how to see, but that doesn’t seem quite right. How do we know that which we have never seen?
Sure there are many wonderful works of art adorning the great museums of the world, many grand structures that are admired, but sometimes it is the little thing in a humble place that catches the eyes and captures the spirit. A flower in a field of green, a feather floating on the water, the smile on the face of a child when you’re feeling sad. All of these things are as beautiful as the Mona Lisa hanging on a wall in the Louvre.
Let us go to Dallas.
Bishop Arts is an entertainment district in Oak Cliff, across the Trinity River from downtown Dallas. It is centered on the intersection of Bishop and Davis Streets. Thank goodness the mass retailers and chains have not yet arrived. For now it is a thriving cauldron of entrepreneurship, restaurants, bars, pie shops, boutiques, antique stores, and even a foot massage.
Changes are on the horizon. To the south a large development is going in. This may change the flavor of Bishop Arts, but one hopes not. Parking will become an issue and the homeowners who share the area with the retailers will rue the day Bishop Arts became a happening place.
Across the street on the corner from the new development is an old house. It is the eye in the hurricane, a place of serenity. For the time being, it is an impressionist’s work of art, a humble place, and thing of beauty. Why someone even thought of adding a picnic table and a tire swing for passersby to enjoy.
Where do ideas come from? Who is inspired to take an old house and make it a work of art? A combination of Camille Pissaro and Henri Matisse.
Camille Pissaro (1830-1903) was one of the Impressionists, one of the oldest who came to his style late in life at the age of 54. His comment to a friend was,”my painting doesn’t catch on, not at all …” Born in St. Thomas in the Caribbean, he lived for a time in England before returning to France, the home of his father. There he painted both rural and city scenes, concentrating on the lives of ordinary people.
Blessed are they who see beauty in little things in humble places when others see nothing. Camille Pissaro
A house, destined to be torn down for redevelopment becomes a work of art. A door, an imaginary entrance to something new and different. “X’s” and “O’s” become shapes and colors filling the canvas and inspiring the viewer.
His advice to a young painter:
Don’t work bit by bit, but paint everything at once by placing tones everywhere… The eye should not be fixed on a particular point but should take in everything, while simultaneously observing the reflections that the colors produce on their surroundings. Keep everything going on an equal basis; use small brushstrokes and try to put down your perceptions immediately. Do not proceed according to rules and principles, but paint what you observe and feel.
His paintings today sell for millions.
Henri Matisse was born in 1869 in the north of France in a weaver’s cottage with a leaky roof. Like Pissarro his aim was always to discover “the essential character of things”. When the younger Matisse was introduced to Pissarro and Matisse showed him his work, he was given the advice:
“Very good my friend you are gifted. Work and don’t listen to anything anyone tells you.”
The top tradition in Las Vegas has to be getting married. The best day to marry in English tradition is Wednesday, although Monday is for wealth and Tuesday for health, Thursday or Friday if you only have the weekend to honeymoon.
Any day is a good day in Vegas unless you are losing.
Closely following the tradition of getting married is getting divorced. Hey, brides, maybe you forgot to tuck a sugar cube into your glove, a Greek tradition which will sweeten your years together.
After that it is walking the Vegas Strip at any time of day. Whether it is the fountains at Bellagio and the Mirage volcano, Wynn billboard (the Wynn has a fountain show too, nicely choreographed to the music and billboard), or watch the crazy mass of people that floods the street.
It is always Showtime. Catch a street performer at night, or early in the morning, observe the other side of Vegas when joggers and the homeless share the sidewalks. Something Hunter S. Thompson must have often done.
And if you have some loose change in your pockets, the doors to the casinos are always open. Vegas is a city that never sleeps. And, if you can’t sleep, then relax in a Stressless recliner.
As I work most days, a chair is the place I spend most of my time thinking up silly stories. It is the place for me where thought becomes reality.
Since Socrates first wrestled with the question of what is a chair, philosophers have talked and nothing changes. On the other hand, designers and manufacturers have been struggling to improve the chair.
A chair is still a chair if you are not sitting there, but it doesn’t feel or look the same.
Look at it this way.
One could say that all chairs rest upon the ground, but then the tire swing and the porch swing would be out the door. In summer, what child would not choose a tire swing over a creek over the grandest throne? And an old man likes his rocking chair. After a climb to the top of a mountain, a rock will do if you are tired enough. The ground is just the ground and not a chair. A chair is not something to simply be look at and admired. A blind man knows a good chair by its feel and its comfort. A bed is not a chair, but a tired man can recline and fall asleep in his favorite chair, feet propped up, back down, stretched out, without a thought or worry in the world.
To come, to sit, to stay and relax and ponder the weighty questions of Socrates. That is the function and reality of a chair.
To understand a chair one must sit there. It is the place where reality and perception come together.
Let me say, I love the beauty of a chair for its own sake. Then too I love the suppleness of leather, the richness and texture of fabric. Is a chair high or low, wide or narrow, big or small? These questions depend upon space and place. A three legged stool might stand for a pup tent on a camp out, but a fine home deserves more.
Try on any of these Hancock & Moore chairs out for size and comfort. See an interior designer at Traditions in Overland Park and Wichita and discover the beautiful reality of a Hancock & Moore chair.
Then ask yourself, if a chair is still a chair if you are not sitting there.