Saturday, December 19, 2009

SPARKLE

Christmas and the holiday design trends this year are really fascinating…

The colours of apple green, fire engine red, turquoise, lime and coral were everywhere.

There wasn’t nearly enough sparkle for me-luckily I had stowed away enough glitter, bugle beads and tinsel from last year to make sure that everything I touched ended up with micro glitter fallout and that’s what I love…

If I could get away with it I would be covered with micro fine glitter all the year through-always sparkly and magical-it comes in every colour…

Year ago I horrified people when I glittered a sopranos lips brilliant red for TALES OF HOFFMAN and another singers eyelids like peacock feathers—now that would be tame and ho hum.

Levels of taste come and go.

In the early 60s I used to roll coloured tissue paper into small cones and then I would cover cardboard circles with them points outward till the entire pieces was sort of a prickly wreath in interesting colours and with a dusting of icy sparkle-I also made matching cone trees in various sizes…it was considered very avant garde.

I stripped my Mothers Maria Theresa chandelier of its crystals and replaced them with glass icicles of assorted lengths-it was stunning but people didn’t get it.

I took white sprayed and icy glittered tumble weeds and wrapped them lightly in tulle and tiny white lights and sparkly glittered black Styrofoam “coal” and made fantastic snowmen but people didn’t get that either…

Luckily my family allowed me to be eccentric and now that I’m on my own I don’t have to apologize to anyone for the hot pink lights and Christmas tree in the bathroom or the vintage style aged tinsel decorations I have come to love-enough glitter mixed with loose bugle beads and packed onto almost anything makes an incredible sparkle---

In my world that sparkle needs to be made by reflected light not direct harsh spots.
There is something wonderful about frost covered lawns in the reflected glow of streetlights in the dark, ice crystals on bare branches-decorations in store windows that still sparkle long after the shoppe is closed.

That soft crazy explosion of tiny bits of light I find immensely appealing.
I loved the first year I was at Disneyland when I could walk out of the park late late at night when it was silent and misty and not all of the lights were on…that’s magic…

I can be mesmerized by the way light hits and reflects off shiny things or how a sparkly thing will insist on sparkling even when there is barely enough light to catch and reflect.

Maybe it comes from those days of standing in the wings as quiet ghosts rushed by onto the stage in costumes that glittered and gleamed even in the dark…

Sparkle is considered GAUCHE, tacky, loud, and cheap even tasteless by some…surprises me…it’s like suppressing the child inside…nature sparkles quite often especially in winter…

The haughty sit sedately in their tasteful homes with three matte finish chalk reindeer on the mantle and a few good Lennox or Swarovski ornaments allowed to shine quietly in the soft yellow white light of Christmas bulbs on a dimmer…their packages not in a ferocious jumble arrayed in foils and ribbons, here they are crisply wrapped in plain colours and with soft satin ribbons or airy tulle bows, perhaps a sprig of pine.

One year not so long ago I wrapped my packaged in chipboard brown boxes with bows of white and ivory tulle dusted with clear microfine glitter and held under the bow a single large glittered swan feather-also white…as if a guardian angel had happened past and plucked one feather from their wing as a remembrance of the occasion.

I put them sedately beneath a tree decorated with things from the sea…shells and starfish some real some glass all in colours of soap bubbles, turquoise, lavender, greens and pinks…all sparkly, softly reflectively sparkly lit by pastel coloured lights.

In my sage green, ivory and black living room with a touch of chinoisserie I thought it was quite the most tasteful Christmas display I had ever seen.

A friend who visited commented, “Well wouldn’t you know you’d find a way to be theatrical and over the top!”

I was crushed; I thought I had achieved that sedate Martha Stewart elegance that meant one has the sense to know the difference between beauty and crassness.

It took me awhile to understand that we who art live in a time warp-ahead of the trends, making the trends, leading the way…

I never again worried about what someone else might think-that one years I wrapped my gifts in Mardi Gras Colours and another years in black with pearls…My Christmas trees have been everything from insane to traditional red and green but never dull or boring and I surround myself with textures and colours and shapes that I find comforting-I am just as likely to leave a set of vintage village paper houses in their box or a package of tinsel unopened as to discard an element of the totality of its design because it’s eccentric to do so…

I like what I see and that’s what I want about me at Christmas.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re wrong if you want all yellow ornaments on your tree or you made a manger scene out of plush toys…if it’s what you see encourage your vision into reality and to hell what someone else thinks.

I love to come home this year to my house with just a few precious objects scattered here and there that sparkle seductively in the reflected light of the far too many twinkle lights I have draped across the front of my small apartment-I love the difference between the way microfine glitter, glass glitter and rhinestones sparkle and how that variance of sparkle makes a texture that says Christmas to me.

The song goes, “It’s that time of year when the world falls in love…” and I do fall in love with the sights and smells and colours of the holidays be they stodgy and sedate or gaudy and bright-it’s all beautiful to me but given the choice I’ll take it all in a dim light, reflected from twinkling lights in the dark, catching the light in a subtle way like microscopic fireflies swarming on diverse surfaces.

I think it’s because in the real world it’s the closest thing you can get to living a memory.

May your days be Merry and bright…but May the best part of Christmas be the nights…

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