The morning sun lights antique sequins on my Gypsy’s head scarf. I am remembering the Vermont farm near the Canadian border where a group of doll artists met for a sculpting workshop. There I modeled this head from clay, taking care to avoid undercuts. The clay sculpt became the negative space of a plaster of paris mold. Sandy poured the head from porcelain slip at her West Gardiner studio. After a long interval, porcelain class resumes this coming Friday.
She sits in The Room at the Top of the Stairs, the room where the seamstress of old would set up her sewing machine and sew for the family. The room is a dormer with windows on three sides. Abutilon or Chinese Bellflower is in full bloom in shades of deep red, peachy pink, and pale yellow. Two Amaryllis bulbs have opened their scarlet red trumpets. My oil paints and drawing materials and easel are in The Room at the Top of the Stairs. Esmeralda sat for a while in the empty gilt frame that awaits a flower painting. Earlier she sat for a while under a potted fern. And she sat on the back of the easy chair, enjoying the winter sunshine, under the painting from Maria’s Family and Friends Workshop.
News is in the smaller things, the circle of bare ground around the base of a pine, shadows of pine needles and branches on snow, sunlight casting its own designs on my photographs, a Langston Hughes poem, bulbs already blooming outdoors in the Netherlands, and heroines everywhere.
My goal is to finish knitting this stole by my birthday in sixteen days.
Last night I read John Barker’s Romany Relics more carefully than I had done and I am in a state of amazement, wondering how anyone could have lived in those gorgeous Gypsy wagons, keeping things sparkling, not tracking in mud, managing the woodstove, finding place to store clothing and cooking pots and medicines and tools, handling the laundry, all with no electricity.
These are the precious winter days, ripe for work with the garden peacefully asleep under snow.
Yesterday I watched videos of some of the old British Isles songs that I am learning, sung with shots of the landscape, of the Isle of Skye. I listened, too, to a recording of Begegnung, performed much faster than I have tried. Late at night I was working at the accompaniment at high speed.
Happy Winter, Everyone! In three days we are likely to have some fresh snow.a link to my Gypsy dolls
I take the liberty of posting another photo from John Barker. This one shows Minnie Price at the front of her wagon. Jeremy Sandford’s book mentions several Gypsies with the surname Price, which is my maiden name.
Here are two more photos from John Barker of Buckinghamshire, England. The black-and-white photo was taken in 1890 when the wagon was built by coachbuilder George Orton of Burton on Trent, England.a link to my Gypsy dolls
John Barker has sent me photos of a 1914 Gypsy wagon built by one of the most famous builders, Dunton & Sons of Reading, England.
a link to my Gypsy dolls..
John Barker of Buckinghamshire, England, has asked to include my photo of a Gypsy Caravan amongst the 500 he will publish in his upcoming book on Gypsy wagons! What excitement! At this very moment, three of my Gypsy wagon photos are on the way to Buckinghamshire, England. I understand that John is a collector of wagons. I look forward to seeing his book in May 2010.a link to my Gypsy dolls…
The grandchildren like to open up the costume trunk, dress themselves outrageously, then grab rhythm instruments and make a huge racket while marching around the rooms. Sometimes they present shows, dances, or acrobatic demonstrations for the assembled grown-ups.
Today at the Good Will store I found a beautiful Mexicali Blues blouse to tuck away in the costume trunk. We expect the grandchildren to visit us on Thanksgiving.
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