Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, Adriaen Isenbrant

Today’s post is the second in my fortnight of postcard posts, where I draw a card at random from my big box of them and try to say what I think about it. Here’s the rest of them.
It’s not going to get me on any lists of 2016’s most fashionable taste-makers but I love the Northern Renaissance, and in particular I love the sub-genre that is Sad Mary. To be entirely honest with you though, what I first thought when I saw this painting in Bruges’ Onthaalkerk Onze Lieve Vrow is that you could make quite a nice knitted hat inspired by the pleating of Mary’s veil, and I think reminding myself of that idea is why I have this postcard. I remember nodding reverently to the lady at the stall inside the church when I bought this, perhaps hoping to convince her that I wasn’t one of those tourists, I was deeper than that. I’m such a fraud: the way I feel about these paintings has little to do with piety.

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New York for a while

New York is Groucho Marx, Blondie, Dog Day Afternoon, JD Salinger’s Glass family, Mark Rothko, Run-DMC, Sesame Street, Nora Ephron, the Guggenheim, Easter Parade (but let’s ignore The Band Wagon), early Madonna, The Royal Tenenbaums, Annie Hall (yes I don’t like him either but), Cynthia Heimel, The Cosby Show (again, problematic), Diane Arbus, 30 Rock, Cyndi Lauper, The Wiz, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankenweiler, The Rock-Steady Crew, 42nd Street, Vampire Weekend, Pi, Ronnie Spector, Working Girl, Dorothy Parker, The Hudsucker Proxy, Cary Grant in the UN Building in North by Northwest,  Bonfire of the Vanities, The House of Mirth, Philip Glass, and fine, also Andy Warhol and the Ramones, and Keith Haring and Studio 54 (I’d never have gone, I would’ve been terrified), and also – oh God, all right – When Harry Met Sally, to pick an incomplete list of variable quality and coolness. Jogging in Central Park. Ordinary people looking like demigods in Harlem. Sour pickles and knishes and rugelach, whatever they would turn out to be. A Greek shipping heiress asking Joan Didion ‘on the second day of a paralysing New York blizzard’ if it was snowing outside. Community gardens. There is no city I want to be my friend more.

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A quick word on International Women’s Day

 

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Women in Whitby, courtesy of the Preus Museum

So this – hopefully – short post is borne out of my mild irritation with something that started with the best of intentions: every year on International Women’s Day (day after my birthday, which is International This Woman’s Day) Richard Herring makes a point of finding idiot men tweeting ‘When’s International Men’s Day???’, and publicly telling them that it’s on November the 19th. Well and good, but now what happens in my timeline is men rubbing their hands with glee about the chance for a man to be sarcastic to other men meaning that – imagine my surprise – an opportunity to celebrate women ends up as an opportunity for men to receive attention.

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The Valentina Experiment

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That’s Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space. It is, really, and you definitely don’t need to do anything like finding photographs of Tereshkova to compare it to so you can check. I made this linocut print as the latest in my attempt to make a print a week and then post it on Twitter on a Monday. Don’t check against a photo, really. I have my own hashtag and everything (#linomondays) and though it is wrong and bad of me I’m a bit glad that no one else thinks that doing the same is a good idea because it makes it easier for me to find all of my linocut tweets. I’ve also just started putting all of my lino pictures in an album in Flickr

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Knitting part 3: all this useless beauty

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You see that there? I did that. It’s a circular or maybe nonagonal shawl, made from Icelandic lace-weight wool. The pattern is based on a Victorian pattern for a baby’s cap, but scaled up. It took me about a month and a half, but remember the weather in the first half of this summer was terrible and also I don’t have a job. There’s eighty thousand stitches in it, or slightly over.

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