Monday, December 22, 2008

Martha Stewart's Fault- How I fell in love with Majolica

I have a new love in my life. Really though, it's an obsession. It's called Majolica (specifically the green type) and its a form of glazed earthenware that was invented in the mid 1800's.

A certain chain of events led to my discovery. I will start my story from the day I sat down to eat my lunch in the dinning room of my new home. It was the first week of December, when I flipped on my one tv channel- due to not having the cable hooked up yet. The show of the hour was Martha Stewart's show. Not normally a MS fan, I was immediately enthralled when she cheerily exclaimed that she was going to make Cardamom Spice Cookies. Mmmmm cardamom! My favorite Indian spice! I couldn't rely solely on my imagination on this one so I quickly grabbed a piece of paper and jotted down the recipe she was rattling off. She went too fast however and I missed how much baking soda I was supposed to put in. As soon as hubby got home, I hijacked his computer with wireless modem to look up the missing ingredient on Martha's site (no cable, remember?). Frustrated with the poor usability of her site, I cursed (no not really) her site and vowed to never go there again unnecessarily.

That's why I leaped at the newstand while out Christmas shopping when I saw her latest issue of Living magazine. There was all the cookie recipes in one easy-to-find place, including the Cardamom Spice Cookie recipe. I bought the magazine so I'd always have that wonderful recipe. (and yes, they ARE delicious- I made them two days after seeing the show.)

Later that night, while luxuriating in the tub and thumbing through the mag, I came across three of the most beautiful photos I'd ever seen in my life. The first photo displayed a rather plain plant stand displaying several pieces of the most beautiful earthenware I'd ever laid eyes on, and laid eyes on I did! I couldn't take my eyes off the page. It must have been 5 or 10 minutes before I could flip to the next one.

Here in front of my were several glazed emerald works of sheer delight. Plates in the form of leaves; geranium, grape, oak... positively gleaming, shining, glowing, bathing in green luminescence. Over the page, more green goodness, set out on a pristine white table, offset with green glasses and ivory cutlery. I can't say what it was, but this green spoke to me; loudly and strongly.

The thing about majolica is, the glaze pools. With the raised leaf design, there are plenty of peaks and valleys for the glaze to settle into and when it does, the look of water is created; shallow in the highs and deep in the lows. Without realizing it, I was looking deep into the waters of the lime quarry on Texada Island- inside a plate. I could see the world in a dish. Leaves and water, forever married in a china pattern. It was pure genius. Art that one can cradle, caress and be fed from. And Green! Pure beautiful green! The colour of emeralds, grapes, leaves freshly formed, grass... oh the freshness, the dew, the renewal, the drama, speaking to me of rebirth in this cold blue December.

I couldn't get enough of it. I spent the next three days trolling the Internet for every last piece of green majolica I could find. My soul longed to own my own private collection of the stuff so that I could luxuriate in its beauty, not just visually but also tacitly. I wanted to play with it, create my own displays, photograph it, paint it. Back and forth I went between eBay, and the magazine.

Today I bought myself 5 pieces of the stuff. I could stand it no longer. I narrowed it down to 4 plates, and a soup turine.

Now I'm barely going to be able to contain myself until it arrives.
Green sweet lovely green. I can't wait to behold you!

Out of curiosity, I looked up green in the search engines to see what being enamored with the colour meant.

"Green is the color of nature, fertility, life. Grass green is the most restful color. Green symbolizes self-respect and well being. Green is the color of balance. It also means learning, growth and harmony. Green is a safe color, if you don't know what color to use anywhere use green.
Green is favored by well balanced people. Green symbolizes the master healer and the life force. It often symbolizes money. It was believed green was healing for the eyes. Egyptians wore green eyeliner. Green eyeshades are still used. You should eat raw green foods for good health. Friday is the day of green. Green jade is a sacred stone of Asia.
Green Energy
Green contains the powerful energies of nature, growth, desire to expand or increase. Balance and a sense of order are found in the color green. Change and transformation is necessary for growth, and so this ability to sustain changes is also a part of the energy of green.
Put some green in your life when you want:
a new state of balance
feel a need for change or growth
freedom to pursue new ideas
protection from fears and anxieties connected with the demands of others

Green gem stone properties
Green gemstones are used to attract money, prosperity and wealth. They are balancing stones that promote growth and fertility. Carry, wear or place green gemstones around your home or office to promote balance, change and growth. "

Several years ago I went to psychic and had my cards read. She was enamored with my energy and described it as clean and pure. She had never met someone with my powerful energy before. The card I drew was the Green Woman. I found this description of her on a Froud website

wildness, natural magic, expectant gratitude, untrammelled creativity

The Green Woman speaks to us of caring for our growing ground and of the physical satisfaction of being our natural selves and practicing our own innate magic. This is a time for enhancing the growth of our talents and abilities, a time of blossoming that will bear fruit. It may also be a time of growing maturity and self-confidence. Experience trusting yourself and trusting the process of growth. She also reminds us of material reward ahead, the harvest of the seeds we have planted and nurtured. She counsels boldness and perseverance in the face of adversity, yet she also reminds us that sometimes the only action we can take is to wait patiently and keep growing.

From that card reading till now, I would say this has been an incredible period of growth and bearing fruit for me. Many of my dreams and long term goals have come to fruition in the last few years and being drawn with even greater intensity to the beautiful greens, well its no surprise to me that just gazing into this majolica soothes and invigorates my soul.