ANDREA MATUS DEMENG AND MICHAEL DEMENG
Today I am heading off to Italy to attend a workshop called Icon taught be Michael deMeng and Andrea Matos deMeng, hosted by Stacey Matthraw in Corona. Corona is the town where the book (and later, the film) Under the Tuscan Sun was set. Besides the workshop, I am celebrating my approaching retirement from the library on April 1st.
Here is the explanation from Michael’s website:
Andrea and Michael decided to concoct a workshop that accentuated the wonderfully historic setting that attendees will be immersed in. The workshop will explore the concept of iconography (in particular Renaissance and touch of the medieval era). Combining traditional and contemporary methods, you will integrate a variety 2d and 3d methods to create something...shall we say...iconic. Perhaps something historical, perhaps something personal...it's your choice.
The class is divided in two parts:
Part 1: The Iconic Panel with Andrea Matus- Under the guidance of Andrea attendees will spend two days creating a painted/collaged/ panel with an iconic subject as the focus.
Part 2 : The Assemblaged and Adorned Frame with Michael deMeng - Using elements found in the Arezzo flea market or around Florence, students will modify an existing frame into an ornate home for their Icons.
Today's goal is to cab to the Milwaukee airport, catch the Wisconsin Coach bus to Chicago (IL) O'Hare field, and fly to Paris--and then to Florence by tomorrow. So on this day I had to get up at 7:30 a.m., earlier than I thought, because it snowed overnight.
I was going to be picked up by the airport shuttle at Noon so around 11:00 a.m. I got out the snowblower only to have it die in the driveway on me. I hand shoveled but by the time I was finished we had received an equal amount of new snow to replace that which I had removed.
The van driver was right on time but the trip out to Milwaukee’s airport was delayed by the snow. No problem as the Coach USA bus that was supposed to board at 1:00 p.m. was delayed on its trip back from O’Hare. Eventually we boarded one half-hour late.
I boarded the Coach USA bus for a slippery, snowy ride to O’Hare but we did get there about 45 minutes late. I rushed through check in and up to the gate with about ten minutes to spare before boarding.
We took off for Paris. Since leaving home, I started reading Adios Muchachos by Daniel Chavarria, a novel about a bicycle whore in Havana, Cuba, and her never-do-well male partner who try to pull off a kidnapping.
Wednesday, March 2
I don’t sleep well on planes so the book, the TV, and the movie kept me up while we were also served dinner after takeoff and breakfast before landing.
I checked in at the Hotel Olimpia Firenze on the Piazza della Repubblica. I selected this hotel because I stayed here in 2015 with Denice, some relatives and an EF tour of high school kids from Compton HS in LA who we toured Europe with last summer. This is a funky hotel on the 4th and 5th floors of this building which are reached by riding this ancient elevator for two (maybe three-although the sign says no more than six!
I had a big list of places to see and things to do in Florence but looking back on it now, I realize I was in no shape to do anything. Hey—I tried. The first place I hit was the Piazza della Repubblica outside my hotel which is the site of original Roman Forum. There is always live music in the piazza and it has a carousel that looks pretty cool at night.
My goal was to buy a Firenze card which cost $72 Euros and gets you into everything. Despite getting directions from the Duomo ticket office I could not locate the ticket office.
I walked over to the Duomo and checked it out. I decided to keep walking.
I headed over the Ponte Vecchio and bought a Firenze Card at the Pitti Palazzo (Palace) but at this point it was too late to tour the gardens.
So I walked back to the Duomo and used by Firenze card to get a ticket to climb to the dome. The very top of this next image is the goal.
Then I went back to Alice’s Mask Art Studio where I discovered two surly Italians (one of whom could have been Alice, two hysterically barking pocket dogs, and a no photography policy.
Fortunately when they were closed earlier, I snapped this photos through the front window and it will give you an idea of why despite the interesting nature of the two visits—it was worth it.
Whenever I am doing a walkabout in a big city I always have my radar working to find some street art.
I went back to the Olimpia to get my Surface so I could read during supper. Although I had many suggestions in my guide, I decided that dinner was going to be at Donnicks in front of the hotel in what is essentially a heated tent. The heat was needed as it dipped into the 30s at night in Florence. I ordered the world famous T-bone and literally fell asleep with my finger on the advance button of my E-book so…
…I went to bed.
Thursday, March 3
The Olimpia offers a nice little selection of stuff for breakfast so I took advantage of that but I had to eat in my room. Just like when I stayed with students, the hotel had a middle school troop from Italy and high school students from Germany. It made the hotel noisy whenever they were there but it was OK.
No longer jet lagged, I decide that today I would get more accomplished. So—off on a Florence walkabout I went.
Chiesa di San Michele (San Michelino Visdomini)
Basilica di San Marco (San Marco Basilica)
Galleria dell’Accademia and The David
Cappelle Medicee (Medici Chapels)
Church of Santa Maria Novella
Part of the research that I had done on Florence led me to a shop that had wood trim which I hoped would be good for my projects. I wandered down that street and found the shop with the wood trim but also really cool puppet making stuff. I bought what I wanted for trim and because it was long and slightly dangerous to be carrying amongst tourists, I walked back to my hotel to drop it off.
At my hotel, I put the wood away and went to make a note about my find only to discover I wanted a different store on the street that I was on. So, it was back out on the streets for me. I made a stop at the Reliquary of St. Sebastian.
Walking on the streets of Florence is almost like walking in a living gallery.
Chiesa di Orsanmichele
Santa Croce Church
After returning to my hotel, I ate at Donnicks again--this time it was spaghetti and meatballs. And then to bed on my last night in Florence.