Monday, April 23, 2012

Wordpress or Blogger

In my quest for a new blog, I am facing the dilemma of whether shifting to Wordpress which obviously is tremendously more professional with lots of functions and possibilities. Not just the plug-ins but also as far as themes are concerned.

I downloaded a theme that truly struck me as the perfect one but then I realised I have to register and go through some other procedures that I cannot get around to knowing what they are until I hit ok and confirm registration. Probably is nothing and I am just tired or afraid of trying out something new that I know it want.

I have however decided on the title of the blog. An all-encompassing title that, miraculously, covers just about everything I am into right now (both for my business and my passions) AND would be able to "follow" me on my blogging journey and ventures.

How am I dealing with my dilemma? Well, to test the new blog and title, I created a new blog on blogger which can be deleted at any time and I will try and get the look right before I decide (or abandon) embarking on a Wordpress experience.

Funny thing is that I have just realised that Blogger does contain some features I had not noticed before so maybe I will stick to this platform eventually. Then, if all goes well and my goals are met, I would start an official site. Right now, there is no point of doing that.

What do you say? New blog, new platform?

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Epitaphios of Great Friday: Mosaic of Flowers for the Grave of Christ and Hymns of Immaculate Beauty

(My thanks to a friend for helping me with this post - I am not good at this)

The Greek Orthodox Church is blessed for its role in preserving traditions and customs of both an internal and external beauty - how can one not be associated with the other; in this post I want to illustrate the custom of decorating Christ's tomb with flowers, a tradition that's considered a "jewel" for Greek Orthodoxy. I am talking about the Epitaph (epi επί + taphos τάφος = over + grave), a mosaic of flowers which often, as in the photo above, becomes an art masterpiece.

The Epitaphios is decorated during the early hours of Holy Friday by groups of women that work painstakingly and tirelessly while staying with Christ after his death and his Passion on the Cross.

The devotees will gather at church in the evening of Holy Friday to venerate, honour and pray at Christ's tomb. They will chant some of the most remarkable and too beautiful to describe hymns of the Greek Byzantine repertoire. Hymns of sorrow but also of great hope and devoutness. Those are still moments of grief but the beauty of the chanting and of the fresh flowers are the epitome of the long wait for the resolution to the Passion. The Epitaphios along with the Engomia (chants) of Holy Friday is an illustration of the life inside the grave. Yes, life inside the Grave. Not death inside the Grave.

The hymn "Life in the Grave" (Η Ζωή εν Τάφω - I Zoi en Tafo) is an example of that transition between life and death, sorrow and joy. Listening to this hymn you cannot differentiate sadness from joy. It has mixed feelings, mixed meanings. It's a mosaic of contents and of worlds.


Women decorating the Epitaphios

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mosaic Art as Therapy (Galeria Alegria of New Orleans)

Walking to New Orleans
Made with approximately 75,000 beads

Events and Fun at the Galeria Alegria

These panels were ruined during the Katrina disaster. 
Look at how they have been transformed using bead art!

This mosaic with over 250,000 beads was created to raise funds for the victims of Hurricane Katrina

Stephán Wanger of Galeria Alegria is a remarkable self-taught artist who has constructed his very own artistic language enriched with a mission. He is the man behind some spectacular mosaics made with Mardi Gras beads that serve a purpose. To revive New Orleans after the disaster, bringing back hope, while nurturing creativity, promoting recycling and teaching art to younger generations.

Browsing though his website, some of the images were striking and really reverberated that musicality and rhythm of what we know New Orleans to be. 

What is absolutely worthy of note here is how bead art is so close to mosaic art and how art is always the best therapy to overcome disasters not just on a global level but also on a personal. If a mosaic artwork manages to reach out people and raise money to help those in need after what happened to New Orleans you can imagine how people who need emotional support can find relief when juxtaposing scattered pieces to construct a WHOLE NEW IMAGE

Since the therapy of art is in the process, mosaic, due to its painstaking and challenging creative phases, is certainly the par-excellence artistic method to explore your feelings, accept them and MOVE ON by creating something new, focusing on something else that YOU start from scratch. I never believed that problems can be solved if we dwell on them too much and keep on insisting to find the solution while inside the problem.

Mosaic art is beyond any doubt the ART for people who don't mind starting over. It's in fact that tabula rasa factor to begin with that intrigues the artist to get involved with mosaic.

The Fleur de Lis is a symbol of Louisiana
The Brown Pelican is considered to be the State Bird of Louisiana since 1966
Teaching mosaic bead work at an elementary school with the help of Stephán Wanger
Images from Galeria Alegria