Friday, September 26, 2008


I ordered the Toast catalog, of course, the reason is that I have seen pages from it photographed on various blogs and have learned soon that it was easy to get. There is a lot to look at. What leaves me astonished though is the setting taking place in rooms that look like abandoned hotels or decayed houses. Cracks on the walls, wallpapers coming out of the wall, rusty water pipes and so on. And all this new and beautiful stuff sitting in such a scene. It looks very trendy. I have noticed that earlier with old furniture in other magazines that they don't sand it after they pull them out of a barn, they just leave the old paint flaking. And it looks good to me (not to my dad though, for him it is like resigning on living environment, as if it was a sign of dirt). So now, when I look again at the offers of various real estates in Czech Republic, from now on I won't complain about the horrible state of these extremely expensive houses and instead of that will be pleased that I get very stylish old junk house that at least the Toast readers would be envy of. Even when I look around my apartment where I live now, even here I can see places that I have always considered shameful and rather didn't look at, now I see it through different eyes. The holes in the wall become a viewing spot, flaking doors will be carefully kept that way the whole time we live here, parquet floor rather shabby so that it has the required trace of history.

I am trying to think (he, he) why is all of this, especially in Toast catalog, so attractive and so well corresponding with our mind. The only thing that comes to my mind is that it wants to show how ecological their lives, and potentially ours, are. When you imagine how popular it is to eat bio and dress organic, to maintain and cure landscape with the smallest possible intervention, to cure oneself with no chemical medicine, to give birth naturally, every little detail of the life is lead under the magical word NATURALLY, even the psychological site of it (it is actually very hippie idea, quite old by now), now it also comes to buildings and furnishing to leave them in the state we found them, we don't recreate them according to our vision, as if they had their own life that we don't want to hurt. The idea is not to change it much and not to overdo the general maintaining, as if it was possible for it to renew through its own hidden power. The fact that it falls on your head is another thing. (It is actually quite interesting idea, all these old houses around towns that no one takes care of, their falling stucco facades would suddenly grow in new ornaments and we would watch it change like flowers and decide wheather we cultivate it or leave it rustical... and wonder what we have been missing for centuries).
So I think in these photographs, there is some symbolic of healthy environment, which is quite paradox, because you shouldn't clean there much. I don't think they are aware of it and show it like that on purpose though, I just felt like I could envision it and interpret it right in its highest peak of appearance.

By the way, I like the knitted nightie on page 41 and I think it is going to materialize in my fading apartment.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Would you fancy this one?

It is a guernsey pattern worn in Whitby in Yorkshire, well some 50, 60 years ago. This is an amazing book, quite widespread anyway, so nothing new under the Sun. Still, the way that the book is put together calls for an attention. The woman who wrote it made a perfect ethnographic research on old knitting patterns in fishing areas along the British coast, the fishermen wore it at work so that the sweaters (should say jumpers or better guernseys) would keep them dry! They were knitted tight on thin needles and survived generations.

So the book is first of all presented like a collection of patterns but the interesting part, I think, are the little stories that the woman experienced while hunting for the damned patterns. I am imagining her as a little crazy (in a good sense) woman whizzing down the streets, chasing the well-built guys asking them: Would you show me your guernsey? I am sure her little stories are part of the ethnographic image she wants to give with the pattern, she even describes a landscape of each pattern area so that our impression would be complete.

Also, she mentions what the particular patterns mean, they are symbols of their everyday things that they use and see, so there is a whole knitting iconography to each area. So the cables are originally ropes, maybe just in this area, who knows, but it is interesting, then there is an anchor, sea wave, fisher net etc.

Have you ever knitted anything out of this book?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hado-rybo-slon / Elephant- and Snake-like Fish

Went to the playing course today with the little guy, and when we came home, who knows why, I got on this creative note. I have seen similar fish somewhere in a cafe in their kids' corner and they looked so easy to imitate, apart from that that they were really cool, so I felt like sewing few of them myself. Not that I would think that fish is a great toy, to make it for the kid was just an excuse for me to play at seamstress today, but fish are hard to mess up, because their shapes, colors and looks could be many.

Well, as you see, the result is far from any expectation. My intention was to make a sea eel and it turned out to be something that I described in the title of this entry. So far, the little guy doesn't care about it, and that came up to my expectation completely.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Out in the World

We took a walk to a few gardens in Prague that are usually closed to public. Today was a special day and some of them were open. I had walked past them many times, often wondered what it was like inside and I was finally surprised today that nothing special is hiding inside. Except for the one, the garden of Černin Palace (1, 3), up on Loretánské náměstí, it is a grand one, we felt French just being there. The second picture is a view of an orchard right in the heart of Prague, a monastery in the background, this place attacked me with its beauty already long time ago. The monastery has a hidden garden as well, the fourth picture, it is up on the hill and from this view it gives a feeling that it is on a sea shore, well, if you pretend you don't see the hill on the sky-line. Prague is nice. Little bit windy and touristy.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Secret photos

I took these pictures on a brief visit to a workroom of a puppet theater. There was so much to look at, the creativity was springing from everywhere I turned. Apart from that, it felt like: finally I got there where I wished I could at least peep in as a child. And now it is too late. If only I could have taken the pictures with the kid's eyes, they would have been more interesting to look at.

If you wonder, what is in the second picture, it is mushrooms.