“A Flower Affair” … comía flores

Mi pasión por las flores nació conmigo. Desde que tengo memoria, comía flores, fumaba con flores, robaba flores con distintos fines (no lucrativos $), ofrendaba flores, regalaba flores, hacía flores en diversos materiales, bordaba flores, sembraba flores, decoraba con flores…flores por doquier!

cayena

Cayena

Una buena introducción para retomar el blog, pues sin la menor intención escribí esto en “estado” de mi cuenta de kenia.brea y horas más tarde sentí muchas ganas de retomar lo que hace un poco más de un año comencé, tal vez en mi subconsciente motivada por Juan, mi hermana Ray y mi amiga Tamara quienes siempre me instan a hacerlo. La flora en nuestro país es vasta, atractiva, seductora hasta el punto de hacerme caer en tentaciones. Comía flores Muchos o algunos podrían preguntarse ¿cómer flores? Sí, mis hermanas y yo lo hacíamos y aún no me resisto a ciertas especies (admito es un tanto peligroso).

begonia

Begonia

Gran parte de mi infancia y adolescencia la pasé en el campo, La Bija de Cotuí, lo vuelvo a señalar por si acaso alguno estuvo por allí en aquellos años, reconfirmen que las mujeres de ese paraje no tenían la costumbre de hacer jardinería y, por supuesto, de las pocas excepciones mi abuela Jesusa. De carácter austero, no hacen falta muchas palabras para hacerles entender que guardaba un celo feroz por aquellas plantitas ornamentales, pero nada como unas niñas traviesas y “sin telecable” para de vez en cuando salirse con las suyas y tomarlas para distintos usos, a escondidas de ella y de sus “calieses” pues muchos querían estar “fríos” con la ama.

coralillo

Coralillo

Después de las degustaciones nos quedamos con las flores de la Begonia, de sabor ácido, que vino a formar parte de nuestra dieta cotidiana para la merienda matutina, con las de Coralillo como postre porque al despegarlas individualmente tienen un néctar dulcísimo y con el ovario de las Cayenas o “Sangre de Cristo”, babosos como los molondrones, como merienda vespertina. Decidió la vida el órden de la dieta, las mañanas la pasábamos en el patio anterior y las tardes en el posterior, primó la necesidad de afecto y atención que los niños requieren y que de alguna manera, precariamente, conseguíamos en la compañía de las muchachas y las niñas que estaban al servicio de mis abuelos; y ¿qué tiene que ver? Mucho, la casa estaba formada por 5 edificaciones más un cuartito de hormigón visto con una ducha y dos letrinas (otro día haré un mapita)…

Clock, stop your journey

February became a reality in my life in regards to friendship. About 17 years ago, I left my job in order to take up the most difficult and wonderful of enterprises, my family. Left behind was also a great friend with whom I shared the same office for nine years. Those who know me will understand how difficult it is for me to give credit to technology and this time, again, I have to do so. Thanks to FB, I found my friend Xiomara Jimenez, and eventhough there is still some catch up to do, as we say here in the Dominican Republic, it seemed as if time had not elapsed.

At that time, in addition to sharing the same technical trade, we shared a love for crafts. I taught her to embroider, and together we did small projects for her home and details for their children. I never thought she would become an events decorator and I, a visual artist. How many turns of fate, and how wonderful when those turns of fate you meet again with loved ones and so magical. You feel that time stopped and that you occupy the same place in the heart of that person and vice versa. That is what I call friendship, something we can not impose eventhough we put all our desire to it, and to me, rather than a spontaneous feeling and reciprocal, is a divine gift.

And just like old times, she honored me by allowing me to embroider the wedding dress for Linett, her eldest daughter, and to make their hairpieces, and citing the famous Mastercard ad: “priceless”.

February is long gone. I had promised to talk about my country, love and my grandmother. I hope others Februarys come, if I were there, I will have frozen time.

´Til death …

 

Kenia Brea wedding cake topper

I trained as a silversmith in a special program sponsored by Mission Taiwan, although my purpose was only to work with metals to enrich my knowledge in the area of sculpture, I can not deny that after the course I learned to appreciate and respect the jewelry trade.

Of course, I can not divest myself of my artistic veins, so when it comes to jewelry, drive me crazy contemporary designs. Looking at these models, I thought John was should have happened to give me a ring for our wedding like one of these and although they are all very different, they have details that fascinate me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And speaking of partnerships, the first wedding rings were exchanged in a marriage, symbolizing the link between the protagonists. Probably in the origins of this tradition, in its pagan beginnings, there would be a sexual component or connotation, the action itself still represents a penetration: the finger is the male phallic symbol and the ring represents the female sexual symbol, by introducing the ring on the finger, a penetration is personified.

One of the oldest practices for which there is evidence on the use of wedding bands dates to the era of the pharaohs in ancient Egypt. Although this practice was possibly earlier, data is available for this ritual from 2700 BC, during the Third Dynasty of Ancient Times. The links between Egyptian marriages were sealed giving rings which, by its circular shape, embodied eternity, infinity, an endless line of love that had been sworn or promised. The rings were usually made of fabric, but they were also made with other materials, including metals. If you belonged to a high social caste, they were made of gold. Egyptian couples renewed their commitment to love each other yearly and renewed with new rings.

Around 1500 BC, the Hebrews also carried out the practice of exchanging wedding bands, with the difference that the rings were introduced in the index finger as to this day. It is believed that more or less at the same time, in India, the practice of exchanging wedding rings was the same: practicing the same symbolism, but the rings were worn on the thumb.

In the Ptolemaic period, the Egyptian ritual would have been adopted and adapted, and, in turn, would have spread throughout the Hellenized territories. More than likely, it was the Greeks who took the habit of using the ring on the ring finger due to its anatomical classification, because they thought that a vein that communicated directly with the heart ran through this finger, so the symbolism of eternal love was even greater, and this vein was called “the vein of Love.” The commitment of love and loyalty existed while the heart thumped inside the carrier, which means “to death”.  Another innovation that we attribute to the Greeks is that of inscriptions inside wedding rings, symbolizing the union with the initials, or name of the person who contracted marriage, and the timing of the rite.

Later, the Romans eventually adopted this tradition, preserving the meaning it had for the Greeks, since they shared the anatomical principles and treaties of the Greeks. Possibly, and symbolizing the strength and durability of this material, and evoking the god Saturn, in most cases were made with iron.

Although the tradition is preserved, when selecting a wedding ring I was shocked to see innovations like this one.

Another ancient practice was simply giving the bride a jewel or a valuable item, which should be revisited, given that not all of us like to get ornaments.

French kisses

Although the concept is very American, I loved this photograph of a child who instead of selling lemonade, we are accustomed to seeing through the media, is selling kisses.

The kiss is a gesture common among humans and among many animal species and it consists of touching something with the lips; and, the kiss benefits the health of those that give it and those who receive it.

The kiss, because of its connotation has been the inspiration for art in its various manifestations, as we can see in these pictures.

The Kiss (Gustav Klimt)

Alfred Eisenstaedt's V–J Day in Times Square

Pablo Picasso´s The Kiss

Still from "The Kiss" (1896 film)

 

 

 

 

Robert Doisneau´s The Kiss at the Hôtel de VilleEl beso del Hôtel de Ville. Robert Doisneau.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Auguste Rodin´s "The Kiss"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About 75 years ago my grandmother married my grandfather Alejandro. They came from a region with very primitive customs, so that in his machismo, she was only his wife. My grandmother never knew it, but she was very much ahead of her time, for many years, I saw her as an eccentric. Of course, as such, she could not stand my grandfather´s infidelities; and, two or three years later, ended their marriage, without giving him a chance.

Legal divorce was not necessary because my grandmother´s determination was unique and that was enough  for my grandfather to sleep by her feet for the rest of his days. After many years, up until 1973, following a request that my grandmother made to a Bible college, where she requested that missionaries be sent to take care of several temples she had built, Ramon Nunez arrived, he was the supervisor of the Methodist pastors in the norther region of the country, and she fell in love with him at first sight.

I cannot say anything in relation to her internal conflicts, only that her platonic love led her to write many poems and essays about love, all with figures of speech, trying to hide from the public and perhaps from herself, her feelings; feelings perceived by three girls who shared her roof for several months each year.

After a little more than a decade, both were widowed in their senior years, and got married (a relationship that lasted 24 years until her demise). The girls grew up and came to be their grandmother´s confidants. I can vouch that if she lived in this February, she could have taken these verses by Gabriela Mistral to dedicate to him.

There are kisses that speak for themselves
the guilty judgment of love,
some kisses are given with a look
some kisses are given with a memory.

And I would say, citing Gustavo Adolfo Becquer: Grandmother: “The soul that can speak with the eyes can also kiss with the eyes.”

Where do I begin …

St. Valentine´s day has passed, but February prompts me to speak of love stories. The names of Romeo and Juliet immediately come to mind. I imagine that Shakespeare never suspected that his work would last until eternity, just like the love that his characters pledged.

And it´s that “romantic love” apparently will leave its mark on humanity, and in some way many would like to experience something similar regardless of whether its ending be happy or not. The intensity of idealized love is considered a different feeling than the pure physiological needs, such as sexual desire or lust. It is a kind of affection that its presumed to to be for life (I will love you forever), exclusive (I can not love anyone but you), unconditional (I will love you no matter what) and involves a high degree of resignation (I love you more than my life).

It was in the 70’s when I received my first kiss (a precocious child) and it was also the decade when the film “Love Story”, a romantic drama film written by Erich Segal and based on his novel Love Story, premiered. The film, well known as a tragedy, is considered one of the most romantic of all time by the American Film Institute (#9 on the list). This precious song, written by Beethoven, was chosen by the director, and I believe it´s very significant to the movie.

Certainly not all are romantic, but for those who, like me, like this prototype of relationship, I would like to share these links and urge you to dig a little about the biographies of these artists as a couple, who no doubt would have inspired the our beloved English writer.

Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel

Amedeo Modigliani and Jeanne Hébuterne


 

Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo

Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner

I love you

The heart symbol is most often associated with love. Throughout history we have depicted it in many ways and with different materials but with the same message: “I LOVE YOU”. Opinions differ about the origin of this association and I prefer to believe that it is simply because when we are close to our loved ones, in various situations, are heartbeat speeds up.

This beautiful message was done for me by my son, Juan José, while playing with cards on my bed.

It is difficult to talk about love as it shows itself in many ways. Anyway, each one of these qualities found in 1st Corinthians 13 should be present, although we have heard them repeatedly, I want to mention them again.

Heart amulets, Dynasty 19–20 (ca. 1295–1070 b.c.) Egyptian, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Love is “suffering”: it tolerates, it endures, it conforms, it adapts.

Ancient Heart for A.B. by Thalo-Porter

Love is “benign”: it is affable, it is kind, it is caring, it is selfless, it is compassionate and humane.

Kenia Brea ring pillow

Love “envieth not”: it is not greedy, nor resentful, nor upsetting, there is no rivalry.

Heart sculpture by Jim Dine

Love “does not boast”: it is not self-sufficient, there is no bravado, it is not insolent, it is not cocky, it is not vain.

"Hanging Heart" sculpture by Jeff Koons

Love “does not behave unseemly”: it does nothing illegal, it is not unfair, it is not incorrect.

Finally, “does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Although the message of this song is opposed to what is stated above, while searching for hearts, I remembered Americo, who in sculpture classes, repeated it incessantly.

I see the moon, and the moon sees me

Guillermo Armentero´s photo

There is no better accomplice for those in love than the moon, with its pale, silvery light, and imposing circular shape. The moon is the celestial body larger than we observe for hours without optical damage. It haunts me, I believe in its power of attraction and the fascination that it has aroused in mankind; and let´s not forget about the moon’s influence on nature, including humans.

At different times in a span of 30 years I have been questioned at some point on a deep desire, and without thinking, the answer comes to me “walking in the moonlight with my loved one”.

There are so many fond memories from my childhood, and I say this because I belong to a generation and environment where nature played as important a role as for a primitive society. One of those fond memories is going out on the road in full moon nights to play “step on the reflected shadows”.  Back then, I had never heard of Peter Pan and his adventures, but by way of the collective unconscious, our shadows were so loved and protected as his was for him.

Referring to the moon, in art and literature we find, among others: Beethoven´s Moonlight Sonata, one of my favorite tunes, which I share with my beloved Rebeca.

Kiki Smith with her handscreen wallpaper “Maiden and Moonflower,” which tells a beautiful story about a woman who used to sit under a tree in the moonlight, surrounded by nocturnal animals and the stars.

 

And Pablo Neruda in his poem “If you forget me” refers to it, and reading it revives in me the moment I received one of the few poems of love that I have ever inspired.

If You Forget Me

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

Pablo Neruda

Endless love

This month we celebrate Valentine’s Day, a day dedicated to love. Although, traditionally, romanticism has been largely celebrated, it is a good time to talk about love, also to reflect upon our relationship with others and with ourselves. There are authors who claim that in order to love, you must first love yourself.  I agree with them.

Robert Indiana sculpture in Philadelphia

In essence, I am a very romantic woman (although I never envision doing a half-lit dinner, with beautiful chandeliers, soft music, wearing a lace dress and allowing a gentleman to open the door or pull out the chair for me). Like others, I like the drama of unrequited love, but when analyzing love, I cannot forget the writings of my paternal grandmother, María, on the different types of love, extraordinary narrative essays in figurative language. I cannot let the month of February slip by without speaking a bit about her who lived three stories of love: her love for my grandfather, Alejandro; her love for Don Ramon Nunez; and her love for my father, Virgilio, her only son.

I will only outline her motherly love, it is the strongest of feelings, the concepts of mercy and courage are inherent to it. Although my grandmother did not have to make physical efforts to support my father, as the pictures below show, she nevertheless suffered, believed, hoped and endured all kinds of tests in order to love him unconditionally.

La Pietà, by Michelangelo

A mother in Africa

The sacrifices a mother makes for her children surpasses any understanding as we can see every day by looking around us. If I could ever use the words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, “to give until it hurts”, this is the most appropriate time.

Introspection

February is a doubly special month, we celebrate St. Valentine´s day and my country´s independence. Much has been written on love and much more will continue to be written, because it is the source of inspiration for every human activity. We talk about many kinds of love and, certainly, the concept is very broad to contain it in that one word or type.

Restarting the blog, after these days off, I could share interesting images about this subject, and I will in time, but let me share the words of Jesus when asked what he considered to be the most important of all commandments, to which He replied by saying that first it is to love God above all things and, second, to love our neighbor as ourselves, and that these two truths contained all the law and the prophets.

After a few days of reflection, I realize that for me, loving God is not a religion, but devotion and respect toward the Creator and his creation; and that to love one’s neighbor is not only to not hurt others, but to diligently seek how to do good to others.

DIY: Bib Necklace

We are approaching a special date: Valentine´s Day, a good excuse to dress-up. I found this project on the P.S.-I made this… site, that shows how to quickly and easily make a bib necklace can be the perfect complement for this or any other occasion. You can replace the pins with beautiful buttons, stones, found objects and anything you can think of, just put your imagination into gear.