I'm very excited to be the honoured writer of a blog post featuring The Freakish Travelling Yellow Skirt. Now, some of you will already know her; but I'm guessing that most won't, and so you'll be suspecting me of overdoing the LSD here ... so let me quickly explain.
There's a voluminous, dazzlingly bright-yellow skirt which tours the world spending time as the pampered guest of lucky Bloggers all over the place. She was sent to me here in Italy from Germany where she'd been gracing different hostesses with her presence. Before Germany she'd been in Spain, and before Spain it'd been America. Her Tour Manager and original owner, artist Melanie Kobayashi lives in Vancouver from whence she directs The Yellow Skirt's movements. Whether you're a blogger or not you really should visit Melanie's blog, Bag and a Beret. I'm not being glib when I say I love her; (I do Melanie ... I LOVE you!!!) Her writing is intelligent, creative, original and humorous with a touch of authentic eccentricity. But contacting her directly I've found she's much more even than that. Melanie, thank you for your consistent kindness, generosity of spirit, presence, reassurance and encouragement. And thanks for considering my blog worthy of featuring this salubrious yellow visitor.
As soon as I learned I would be given the chance of styling The Yellow Skirt, my first thoughts turned, ambitiously (and impractically) to Venice as my location for the photo shoot. I envisaged myself by the Grand Canal, the Rialto Bridge rising in the background, my Creative Team keeping meandering tourists from wandering onto "the set". But, when I took Umberto to the Carnival this year I witnessed the palaver a real photoshoot entails, so discouraged I set my sights just a notch lower and considered the Roman Arena in Verona for my backdrop. What was I thinking? The Arena in Piazza Bra is always heaving with visitors (my Creative Team would also have it's work cut out here, keeping tourists out of the picture!) and I don't have a decent camera anyway. I felt dejected. The Yellow Skirt was used to VIP treatment. Was Italy going to fail her?
Then ... EUREKA!!! What about the Villa Pellegrini, 5 minutes up the road in Castion? Our friends are the Custodians there; and together with Martina, a Photographer schoolfriend of Camilla, and Marzia, Umberto's Art Therapist (and also Artist and Sculptor) as Artistic Director, I really did have my Creative Team, AND the perfect location too.
The Villa Pellegrini Cipolla in Castion. The sun is beginning to set, and with the shadows lengthening, Marzia does a recky of the location.
I was to be the "bronze statue" that would anchor the Yellow Skirt as she viewed the World from altogether new angles
We moved closer to the Villa as the shadows crept in
In a corner of the facade there was a last patch of evening sunlight
The deal with having the Yellow Skirt to stay is that the host or hostess has Melanie's permission to enhance it with something artistic/creative. I asked Umberto to create a signature artwork to attach to the skirt. When we did the shoot I still hadn't sewn it to the skirt but you can see it here with Umbi, draped over the statue's foot.
The title of the artwork is "732 Days a Year" .... I'd better explain ...
About six weeks ago, at the beginning of April, Umberto had spent the day with his Dad. When he brought him home (and Umbi had skipped indoors) he hovered in the doorway for longer than usual. After hesitating a moment, he said, "Thanks for what you do for Umberto". I must have looked surprised and confused. After all, this was the very first time my sacrifices for, and dedication to, Umberto were being openly acknowledged by his Father. So he continued, "Well, it's World Autism Awareness Day today!"
I thanked him. I was touched. Anyone who knows the history of our separation, also knows that this seemingly simple gesture of his was momentous.
But how could I possibly have missed "World Autism Awareness Day"? I missed it because EVERY DAY is an Autism day. Each individual living in Autism does so 366 days a year (you'll forgive me for erring on the side of abundance here!). And Autism also comes around 366 days a year for the Carer of that individual. So, while I'm sure we're grateful for any crumbs of "awareness" we can get, I have to point out to the creators of "World Autism Awareness Day" that they are off in their calculations by a full 731 days a year!
Umberto painted "732 Days a Year" during his Art Therapy with Marzia, using acrylic paints on viscose fabric
My Technicolor Son
A Technicolor "Repose"
at the end of an amazing
at the end of an amazing
This blog is pro-autism
Post Script: Thank you everyone - I received so much help to create this post, not only from Marzia Sandri my Artistic Director, Martina Colloi my Photographer and Irene and Mauro Piras, the villa Custodians, but from many others too. Martina took over 370 photographs, and as it would be sacrilegious to waste decent pictures now I've actually got some, I'll do "The Making Of The Freakish Travelling Yellow Skirt Post" very shortly ..... you HAVE been warned :)