Wuthering Heights

Perhaps the most modest of all Great Houses of English Literature I have been talking about, Wuthering Heights is actually a farmhouse and “… the name of Mr. Heathcliff’s dwelling. Wuthering’ being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather”. And so the house is introduced in Emily Bronte’s novel.

But it’s its most recent film adaptation that has me mesmerised. Directed by Andrea Arnold, the trailer alone seems to capture the spirit of the Yorkshire Moors, where the novel is set. Some critics have even called it “a beautiful beast of a movie”. Apparently it screened here at the TIFF last September, but there’s no sign of it coming back to Canadian theatres any time soon… Sigh.

This is actually the last of a series of posts about English novels whose titles are the houses where they are set. The idea of turning my drawings of these houses into a silk screen print has been brewing in my mind for a very long time. Partially influenced by my own books and education (my undergrad was in English Philology), my life in the UK and also the fantastic blog by Lisa Borgnes Giramoti A Bloomsbury Life. The image for the print was finalised a couple of months ago and the screens are ready to rock and roll. Only need ink + paper and a lazy Sunday of printing. I must add that none of this could have happened without the help of Alanna, who’s been such a wonderful mentor all throughout the entire process: from designing the print itself + super photoshop advice to getting the screens done.

Stay tuned for the prints themselves which, once completed, will be for sale in my online shop, together with my ceramics.

The Met

One of the good things about living in Toronto is that I’m just about an hours’ flight – or 8-hour bus ride – from NEW YORK CITY!! Last Christmas I was lucky enough to spend the holiday season in Manhattan with a good friend. My goal was a simple one: visit the Met and, equally important, see Sargent’s Madame X, one of my favourite paintings. At the time, there had been a snow storm in New York and the entire city and surroundings were covered in feet-deep snow, so it was more than a leisurely stroll down the park.

After what seemed to be a proper treasure hunt – go down the hall, turn left by the Greek statue, then right, then left, then cross the atrium, then get on the only elevator that goes to the mezzanine, then turn left, then right, then left, then over and blah blah blah – I finally arrived at the American wing. What a disappointment. All these amazing works of art, stuck together in aisles, YES AISLES, back to back, front to front, no space to contemplate them and enjoy their full potential, their perspective, nada. And among them, unframed and against a metal grind stood Madame X. I almost cried in sadness, such a powerful painting which should be presiding a gallery lies in a metallic storeroom. Apparently it’s only a temporary measure, but even still, that is no excuse.

Naturally this put a damper on my visit to the Met as a whole. Nevertheless I still enjoyed my excursion, and I liked the building so much that I turned it into one of my very first silkscreen prints. Perhaps next time I go Madame X will be happier? I sure hope so…