Street Art, Genova

It is your duty in life to save your dream.

Amedeo Modigliani.

Every day here, I wander these ancient streets at some point. 

And every day, I see something extraordinary.

I love this photograph.  I love the art, and then I love way the tyre track has moved the chalk down and out of the confines of the original drawing.

And that's the other thing about life here in Genova.  It's never just ordinary.  It's never just street art, or light.. 


You know when you just happen to be in the right place at the right time ...?

That happened today.  I have been losing myself, regularly, in Genova's centro storico.  The ancient heart of this complicated and beautiful city.

I love to walk down through the cool, narrow alleyways called caruggi ... down to the port and pop out into the light.  Just for a little bit, before heading back into the caruggi to climb the hill, heading for one of the oldest parts of the city.  It's been more than 2,000 years since people began living there.

These days, I'm searching for seats in the shade ... places to sit and write this book I've been writing forever.  

But today, when I arrived back in the light of Piazza Matteotti, I noticed they were hanging the exhibition poster ... for the Vivian Maier Exhibition.

I couldn't resist attempting to capture it.  I think, perhaps, she might have enjoyed this photograph.


This Genovese Life of Mine ...

I'm finding my feet here, slowly but surely ... and learning so much along the way.

Summer is approaching at speed.  Yesterday was our first really hot day.  And this morning, I was up early and out wandering with my camera, as my early morning appointment was cancelled.

I am learning, much as I would like to be 'normal' and that as much as it sometimes pains me not to be ... I'm not missing possessions, the responsibility of a home, and the people in it.  I am learning to walk alone and enjoy the feeling of it.

That said, I have the best flatmates ever.  There's no exaggeration in this statement.  They make me laugh most days.  They are kind, they are wise, and I adore them.  I feel so very fortunate to be here, in this place, with Paolo & Fabio.

They have a terrace and, last night after a long day, I slipped out here for dinner alone.  The Swallows are back, and they were filling the warm evening air with the sound of their happy squealing, as they flew overhead while I read and ate.

It's not always easy here but I love it.  The city makes me happy, in some small way, every single day.  I'm so glad I risked it.  I was terrified when I moved here but felt I had nothing left to lose ... and it seems, if this quiet happiness is anything to go by, I had everything to gain.  I just didn't realise.

But I must work.  Just to let you know, all is good here in this beautiful Ligurian city called Genova, and with that New Zealand woman called Di.

I Have A Plan For My Book ...

I have finally begun work on that Genova book I've been working on for years ...  but with a plan.  And with deadlines.

I am a photographer and a writer but I am not gifted in the area of organising something as complex as this book I've been circling. 

A good friend of mine came to stay at the weekend ... Sunday morning, Leah sat me down, and made me stay there.  She questioned me, regarding my idea of the book, and then guided me through the next few weeks.  When she left, I had a folder containing a schedule and a plan for the book.

Of course ... being me I have already side-tracked a little, as I search through the thousands of photographs I have taken of Genova, I'm realising just how many images I haven't quite taken through the digital equivalent of the darkroom process.

I don't do much to them, most of the time, but I do like to go over each image.

And so I am discovering that, back in September last year, I went wandering after the rain and found the image there at the top of this post.

And there was this .. just patiently waiting from that time I was down in Porto Antico and the light was exquisite.

Richard-Ginori ... my most beautiful cup & saucer

The monthly Antiques Market was held, here in Genova, over the weekend and I had a truly lovely night-before-the-market experience that I wanted to remember.  So I'll note it down here.

It made me remember that when I was a very small child, Dad's workmates and friends occasionally arrived on a Friday night, with lobsters, or perhaps a sack of un-shelled oysters, and they'd settle in for the evening in our then, very small, kitchen. I remember the occasional live Lobster crossing the kitchen floor.  And there was laughter too, lots of it. 

Last night, I met friends of friends, here in Italy There were no lobsters, nor oysters, but there was a box, or two, full of small and beautiful items ... all up for sale at the Antiques market this weekend.
The friends work in the industry but knew my friends needed more china.

Who doesn't ...

As beautiful cups and saucers, teapots and silver spoons, were unpacked and admired, I couldn't resist getting my camera.

I think we finished around 2.30am, and as I wandered off to my bed, I remembered those times from my childhood, back when I was incredibly young. 

It was a really beautiful way to spend a few hours, here in Genova. 

Then Sunday came round, and we all went wandering in the Market.  And I found the beautiful cup and saucer that appear at the top of this post.  I couldn't resist.  

This morning, I discovered that drinking my espresso from it is like drinking from an egg shell. It is so delicate.  So beautiful

I had half-heartedly been searching for porcelain with Italy written on the base, not realising that Richard Ginori actually have Genova written there.

Like a child, gifted the perfect gift, I'm still smiling as I write this.

But a little about Richard Ginori ... The Doccia porcelain manufactorer, near Florence, was founded in 1735 by Marchese Carlo Ginori near his villa. Now known as Richard-Ginori, (following its merger with Società Richard of Milan).

Its early wares were of a “soft-paste” imitation porcelain, as were most European porcelains. Ginori established the kilns at the foot of forested Mount Morello, where the timber provided fuel.  They initiated experiments with local potting clays. He engaged J.K.W. Anreiter from Vienna to head the painting workshop and a local sculptor, Gaspero Bruschi, as the chief modeler. Production began in 1737.

By 1740 Ginori was confident enough of his products to send samples to Vienna and get a privilege for porcelain manufacture in the Austrian-ruled Grand Duchy of Tuscany, giving him the security of a monopoly.

Ginori obtained wax models and casts from the heirs of major Florentine baroque sculptors Giovanni Battista Foggini and Massimiliano Soldani, intended for casting in bronze, and produced boldly-scaled porcelain figure groups “of a grandeur which makes the figures of most other C18 factories look petite and trifling,” John Fleming and Hugh Honour observed. Some statuettes of famous Roman sculptures were also produced.

The early Doccia paste is gritty in texture and slightly grayish; its glaze less glossy than most contemporaneous European porcelains. Innovative decorating techniques from the 1740s were transfer-printing and the stampino, or stenciled decor, usually or blue on the white ground.  As these techniques could be used by inexperienced workers, decorated porcelain was brought within reach of the middle classes, and porcelain rapidly replaced traditional maiolica in common use.

Ginori's manufacture was continued by his three sons, who introduced a new, whiter body, with tin oxide added to the glaze for increased whiteness, but were less successful in adapting neoclassical forms to the wares. With the revival of rococo styles in the nineteenth century, the Doccia manufactory reverted to its eighteenth-century models.

The manufacture remained in the hands of the Ginori heirs until 1896, when it was incorporated with the Società Ceramica Richard of Milan, a larger manufacturer of ceramics, as Richard-Ginori. Gio Ponti served as artistic director of the manufacture from 1923 to 1930, producing many designs in the Art Deco manner, and was succeeded by Giovanni Gariboldi, 1930-1970.

Richard-Ginori maintains the Museo di Doccia in Sesto Fiorentino, which moved in 1965 from its original location, in the eighteenth-century factory building, to a new structure purposely designed to house the collection.

Information sourced from Wikipedia.

This Genovese Life of Mine ...

Slowly but surely, my life is finding its shape here in Genova.  

And it has been full of so many beautiful moments this year.  Yesterday was one more of those outstandingly excellent days.   One where I had the pleasure of documenting an event that involved one of my favourite musicians ... Jack Savoretti.  

Favorite because I like so many of his songs.

And I did something I've never done before ... but being Jack, he made it so easy to ask.

I have a little man in my life, I adore him.  He's one.  And we love Jack's music.  He's transfixed by Catapult, we dance like fools to Written in the Scars,  and adore  the song Home

And it was because of 'Home', that I asked Jack if I could have my photograph taken with him.  I never do that ... never ever, but I wanted to send a copy to Mr One, who is back in New Zealand now.  Some of his first words, in song form, were from 'Home'.

We might sing when we go out walking.  Quietly, and within the limits of what can be sung by a one year old.  'H-h-h-home' became one of our 'going home' songs. 

It's set in the city stadium here in Genova, that time when Genoa beat Juventus, it pleases both the Genoa fan in me, and that woman who loves Genova more than any place else.  I used to watch the video while I was living in Belgium and England but missing Genova.  It took me home.

And so yesterday, I photographed Jack, as part of an event I will write another post for, chatted with him a little, and yes ... I had my photograph taken for Mr One.

It was a good day.