Of Fairy Tales and French Chateaus…

light drizzle fell over the valley yesterday morning.  I knew it before even looking outside; the welcome scent of wet concrete and earth drifted in through my open window. I have a friend who thinks I’m imagining this scent and mocks me good-naturedly about it. But turns out it’s real, and even has a technical name, ‘Petrichor’.  Who’d have thought? There’s an oil that plants give off during arid periods to delay germination and dry earth and concrete absorb it.  When the rain finally hits, the oils are released into the atmosphere and viola – that scent! Now we know.

The cool day inspired me to pick up a project I’ve had on hold on quite a while.  I’m taking a paper mache class with the lovely (and oh, so patient) paper artist, Laetitia Mieral of Merveilles En Papier from Lyon, France.  Laetitia makes fantastical paper mache chateaus and palaces based on French architecture, storybook inspired characters in royal robes, beautiful paper dresses and other fancies of imagination.

I chanced upon her work on Pinterest and was instantly captivated by the artful fusion of fairy tale and French history. I went on to make my own paper mache castle and frog character which I used as part of my portfolio to get in to art school. Earlier this year, Laetitia launched an online experimental version of the character workshop she hosts in her atelier in Lyon and held a little contest to join in.  I was over the moon to be invited to take part. We’re making a cat, in court costume, which I’m sadly quite behind on.

But better late than never.  Here are a few shots of a lovely afternoon in the garden, painting the watercolour ‘fabric’ that le chat’s gown will be made of. And my first attempt at a paper mache fairy tale castle, with a bandanna’ed, cigar smoking frog perched on the eave.

I’ve been so happily lost in art history world, I’d forgotten just how much fun it is to do creative things.  If you have a chance, hop over and check out Laetitia’s work, it’s so whimsical and enchanting. And if you’re bored today, pop over to my house, I’ll be in garden, lost in dreamland.

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