Sunday, October 2, 2011

Spanish Lady who stole my Heart

This is my entry for the Spanish challenge on Inspiration Avenue Team blogspot 

In May this year I visited the annual Gypsy Festival in Saintes Maries de la Mer in France.  (See the full story with lots of pictures on my blog at

Although the festival takes place in France, the Spanish influence was powerfully present everywhere, especially in the gypsies' festival dresses

I bought this Spanish gypsy doll from a Spanish gypsy at the week long fair.  She is made from a baked bisque with movable arms, legs and head.  Look at the beautiful detail of her shawl, the lace fan, the choker around her neck and the rose in the hair!!

surrounded by Spanish lace 

I also bought two red Spanish combs from him - one which I used on the frame.

The festival is a religious one for the gypsies who come from across Europe and the presence of the Madonna is everywhere. Wherever you go, there are gypsy women present at the festival.  They walk amongst the shops in their flamboyant clothing with the most extravagant head gear;  they dance outside the Church where the main festivities take place.  In fact, as you enter the village square you are swarmed by old gypsy women who are willing to pin the medal of Sainte Sarah onto your collar for a small fee.

The festival is dedicated to Sainte Sarah, the black saint.  

The third day of the festival is dedicated to the Black Bulls of the Camargue - a very Spanish tradition.  But unlike the bull fights of Madrid, these bull tournaments do not harm the bulls - no weapons are used - and it is a beautiful graceful dance between bull and matador.  The bulls run to the arena and the event is accompanied with more dancing ladies in flamenco dress!

On the side of the box I have put the Sainte Sara rosary carried by all gypsies when they leave the festival to return home.

The storybox contains all the bits n pieces that I brought back with me from the magical festival.  It will be added to my collection, reminding me of the Spanish gypsy at the festival of Saintes Maries de la Mer.

And just for fun, I have added some close-ups of my boxes of the Spanish dancers that I featured last week.


  1. Your story and storybox are fascinating and beautiful! I would love the sights and sounds of the Gypsy Festival. I especially like to hear there is a bullfight (which I normally would detest) that does not harm the bulls. Olé!

  2. I love your assemblages (storyboxes). They always tell such fascinating stories. And your narrative adds to the artwork with such detail and color. This is a lovely piece and I learned SO much just reading about the Gypsy festival. Those rosary beads and comb are the perfect touches, too.

  3. Wow, there is such a story around your piece. The festival sounds like it would fill me with creative inspiration too.
    I always love what you make - so many treasures!

  4. I really enjoyed reading the story that went with your box. There is so much richness in all the details--another beautiful treasure!

  5. That is a wonderful story box and it is great you have everything included to remind you of the festival. I loved hearing about it xx

  6. Very unique mixed media piece!!
    Stay inspired!

  7. I just knew you were going to nail this challenge...but even I couldn't imagine how truly beautiful and thoughtful...I am awe struck.
    AND! As always, I learned something new. You are a wonder, Hettienne, I don't know how you do all you do...


Thank you for your comments - I read each and every one! I have taken the word verification off - hope it makes it easier