A year ago today I returned home from a nearly perfect trip to France.
I took along an embroidery project thinking I’d have time to put in a half an hour here and there. Ha! I didn’t do a crafty thing in Paris. I was too busy checking out the city and absorbing what I could. I did, however, find some embroidery zen in the Loire Valley as we stayed in a tiny little village.
I give you “French Knots” — get it, making French knots in France — a little dweeby, I know.
Here’s the story. I’ll keep it short.
I love late-eighteenth-century history, particularly the American and French Revolutions. This is why I chose to feature Napoleon’s Arc de Triomphe in my embroidery. This monument was not finished when he died, but it’s a colossal bit of architecture that now symbolizes French nationalism.
I didn’t go there for the nationalism. I went because my dad was stationed in France in 1965ish and there’s a groovy photo of my young parents holding my older sister who was 18 months old at the time. The photo was taken atop the Arc looking out over the city. When I was younger, I searched that photo, jealous of my sister even though she has no recollection of ever living in France. There was an obscure romance in the photo for me. Then in high school I learned that Napoleon and I share(d) the same birthday, so that was it: somehow through juvenile dreams, the Arc de Triomphe became the symbol of my trip to France.
I went with mostly pink knots simply because I like pink and it will eventually be going up in a space that’s only mine. I had the red, white, and blue bursting forth for no good reason especially, except that it was the colors of both Revolutions.
I need to iron out the fabric and put it in a frame I bought long before I conceived the project. It’s a perfectly circular frame that I’m trying to decide of spray painting or not. Will post when it’s ready.
An aside: I’m having dinner with one of my travel companions from last year . . . to discuss when we’re going back. Possibly next year – sigh….