The cat and the fiddle
The cow jumped over the moon
The little dog laughed to see such sport
And the dish ran away with the spoon
(Hey Diddle Diddle, a traditional English nursery rhyme, published in 1765, author unknown)
Nursery rhymes help children learn to speak (they use alliteration, onomatopoeia, similes, rhymes to help memory and basic sentence structure ), nursery rhymes help teach children counting skills (for example: One, two button my shoe), teach life lessons (Little Bo Peep lost her sheep because she was snoozing on the job) and nursery rhyhmes entertain. Many rhymes were based on tawdry and grotesque historical events inappropriate for children (for example: Ring Around the Rosie is about the plague) and were thus re-written by the Victorians to better represent the times and make them more suitable for children. For me, fairy tales and nursery rhymes just bring back nice childhood memories.
Would you ever have guessed in a million years that the cow jumping over the moon was supposed to represent Hathor worship (the Egyptian cow goddess) or the Jewish Flight from Egypt or stories about Queen Elizabeth I and her royal court. Nothing is as it seems in a nursery rhyme, often the earliest oral versions of the stories were lost and non-sense evolved, but this fact has not kept people from analyzing them. I was relieved to read that the cow jumping over the moon in Hey Diddle Diddle was probably just a nonsensical tale, with no deeper psychological musings!
July 1st was my birthday, I started the day like off at the flea market. Going to the flea market has been a yearly birthday ritual of mine. I went by myself this year which made it a quiet, reflective and enjoyable trip.
This is a beautiful, old apartment overlooking one of the main streets of the flea market. When I see interesting homes, I like to imagine who lives in them and their lives might be like.
I wandered through the crowded streets, looking at the old, vintage/junk items for sale. This year I wasn’t as excited about being in the flea market as in previous years; I found everything was messy and crowded together, which hadn’t bothered me in the past. I felt a need for order and peacefulness as I manuvered through the market.
I left the flea market and crossed the street into the old city of Jaffa. The old city is on the sea, I felt the need to be by the sea. I’ve been to the old city so many times that I challenged myself to to see things differently, so my photos would be new and fresh.
The first thing I encountered as I approached the old city was a dilapidated building, as I passed it I heard very loud chirping. ! ? I turned around to peer into the glassless windows to see what was making so much noise. The crumbling, vaulted ceilings were COVERED with little bats hanging upside down. There were four owl bodies hanging down from the ceiling, obviously they were meant to scare the bats away, but it wasnt’ working at all. There were so many of them that the ceiling appeared black and undulating. I continued on.
I ate lunch at a seaside restauant that looked Greek. After lunch, I continued on my way down the smooth, ancient and winding stairs of the city, into the port area. The Jaffa port is authentic, it’s dirty, the boats are working boats, there are piles of fishing nets topped by florescent buoyies, there are no fancy yachts. There are no chic boutiques lining the port area as there are in many other ports I’ve seen (the Tel Aviv port being one of them), but there is a fish restauant and a bars/art galleries in the old warehouse spaces which appealed to me very much. There is art all over the port inside and out.
One warehouse in particular was covered in huge murals, all the characters appeared bleak and many offered to mutilate themselves for something in return, I think it was the opportunity to be taught something. All the graffiti and art I saw was depressing. Is that the state of affairs of Israeli-Arab artists? I suppose it could be, Israel is an intense and often depressing place if you live in reality here. Many choose to ignore what’s going on around them, it’s how you live a more peaceful life.
I found a huge bar/gallery space in the port. Such large spaces are rare. The walls were covered by wire sculptures.
This figure seems to be trying to fly or he is floundering in some way-interesting, but depressing-again.
I noticed that I had a bit of a sunburn, so in the late afternoon I started heading back home.
I was pleased with my day of photography and the moments I’d captured. It was now time to go home and take a birthday nap!
I took a photo of these two dogs (the original, real live dogs) in India. They were sleeping at the base of a monument, one was using the other’s rear end as a pillow and they were the most raggedy dogs I’d ever seen…but they looked happy.
It took me a week to make this sculpture, working on and off between the girls’ end of the school year activities. I find these two dogs sweet, I think the black and white cow patterned dog is much older than the blond dog, maybe she’s the mother. My girls look at the original photo and tell me that “everyone needs a butt for a pillow”, oh silly girls!
As I felted these dogs, I thought about friendship and how a few very good friends are a gift and that the simple things in life are the best. These dogs brought many nice things to mind as I felt, felt, felted away.
Ihave almost always had a dog in my life. The dogs I had as a kid were “working” dogs. My parents bought them to guard us and the house. They lived outside in dog houses that my dad made; they used to sit on top of the dog house like Snoopy. My mom used to bring them into the laundry room when the weather got bitter cold or we took them into the basement with us when there was a tornado in the area, otherwise they were outside dogs.
As an adult, I bought my dog Quill ( a Chow Chow) for companionship. I lived by myself in Chicago and the furry company and extra security he provided were nice to have. I had him for 19 years, he became part of our family. We still talk about the things he used to do that made us laugh! One of my favorite Quill stories is from Chicago. He liked the very cold weather, but when we would walk in the snow, he would stop dead in his tracks and lift up one foot. He wanted the ice cleaned out from between his toes. After we did one foot, he would lift another foot to be cleaned. You couldn’t budge him till all the ice was cleaned out from between his toes! I bought him dog boots, but he hated those.
We’d like to get another dog, but we’re taking a pet brake right now. The last few years of Quill’s life were hard. We think we might get a Bull Terrier; they’re supposed to be good with kids, loyal companions and good watch dogs.
I like to watch those t.v. programs that introduce the people who bring their pets to hospitals and old folks homes to cheer up the people. I know that animals are good for people because they’re easy to love and they give love back and they’re always glad to see you when they get home and they never criticize you. We bought my mother in law a little dog after her husband died recently; she now lives for that dog.
I used to “read” the Carl book by Alexandra Day to the girls when they were little. Carl books have no words, just adorable illustrations showing the adventures of Carl the Rottweiler and “his baby”. These are some of my favorite children’s books!
These dog sculputures arent’ toys, they’re art. They take 10-15 hours each to felt. Each dog is around 6.5″ tall x 10″ long\16.5cm tall x 25.4cm long. They’re needle felted from 100% wool and have posable legs. You can buy them in my Laleebu Boutique, here or here.
Famous dogs: Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Snoopy, Marmaduke, Astro, Benji, Odie, Clifford, Cujo…