Emma Thompson Becomes a Dame Wearing Sneakers

Inspiration, Thumbs Up

This newspiece is from June, but I just found out: Emma Thompson was made a dame in Queen’s Birthday Honours for her services to drama.

I know her mostly through her adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, but I’ve seen her work elsewhere, too, and admire it.

The best thing about the news, though, is that she appeared at the ceremony in sneakers!

The News Herald Jonathan Brady Emma Thompson Dame Ceremony

Jonathan Brady / Press Association via Associated Press.

Women wearing sensible shoes get so much undeserved scorn. It’s utterly ridiculous – why on earth would anyone spend time picking on women’s choice of footwear is beyond me. (Yes, I do know why: patriarchy.)

It’s lovely to see a successful woman not giving a darn and wearing what she pleases!

Found via Yashar Ali on Twitter.

A New Hope for a Sanditon Adaptation

Books & Mags, Movies & TV, Thumbs Up

Over two years ago, I spotted news that a screen adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished last work, Sanditon, was in development by Fluidity Films. To all appearances, their project never got any further than that.

Now there is a another project commissioned by ITV and executive produced by Rebecca Eaton at Masterpiece with Belinda Campbell at Red Planet Pictures. The script is written by Andrew Davies (who also wrote the 1995 Pride & Prejudice, 2007 Northanger Abbey and 2008 Sense & Sensibility, among others), and the eight-episode series will be distributed by BBC Studios.

Re-reading Jane Austens Lady Susan

According to PBS, filming is expected to start in spring of 2019. No casting details have been announced. I also couldn’t find Sanditon on Davies’s IMDB page yet; I guess it’s too early still.

But, nevertheless, hooray! Double yay!! We’ve long been overdue another Austen adaptation.

Relevant reads:

Plus the multiple(!) articles in the Spring 2018 issue of Persuasions (Volume 38, No. 2), accessible online at the JASNA website.

What a great excuse to re-read Austen. 🙂

P.S. Belatedly I realized that my headline sounds like a Star Wars – Jane Austen crossover. If only! I’d watch that! 😀

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Two Black Amazons from 1400s

Arts & Crafts, Bits in Spaaace!, Thumbs Up

Oh, goodness! An illumination from a 15th-century French manuscript shows two black Amazons. Have a look:

Le secret de l'histoire naturelle, France, ca. 1480-1485, BnF, Français 22971, fol. 2R; via discarding images on Tumblr.

Le secret de l’histoire naturelle, France, ca. 1480-1485, BnF, Français 22971, fol. 2r; via discarding images on Tumblr.

This image has clearly been cropped and edited. My source, discarding images on Tumblr, says the two women are Amazons but gives no more details.

Being an early history nerd, I did some additional digging. Below is the whole page via Gallica, the digital library for the national library of France (Bibliothèque nationale de France, or BnF).

Le secret de l'histoire naturelle fol 2r Full Page

Le secret de l’histoire naturelle, France, ca. 1480-1485, BnF, Français 22971, fol. 2r.

The full title of the manuscript is Le secret de l’histoire naturelle contenant les merveilles et choses mémorables du monde. It was created between 1401-1500, and is currently stored at BnF. The illumination comes from the first part of the book, which presents the great countries and the great provinces of the old world.

Unfortunately, my French isn’t good enough anymore to be confident in my reading; I can understand a word here and there, but not the whole. However, it does look like the first word below the illumination is Amazon.

I’ve cropped into a separate image the bottom left corner of the illumination with the text following immediately after it:

Le secret de l'histoire naturelle fol 2r Amazons

Le secret de l’histoire naturelle, France, ca. 1480-1485, BnF, Français 22971, fol. 2r; cropped.

I just cannot make out the full spelling of the first word due to the ligatures that squish up the last two or three letters. It definitely looks like it’s inflected, though. The sequence ma definitely follows the capital A, with most likely a z and o further along.

It also looks there’s a sigil marking an abbreviation on top of the o, which was very common in handwritten Medieval documents to mark inflectional endings, among others. (Unless it’s a diacritic like in modern French – were they even used in Medieval French? If so, maybe Amazonye? Amazònye? Amazónye?? Amazônye???)

Anyway, it seems that Amazons are indeed talked about on the same page. The larger block of text above the illumination mentions the word affricà, too. (Again, not sure whether that’s a sigil or diacritic on the final a.)

In any case, if the two women aren’t Amazons, at the very least they are heralds of some sort leading a column of warriors. The image details, like the mi-parti dresses, are really neat, too.

Found via MedievalPOC on Tumblr.

And speaking of MedievalPOC, I’ve found it a truly valuable source for types of art imagery that’s not usually included in the canon from the Middle Ages onwards. The site is sometimes a little too interesting: on several occasions, I’ve spent much longer than intended there, happily chasing intriguing details down the rabbit hole. If you’ve got the time to spare, I wholeheartedly recommend it. 🙂

P.S. You can also follow MedievalPOC on Twitter. Happy browsing!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Updating Past Styles: Estonian Architect Allan Strus

Design & Designers, Stunt Double, Thumbs Up

Estonian architect Allan Strus uses historical styles as springboard in his building designs. Filled with modern features like triple-glazed windows plus high-quality insulation and soundproofing, his houses nevertheless charmingly nod towards earlier styles like Jugend and Neoclassicism. Other contemporary features in his buildings include French balconies, underground parking structures or roof terraces.

HS Allan Strus Tallinn Vesivärava 40

Vesivärava 40, Tallinn, Estonia. Design by Allan Strus, photo by Marko Mumm; via Helsingin Sanomat.

 

The design ethos is described at Arkitehtibüroo Allan Strus website like this:

“We believe that built environment should enrich the environment surrounding us, harmonize with it, depart from local customs and traditions instead of shocking the observer. We also think that buildings should tell their users and watchers about their essence and birth as well as about their owners. We hold that buildings and entire built environment should be beautiful and elegant, not ostentatious and arrogant. We hold that harmony and beauty of buildings must be clearly understood also when we are gone, not only in the perspective of a short-time trend. We are convinced that buildings must be physically and visually solid and durable, that they must certainly last longer than for one human generation, because this is the only way to restate the consistency and transmission of man-made values from one preceding generation to the following. […]

“Therefore we depart from traditional and classical architecture and try to combine it with local customs, circumstances and specific requirements as well as with latest technology. We believe in consistency of traditions and vitality of classical values precisely because they are essentially not derived from trends but stem from technical, logical and aesthetic solutions-tectonics- formulated by centuries long experience of mankind and easily adjust to changing needs and demands of a specific period.“

Strus doesn’t only design apartment buildings, though. His private residences and vacation retreats follow the same design principles.

Allan Strus Pirita-Kose Tallinn Private Home

Arkitehtibüroo Allan Strus.

As Jugend is one of my favorite building styles, I love Strus’s work a lot. The proportions of his buildings are more pleasing than those of later styles like modernism or functionalism. (Some of them ping my Jane Austen radar, too; or at least remind me of what I associate with Regency period building styles.) I wish his approach were already more widely known, for the work is so very beautiful, balanced and harmonious.

More at the Arkitehtibüroo Allan Strus website or Facebook page. (I especially recommend FB for more amazing project photos!)

Found via Helsingin Sanomat (NB. Finnish only).

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

New to Me: Illustrator Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen

Design & Designers, Thumbs Up

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen is a Finnish illustrator living in Vancouver, Canada. Her style is colorful and stylized. It reminds me of Eastern European folk tales and another Finnish artist, Tove Jansson. Take a look yourself:

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen Tumblr They Belonged to No-One

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen on Tumblr.

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen Twitter Rivals of Aether Worklmiina Eskelinen on Twitter.

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen via Twitter.

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen Tumblr Reindeer

Eva Vilhelmiina Eskelinen on Tumblr.

Oh my goodness, the light and mood of these illustrations is incredible! I’m also struck by how Nordic the woods look. And these are just three of my favorites. There’s so much more on Eva’s Tumblr site.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Geeky, Feminist Motivational Posters for the International Women’s Day

Arts & Crafts, Colors, Design & Designers, Thumbs Up

Due to a post-winterstorm blackout a week ago, I’m still catching up on my Internet reading, so I only saw these awesome, nerdy motivational posters now. It was worth the wait, though:

Tumblr Risa Rodil Poster Shuri Improved

Risa Rodil on Tumblr.

“Just because something works doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.”

Referring of course to Shuri from the movie Black Panther. As another tinkerer, I wholeheartedly agree! 😀

Tumblr Risa Rodil Poster Successful Woman Herself

Risa Rodil on Tumblr.

“Behind every successful woman is herself.”

The posters are by letterer, illustrator and designerd Risa Rodil. She posted them on Tumblr in honor of the International Women’s Day (March 08).

Visit Risa Tumblr post for more geeky feminist posters. And while there, look at the rest of her work – such a distinct, lively, whimsical style. I especially liked this library poster:

Tumblr Risa Rodil Poster When Doubt Library

Risa Rodil on Tumblr.

“When in doubt, go to the library.”

Find more about Risa on her website, including where to buy her designs.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Finnish Folk Hop Ensemble Tuuletar Lends Wings to Game of Thrones Ad

Arts & Crafts, Movies & TV, Thumbs Up

Alku (‘Beginning’), a piece by the Finnish vocal folk hop ensemble Tuuletar, appears in a Game of Thrones commercial. The band’s website says,

“’Alku’, the opening track from Tuuletar’s debut album “tules maas vedes taivaal” has been sold for the use of one of the most popular tv-series in the whole world, HBO’s Game of Thrones. The song will be heard in the season 7 DVD and Blue-Ray [sic] commercial, which will be broadcasted worldwide. The deal was made together with Finnish record label Bafe’s Factory and ThinkSync Music from London.”

The ThinkSync news page on the sale links to a German-language DVD / Blu-Ray trailer for GoT season 7 on YouTube with Alku in the background:

GAME OF THRONES Staffel 7 – Trailer #2 Deutsch HD German (2017) by Warner Bros. DE

Tuuletar mashes up a cappella, beatboxing and Finnish folk music and poetry into a unique combination. Their debut album, Tules maas vedes taivaal (‘On Fire and Earth, in Water and Sky‘), won the prestigious Emma Award (the Finnish version of a Grammy) for the best ethno album of the year in 2016.

Tuuletar IMG_0510-1024x683

Tuuletar.

Vocalists Venla Ilona Blom, Sini Koskelainen, Johanna Kyykoski and Piia Säilynoja make up Tuuletar. More videos at YouTube or Tuuletar website.

Congrats, Tuuletar! I first blogged about the band two years ago just before they released their debut record, and am absolutely delighted to see them doing so well. And Alku is so amazing it gives me chills – always a sign of greatness!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Possible Presidential Wool Socks?

Arts & Crafts, Fabrics & Materials, Thumbs Up

My native Finland is voting for a president this coming Sunday. One of the most quirky newspaper articles leading to the election focused on the candidates’ favorite wool socks.

That’s right – their wool socks.

Helsingin Sanomat (HS), the largest national daily, asked all of the eight candidates to bring in their favorite pair of wool socks to be photographed (note: article in Finnish only). The socks were then arranged into a quiz for readers to try and match each candidate with their socks. And here they are:

Presidentinvaalien lempivillasukat 2018

Outi Pyhäranta / Helsingin Sanomat.

It’s telling that no-one refused to share their favorite socks. Like sauna or certain traditional foods, wool socks are a core part of the Finnish identity. Journalist Marko Junkkari writes that wool socks are a symbol of ordinary, everyday life, which is the image the candidates aspire to portray. If one candidate were to refuse sharing their favourite socks, they might come across too cocky and pompous.

On one hand, I was left wondering how serious the article was, but on the other I do appreciate that Junkkari thought to ask and the candidates all responded. It’s not that I really need to know what kind of socks each candidate is wearing. Rather, knowing that our presidential candidates do wear wool socks and took the request seriously is a nice reminder of our unifying humanity, especially in a small country that’s partially in the Arctic.

Another reason I loved the article is that I do love wool socks! Sock knitting is still very much a living tradition in Finland. In fact, one of the candidates told HS that her mother knitted her socks, and two more said their socks were made by supporters. Another of the three female candidates said she’s favoring a loaner pair.

Oh, Finland – never change! 🙂

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.