Monday, August 9, 2010

The Power of the Evil Eye

Here in Greece, the evil eye is everywhere. It dangles from car mirrors and peoples necks, stares at you from baby's prams and restaurant walls. I used to hate them. I found them cliche and kind of freaky. Plus I thought the concept was medieval. But recently I'm starting to re-think the evil eye. When I see them around I feel strangely drawn to them. Maybe because the shit is hitting the fan with our economy and everyone is panicking I'm subconsciously searching for alternative ways to protect myself.

I'm haunted by the little old spitting widows of my dad's village. One minute I'd be peacefully walking along the street then one would pop out of nowhere and... 'FTOU'! I can still feel the tiny but plentiful blobs of saliva on my skin. 'They think their spit protects you from the evil eye' explained my parents sympathetically. I just didn't get it. How dare they? Surely they were horrible old witches, who were just using the superstition to wreak injury and misfortune on poor unsuspecting children.

Ironically enough, all these years later, 'ftou ftou ftou' -spit free- sails out of my mouth on an alarmingly regular basis. Superstitious? Moi? So I thought I'd make my own evil eye with turquoise beads and 'ftou ftou ftou' included-for extra shield. Ah poor little old ladies. I now know they meant well.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

embroidering a broken heart tattoo

I have no tattoos. But I really want one! So many times I've pondered over designs, taken photos of this and that going 'this is IT!'... only it wasn't. Once I even booked an appointment at a parlour in North London then cancelled on the day. Why? I don't even know. Probably because I am one massive chicken. 'Will it hurt'? I ask in a small voice, screwing my eyes up tight at sight of the needle at every routine blood test. Sigh.

Anyway, until I find or design the one that will get me past all the hemming and hawing and cold blooded fear it seems I'm settling for embroidering them...

I love vintage nautical tattoos. Many sailors had tattoos of sinking ships done as an expression of acceptance of danger. My design is a bit like those, enclosed in a lifesaver. I think I wanted to make a mini tribute to heartbreak; not because I am a masochist, but because those times gave me a bloody good taste of who I am and what I want. When I say heartbreak I don't only mean being dumped. I mean anything that happens in life that makes for a really strong feeling of loss and pain.

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

Khalil Gibran, The Prophet.

So getting a tattoo is painful. But it will keep you company forever after!

For those who may be wondering, it reads fourtouness, which means storm but can also be 'troubles' when used metaphorically.