Friday, September 19, 2008

Moving in Florence, Italy

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

I am not sure why I am so amused with myself. Or maybe it is a strange sense of pride. I now live a life senza macchina (without a car). I borrowed my friend Jesper’s bike to help me move, but as it turned out, he had nothing – not even a guard – over his tires, and no basket up front. My first attempted trip was a fiasco and one of my roommates came along with her visiting parents in time to offer me her bicycle instead.

But I was able to use this bike to transport my awkward garment bag full of art supplies. I just swung it over the seat like a saddle. The second and last time I used it was to transport many canvases and large sheets of paper that I stored in a long awkward box with a strap. I carefully balanced this on one handle bar while threading the other bag over my forearm as I steadied it with my hand on the other handle bar. Then I loaded up my madonnara backpack. My new landlord took this photo of me. I arrived just as he was heading out. Each round-trip took me one hour! Mamma mia.

I returned the bike after this run and then a visiting American treated another artist and me to lunch (how fun!) This photographer had contacted me via the Internet some time ago and his search led him to other artists that I know from my life in Florence. After that I took the train to see my friend Hafiza and she again loaned me her bici.

This bike is a gem and has everything an artist might need (except protection from the weather . . . which lately has been perfect). So today I loaded up a table and chair and various other odd-shaped objects that I had not moved already. I took this second image outside of my now former home on Via Leonardo da Vinci, 6.

And finalemente I took this image from my new bedroom window. It will take me time to turn this space into a working studio, but I am looking forward to getting my hands back into art. It will be a good thing that I cannot access the Internet any time I want!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Milan Italy Fountain Galleria

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

I am now back in Florence, Italy, but wanted to share with you some more of my favorite shots of Milano. My friend Elena took the snapshot of me. Apparently one is supposed to place one’s heal in the crotch of a bull mosaic in the floor of the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, near the Duomo.
And then the visitor should spin or turn three times to receive good luck.

What could it hurt (except for the bull)? The good news for me, in Florence, is that I am now moving from a semi-private room to a private room in another house. The bad news is that there is no Internet connexion in my new place. And in Italia, some things still take a lot of time and money. Perhaps spinning on a bull’s crotch will actually bring me luck ;-) !

Enjoy the fotos and thank you for reading!
Ciao, ciao,
Kelly Borsheim

Milan Italy Duomo Interior

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Inside the Duomo di Milano in Italy there are an uncountable number of treasures. For about ten minutes I watched the restoration of the altar of San Giuseppe (St. Joseph). There always seems to be such a great debate about how restoration can best be done on cherished works of art. That is a good thing as time and technology offer feedback and new techniques, respectively.

As I walked around the back of the main altar, I was photographing patterns of light and dark, as I often do. This time my attention had drifted to a crypt under the altar. As I peered through windows and played with different compositions, I heard this gentile voice ask me in Italian who was buried in the elaborate tomb. Ever flattered to be addressed in a language I know not well, I turned to see a kind American face, and said truthfully (perhaps blasphemously) in English, “I have no idea. For me, it is not important. I was seeking the light and shadows.”

And this was how I met Darlene Aldrich and her husband Joe, as well as her brother Loren Mayfield. This couple is from Thornton, Colorado, US, and Loren is from Elgin, Texas, not even one hour’s drive from my home in central Texas. We discussed the stone carving symposium in Marble, Colorado, and various things about art and Italy, enjoying the idea of the small world.

We later descended the stairs to see the tesoro (treasure), or crypt of San Carlo Borromeo. We parted ways after taking a couple of snapshots and exchanging contact information.

I include here a few more images that I took inside Milano’s Duomo. The cathedral is intricate and beautiful, delicate and strong. The colors in the stained glass windows are brilliant and apparently were painted by hand on the glass. My coinquillina (roommate) Elena told me that her grandfather assisted in painting part of the stained glass in his city’s Duomo.

As in many churches in Italy, the floor is not to be missed. Like this cathedral in Milan, Italy, the floor is a mosaic of inlaid stones. Milano’s Duomo is undergoing extensive restoration, but there is so much to see that is not under wraps that even if you arrive in Italy before the project is finished, you are not likely to be disappointed.

If you like what you read, please consider supporting this blog a little bit . . .

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bronze Sculpture Decay Restoration

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

The doors of bronze on the west façade of the Duomo in Milan, Italy, were incredibly impressive. And so was their decay. While I have often seen bronze patinas worn away to raw metal by the persistent touches of dedicated appreciators of classical sculptures, I have not as often seen the metal encrusted in such a way that it looks flaky.

It was actually cool texture, but I wonder how healthy the bronze now is.

Some conservators naturally would be concerned about people rubbing on the bronze so often that it is impossible for the bronze to keep her patina. But for me, I would be delighted if my sculptures were loved and enjoyed by people, even if that meant the work changed over the centuries. Of course, I would not mind being around to see the effects of such a love first-hand!

If you like what you read, please consider supporting this blog a little bit . . .

Milan, Italy Duomo

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Not too long after Vasily saw me off at the Chicago airport, I found myself being met in Milano, Italia by the mother of my coinquillina (roommate) Elena. After a delicious lunch and a pisolino (nap), I was given Tram tickets and sent on my way. I was charmed by how sweet Elena’s mother was to me: She asked the Tram driver to change the light at the top front of the bus for a moment so that I could see the name of the stop for my return trip to her home.

Upon arriving at the Duomo, a woman who has the age of my own grandmother placed her hand on my back as she guided me off the bus and over to the piazza surrounding Milano’s famous Duomo. This, as the driver turned to make sure I knew to uscire (to exit) the bus here. I found Milano’s people very pleasant.

After seeing the Duomo of Milano, I had to remind myself that Duomo in Italian does not mean ‘dome.’ It means ‘cathedral’ and usually refers to the main church in a city. Milano’s Duomo is the world’s largest Gothic cathedral and the second largest Catholic cathedral. She supports about 3500 statues. The tallest spire is 108 meters high. I wish that I had taken the time to walk on the roof.

I include the image below to show you the relative scale of this elaborate building.

For my taste, the design of the bronze doors is “information overload,” but the quality and story telling in the art are apparent. And examining portions alone allow one to fully appreciate this work of art and architecture centuries in the making.

I am loving more and more the combination of human figures with the geometry of architecture. I am no expert, but some of the architectural shapes seem to come from the Middle East and/or Africa. I find them appealing and uplifting.

In the double image below, the one on the left shows a less busy design. I love how the figure’s wings extend beyond the architectural border. The image on the right was one I found myself drawn to because of the powerful emotion expressed in the face and gesture of the hands.

I also photographed the bronze doors from below and looking almost straight up in an attempt to show you how dimensional the sculpture is: very high relief, with some parts sculpted fully in the round.

If you would like to learn more about the history of Milan’s Cathedral, please click here:

If you like what you read, please consider supporting this blog a little bit . . .

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sculptor Vasily Fedorouk

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

My good friend -- and the best sculptor I know -- Vasily Fedorouk picked me up at the Chicago aeroporto recently and I was able to spend some time with him and his family. I always learn things from him and was excited to see some of his new projects.

While we damn-near polished off a bottle of Armenian Arazat brandy (for whose name my keyboard does not have characters) and looked at images on his computer, the sun came streaming into the dining room window at a blinding angle. When Vasily pulled the curtain across the glass, we were pleased to see the following image cast by the shadows of two of his latest sculptures. The one on the left is a composition in metal. The sculpture silhouette on the right is a beautiful figure that Vasily carved from Turkish marble.

I took these next two images the next morning as Vasily and I went down into his basement, which doubles as a gallery. I love this space and it is so wonderful to have a place to see his works anytime. Vasily is shown here with his companion Era. The other picture is in the back room where he decided to show me some more images of works he did long ago in Ucrania (The Ukraine).

I never tire of seeing these photographs of marble, wood, and granite sculptures, as well as his drawings. He says he does the drawings (especially) for himself, but I cannot help but envision them framed in an exhibition for everyone who loves art to see.

Vasily Fedorouk is truly an amazing, sensitive, and generous artist. If you would like to see more of his artworks, please visit his site: