Lola Tia Maria

MaC Conlon's Blog

She came at summer’s end and needed a place to stay for a few days. She stayed  for almost  a year.  And in my heart, forever.

She was quiet, mostly kept to herself, made sure to be helpful
with household chores and when  she took her turn in the kitchen, it was often a memorable meal.

She was my mother’s aunt. She called her Tia Maria. All elder women are grandmothers. So we called her “Lola.” Lola Tia Maria.

summer-endWe were told to be kind to her and to be specially quiet when she was quiet.

Sometimes, in the late afternoon when the sun begins to cast shadows that taller versions of ourselves call us to play from the ground, we could hear her sighing and singing a tune, and sometimes she would be dancing, as though waltzing with someone from the shadows, or somebody we could not see. Then she would…

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TIFF 2018

It was a few weeks left before leaving my teens in July 1974 when I was invited to the Brunswick House. I did not drink beer but thought cider was safe as it was a drink made from apples.

These new found friends seemed really interested in me, where

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A pizza party in Silvi

Chopping wood for the oven.

Olives at bloom

Olive leaves

Olive bud in detail

Pouring wine from the barrel.

Guest of our dear friend Tony in Silvi, met his friend Lorenzo who hosted a pizza party baked in an outdoor, wood-fired oven. Lorenzo has 200 and 400 year old olive trees that produced Lorenzo’s oil, other trees include laurel, pomegranate, nespole, pear, peach, a vineyard that produced the wine pouring out from that barrel, etc… And chickens!!!

Met many new friends. Shared stories. Ate a lot.

Hope Lorenzo comes to visit the wood-fired oven at Davenport Perth.

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His parents’ sculpture

The soapdish had no fresh bar of soap.

Instead there were bits and pieces of a variety of soap bars that have been put together and formed into a ball.

He told his parents to throw these bits out but they insisted on saving every little piece, using every little bit and squeezing them together.

On touching the ball, he realized that this was the very first piece his parents touch each morning, the object that is squeezed and formed and re-formed each day.

It was his parents’ sculpture.

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Riding the Rails

During the Great Depression, many people forced off the farm hopped on freight trains, illegally, to chase after work they heard of from hundreds of miles away. If they are lucky, they would have prepared for provisions along the way, or will accept the kindness of strangers they meet along the way.  A shower, a shave are not amenities included in “riding the rails.”

Born of immigrant parents in Philadelphia, Pablo Davis worked as a coal miner at age 14 until he became involved in a strike. He noted an ad in the paper that Diego Rivera was to begin work on murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts.  The teen-aged Pablo Davis, determined to meet Diego, then rode the rails to Detroit.

On reaching Detroit, yard workers could not tell him where the museum was. When he eventually found it, the guards will not let him in.  He sat sadly on its front steps and a woman came by and said to him,”You look like you just lost your best friend.”

The woman – Frida Kahlo – took him into the museum and introduced him to Diego Rivera. This was an important meeting, as Pablo assisted Diego in the layering of the fresco murals.  In tribute to him, Diego depicted him, alongside workers, on the south wall of The Detroit Industry Murals still standing at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

In 1985, Pablo Davis was the only person depicted in the murals still alive, and he was used as an advisor in the restoration work of the mural.

Our visit to this museum last May 11-12 was like a pilgrimage.


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Depending on the kindness of others

I do not know why I am compelled to create these. I love the way the clay feels and how they allow my fingers and hands to trace the contours and something immaterial inside and outside of the edges of the figure that is before me.

Now that I must bring them home I wonder where to put them, or, worse: how to transport them.

Rosario offered to drive them from the studio. Thank you Chaiyo!

Gathering boxes, wrapping paper, cloths and a few other items, I ventured on TTC.

With boxes and I plan my steps, how to manouevre those stairs at Sherbourne Subway Station. Then a young woman came and helped carry them all the flights of stairs to the platform! She said I reminded her of her mom. How sweet is that?!!

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Out of the moulds!

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