It was hot and my thoughts were drowning in sweat. Listless, I decided to try resuscitating myself in the kiddie pool. Instead, I fell asleep and entered a densely populated dream world. That’s where I met Lolly Willows. Lolly was a middle-aged spinster who, tired of her controlling family, moves to a small village where she lives with her cat, Vinegar. No longer willing to do the duties expected of her as a woman, Lolly decides to become a witch. When she meets the devil, she tells him that women are like sticks of dynamite waiting to explode. The devil, “a kind of black knight, wandering about and succouring decayed gentlewomen,” tells Lolly that, in exchange for her soul, he will give her the sensation of freedom and a life of her own. Lolly has no fears of such an exchange because, she says, “Women have such vivid imaginations, and lead such dull lives. Their pleasure in life is so soon over; they are so dependent upon others, and their dependence so soon becomes a nuisance…”

Moral of the story: if it weren’t for men, witches wouldn’t exist.


Note: Lolly was a character invented by Sylvia Townsend Warner (1893-1978). A musicologist, Sylvia, anti-fascist and gay, used writing novels to promote female empowerment.

Bibliography: Lolly Willowes, or, The Loving Huntsman can be read via HERE.

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Ideals give you a direction. Without them, you just float letting the current decide where you go.


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Spoils and Spolia

This blog originated with the theme “Make Art, Not Trash”—the intention being that of promoting the transformation of household trash into something both beautiful and useful. Part of my recycling experiments included the use of old clothes to make new ones. I call the collective results “Muy Marcottage”.

Marcottage is a French term used for plant propagation–taking one plant to make another. But it’s also an art term used to indicate a sculptural composition that’s been made using pre-existing elements. Two famous artists who used this method were Michelangelo (1475-1564) and Rodin (1840-1917). Michelangelo’s “Pieta Rondanini” is the best example of Michelangelo’s use of the marcottage method.

Rodin was much influenced by the Tuscan sculptor especially by his fragmentary figures and, subsequently, made some of his own sculptures using assemblage—the assembling of elements from one source with elements from another.

But reincorporating the old to create something new is a technique also used in architecture known as “spolia” (from the Latin for “the spoils”). The practice was common in late antiquity. In Rome, for example, the Arch of Constantine reused parts from the Arch of Janus whereas the colonnade of Old St. Peter’s Basilica excludes exterior sculptures from Athen’s Panagia Gorgoepikoos.

But even on our lovely Paros there is an excellent example of spolia.

The Frankish Castle on Paros was built on a hill overlooking the sea with the intention to help protect the island from pirates. Situated on the base of an ancient temple dating back to 530 BC, the castle was built in 1260 during the Venetian occupation of the island. The dry stone method was used to wedge together stones from dismantled sanctuaries. And the result is fabulous.

Related: Inside the Frankish Castle is the Christian Orthodox church of Agio Constantinos.


For more information regarding Spolia:

Book– The Spolia Churches of Rome: Recycling Antiquity in the Middle Ages by Maria Fabricius Hansen 


Spolia from Constantine to Charlemagne: Aesthetics versus Ideology, Beat Brenk

Roman Architectural Spolia, Dale Kinney


Antonio Canova’s studio in Rome covered with spolia

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Advice from a Dream

It rained all night. When I woke up, the sound of pitter patter was still in my brain. Pit pat, pit pat, pit pat, pit pat. It made it difficult to remember the details of my dream.

I was a young girl and spending the day at Playland Park with friends. The bumper cars were the favorite ride of the day. We would do our best to bump and be bumped then shout and squeal with laughter. So why did bumping each other bring so much delight? And, more importantly, why did I dream about it?

Luckily I had my preferred dream dictionary waiting for me on the nightstand. Bumper cars were not included. The closest thing was “bump” and dreaming about one was a warning to be careful. Whereas dreams of collision indicate that you’d better stop dithering and  take positive action in regards to making a decision.

To bump is not the same as to collide. The level of impact is different. To collide is to impact directly whereas to bump is to only graze. Like the difference between a slap and a punch.

Moral: It’s better to bump than to collide.


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Lying with your Hands

Some people are easier to believe than others. Because some people like to tell the truth whereas others prefer to lie.

So why do people lie?

Lying is a form of deception. Wikipedia lists various types of lies such as a bold face lie, a cover-up, a bluff, fake news, and perjury.

Lying is not just for humans. Koko the Gorilla once ripped a sing out of the wall and, when her caretaker confronted her about it, Koko, an avid Mr. Rogers fan, blamed her cats despite her great love for them.

When asked where animals go when they die, Koko, using sign language as always, answered “a comfortable hole”. In 2018, Koko died in her sleep at the age of 46.


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