I'm travelling into a new way of working, a new country, a new language, and a new hobby which I'm passionate about. Come with me for some of the journey...

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Write a little more often...

Hello again - second time today!  If you're looking for my autumnal Artistic Stamper project, you'll find it here.  It'd be lovely if you have time to go and take a look.

But I'm back with some journalling pages which grew out of a song that matters a great deal to me.

It's a long time since I've had time to play along with a challenge just because I like the look of it, but the moment I saw that the theme at Country View Challenges this month was Letters, I've had just one song going round in my brain: Marlene Dietrich's version of Marie, Marie.  And that's where these pages came from.


I grew up on Marlene Dietrich - she may not always hit the notes completely in tune, but my word the woman can sell the drama of a song.  And even before my French was up to much, I knew that there was something catastrophic going on in the story of this song. 

(Click here to hear the live in London version, which is the one I've always known.  Full lyrics and translation are at the foot of the post.)





As Marlene says, we hear a woman reading a letter sent to her by a man in prison.  We never learn his name; he refers to himself simply as his prison number, 14,200.  And he's telling her about life in prison, and asking - quite simply - for her to write to him more often.














Once my French improved, the drama became more mysterious.  We know nothing for certain...









Why is he in prison?  Were they lovers? (Surely, that's a yes.)  Why has she stopped writing so often?  Why is she apparently so unhappy that he's to be released soon?  And why is there such doubt over the release date?










Most of the words seem fairly innocuous - why does she break down over the fact that they have puddings on Sundays and fish on Fridays?














Has she met someone else and is feeling guilty?  Is that why she breaks down when she reads his humble words?  Or is she simply desperate that they can't be together?











All these mysteries keep me coming back to the song, over and over again, and the pure drama of Marlene's delivery (I'll even accept that it's slightly over the top, veering into melodrama... I don't care, it comes from a place of truth!) always takes me to the edge of tears too.







The two photos were selected from Darkroom Door's Photo Booth sheets - they work very well for me as Marie and 14,200.












And there are the folded letters which had been going to and fro, but now seem to be going mainly in one direction.

He's got a background of wire mesh or bars keeping him imprisoned...

... while she has soft, feminine lace.













And they each have a snippet of fabric with more letter-writing on it (and it's even in French - thank you Tim Holtz!).




The threads of the fabric are frayed and unravelling, as their relationship seems to be.














The whole background is made up of other letters...















Lots of texture over which I've let ink run like tears.














There's plenty of stamping too.

Parisian postmarks...










Handwritten script, some of it reverse-stamped in water to take ink off the page.  Letters you might wish unwritten, but you can't take them back.












And the words of course...

... that plea from the heart - "So write more often" - but so gently put; no recriminations, no blame, just a gentle request. 



(Apologies to the French speakers - I know the accent is missing from that first e, but the Idea-ology set doesn't include diacritics!)










So there are my pages.  I'm always so happy to hear your thoughts, so I'd love to know what you make of them. 


Thank you for spending some time here at Words and Pictures today, and I'll hope to return the visit very soon.

I'm entering this at Country View Crafts Challenges where the theme is Letters.
And with all those mysteries - what's he in for? why has she stopped writing? has she met someone else? - I'd also like to share it over at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge where It's A Mystery this week.

A Pâques ou à la Mi-Carême                                  At Easter or at Lent,
Quand je serai libéré                                                 When I will be released,
Lorsque j´aurai fini ma peine                                When I will have finished my sentence,
O que j´irai t´embrasser                                          Oh how I will kiss you.                                 

Dans notre jardin d´Angleterre                              In our English garden
Les roses ont dû refleurir                                          The roses have bloomed again;
Si tu en portais à ma mère                                        If you would take some to my mother
Ça me ferait bien plaisir                                            That would make me very happy.

Marie, Marie                                                                  Marie, Marie
Ecris donc plus souvent                                             Write, then, more often
Marie, Marie                                                                 Marie, Marie
Au quatorze mille deux cent                                     To Fourteen Thousand, Two Hundred

Je travaille à la bibliothèque                                  I work in the library,  
Je m´invente du bon temps                                     I pretend to have a good time;
J´ai pour amis tous les poètes                                I have, as friends, all the poets -
Baudelaire, Châteaubriand                                    Baudelaire, Châteaubriand.

Pour nous ici quoi qu´on en pense                         For us here, it's as you might think...
Ils sont vraiment très gentils                                   They really are very nice
On a du dessert le dimanche                                    There's pudding on Sundays
Poisson le vendredi                                                     And fish on Fridays

Marie, Marie                                                                  Marie, Marie
Ecris donc plus souvent                                            So write more often
Marie, Marie                                                                  Marie, Marie
Au quatorze mille deux cent                                     To Fourteen Thousand, Two Hundred

A Pâques ou à la Mi-Carême                                  At Easter or at Lent
Il reviendra bien le temps                                       There will be plenty of time again
Où tu pourras dire je t´aime                                    When you will be able to say, "I love you"
Au quatorze mille deux cent                                    To Fourteen Thousand, Two Hundred

Gilbert Bécaud


70 comments:

die amelie said...

Ohoo, someone has taken a leap it seems ;)

A wonderful art journal page, Alison! Beautiful layering and stencilling and all of the elements perfectly dosed! Love the touch of the alpha parts too!

Hugs,
Claudia xx

Amanda said...

I love the story on these pages, music can tell the most fabulous stories and I love how you gave brought the lyrics to life. Fabulous piece of art journaling.
Love
Amanda x

Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

Hi Alison, fabulous blog post, love how,you were inspired by the song beautifully portrayed in your pages. Love the remnant of fabric with French text stamped, lovely touch. Gorgeous vintage images and feel to,the pages. Wonderful tackle piece. Tracy x

Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

tactile piece not tackle, so dislike how my iPad changes my text lol. Tracy x

Ephemera said...

Beautiful and evocative and evocative post Alison, your journal pages are exquisite, dreamy colours and textures. x

froebelsternchen Susi said...

what an amazing post Alsion.. a fantastic spread ist this! Gorgeous!

Astrid Maclean said...

Oooooh, LOVE this, fabulous spread and I love how you have re-called the mysterious story of this wonderful song! I can see the Finnabair influence, but you have made it totally your own and I love the colours, brown and blue just always works for me. A delicious piece from beginning to end I can see your mojo seems to be back in full swing¬

Helen said...

It's beautiful, Alison - I love it!

Anne Kristine said...

Oh..my...love it!
Lovely details !
Hugs, Anne

Julie Ann Lee said...

What a fabulous post! I agree no-one delivers a song quite like Dietrich!I often find that songs inspire me to write stories or create art, so it's really interesting to see this is the case with others. I love the composition of this spread. The look of it is perfect. As with all your work it has a harmony yet an apparent spontaneity about it. There is something so heartfelt about it too. So beautiful and touching. Julie Ann xx

joyce said...

Oh the background work is fabulous. Love the color combination and all that wonderful texture.

Redanne said...

This is total perfection Alison. I love how you have brought this wonderful song to life. The softness around her and the harder elements around him is so clever. Loving the white space too! Hugs, Anne x

Sue C said...

Absolutley stunning Alison ! Love the colour palette and your story telling is fabulous as usual !
Thanks for joining us at Country View Crafts. Sue C x

sally said...

Ah yes! The Gilbert Becaud song...I love how you've interpreted it - brings back memories.....

Sally

Meggymay said...

Absolutely gorgeous pages, love your story that goes so well with the design.
Yvonne

Evil Edna said...

th art work is as striking and full of textured wonders but hearing about your inspiration really makes it come to life.EE

Kate said...

Stunning journal pages. They are so gorgeous and full of vintagy goodness. I love the little photos and splashes of color. The chipboard letters look great and i love the white border around the edges. Beautiful!
Kate

Kim Price said...

Beautiful journaling, and what an amazing background story too. I really enjoyed reading about this and your interpretation of the story. Gorgeous, just gorgeous

lynnesbowsandbelles said...

Watch as you wrench our hearts and have us on the edge of our seats as the drama unfolds.
The old style romantic in me is enthralled by this piece, you are not in the least surprised as you know me well enough that I adore a story especially stories that speak of the heart.
The most fabulous use of the Darkroom Door images, in fact I surely have to believe they were created with this piece in mind!
Wishes
Lynne

Rita said...

Fabulous creation Alison, and the pictures certainly tell the story. I was brought up listening to Marlene too, as my father just loved her songs. Wonderful work. Hugs Rita xxx

Dianne said...

WOW Miss Alison I'm loving your journal, every page has soooooo much meaning to go with the outstanding art,I listen to music always when I create it is necessary, I'm listen to the song as I read your post, ah perfection,it's the 5th time playing, watching the photos, reading your words, the pictures came alive telling the story beside it, this has been your best-est post ever my friend and has moved me, truly I'm felling so many emotions, the art, the story, tha music all done to perfection, thanks you so much, I know I'm a bit LOL of a dram Queen myself, I loooooooved it, I wish you a magical week full of beautiful, amazing things, like your art brings to me, that's what I think about your pages :O)... ((( BIG HUGS )))

Sue Lelli said...

OMGosh, Alison! THIS is so AMAZING! LOVE the photos of all of the details and your thought process! LOVE all of the meanings! REALLY my FAV is the BG in big letters and how you place letters behind the photos and even stamped french on fabric! OUTSTANDING pages!

Nan G said...

.....blown away with the beauty of these pages! Your background stories provide such wonderful layers in your pieces...your work really comes to life. Put simply..LOVE it!

Meihsia Liu said...

What a gorgeous pages, Alison. I love the beautiful textures and colors. Thank you so much for sharing with us at Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge. :)

Shilpa Nagaonkar said...

as always, amazing texture and journal page, Alison!

Andrea Ockey Parr said...

What a stunning creation! You are so skilled at bringing so many themes, stories and ideas to life! I loved your inspiration for this project (I always adore it when we're inspired by music) and enjoyed listening to the live version you included in your post. You nailed it with your artwork! You are equally skilled at creating works of beauty and giving us a sense of why you created them. Really beautiful job and I'm so glad you shared this with us here at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge blog!

Mona Pendleton said...

Wow Alison! What stunning mysterious art journal pages! Love all the texture and inky goodness! Thanks for joining along with Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge!

maria's knutselplezier said...

What a beautiful song, and it gave you certainly a lot of inspiration to create this beautiful, and sentimental
page , its really a masterpiece, you can see the drama in it!!! Great Piece of ART!!!

Greetings
Maria

inkypinkycraft said...

this is so gorgeous , wow the textures, the colours ...just plain yummy! hugs trace x

Shirley Chillman said...

This moving but very sad make is a treasured piece Alison. I read and ate every word of the story. I hope these pages will be cherished forever it is a very very poignant assembled creation.

Warm crafty hugs from Shirl x x.

Von said...

Oh my Alison what a story and what wonderful pages :)
Von ♥

Annie said...

Fabulous layout and colours Alison. Love those papers and letters. Wonderful story and lots of inkyness

Hugs Annie x x

Deborah said...

I don't know what he did to get there but he sounds a really nice criminal. If she's cheating on him, *that's* criminal. Your pages are absolutely stunning, Alison, and I just love all the little details - the wire behind him, the running ink on her side.

chrissies said...

A truly wonderful post and a stunning art journal page. So good that you felt inspired to make it by the words in the song.

Off to look at the link.

Love Chrissie x

Unni A said...

I wish my english was much better, I have so many thoughts about your works. But I don't know how to write it in english :( But you shall know I love your creations! You are amazing, a real artist!
Have a wonderful day!
hugs, Unni

wintonrosepapercreations said...

Wow Alison. What an amazing piece. Love the story! Love the layout! Love the photos and everything about it. When I first saw this piece in my in box I thought I would love this to be the first page in my new journal. I hope it turns out half as good as yours. Thanks for sharing. Karen.x

Paper Profusion said...

You have absolutely outdone yourself Alison - this is exquisite. One of your most beautiful and expressive artworks ever! Have a lovely week. Nicola x

Candy C said...

Alison...your art journal pages are so gorgeous. I totally love reading about your thought process as you create. I get lost in your creative thought, my friend. :) This is such a lovely project and the back story brings it all together so that each little element and detail you've included on the pages is not overlooked. Love your colors, all of your texture and the dimension that your letters and little bits of laces and wire mesh add. Such a beautiful piece, Alison! Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful art with us at Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge. It's a treat! <3 Candy

Danielle said...

Great post!!!!

cathylynn said...

Alison your journal pages are totally awesome! Great textures with wonderful colors. All so lovely!
Hugs, Cathy-Lynn

Jennie Atkinson said...

Stunning ........ absolutely stunning Alison! These journal pages are just amazing and I could look at them forever. I love all the colours and textures, the story and the wonderful pictures and letters. Awesome work!

Anna-Karin said...

Alison, this is absolutely fantastic! Love the whole idea behind your page and the page is so gorgeous. The text, ink, textures, fabric, everything is perfect. Thank you so much for sharing with us at Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog!

Gio said...

ooohhh!! This is pretty unusual for you , but still with your palette, texture and favorite images. Love it!

Ellie Knol said...

Beautiful page and gorgeous details!

Dorthe said...

Oh Alison, what can I say!! It is stunning pages, all the texture you created, the colours, the story,and your lovers... !!!
Amazing in every way, and so beautiful !!
Dorthe ,xo

Alie Hoogenboezem-de Vries said...

Great song, great explanation, great art journal pages Alison! Love this inspiration

Sue said...

Alison this is beautiful, I love the colours and embossing and the white space really add to the pages. Love it! xx

Asia King (aka Joanna K) said...

Fabulous journalled page Alison! I love the colour palette, the stenciling, the script stamping and dimension of the lettering. Beautiful work as always! xx

pearshapedcrafting said...

Stunning pages, such a wonderful way to illustrate what was clearly such a sad song! You an excellent story teller with your art! Chrisx

Kelly Neis said...

Wow, love your narrative to these pages! Awesome design as it fits perfectly to what you said from the song. This is a fabulous post, we get your articulate words with the awesome artwork!! Loved it all!
Have a great day Alison,
Hugs Kelly

Hettie said...

Wow Alison. What a wonderful moving journal page you have created. Beautiful pages and wonderful story behind them.
Well done.
Hugs
xx

craftytrog said...

I love the story behind this beautiful spread Alison!
Stunning artwork!
Alison xxx

polycrafty said...

What a mesmerizing inspiration (must go find that song now!). I love how you have interpreted the song into a fascinating visual piece full of layers and possible meanings. Beautiful both visually and in concept!

Chrissy said...

WOW!!!that was beautiful Alison...what a great post and I just loved the story full of questions.Fantastic journal page...beautiful.

luv CHRISSYxx

Jools Robertson said...

Wow! Such a lovely depiction of the song
Love the colours and textures, fabulous

Hugs

Jools x

mark gould said...

Oh wow. So much to look at, so many textures and details im not sure where to look first. As a whole it has a beautiful overall look, great shapes on the pages and then when you look closer you see the paste letters and the stamped and frayed material. xx love these pages.

isisimaginings.com said...

Utterly beautiful, full of power & emotion. A true work of art.

Coco said...

Ooooh Alison, what a WONDERFUL page WOOOOW !!! Sorry to catch it up only now !... I love your French text also (of course!)... Thanks for the song of Gilbert Becaud and its translation too... always good for me ! ;) But more than all, this page is totally marvellous and fabulous !!!! Coco xx

Coco said...

I also love the story you were (greatly and amazingly) inspired by... Love words, writing and letters too... Wonderful post, thanks Alison. Coco xxx

Silvia(Barnie) said...

Just breathtaking, a wonderful spread.

toni said...

Wonderful! 'Nuf sed!!!!' X

Buttons said...

Absolutely perfect composition and inspired design here Alison. Love the way you've let the ink flow and and the addition of the folded letters is fabulous. Jenny x

Ana K. said...

I can’t believe that I missed (again) a few gorgeous posts here...Alison, this journal page is outstanding…texture, photos, your favourite colours…everything together is superb!!!
Greetings from Slovenia

Margaret said...

Oh, you have perfectly captured this song on your pages! Absolutely beautiful!

Kezzy said...

Wow such a wonderful song, and the words are very mysterious, I can understand why you come back to it. Think I'm going to go listen to it. Alison your journal page is absolutely amazing, the thought into each bit of detail, you always bring something to life, be it a song or a poem it is truly a awesome gift, I learn more from you from days gone by then I ever did at school lol. Hugs :-) Kezzy xxx

Lisa S. said...

Brilliant!!! That's all I can say Alison. I loved reading your post and your thought process when making this. It made my day. :) Hugs

Lucy Edmondson said...

Your journal page is exquisite, Alison. I don't normally like art journalling but I love this. As for the song and the story in it, well, I spend a lot of time in France as you know, and I will never understand them. I know they are always happy though as long as they get fish on Fridays and some dessert,

Lucy x

Kasia said...

Stunning pages! Love all amazing details of them :)

Marjie Kemper said...

How did I miss this exquisite spread!?!?! No matter, as BlogLovin' saved the day by letting me know one post was unread. I am so glad to have spied it.... it's STUNNING. Off to pin!

Cestina said...

Oh oh oh! How in the name of heaven did I miss this post?

You will know that this is unlikely to be one of my favourite Dietrich songs (far too sad-I saw her performing it live by the way) but your rendering is simply amazing.
xx