Whilst perusing a small vintage shop the other day I spotted the Spanish dancer. Skirt all a ruffled and striking a pose of intensity, with the elegant curve of her back, her flamenco prowess on full display. Amazing isn’t it that I got all this from a needlepoint tapestry, but it was love at first sight she drew me in the moment I saw her. You see the art of Spanish dancing is woven into my very artistic, dramatic being.
In my early years I used to do a little bit of Spanish dancing, Spanish dancing you understand not fancy flamenco. My wonderful nana, Betty, she taught me. In the Monk’s Chest in here hallway (now in my hallway) was an assortment of Spanish treasures, castanets, Spanish dresses, shawls even a mantilla. On our weekend visits my sister and I would unfold the seat of the bench to reveal the mass of lace, fringes, frills and bright colours and with excitement we would layer ourselves in these beauties. Then, gathered in the lounge, nana would raise her arms above her head into a soft but firmly set arch, twist her upper body and tilt her head to one side. Her prodigies would do the same, of a fashion. Nana’s face would set into a passionate, wanting glare which my sister and I would reproduce as pouting lips and wrinkled eyes. Her foot would then flick up behind her returning quickly to the floor in a stamp, we would follow suit and soon we would all be pounding around clicking our castanets, flouncing our skirts and shout “Ole”.
Nana was not Spanish, in fact she was half Italian half Irish born in Egypt but she too had been doing Spanish dancing since she was young which made her a perfectly qualified teacher. Here she is in her teens with her handsome matador.
My Spanish dancer also has a matador and I’m ashamed to say I didn’t even notice him, so transfixed by her was I. “She’s part of a pair?” I exclaim head twisting around searching for more ruffles and colours. Above a cupboard stood in the dark is the solemn matador, up there on his own I’m not impressed. He is brought down, dusted down and placed down next to the senorita. Instantly the two speak to each other and I can see these hot blooded lovers belong side by side. Sold and home they come.
It’s not just the subject matter that drew me in but the craftiness, the handmade brilliance of the pictures. Needlepoint tapestry is something I’m yet to try but I’m sure when I do I will love it. The neat little rows of stitches in tonal shades, bright shades, light shades, dark shades which all add depth and contrast to the image, intrigue me. How one tiny stitch with another tiny stitch and another with a little bit of patience creates something so beautiful.
Not entirely sure where they are going to go, maybe in the lounge that I am currently half way through painting, where ever I will need to let the husband see them first. Not braved that one yet.
P.S on the same shopping trip I also bought these…..