15 December 2010

December Snowfall

It's a little late reporting this because the snow has all melted, but two weeks ago Lyon woke up to a pre-Christmas snowfall that threw early morning commuters into a panic.

Those who couldn't drive tried the metro. Others chose the more sane option of walking. I even saw one man riding his bicycle, business suit and all.

 La montée de la grande côte, Lyon 1st district

Place Maréchal Luyaty, Lyon 6th district

More snow is predicted for the end of this week with temperatures well below 0° C. Only six days out from the solstice and already it's feeling a lot like winter.

11 December 2010

Danger! High Creativity

I recently bought myself an A4-sized sketch pad with unlined white pages; it's where I record my inspirations and dreams, all the fabulous things that I want to create for myself in the future.

What caught my attention was the catchy phrase on the cover by Swiss born artist Bejnamin Vautier (commonly referred to as 'Ben') repeated five times in alternating colors:

danger haute créativité
(danger, high creativity)

 There's another artist, a local boy from Lyon, whose imagination and craftsmanship merit the same warning. His name is Pascal Mallet and he's furiously passionate about his art - making colorful glass jewelery with a creativity that flows like a fire hydrant.

But it wasn't always the case. For 25 years Pascal enveloped himself in the world of professional music, playing piano, harpsichord and organ in concerts.

The turning point in his life came a few years back when he was following another of his passions, wood working, and had an accident that left him partially handicapped in one arm.

Unable to continue a career in music, he embarked on an intense search to 're-invent' himself. Very quickly he was drawn to the creation of jewelery - the touch of the glass, the manipulation of the material with his own hands to create an
object of lasting beauty,

a sensation he admits didn't exist for him when he was interpreting music.

Several times during the year Pascal can be seen selling his creations, for men and women, in artisan markets throughout the region.

If you're visiting St Flour in the Cantal this weekend, you can stop by Pascal's stand at the Christmas market. He'll be there all day on Saturday and Sunday, December 11th and 12th.

The following week will be your last chance to buy a Mallet creation before Christmas. From Friday 17 December through to Christmas Eve, Pascal will be at the Christmas market of Issoire in the Puy de Dôme.

But if you can't make it to either of the Christmas markets and you're in Lyon next week, you can stop by his workshop to browse, ask questions, pick up a gift or two, and maybe even see a demonstration of how Pascal heats then works with his special Murano glass and turns it into art.

His workshop - and creations - will be open to the public on Tuesday 14 and Wednesday 15 December, from 10am to 8:30pm. Address: 50 Grande rue de la Croix Rousse, Lyon's 4th district. Interphone "Pascal Mallet", 2nd Floor.

Heating a glass baguette with a special blow torch to create a 'pearl'.

Rolling the glass to create different forms.

The glass changes color depending on the chemical mixture of the blow torch.

Inspecting a glass pearl. I call this one 'Jupiter'.

An assortment of original ear rings.

Fixing a clasp to a pendant that will be worn as a necklace.

Close up of two pendants.

Pascal also makes his own writing pens from wood, glass and leather.
Like his glass jewelery, each one is unique.

The new collection of rings on display.


05 December 2010

Winter Wedding (updated 15 December 2010)

I was invited to take the "unofficial" photos at a wedding yesterday. So while the hired photographer was doing her thing, posing the couple and family members, I got to roam freely and do what I like best - take candid shots.

The "behind the scenes" feel is what I think makes this photo interesting, and the fact that nobody else captured the moment from the same perspective. Although I have to admit, the photographer's flash in front of the couple adds a nice element.

A few days ago the bride's father sent this clipping from the local paper. The image looked strangely familiar; that's when I saw myself behind the bride's right shoulder, taking the above photo.