Category Archives: Travel

NAGA

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You can’t help but be overcome by the romance of the NAGA story. All over Bali we kept seeing the face of the lovesick dragon in temples, as carvings and in the landscapes of the fable. As the story goes…

There is an ancient story of a dragon known as the Naga. He lives on the volcano peaks of Bali, but at night will descend into the ocean to see his true love, the Pearl. In the morning, the Naga rises up from the water and flies back to his peak. Water drips from his scales as he goes, nourishing the rice fields of Bali. During the day he keeps watch over the island, protecting Bali and its people, before returning to the ocean each night. Because of this routine, the Naga represents eternal love, prosperity, and protection to the Balinese people.

John Hardy’s Naga Collection takes this fable and brings it to life through dragon imagery: the scales along his body, his expressive face, and sometimes, glowing eyes. You can wear a Naga piece differently to mean different things – if you orient his head so it faces toward you, it represents eternal love and prosperity. Away from you, it means protection (this has to be my favorite application of a story to something wearable!)

Since the mythic dragon lives between volcanoes, we paid a visit to Mount Batur to hike up this active volcano which most recently erupted in 1963. Through volcanic activity over the centuries, a lake has formed from a collapsed crater. The visible activity of the volcano is a network of vents releasing hot gases – at the source, hot enough to warm food (in the case of our trek it was hot bananas!) It was my first experience on the top of a volcano, feeling its hot gases wrap around me as if Naga was watching the sun set, preparing his descent into the ocean to be with the one he loves….

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Beyond Lacoste…

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Lacoste is a treasure all its own, but Provence is full of little villages, each with their own magic and mood to explore. We would set out each time, seeking to come upon charming moments; to have enchanted evenings. I closed my eyes at the beginning of each trip and upon opening them, felt as though I was in a completely different world, one with unknown riches for me to discover. Every corner I turned was a new adventure, whether it led me to a restaurant nestled in the middle of a vineyard, a little shop filled with gorgeous vintage finds, or simply a cobblestone street set aglow by the light of fading day.

Provence, you have absolutely bewitched me…I cannot wait to return and uncover even more of your beauty…

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Above, standing in front of the Dora Maar house in Ménerbes, gifted to the artist and photographer by her lover Pablo Picasso as a separation gift.

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La Residence

The Residence du Savannah College of Art and Design privé in Lacoste, France.

Every corner you turn in this town has another surprise – streets strewn with bright purple lavenderstone archways glowing in the warm sunlight, vines creeping up the walls of ancient homes. But nowhere was there a better surprise than our incredible stay at SCAD‘s La Residence.

I knew from our previous trip with SCAD down to Savannah, GA that we were going to be put up in style, but La Residence is something else entirely. Encased in yellow-toned ancient Roman stone walls that glow in the damp early morning and cool peaceful evening, it beckons you inside to have a glass of wine by the courtyard pool, relax in the art-filled salon, until you finally lay your head to rest on the most beautiful, crisp, French linen sheets.

Lacoste is a fantasy come to life~ I never could believe my eyes each morning when I looked out my Provence pale blue shuttered window to a landscape of vineyards, cobble-stoned pathways, sunflower fields and lavender…and there’s nowhere better to stay and take it all in than La Residence, SCAD’s guest house for artists, parents, and acclaimed visitors…aren’t we so lucky…

The Residence du Savannah College of Art and Design privé in Lacoste, France. The Residence du Savannah College of Art and Design privé in Lacoste, France. The Residence du Savannah College of Art and Design privé in Lacoste, France. The Residence du Savannah College of Art and Design privé in Lacoste, France. The Residence du Savannah College of Art and Design privé in Lacoste, France. Continue reading…

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Weaving Life on Bali

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Bali is built on tradition and community, two aspects that permeate everything on the island from artisan’s work to religious practices and ceremonies. There is a rich heritage on the island of artisans, from jewelry making to weaving, and it is easy to see how these skills appear not only in the beautiful work made but also in the offerings presented at their temples.

Chain weaving, for example, has been going on for thousands of years in Bali. Women will work together, taking on different parts of the creation process to ultimately create a beautiful and intricate piece. This is mirrored in woven offerings, created with young coconut leaves by a number of women to make a detailed and gorgeous gift for the gods.

We had the most amazing peaceful experience on morning with our friends at John Hardy who wanted us to see the importance of tradition and community Bali is built around and how that influences the John Hardy designs, in this particular instance with Classic Chain. We rose before the sun to be dressed in traditional temple outfits and arrived at Pura Tirtha Empul, meaning The Holy Water Temple. People say it was built by Indra, a god of protection, and boasts pools of natural spring water for rituals. Water is the source of life and the Balinese use lots of holy water for blessing, drinking, and purifying – and you can even take it home with you! The temple is the biggest in Bali and people will come if something bad is happening to purify oneself or home.

Hinduism states that there are five elements of the body: water, fire, earth, wind and earth. Everything comes back to these elements in customs and rituals. In the ceremonies these elements are represented through the use of items such as incense and fire, which you see above in our offering the ladies created for us and below for the blessing ceremony.

The artisans at work in the ancient chain weaving manor:

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Just like women come together to weave the leaves into baskets for ceremonies, the community does the same with John Hardy’s approach to jewelry making and the classic chain weaving process. Like I mentioned before, John Hardy has a program where single mothers can work from home in their own communities in order to both make a living at their craft and raise their children.

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Below, the chains are later passed to another set of hands, continuing the creation process from one person to another, all working toward the finished product together.

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Community, ancient chain-weaving and ceremonies.

Below we witnessed the community of women working together on making the traditional offerings. These same type of techniques are passed down from generation to generation , showing up in spiritual practices, craft and trade and even as art pieces like some of the textile weaves we learned about from Threads of Life.

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