My artist residency in Dinan ended on a high note with articles featuring my work appearing in Dinan’s local papers Le Télégramme and Ouest-France.
Journalists were invited to the final review of my work by Les Amis de la Grande Vigne (some of whom are pictured with me, below) who came to select one of my paintings for the Jean-Haffen Museum’s permanent collection.
I hosted a lively crowd of committee members, journalists and local residents at my studio and made a formal presentation of the works I completed during my residency.
The selection committee were particularly pleased with the different artistic approach I took to their charming village, in particular my focus on the local box making factory, Norman Emballages, that has been in operation for close to a century. I created several portraits of workers using their own wooden boxes as my painting surface, creating gold embellished contemporary icons influenced by my visits to the Louvre earlier in the month.
I was also smitten by the ancient stone that make up the walls and buildings and streets of Dinan. These stones symbolize the very beauty and history of the place.
I got to know the local stone mason and on a whim I painted his portrait on one of the wooden boxes. Ironically, that was the painting ultimately chosen by the committee for their collection.
A huge ‘merci’ to Les Amis de La Grande Vigne and to the late artist Yvonne Jean-Haffen whose generosity and foresight allowed for the establishment of the artist-in-residency program in Dinan. I will be forever grateful. Thank you for a memorable stay in Dinan and to new friendships. Au revoir.
After putting in a good six hours in the studio here in Dinan as artist-in-residence at La Grande Vigne I need a break. Despite the intermittent rain and hail, I headed off to the old city center to see if the hat maker was in. The boutique caught my eye several days ago but I had yet to find it open. Every store seems to have on its own hours and days and it’s been hit or miss for the most part. I turn right at the clock tower, down a little alleyway and voilà! Danielle – or DD of Dinan – is everything I hoped she would be. A true artiste – quirky, creative, and slightly folle.
Place any scrap of fabric in Danielle’s hands and she will create a chapeau worthy of the Mad Hatter.
Danielle turns vintage hats, scarves, scraps of embroidery and left over fabric and felt from her clothing line into phenomenal creations that are a mix of Doctor Seuss, samurai hairstyles, Napoleonic fashion and medieval head coverings. She also uses meters of fabric in her flowing unstructured coats. I wanted to buy the coat she was wearing but she had just made it that day and she couldn’t give it up. And by the way, Danielle gives all her hats names…
The (reasonable) prices for her creations appear on price tags cut in the shape of a star. She explains that her mother gave birth to her at home in a little town called L’Etoile Plaisante (literally, The Star Jokes!)
We click instantly and spend the next hour talking art and playing dress up with her impossibly imaginative hats. I want one!
You can find Danielle’s boutique at 21 bis passage de la tour de l’horloge, Dinan.