"Those who have experienced Paris have advantage over those who have not. We are the ones who have glimpsed a little bit of heaven, down here on earth." - Deirdre Kelly

Friday, April 26, 2013

Timely Inspiration

'Holding Court'
Olympia Theater, Paris (1940)

"...I felt liberated in Paris." - Josephine Baker

On the 12th I received an order for one of my La Diva bracelets - inspired by the incomparable Josephine Baker. My customer - V - is a loyal customer and a Sistah-Parisian friend; she already owns a La Diva. Well, one of her girlfriends always goes gaga over it when she wears it, so she decided to purchase one for her friend's birthday. I immediately got to work. As I set out my brushes, toothpicks, paints and tiles I realized that it was the 38th anniversary of La Baker's passing. You know me, I started surfing the 'nets reading all of the blog posts, newspaper articles and photo-hommages to Ms. Baker; re-watching my favorite clips of her on YouTube. Yeah, you know that I was inspired - how could I not be? It's Josephine! In that moment, I decided to re-envision La Diva...

I decided to make one 'plain,' in silver

and two more with a bit of bling (one silver, one gold)

And if I may humbly say, I absolutely love the results! I sent both silver bracelets to V and asked her to keep one for herself, the other to gift - yeah, I kept the gold one for myself ;-}

There are so many ways and whys Ms. Baker is my hero, and it may surprise you to learn that her amazing connection(s) to Paris play a small part. She lived in a world and a time when being Black and woman in the U.S. was fraught with difficulty, frustration, danger and disappointment. Yet, she had the presence of mind, determination, grit, ambition, and pure Divatude to believe...to know that she could create from whole cloth the life she wanted to live - and she did. She was the first African American film star and she literally took Europe by storm. She successfully fought against racism in the U.S. (was an original member and major participant in the Civil Rights Movement); she kicked Hitler and his allies' evil asses as a secret agent for the U.S. and the French Resistance.  And along the way, she made a few continents and two nations in particular (the U.S. and France) fall madly, hopelessly and forever in love with her.

Of all of my bracelets and earrings, La Diva and her corresponding earrings are by far my best sellers. Even nearly half a century since her passing, we all still can't get enough of Ms. Josephine. I'm not surprised ;-}

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!

My Josephine moment ;-}

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