I’m tomorrow night’s guest on the Modern Romantic podcast – their goal is to inspire others to follow their dreams and stay strong while pursuing them! The live stream, which begins at 7:00 p.m. Central Time, can be heard at www.twitch.tv/themodernromantic. You can ask questions or make comments during that time. Afterward, it will be available on most podcast outlets, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts. I hope you’ll give the interview a listen. I plan to be encouraging and entertaining!
In conjunction with my fabulously talented and experienced husband, I’m making a documentary about the early Italian immigrants in our community. Please check this out.
This image, “Medieval Bestiary Deer: Deer in a Rowan Bower,” is a tile created by artist Mary Philpott. It will grace the cover of the first book in my trilogy about Queen Margaret of Scotland. I couldn’t be happier with this magical deer, or more amazed that I found it. Generally, the internet seems as destructive as it is interesting, but occasionally it connects people who would never meet but for electronic surfing. That’s how I found Mary. I don’t remember exactly what I clicked on that brought up her work, but what I saw made me stare at the screen in joy. It felt like destiny.
I clicked my way to Verdant Tile Co. (verdanttileco.com), Mary’s company, and discovered the extent of her talent. These hand pressed porcelain tiles are contemporary, yet feel historical. She’s got a Medieval soul, for sure. I’ve already chosen two other tiles for the 2nd and 3rd books in the trilogy, but you’ll have to wait a while to see them, (just for the suspense). Mary’s been most gracious and generous, and as it turns out, she has numerous facets to her art, personality and lifestyle. I had to share her with you, so here goes:
Mary Philpott lives out in the countryside in Uxbridge, Ontario, surrounded by hundreds of acres of forest, “part of which we are stewards of and maintain paths, keep bees and report to the government on wildlife.”
Mary attended the University of Guelph to study Art History and Archeology. Her goal was studio art, but she fell in love with history, especially the Medieval era. After studying Anthropological Archeology, she enrolled in Sheridan College School of Craft and Design for textile design. Once she discovered clay, she’d found her calling.
I asked her some questions about her work. Her palette is unabashedly rich, and she described much of her inspiration as from Provence, France.
Mary: “I think the clouds of Provence are found in the textiles of the region. They are that sunny, deep ochre type yellow that the sun shines through. My yellow is like that and (also) like the honey I find, and the green is that deep, rich emerald type green. The blue is also found in (Provence) textiles. The colours are also similar to the early 1900s Majolica ware found in France, Italy and Portugal.”
More recently, Mary has discovered a love of sculptural ceramics, and I think her delightful forest animals vibrate with character! She says she’s always loved animals. I think she sees them in a unique way.
Thank you, Mary, for letting me share the wonderfulness that is you!
"Shattered Peacock" follows the story of Iran's Persian citizens after Shah Pahlavi's downfall and the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini's theocratic government. Remnants of 1979's cataclysmic event continue to make Iran dangerous even today. Writing "Peacock" was an opportunity to step into a foreign culture, an ancient culture in a dire crisis. Consider that true Persian dynastic rule began with King Cyrus, known as Cyrus the Great, who was born between 590-580 BC. This wise man can be found in the book of Ezra in the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament), where he is lauded as a just ruler.
It wasn't that Cyrus didn't conquer cultures and peoples, but that he did allow them to keep their land, their customs and religions, which restored hope to the Jews who were living under oppression. Many rulers came and went for more than 2000 years. Persia's fortunes waxed and waned. Then in 1979, a great upheaval swept Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi from the Peacock throne. The Islamic Republic was born beneath the thumb of Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini, and the world was unalterably changed. Throughout history, it's usually the poorest citizens or specific ethnic groups who are forced to flee the persecution they face in their countries. However, in 1979, it was the educated, the pro-Western and the wealthy people who had to run for their lives. The greatest minds of Iran emigrated to the United States and Europe, leaving behind a vacuum in what was a storied civilization. "Shattered Peacock" explores this phenomenon. If you enjoy history, you'll savor the accuracy of "Shattered Peacock." If you enjoy a personal, exciting and thought-provoking book, you'll discover one that's ripe for discussion in a book club.