Friday, January 31, 2014

The Self-Unwrapping of a Masterpiece

Regular visitors of The Beret Project are well acquainted with my friend Pieter; former wine-merchant, graphic designer and "general artist" who only wears clothes (and berets) in bordeaux (maroon). 
Only a little while ago, Pieter received the last beret in the 'Bordeaux Series', the ultra-large 37cm diameter txapeldun, and sent me evidence of the parcel unwrapping itself: 
Pieter publishes one of the best blogs I know of: ROSKAMOX TXAPELDUN; alas, it is all in Dutch, but although you'll miss the finer details, you still get a long way with Google Translate

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Richard Devereux

Richard Devereux (1956) is a UK based visual artist, creating art works that still the mind. There is a great meditative quality in Devereux’s works.
Richard Devereux studied at Portsmouth College of Art (1974-77) and has exhibited extensively since 1979. Examples of his work are featured in numerous private, national and international collections, including: the Chelsea School of Art; Tate Gallery, London; Vanabbe Museum in Rotterdam; Vancouver Art Gallery and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
I was extremely pleased to receive this great photograph of Richard and his dog Jess – a prize winning picture!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Monument for a Painted Tree

This photograph (above) is unfortunately the only evidence of the painted tree that once dominated the top of our driveway (and yes, there is hardly any paint to be seen - it's a shame). I painted the tree years ago, as an homage to Agustin Ibarrola and it sure was a Ngaio landmark.
But then, the tree died (no, not because of the paint; drought) and had to be removed. Youngest daughter Emira in tears (it was her favourite tree), so we had to do something.
What better than a beret-themed monument on the very stump of the tree? Iron, foam, wood and concrete on a wood base, topped off with a ceramic house number 60 in mosaic, covered by a navy txapeldun

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

José María de Iparraguirre Balerdi

José María de Iparraguirre Balerdi (1820 - 1881) was a Spanish poet and musician, considered the Basque bard for his compositions in Euskera (the Basque language) and is best known for his hymn to the Tree of Guernica.
Iparraguirre had an adventurous bohemian life that fitted well with his image of a bard, always carrying his guitar with him and improvising songs and verses. 
His work, written mostly in Basque (though he also wrote in Spanish, French, English and Italian), contains some of the most significant songs of today's Basque Country.
He lived a romantic life during a very turbulent period in the history of Spain, with the outbreak of the Carlist Wars and the abolition of the privileges of the old regime.
At age 14 he ran away from his parents' house in Madrid, to enlist in the Carlist ranks in the first battalion of Guipúzcoa. He was wounded in the leg at the Battle of Arrigorriaga (1835), when he was only 15 years, and then joined the company of Yeomen of D. Carlos.
After the war, when he was 19, he went into exile, joining in 1848 the French revolutionaries who overthrew the monarchy of Louis Philippe. But when Napoleon III made his coup, Iparraguirre was expelled from France and started touring Europe with a troupe to earn a living.
In 1853 he filed for a pardon and returned to Spain, where he composed Gernikako Arbola a zortziko who first performed that year at the Café de San Luis in Madrid. The song became popular and reached the Basque Country. In Bilbao, Iparraguirre himself sang it at two locations of the Plaza Nueva, La Patisserie and Café de la Iberia; all present joined in.
This seemed dangerous to the authorities who considered Iparraguirre a “rabble-rouser"and banished him in 1855, by means of the Guardia Civil, which became the subject of another of his popular songs, Nereamak baleki .
After two years of exile, he returned to Guipúzcoa, but he was exiled again in 1858, this time, to Buenos Aires.
In 1859 , he married in Buenos Aires with the Querejeta Guipuzcoa Aizpurua Maria Angela, with whom he lived in Uruguay and had eight children, two boys and six.
In 1877 , he returned to Spain, leaving his family in America.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The new SPECIAL: Le Béret Français!

The new SPECIAL: Le Béret Français!
Le Béret Français is a label 100% made in France by some of the most dedicated people in the French beret industry, keen to keep the artisan way of Béarnaise beret making alive. This brand new company aims to ensure the beret is revived as the ultimate French fashion statement.
All materials and pieces are conceived, designed and produced exclusively in France. The beret collection is produced in Laàs, a charming little village in the Béarn (Pyrénées-Atlantiques).
From the weaving of the wool fibres to the final assembly, all the steps are undertaken in their production workshop according to traditional 100% French quality. The Le Béret Français team is made up of people who are passionate about their region and their job. They benefit from a savoir-faire passed down from generation to generation. Proud of this heritage, Le Béret Français gives life to a new line of berets to accompany women, men and children in their daily adventures.
All Le Béret Français berets distinguish themselves by a red cabillou (or 'txortena') in an otherwise strictly traditional headband-less, light 80 grams, 28cm diameter lined beret. The red cabillou is Le Béret Français' unique symbol, that can only be produced on their own special machinery. Available in six different colours. Only the red beret is fitted with a black cabillou.
For a limited time at a 15+% discount: 

Stamps, 'con boina', from Spain

On June 28, 2009 I wrote: "Surprisingly, I have found it hard to find more than a few postage stamps depicting berets."
Surprising indeed, as there are so many stamps depicting a beret, or boina, from Spain alone:
Ignacio Zutoaga, Pio Baroja, Jose Maria Iparragirro, traditional Basque scenes
and depictions of the San fermin Festival in Pamplona.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Groucho Marx with Beret

Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx (1890 –1977) was an American comedian and film and television star. He is known as a master of quick wit and widely considered one of the best comedians of the modern era. His rapid-fire, often impromptu delivery of innuendo-laden patter earned him many admirers and imitators.
He made 13 feature films with his siblings the Marx Brothers, of whom he was the third-born. He also had a successful solo career, most notably as the host of the radio and television game show You Bet Your Life.
His distinctive appearance, carried over from his days in vaudeville, included quirks such as an exaggerated stooped posture, glasses, cigar, and a thick greasepaint moustache and eyebrows. These exaggerated features resulted in the creation of one of the world's most ubiquitous and recognizable novelty disguises, known as "Groucho glasses", a one-piece mask consisting of horn-rimmed glasses, large plastic nose, bushy eyebrows and moustache.
Groucho Marx chatting with Jack Nicholson at a party for George McGovern circa 1972

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Grafiti (2)

I posted on grafiti before, but there's so much beret-related wall art around, it would be a shame not to repeat the exercise.
Just a few samples of what's around.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Scooters & Berets

A scooter is a motorcycle with step-through frame and a platform for the operator's feet. Elements of scooter design have been present in some of the earliest motorcycles, and motorcycles identifiable as scooters have been made from 1914 or earlier. Scooter development continued in Europe and the United States between the World Wars.
The global popularity of scooters dates from the post-World War II introductions of the Vespa and the Lambretta. These scooters were intended to provide low-power personal transportation (engines from 50 to 250 cc or 3.1 to 15 cu in). The original layout is still widely used in this application. Maxi-scooters, with engines from 250 to 850 cc (15 to 52 cu in) have been developed for Western markets.
Scooters are popular for personal transport, partly due to being cheap to buy and operate and convenient to park and store. Licensing requirements for scooters are easier and cheaper than for cars in most parts of the world, and insurance is usually cheaper.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

LP's, Berets and Record Players

I remember my introduction to a CD player, somewhere in the early 1980's, and knowing for sure that the large black vinyl LP's would never give in to a modernity like a shiny bit of plastic. 
It's a long time ago...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Luis Argüelles Sanchez

Luis Argüelles Sanchez, founder of the Muséu del Pueblu d'Asturies (Museum of Asturia and Bagpipes), died earlier this month, January 13, at the age of 84. 

Argüelles dedicated his life to studying and disseminating the Asturian culture. He leaves an important legacy of customs and traditions. His work focused on the recovery of the roots, costumes, dance, music, folklore and all that concerned the traditional Asturian culture.

His funeral was on Monday 14 January in Gijon.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

La Encartada - Vintage Beret Labels

I have published posts on La Encartada before, but never found good pictures of labels used by the famous manufacturer from Balmaseda.
The factory was established by Marcos Arena Bermejillo in 1892 and continued production until it's closure a century later, in 1992. The principal product has always been the Basque beret, supplied in large numbers to the police and military in Spain and abroad.
 In 2007 the factory re-opened as a museum, displaying a range of machines for processing wool originating in many parts of Europe. La Encartada displays a traditional Basque factory, but it also shows how entrepreneurs were able to integrate machines from many European countries into a single manufacturing process.
Nearby are several workers’ houses, some built at the same time as the factory and some from the early twentieth century.
Some interesting links on La Encartada: the museum's web site in English; on the history and archaeology of the (workers) buildings at the La Encartada premises; information on La Encartada and berets (in Spanish) with a video clip.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Lego & Berets

The Lego Group is a family-owned company based in Billund, Denmark, and best known for the manufacture of Lego brand toys. The company was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Christiansen. 
The history of Lego spans almost 100 years, marking the existence of a toy that grew from small wooden playthings in the early 20th century into the center of a vast market of plastic building bricks. Its manufacturing was started in Denmark, and has since expanded to factories around the world. The traditional date for the first Lego blocks is 1958, and the toys have continued to be produced with little interruption since around that time making it world’s fourth-largest manufacturer of toys.
 In June 2013, it was reported that Warner Bros was developing a feature film adaptation of Lego Ninjago.