D’armour et d’eau et fraiche
It happened one night in Rome.
Leaving our little apartment in Trastevere, we turned towards the steep hill behind us known as Janiculum (Gianicolo) Hill. We slowly made our way up a series of steps and cobbled stone paths to a restaurant that had been recommended. It was dark, the path was rustic and unkept in that Italian way…
TBH – it was a little spooky, graffiti was splashed here and there but when we reached the top of the hill, we found the medieval fountain Mostra dell’Acqua Paola al Gianicolo – better known as the big fountain (“Il Fontanone”) and a panoramic view over Rome. One of those unexpected delights that happens when travelling.
By the time we found Antico Arco – we were pleasantly surprised… it was a bustling Roman neighbourhood restaurant, filled with Italian voices and a familiarity that gave it a well-loved local feel.
After three weeks on the road, immersed in the crumbling beauty and decay that is Southern Europe, this little walk up the hill from Trastevere seemed to encapsulate our journey. Portugal, Spain, Greece, Italy-Puglia and Pompeii. Tomorrow we were heading back to the blue skies of Byron with hearts & heads full of old + new inspiration.
After dinner we strolled back down the hill, now in a slightly inebriated state. We stopped at some graffiti half-way down and wondered why there would be French graffiti in Rome? In my enlightened state; I was convinced it was a sign. For the first time in twenty years of going to Europe we hadn’t gone to France…quelle horreur … we both loved the graffiti and I took some photos…Mulling the words around in our broken French it roughly translated to ‘love and fresh water’ but with some research we discovered the expression in French is actually ‘Vivre d’amour et d’eau fraîche’ ..Or To Live on love & water, to live on little or nothing. All through our travels, we had taken photos, scribbled ideas down and bounced around random thoughts about the kind of space we wanted to create. I was a little obsessed about wanting to make a real mosaic floor in the entrance and that was before our visit to Pompeii:)
As we walked home through the Piazza Di Sant Egidio, I tried to soak in those last hours of the Roman night – Europe has such a mysterious and seductive pull…bewitchingly I passed this gypsy woman with her tarot cards on our final stroll back to the apartment. I slowed down my pace to capture the moment.
As we flew home; love, water and sea melded together and it became clear what was going to happen to the floor in Byron Bay. Now we just had to work out how to create it….
The hand-written font was done in chalk directly on the floor and then copied on to tracing paper. Jane then tidied it up and transferred it onto mesh. Along with getting the tile right, the size and shape of the script as well as the style flowing so it reads like you want it to. Its a skill and a process! Further complications arose when it came to tiling the floor and inserting the phrase so it actually lines up … when the final grouting was done by Decorated Earth (5 months after making it) it was time to celebrate 🙂
There is no doubt that creativity can be deadened by routine … Travel and taking time out from the rigours of running a small business for many years has been a gift. It has given us the freedom to think differently – what seemed unlikely, suddenly seems possible. What seemed like a hurdle now seems manageable. That free feeling is where the inspiration comes from, giving back a little love to the creative side of your life. Moving our life and our business to Byron has meant plenty of changes and this sentiment really spoke to us, we look forward to seeing you in our new space !
**If you are keen to learn about the art of making a mosaic get in touch with me and I will coax the talented Jane into doing a workshop when she has time!