“Here”, he said, handing her a small striped cotton backpack with drawstring straps. “Put your camera in here, you won’t look so conspicuous…less like a tourist”. Would she really stick out like an outsider by appearance?
“Ok” It was his home away from home, his winter retreat in the mountains of Calabria. She definitely was an outsider but used to carrying her camera slung on her shoulder, not scurried out of sight. But it was a small town of about 1700, 4,000 feet up in the mountains of Calabria. As soon as she was spoken to, or opened her mouth, it would be noticeable.
She was used to her camera being an extension of herself and in some cases…a silent companion. When she went to social events alone in the past, she didn’t have to worry about conversing with people. A party, a wedding, a corporate event. She could hide behind the camera and let it be part of her persona. The enquiring part. The observing part. She didn’t have to carry on a physical conversation. Viewing a scene of a person closely or in the distance with a long lens, people never seemed to mind her eye through the lens in their space.
They walked through town, stopping to say hello and shop. The local computer shop, the green grocer. The produce in the green grocer was immaculate, neatly stacked. Conversations with the locals turned into lots of nodding. Smiling. Listening hard trying to pick out bits and pieces of a language she had barely 10 words of. It was amazing, exciting and new.
Walking out of the grocer, a car stopped and the driver asked her for directions in a hurried Italian. Shrugging, she looked to her partner who quickly filled in the needed information.
“Looks like somethings going on in town today”
They walked uphill, changing their route they started on so they didn’t have to pass the “other” green grocer and flaunt the fact he had shopped at the competition. A fortuitous meandering, as they stumbled across a flurry of activity with cameras, shouting, video cameras and a small crowd of people milling about.
“What’s this all about?” he asked the local friends. They explained that there was a famous Italian director and actress using a bar in the city as a backdrop for a short documentary on bullying.
“Well then…I’ll just fit right in with a camera, won’t I?” Unwrapping the camera from it’s cotton shield, she started to quietly take photos.
Snapping of the lens is a language all its own. She eased into the crowd and became a little more engaging. She had learned long ago that pointing a large lens your way was an invitation to either hide, or smile. She saw both, but more smiles.
The actresses posed. The local police matron smiled. The friendly townspeople tried their best English with her and she heard open questions of “Americano?” to her and her companion, along with quiet similar questions in the background.
She began to blend in. The next thing she knew, she was walking arm-in-arm with him, at a slow pace (per the director) as extras in the street scene in front of the bar.
And so her adventure in Monterosso, began.
To see more, go to: An Impromptu Filming
Spring Classes are beginning! February 2nd is our first class at On The Surface Studio in New Haven from 12-2. Click on the image to learn more!
Sue Muldoon divides her time between 3-dimensional and 2-dimensional work. She bounces back and forth between photography, web design and graphic design to seatweaving (chair caning, wicker repair, rush, splint, etc.) and basket weaving.
Basketry started as an add-on to seat weaving because there was material begging to be used in more than one format.
Sue’s career has always been creative, from wallpaper hanging and interior painting to a lengthy career in the floral industry as designer and merchandiser. Wood carving, furniture refinishing and upcycling furniture in novel ways using unique materials like leather belts, ties and alpaca wool set her apart from traditional seatweaving methods.
Color is rampant and unapologetic.
Where some might see a chair, Sue sees a statement. She spends the majority of her time now repairing seats (an unabashed “chairnerd” and webmaster of The SeatWeavers Guild, Inc) but enjoys branching out into basketry.
She considers her seatweaving work to be part functional and part emotional. Along with repairing chairs, she repairs the memories that are attached to seats that are in demise and disrepair. The joy on a client’s face when they see family history brought back to functionality is inspiring.
Her photography and design work enable her to get the word out about what she does, and her skills in social media are in demand from farmers markets, growers, artists and authors.
Creating special baskets for her most rapt audience, her 3 and 8-year-old grandsons, keeps Sue busy and inspires her to teach them to appreciate nature, natural materials and art.
A frequent instructor at various sheep, wool and fiber festivals and art retreats and farmers markets, she enjoys sharing seatweaving and basketmaking to new crafters and artisans.
Contact Sue at email@example.com