How I See the Floors
Inspiring things I've seen around lately
My father and I went to the early morning flea markets right up until I left my home town in my early 20s. I searched for history. We had something we called our history, we had our odd traditions, we had our generations of cousins far far away and all of the family stories, we had this rather large rambling family home, we shared this penchant for going to the flea market together, searching. It was always about finding something valuable. You know, things possibly worth money. Digging, scanning every table, every little case, searching. "Come and see what I've found."
There were a few things that gave something value. One, being a collectible or well crafted. The other, the thing being old. Really old meant really valuable in my mind. Like this object had tendrils that extended and intertwined with something completely inaccessible to us now. Holding secrets in the present tense, while having mingled with emotions and harbored the collective thoughts and sighs that changed and swerved and as a whole became self aware. Things that spanned farther than any human life were valuable beyond belief in my child's mind, something with a story that could be legend for all the lack of proof, except for this object. These old objects we rifled through at the flea markets held different degrees of connectedness. It was our pastime to work together on developing that eye to see and discuss their placement within the framework of time.
Years ago, less than a year after my father died, only about 3 months new into my marriage and having just arrived to the city of Lyon, I was standing in front of a church built on original early Christian temple foundations that dated back to the Roman era. That warm afternoon, a buried passion for the lifelong project I had shared with my newly lost father was staring me in the face. This passion we had shared, and this place, one he never had the chance to see, this ancient place, took me and held fast, cemented me, shook the foundations of my grief almost violently. With that, like any slap to the face, I felt hurled back into a pre-loss-of-my-father frame of mind. That moment, my connection with Lyon the place grew. Not just a flash or a feeling. I believe Lyon has great value not only because it is old, but because it is thriving and old, and sprite and lanky, mean. But most of all, determined to survive and remain its very old self.
I was standing in the "laboratory" of the Boulangerie that will become my teaching kitchen on my first visit and the floors caught my interest. They're a hodgepodge of various dated working class tiles, patched together. The shard like mosaic type floor is typical from about 80 years ago. There are plenty of things we could do with the floors, lay down hardwood, etc. There are bare areas as well, tamped bare earth where the oven has always been, for example. My plan is to find materials that harmonize with this rather random splash of tiling styles and hopefully to find a way to bring them all together, in my father's way. Uncovering and buffing out the little details, to hold in hand a bit of the existing patina, and pull out as much of this place's original story as I can.
Labels: Plum Lyon