Sunday, July 17, 2011

Blogging... it's sort of freaking me out.

As you could probably tell from my first post, I'm still not really comfortable with the idea of blogging.  In fact, I still haven't really publicized this at all.  (I think I have three followers now, so I promise you all... I will publicize this shortly and continue to blog so that your follow will not have been in vain.)  I've been thinking quite bit about what I want this blog to be "about."  The only thing I know is that I do NOT want this to be a promotional blog, dedicated solely to promoting my shop.  My life (and yours) is oh so much bigger than that.

I want this blog to be about what drives me, whether it's in art, crafts, work, or life in general.  For that reason, I feel I owe you a "real" introduction - who I am and how I got to where I am now.

However, given that the very idea of blogging about myself still totally freaks me out, I've decided to start in safer territory... I want to explain my shop and blog name, because the inspiration for them is a little bit obscure, and I get asked about my shop name (The House of Decadent Delusion) quite a bit. Since the inspiration for this blog comes from the same source, I'll just get this out of the way now.  :)

Here is the explanation that I have posted on my Etsy shop page and profile:

Sometimes people ask about the name of my shop. It's derived from the decadent movement in art and literature, and in particular from the book "Against the Grain," by Joris-Karl Huysman, which has greatly influenced the way I think about art, aesthetics, and life. Here is some information from the excellent Wikipedia article on this book:

"'À rebours' (translated into English as 'Against the Grain' or 'Against Nature') (1884) is a novel by the French novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans. Its narrative concentrates almost entirely on its principal character, and is mostly a catalogue of the tastes and inner life of Jean Des Esseintes, an eccentric, reclusive aesthete and antihero, who loathes 19th century bourgeois society and tries to retreat into an ideal artistic world of his own creation. 'À rebours' contains many themes which became associated with the Symbolist aesthetic. In doing so, it broke from naturalism and became the ultimate example of 'decadent' literature.

Jean Des Esseintes is the last member of a powerful and once proud noble family. He has lived an extremely decadent life in Paris which has left him disgusted with human society. Without telling anyone, he absconds to a house in the countryside.

He fills the house with his eclectic art collection (which notably consists of reprints of paintings of Gustave Moreau). Drawing from the theme of Gustave Flaubert's 'Bouvard and Pecuchet,' Des Esseintes decides to spend the rest of his life in intellectual and aesthetic contemplation. Throughout his intellectual experiments, he recalls various debauched events and love affairs of his past in Paris. He studies Moreau's paintings, he tries his hand at inventing perfumes, he creates a garden of poisonous flowers. In one of the book's most surrealistic episodes, he has gemstones set in the shell of a tortoise. The extra weight on the creature's back causes its death. In one of the book's more comic episodes, he spontaneously decides to visit London. When he reaches the train station, he overhears some English visitors, whom he finds disgusting. Feeling that he now knows what London would be like, he immediately returns home. Eventually, his late nights and idiosyncratic diet take their toll on his health, requiring him to return to Paris or to forfeit his life."

I don't hate people or society like Des Esseintes, but this shop is my "house in the countryside," where I can feel free to retreat into an ideal artistic world of my own creation.

I like to think that this explanation is self-explanatory, but perhaps not.  I recently explained the name to a group of Etsy friends, and one of them commented, "Your art is very important to you."  Yes and no - I've never thought of myself as an artist, but living an artistic life is important to me.  I want to be immersed in art and story and culture and yes, perhaps delusion, all of the time.

Life is but a decadent delusion, people - live it as if the art of it were the reality.

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