Illustration Inspiration: Colourful lunch the Mediterranean Way

Illustration Inspiration: Colourful lunch the Mediterranean Way | Photography by Yaansoon Illustration

We had a nice family lunch a few days ago and the table setting looked absolutely fabulous. It encapsulated the multi-cultural world my husband and I live in, with all the colours, motifs, and textures that inspire my illustrations. Each piece was curated to remind our family of the places we’ve been to. The patterned red-white-and-gold tablecloth is a vintage piece from Damascus, the plates from Tunisia, the trivets from the UK, the water glasses from IKEA, and the blue ceramic bakeware from Jordan.

Although I was under the illusion my camera phone had taken some really nice pix at the time, I realized that most of the pictures were actually out of focus once I transferred them to my computer. To camouflage the terrible lighting and focus issues, I used filters that were applied rather heavy-handedly in a lame attempt to salvage some of these photos. So please accept my sincere apology for the poor-ish quality of these pix.

Illustration Inspiration: Colourful lunch the Mediterranean Way | Photography by Yaansoon Illustration

Today’s post is about a multi-cultural lifestyle and a home filled with love and a mix of world patterns.

When I was a kid, I was the one in charge of setting the table for my mom’s many lunch and dinner feasts. I didn’t know what seemed like a chore back then was teaching me something about art and design.

Illustration Inspiration: Colourful lunch the Mediterranean Way | Photography by Yaansoon IllustrationMy mom has a large collection of dinnerware and plate sets from different parts of the world. My task was to mix and match these sets against a suitable backdrop (the tablecloth), polish the silverware, and set up a separate tray for the turquoise and navy-blue glasses.

Illustration Inspiration: Colourful lunch the Mediterranean Way | Photography by Yaansoon Illustration

Although these days I prefer a rather more minimalist approach to home decor in other areas of the home, I still love a feast with busy and colourful patterns.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s post, looking forward to seeing you in my next one!

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New YouTube Channel for Food, Natural Beauty, Culture and Travel Illustrations

New YouTube Channel for Food, Natural Beauty, Culture and Travel Illustrations | By Yaansoon IllustrationI’m super excited to share with you all the news about launching my new YouTube channel yesterday! I’m very happy to finally be able to create videos that reflect my passion for illustration, food, nature, beauty & lifestyle, and world music & culture!

The idea behind the channel is inspired by my own journey as a woman and as an illustrator.

Being a woman is about so many things, it involves how we internalize food, travel, and other life experiences to create our own unique styles and points of view.

Through this channel, I want to experiment with materials and ideas, and to share with you all my passion for world and tribal cultures as well as food and botanical and natural ingredients.

Before I go, here is the link to my new YouTube channel:

youtube.com/+YaansoonHandcrafted

Enjoy and have a lovely day!

NOTE: This post was originally posted on November 6, 2015 – however I decided to move it up in my blog to suit its new direction. The content of this post has also been amended to reflect the kind of new YouTube content I started posting in 2016 after making do with videos from 2015 – as they no longer reflected my artistic vision.

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Dreaming of a drenched-in-blue Moroccan town

blue, morocco, travel, YaansoonI mentioned in a previous post that a great grandmother of mine was from Morocco. I dreamt of visiting this beautiful country for many years, until one day I did. I went to Casablanca as part of a music tour in North Africa. What I regret the most is not extending my visit to see this beautiful blue town, named Chefchaouen!

With summer comes my life-long craving for the color blue (check this post for blue and white inspirations from Pinterest). But nothing beats these photos of an old Moroccan town, nestling in infinite hues of the color blue north of Morocco.

Please see image credits at the end of the post.

blue-streets-of-chefchaouen-morocco-15I just found this post by boredpanda, and with it came a healthy dose of blue walls, blue doors, and blue visions of every sort. This is where I need to be this summer, to finally live the blue dream.

blue-streets-of-chefchaouen-morocco-11The color blue is such a soothing and calming color that reminds me of the sea, the sky, and nature’s abundant beauty. When the sky is blue, everything is alright. When an ocean is blue, it’s a sign of stability, prosperity, and a weather that promises great possibilities.

blue-streets-of-chefchaouen-morocco-10Morocco… it’s a piece of heaven on earth. The farthest places, the houses, the souks, and every nook and cranny of this North African country is a unique work of art. And it’s not any kind of art… it’s livable, every day art that you get to breathe, taste, and experience in infinite ways.

blue-streets-of-chefchaouen-morocco-9Image credits: 1 by Brian Hammonds, 2 by WordPress fellow blogger oneworldtwoexplorers.com, 3 by ‘unknown,’ 4 by Beum Photography, 5 by Cherry Bharati.

The Real Bread: What it Once Was

Handmade sourdough bread #organicItaly is home to hundreds of ‘artisan breads’ made from a homemade slow yeast (not the supermarket-bought yeast). My husband is an expert bread maker. This is his first-ever post on our blog and it’s about his passion for organic handmade bread.

I like the homemade bread made with sourdough (also called mother’s yeast); I have always been fascinated by the way this bread is made, so I decided to make it at home. I started with a recipe for sourdough found on the internet, with explanations from a skilled baker.

The Starter - Vimeo 2I wanted to make bread as it was made in old times, with the materials and methods handed down for generations in different areas of Italy. I used organic whole wheat flour (that consisted of both durum wheat and soft wheat) and that was stone-ground. I also used spring water that I took regularly from the various natural springs during my tours in the mountains of Abruzzo.

bread-grain-kitchen-bakery_2Even the salt was integral and handpicked, from the salt mine in Sicily. After several attempts, I managed to make bread the way I wanted, and guarded it in a cotton cloth in a wooden box. It was really yummy; it was enough to open the box to smell the bread even after a week. It is a tasty bread made with natural ingredients only. Since then I never missed the “real bread” in my house. It was not only delicious and healthy, but it made me feel connected to a know-how and an ancient tradition that was about to disappear.

A view of Barrea lake in Abruzzo, Italy
A view of Barrea lake in Abruzzo, Italy

This post was written in Italian and translated to English. The original Italian text will be posted on this blog in the near future, as we are introducing Italian content to our blog.

UPDATE:

The Italian post can be found in post dubbed, Il pane vero: quello di una volta

The Story of a Tuareg-Inspired Tribal Necklace

Yaansoon copper and wooden beads necklace I’m fascinated by the North African culture, especially that of the nomadic tribes. I feel a deep connection with places like Morocco and Algeria. Perhaps it’s because I have a great-grandmother who was from Morocco.

Throughout my childhood I had visions of visiting Morocco and the North African countries overlooking the Mediterranean. I even wrote a song many years ago about the Moroccan cultural cuisine and the home traditions of the Moroccan family – inspired by family stories about my great-grandmother.

Several years ago, my dreams came true and my music path took me to Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia as part of a number of music tours.

But it was in Algeria that I had another dream of mine fulfilled!

Yaansoon - Tuqreg inspiration Algeria has a portion of the population of Tuareg. They make such beautiful jewelry. I took the picture above of a Tuareg Cross at my atelier, from a book I have called, “World Beads.” It’s a symbolic piece of jewelry made of Moroccan silver, and it stands for the warrior spirit of the Tuaregs.

By tradition Tuareg men cover their faces, though the women do not. There are many theories about why men veil their faces. But the one I know of is about a time, hundreds of years ago, when a large clan waged a war against Tuareg clans prompting the men to flee the scene.

Surprisingly, the Tuareg women stood their ground and defended their clan… and won!

Tuareg blue veilTo hide their shame, men started wearing blue veils to cover their faces. A ‘face’ in North African and Middle Eastern culture is a metaphor for honor and dignity. By covering their faces, the men were metaphorically restoring their honor (Source of picture to the left unknown).

According to Wikipedia, “The Tuareg (also spelled Twareg or Touareg; endonym Imuhagh) are Berber people with a traditionally nomadic pastoralist lifestyle. They are the principal inhabitants of the Saharan interior of North Africa.”

Yaansoon - Tuqreg inspiration -cSo… as it happens, I played music at a poetry festival in a small far-away oasis, nestling quietly in the vast Algerian desert. Over there, I had the pleasure of meeting a Tuareg filmmaker – who did not cover his face and who wore modern dress. I almost fainted when I learnt he was a Tuareg, but his modern outfit confused me. He told me his clan members weren’t happy with him not covering his face, but he believed we lived in modern times and old myths no longer applied. Anyhow, it was a special moment for me as I always had such tremendous admiration for this nomadic clan!

Yaansoon copper and wooden beads necklaceThis necklace by Yaansoon reminds me of Algeria and of the Tuareg…

When I created this necklace I thought of the amazing time I spent there in a real oasis, with palm trees and fresh water, and sand dunes hugging the oasis in an endless pristine desert.

I love tribal jewelry, so I decided to make my own jewelry inspired by my travels and the cultures and peoples I have encountered – using different materials, like copper wire, tribal beads, and wooden bead.

etsy logoI recently opened an Etsy Shop with my husband to make these creations available to a wider audience. You are most welcome to pay us a visit!