An Adventure In Art

I haven’t written lately and I miss it. I miss talking to all of you, but I felt like I needed a little time to just be with myself. For a few days I was feeling a little moody (I blame it on the Full Moon) and I was feeling uninspired; For a while I was even feeling disappointed with London and I wasn’t sure if I liked that feeling.

Today after having time off and just exploring the city I am much happier and I feel refreshed. I still feel a little isolated here in this big city all alone, but I do love it. I came here to learn as a fashion intern and that is exactly what I am doing. I am gaining so much knowledge about the fashion industry and the process and production of designing garments. But I can’t help but think that there is more than that to this trip here in London… so I will go with it.

I do miss doing readings though. I haven’t really been able to connect with very many people, as the time difference is too difficult. The cards have been calling my name and I keep finding reasons to just thumb through them. I even found myself reading the remnants of tealeaves from my tea bag in the bottom of my cup the other morning…. The signs are begging to be read.

It was interesting in the bottom of my cup I saw the shape of a horses head. It looked like the knight piece from a chess game. The symbolism of that is amazing as the knight is the chess piece that can jump other pieces and is most powerful closed in by the opponent. So maybe the sign for me is that even when I feel closed in I have an advantage… if I only look.

Today I spent my time wondering around the grand halls of the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery. It was fascinating to see all the beautiful art… or as I said earlier, “I wondered among the faces of history… the lives of brilliant minds hung in gilded frames… touched by stories to far past to be remembered”. I saw things that I had learned about in Art History. I saw things that made me think to myself… “Will I ever create such a masterpiece in my life time?” These works were awe-inspiring, to be able to paint the way these people could… you can’t really appreciate a piece of art until you truly stand in front of it. Some of them were like photographs…so delicate and real.

I saw Experiment On A Bird In An Air Pump, The Toilet of Venus, Equestrian Portrait of Charles 1, Belshazzar’s Feast, The Portrait of A Man, and Doge Leonardo Loredan to name a few… all of which I learned about in Art History. It was so interesting to really see them up-close. What a sensitive eye these people had. The attention to detail. Painting is such an intuitive process. So powerful… the colors, the images and the stories.

I then made my way to an area called Seven Dials, which I love. The area is titled Seven Dials because seven streets radiate from a center circle and each street is filled with amazing little shops, restaurants and other places to spend your time. It has a very free and energetic feeling.

I visited the store Mysteries again to look at their tarot selection. They have so many beautiful cards and I want them all, but I wasn’t really sold on any of them. I am strange when it comes to buying things… it has to really speak to me or I don’t want it.

They have two decks that I love so much and I have wanted for some time, but as I held them it just didn’t feel right. I want a deck that speaks to this trip and where I am at right now… and that’s not just any old deck. So I didn’t buy one yet. I will though before I leave for home. And it gives me another excuse to go back to that wonderful store.

I then found myself in a wonderfully eccentric little store called Pop Boutique. The first thing I spotted when I walked in was a rack of pleated trousers and I had to look at every pair. I finally found two pairs in my size that I loved. One black and one a beige and brown linen. I tried both of them on and was instantly sold… but I had to be sensible so I only bought the black ones because they were more versatile. But I may go back get the other pair later.

I wondered through a few more stores, but it was getting late so I could only think about eating… as I often do. I kept thinking to myself, “God I want pasta!” I looked over a billion menus but they were all so expensive. And then I turned a corner and like a prayer had been answered there was a sign on the front of a little Bistro called Ohlas that said, “All pasta 5.50”. They got me. I had to go eat pasta.

So I went in and was greeted by a lovely girl. I assume it was family owned. They waited on me and I ordered Lasagna and garlic bread with a coke. It came out very quickly and the waitress was so cute as she came over and asked if I wanted Parmesan cheese on my dish.

The food was amazing. I was so happy I decided to go in and equally happy that they were having a special on just what I was looking for. Love when that happens! After that though I had to make my way home in the rain… and the cold. But it was getting late and I was so ready to be home in bed.

My head was killing me so first I had to stop for some aspirins. Luckily there was little place to go right outside of the crowded tube station. I bought what I needed and then pushed my way to the train. It was so difficult riding home because of all the people I had to stand most of the way, which wasn’t the best of times with a headache.

When I made it home I decided to stroll through the park. Going the long way always allows me to see the lushes green grass and the beautiful trees. The little clusters of trees remind me of ancient groves to the goddess… they all seem to be in circles. Though I had a headache and it was raining… it was beautiful.

I’m happy that the day went well. I needed some new energy in my life. Tomorrow I have plans to attend an art show with a client of the woman I work for. It should be a nice evening out and some new people to talk to. I plan to have a wonderful day as well. Tomorrow will be relaxing. I think I may go to a coffee shop and write and try to find a nice bookstore to browse through.

Hope all of you are doing well.

Much Love,

Shaheen

© Shaheen Miro 7/18/2011

A Night In the City…

So many exciting things have happened in the past few days, it’s been almost surreal. You know I constantly remind myself that life is this mad and fantastic dance that we are all apart of you and you can either get out there and move to the beat, fumble over everyone else’s steps or stand on the side and watch… and for me its been about closing my eyes and doing a slow grind with uncertainty.

In the past few weeks I have come to appreciate the feeling of spontaneity and Tuesday night was one of those nights. A new friend invited me out to a concert at the Barbican Centre, which is in the heart of London. The concert was titled Singing the Truth, a concert to honor the women who changed the music of the 20th Century.

The concert was put on by three amazing women; all of whom were talented and distinguished in their own right. Dianne Reeves, Angelique Kidjo and Lizz Wright. Each woman had their own distinct style, sass and most importantly voice… and let me tell you they knew how to use it! They brought down the house with songs from Miriam Makeba to my personal favorite Billie Holiday.

Being at that concert in retrospect was more uplifting and spiritually moving than it seemed when I was sitting there. They were forces… wild and untamed and their voices had the intensity and power of thousand winds. I was certainly moved and more than once I had to put my soul hand up to catch the spirit of what was being given to us.

I left there with the unshakable sense of limitless power. The enlightened feeling that anything I want can be mine. They said it themselves, that you just have to dream, but among all else you must love! And love was the theme of the night, as I was in Love with their performance and the energy that they generated in that pristine concert hall. I thought as I walked away about the enchanting quality of singing… how you essentially cast your soul out to a crowed and lull them into a trance reciting to them your story along the way. Something about that excites me… the power of story-telling… the charm of the spoken word.

I want to sing now. I want to give my words to the world and allow people to feel it deep in their souls. To move and to feel is to dance and to dance is to live… live the dream that we are all so eager to dream. Our voice is unique to each of us and that to trust in that voice is to truly rock out in life!

The remainder of the night was equally moving because I got to walk in the city and see nothing but the glow of lights from the inside. Night life is always different than what you see in the day and I realized that there is a much more calming and subtle energy that pulses through London at night… its not the jarring energy that you find in other cities like New York. It’s Just something peaceful.

We made our way through the rambling mass of streets and all the sensational buildings; everything ancient, worn and regal. To me the buildings exude a warm beauty that is found in very few places in the States.  My friend thought it was funny that I was so inspired by the buildings… he said that it isn’t as pretty as America. But I had to disagree.

We ended our night at a little Pub. Which was everything that I imagined a London pub to be. It was all brass and wood and just down right gorgeous again. So we sat and had a drink and we talked about life, design and literature. And my friend quoted to me lines from Virginia Woolf.

We had an intriguing conversation about her works and we talked about taking a Mrs. Dalloway’s walk around London… which is a book by VW about a day in London. He also retold an amazing scene from the movie The Hours about VW’s life and so when I returned home I watched the scene on YouTube and I was totally moved. Here it is for you to see….

I just want to say that VW was an extremely talented woman and before my lovely night with my friend I knew very little about her. She lived at a time where her mental state became her curse and she literally became a prisoner in her own life because the people around her had their ideas of what was best for her. She just wanted to live her life in the chaos of London, regardless of how others thought that affected her fragile state of mind. And eventually she took her life because it was too hard for her to bear… though it was late in her years.

I can relate to Virginia because I think that it’s a common feeling to feel trapped in your circumstance. And so you find you way out whether it is writing or strolling the city. What I took from her is that you must be relentless in your pursuit to be who you are, to have your own life and your own mind. You must have a strong sense of conviction to what is important to you.

“And that was what she often felt the need of-to think; well, not even to think. To be silent; to be alone. All the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal, evaporated; and one shrunk, with a sense of solemnity, to being oneself. When life sank down for a moment, the range of experience seemed limitless.”

-Virginia Woolf

© Shaheen Miro 7/7/2011

Mazes and Mysteries

Yesterday was a wonderful day. My task was to go to the Convent Garden area and explore the streets of Seven Dials. The woman I am interning with Laura Dawson is looking for a retail space and wanted me to scope things out. So instead of heading to the studio yesterday morning I took the tube to that area of the city.

I arrive very early, much to early for the stores to be open and since my task was to locate retail space to let and get a feel for foot traffic and consumer profiles I needed to wait for a bit. I wasn’t sure what I would do to kill time, I thought maybe have a coffee or just sit on a bench… but as I wondered down another side street I saw a sign that read in bold letters, “FREE MENS HAIR CUTS”. Instantly they had my interest, as I have needed a haircut for some time.

I mulled it over in my head and thought to myself, I have needed to get my haircut since I left home…. But I didn’t want to spend the money. So I went inside to ask about it. The woman at the desk informed me that it was a beauty school and salon and that the students do free male hair cuts for practice. So I agreed to have my hair done.

I had a wonderful little British girl, about 17 who wanted to be a barber and specialize in hair coloring.  She was delightful, slightly rebellious and a very interested in conversation. We talked about how I wanted my hair cut initially, but soon our conversations went to the US and the UK and the similarities and difference and then to life goals. She was very sweet and I started to realize how timid she was with the scissors. You could tell she really wanted to do well but was still searching for her niche.

It was nice to actually have my hair cut and not worry about cost. And I think it was great experience for her because she got to do another cut and she seemed really eager to chat with someone from America. I really learned a lot from talking to her and I felt so much better having a new haircut… I’m very happy with her work.

I then wondered down more streets. Like an endless maze, I would wind down one street and magically get back to where I began without ever crossing the same path twice. London’s like that though, an endless maze of nonsensical paths.

At one point I turned a corner and there in front of me was a store called Mysteries. Instantly intrigued by its withering, hippy-esque exterior and Zen like energy radiating from the front door… I decided I had to go in. The slightly off kilter, retro punk dressed boys sitting on the bench furthered my fascination with this little den of “Mystery”. I just had to see what waited inside.

Once I stepped in I was greeted with warm smiles and a million new things to look at. Crystals, candles, cards, posters, jewelry, anything and everything you could think of! Literally there was rooms of new age, fluffy stuff … and the little sage burning, black hat wearing pre-teen “witch” in me wanted to touch everything! But I contained myself and reverently inspected each room.

There were two rooms that called to my spirit. First was the room that wasn’t really a room, but more of a sanctuary. Off of the crystal room there was a small conservatory like space that had been made into somewhat of a shrine filled with a fountain, and tons of Buddhas and other spiritual statues, crystals, idols and spiritual paraphernalia. It exuded a high vibrating energy that resonated deep inside of me; a sort of deep rooted, tranquil, almost lulling quality.

Then I made my way to my Second favorite room and that was the area that was filled with hundreds of decks of tarot cards! So many decks to see, and touch and pick through and of course I wanted every one of them. It gave me the chance to see a lot of decks in person that I have pinned after for years!

The most exciting part of this little adventure to Mysteries was the “coincidence” of me finding it. A fellow blogger and talented writer Prince Le Normand, from http://princelenormand.blogspot.com/ referred me to the store and I had plans to visit later on during my trip, but as fate would have it… I found it before!

My adventure ended with lunch at, of all places, Pizza Hut. It was a very nice, peaceful and solitary lunch. I ate in alone because I felt it would be nice to just sit and relax and I had a wonderful salad and some pasta… not to mention a very attractive waiter. All the while I people watched out the large window that faced the street (a new hobby of mine since I ride the bus, etc… daily). Saw a beautiful vintage double decker bus too.

Afterwards I made my way back to work. I had a lot of cutting to do. But I felt amazing. Fresh hair, fresh perspective and I was ready to go. Sometimes you need a day out to clear your head. I was happy to see yet another part of the city. I will defiantly be going back to maybe do some shopping… who knows maybe I’ll get another hair cut!

Oh and did I mention that I stopped into Dr. Martens to look at their boots… and now I cant stop thinking about their 1914 black leather boots that I want so bad. I tried them on so that I could imagine myself in them in the mirror and it felt so right. Someday :)

Well I hope everyone is doing well… enjoy the photos… and enjoy life

Much Love,

Shaheen

© Shaheen Miro 7/1/2011

 

London the Dreary

outside my window

 

outside my window

me in the glow of a candle

five of hearts/cups: The card that the weather invokes right now.

Music and candle light create a moody atmosphere in my room tonight. There are so many things to think about and being here really allows me to take a look at my life and who I am. Its been some time since I’ve kind of allowed the night to carry me gently to inspiration… so here I am writing and reflecting. I willing take in the rains baptismal powers. And the five of hearts comes to mind. The five of hearts/cups represents moving on, letting go and release. It can be a card of tragedy. But i’ve always believed that you find love in tragedy. So here is to releasing. To walking fearless. To casting off the old!

In Your Dreams

This has been a magical weekend in London. I have been here since Wednesday and I have found my way around very easily. I have had to let go of a lot of fears and just step into the unknown and it has been amazing. So many wonderful things have happened and I know it’s only the beginning.

I am really loving my job working with Laura Dawson and she is a wonderful person. So far I have been allowed to work on one of my own designs with guidance from her and the two of us have been drafting patterns for it and doing some draping. I like seeing the process from a more professional standpoint. There are a lot of things in fashion design that are a little uninspiring and just plain boring, especially when it comes to the technical stuff… but so far I am interested!

On Sunday I had to fetch a few samples, which meant learning to take the bus to another part of town, and then we picked up the actual fabric bolt in the car… which was the most daunting thing I have ever done. It took almost an hour to park because of all the street markets that set up on Sundays in London.  But it was a learning experience none the less.

Yesterday evening I went to Hyde Park for the Hard Rock Calling concert to see Stevie Nicks. As most of you know she is one of my heroes and I have followed her music forever. I love her and I am totally inspired by her. I have wanted to see her in concert for a while now and I found out that she would be performing while I am here in London so I told myself I had to go.

I was a little afraid to go at first because I was unsure of the venue. I didn’t know if it was going to be sectioned off or opened and I didn’t know what the area was like. But I went for it because I wont be in Cincinnati when she plays there this summer… so it was my only chance. And once I got there my fears were dissolved. Everyone was friendly and helpful and of course Hyde Park was beautiful.

Stevie Nicks was brilliant on stage. She sounded wonderful and looked stellar. Stevie channeled Janis Joplin when she wore her aviator sunglasses on stage to block out the sun because it was sizzling hot and beaming right in her face.  The crowed loved her too and people danced and cheered with each song and they were especially alive on the tracks like Stand Back and Edge of Seventeen. The energy was sort of pulsing and spiritual and you could tell Stevie felt it.

The concert was phenomenal. I was so excited to see her. It felt surreal to be seeing someone whom inspires me so much on such an important trip. I felt that seeing her was a blessing on what I am doing here in London. I have said it many times and I will say it again, this is a special trip; this is a trip that will change my soul… a little piece of my destiny. Last night I thought my trip was made and that nothing could top it.

Today the icing was put on the cake when I went to a CD signing in Oxford Circus for the release of Stevies’ new album In Your Dreams. Today was the official release date here in the UK and to promote it she did her second CD signing ever. I went and stood in line for a few hours and made friends with some wonderful people as I waited to get inside. We knew we would only get a few moments once we made it to her table, long enough to get our CD signed and say a quick hello… but it was so worth it. All of us were so eager, nervous and totally enthralled.

Once I finally made it to her I was so excited. It was such a surreal moment to be standing face to face with her… with STEVIE NICKS!!! She is such a legend and talent, and it never occurred to me that this moment would be happening until it finally came!

She was a very sweet lady, whom pulled you in with her warm eyes and gentle gestures. She asked my name in order to sign my cd and when I told her she complemented me telling me that it was such a beautiful name. And she asked me to spell it for her to make sure she didn’t get it wrong. She even stopped to reread it again. Then I took her hand and told her how much she has inspired me and for a moment I felt like something magical had taken place. With all her gypsy, high priestess power she blessed me and changed a little piece of what I am here to do in life.

I walked away knowing that this trip is still the most significant thing I have ever done and the fact that I was able to see her and meet her made it all the more so. I am a huge believer in signs and to know that I came here from America and my favorite singer came here at the same time to perform a rare show and do an almost unheard of cd signing is just mind blowing. I am really thankful for all of this and I am so totally moved.

I look forward to what exciting thing may happen next. I know that there are many more things to come here in London and I know it is all beautiful and wonderful. I urge you all to be inspired and to know that you can have anything In Your Dreams. So please go buy the new CD… go dance and sing and be happy!

Much Love,

Shaheen

© Shaheen Miro 6/27/2011

London

Here is my little rant about London… Sorry I am jamming to Stevie Nicks in the background. It felt funny to do a video without any noise… because my roommates were in the hall.

Hope everyone is doing well. Look for more video’s and post.

Much Love,

Shaheen