Today we welcome P.A. Staes, author of THE BRUGES TAPESTRY
The Bruges Tapestry
What does an art theft detail detective do? Well, in The Bruges Tapestry she looks for clues to the provenance of a tapestry made in Belgium in 1520. What do they do in the “real world”? For that, visit the website of the full time art theft detail in the United States located in Los Angeles, www.lapdonline.org/art_theft_detail.
Once I visited the site I realized it might be fun to create my own art theft detail, but it would be much easier to place my detectives in Newport Beach where the terrain was familiar. So far Detective DeMaere walks the real streets of Newport and Laguna Beach and her office is in a real, albeit empty, building across the street from the Newport Beach Library. Claire’s apartment in Corona del Mar is a real place, where a friend of mine lived. The rest of Claire’s life is utterly fictional, including her cavalier approach toward her boss and job responsibilities.
The plans for Detective DeMaere include world-wide travel as well as entering various time periods in order to understand the artworks she investigates. Though I’d love to simply send her back in time through a stone crack in Northern Scotland, like author Diana Gabaldon, the plan is to introduce the reader to textile techniques in several different time periods, including Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque.
Though there are many stolen art treasures (see the Art Loss Register website), my focus for Detective DeMaere will be on textiles, often the domain of female artists. Featuring textiles allows me to give attention to the undervalued work of women throughout centuries prior to modern times. Ever wander a museum and wonder if all the works of art in the world were done by men? Where are the works by women? It seems a valid question, yet we are surrounded daily by stunning works of art by women.
So textiles will feature heavily in Claire’s future. This gives this author and the reader a chance to explore the worlds of costume, lace, embroidery, needlepoint, basketry and so forth and the time periods in which they flourished.
In our world of machine-generated, rapidly-moving, technology-focused activities, the reader will be able to put down the smart phone and enter another time, a time when three inches of hand work might take a month to complete. Readers will move out of a world where a car phone operates on voice command to a world where hand work by candlelight might make the difference between starvation and bread for the day.
While men were building cathedrals, which persist because they were composed of stone, women were feeding children making textiles, which have tended to decay due to the transitory nature of fabric and yarn.
Here’s to the invisible cathedrals built by women throughout time.
About the Author: P.A. Staes is a California writer with an interest in textiles and with plans to continue the Claire DeMaere detective series, focusing her detective’s work on textiles of Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque time periods.