One of the horses in the Lascaux cave

From whence comes one’s inspiration? Sometimes within. Sometimes without.

Chauvet Cave, Ardeche France

In 1994 some casual explorers in the south of France came across one of the single most important discoveries in human expression ever recorded. As they entered the Chauvet cave system in the Ardeche region just north of Provence their light flickered across some of the very best preserved instances of prehistoric art.

Cave art has captured my own fancy for over twenty years.

My little Lascaux horse ink

When I was in the Peace Corps I got a tattoo of an image I would jokingly say had withstood the test of time – a copy of one of the horses from the Lascaux cave also in France.

Making Art in France

Coinicidently I was in Ardech making art with a German gallerist, Norby Haun (Haun+Hitzelberger) and his long time partner Brigitta, in an old stone house in a tiny village named Lagorce months after this amazing discovery. French archeologists got this one completely right and closed the entrance to the cave down immediately and definitively so what was inside could stay as pristine as it was found. I wasn’t able to have a look even though I was so close.

But thanks to artistic license I was able to go inside in my imagination and made a painting about how I envisioned the paintings were done:


My 1995 painting of the creator of the Lascaux horse art (sold in Montpelier, France later that trip)

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

The Chauvet rhino

Independent film director/producer, Werner Herzog, is a favorite of my husband Mike. He has made some crazy movies or I should say he’s made some movies that were insanely difficult to complete. But his latest could well be his life’s masterpiece. Done in 3-D he found a way to get permission to film the Chauvet caves and the results are simply fantastic. It truly is almost as good as being there. Look at the trailer:

One of the bonus delights about this project is how just exactly Herr Herzog sounds like my friend Norby! So for me not only is it everything great about what I’ve already mentioned – but it has this element of being almost like a film about my memories as narrated by my own friend.

The Inspiration Lives On

I’m looking forward to seeing how these amazingly mystical dreamlike images filter out through my own artistic process with the felting this time around. Actually I’m quite looking forward to making some wraps and shawls referencing some of them. What fun!