member of:Observers of the Interdependence of Domestic Objects and Their Influence on Everyday Life

This group has been active for a long time and has already made some remarkable assertions which render life simpler from the practical point of view. For example, I move a pot of green color five centimeters to the right, I push in the thumbtack beside the comb and if Mr. A (another adherent like me) at this moment puts his volume about bee-keeping beside a pattern for cutting out vests, I am sure to meet on the sidewalk of the avenida Madero a woman who intrigues me and whose origin and address I never could have known...
--Remedios Varo

(Slideshow is of Artwork by Remedios Varo)
By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.
--Franz Kafka

Friday, November 15, 2013

Don't Wait


In 1879, a postman in Southern France, Ferdinand Cheval, picked up a stone somewhere along his route and made a decision to build a castle. He had no training at all.

"I was walking very fast when my foot caught on something that sent me stumbling a few meters away, I wanted to know the cause. In a dream I had built a palace, a castle or caves, I cannot express it well... I told no one about it for fear of being ridiculed and I felt ridiculous myself. Then fifteen years later, when I had almost forgotten my dream, when I wasn't thinking of it at all, my foot reminded me of it. My foot tripped on a stone that almost made me fall. I wanted to know what it was... It was a stone of such a strange shape that I put it in my pocket to admire it at my ease. The next day, I went back to the same place. I found more stones, even more beautiful, I gathered them together on the spot and was overcome with delight... It's a sandstone shaped by water and hardened by the power of time. It becomes as hard as pebbles. It represents a sculpture so strange that it is impossible for man to imitate, it represents any kind of animal, any kind of caricature."
"I said to myself: since Nature is willing to do the sculpture, I will do the masonry and the architecture." ( Becker, Howard S. Art Worlds)

The non-offending first stone
He carried stones in his pockets, then began to use a wheelbarrow on his route, picking up whatever caught his eye.
The castle is 85 feet long and stretches from 26-32 feet high.
 "You start wondering," the facteur wrote, "if you have not been carried away into a fantastic dream with boundaries beyond the scope of imagination."" (New York Times, Mary Blume, May 3, 2007)

He ignored ridicule; he ignored the fact that he had no training. He dreamt of building a palace, and so he did. Stone by stone. It took him 33 years.


Via Wikipedia


  1. Oho, wonderful castle, a Gaudi-like style! I like the decor elements shaped as pots holding aloe leaves!
    ''... He ignored ridicule; he ignored the fact that he had no training. He dreamt of building a palace, and so he did. Stone by stone.,,'' ... an excellent message..! Thank you, dear Zoe! I always leave your blog filled with new thoughts and transformed in one way or another! ♥

  2. le palais idéal vaut toujours une visite... merci!

  3. This is wonderful A testament to the power of dreams. And the design is wonderful. Proof that outsider artists are better at holding fast to their visions.

  4. A fantastic, inspiring story, goes to show that if you're willing to put the work in, a stone at a time, you can do anything, even build a palace. I agree with Clive about outsider artists too; I went to paris a couple of weeks ago and walked round a couple of huge, vastly expensive contemporary art exhibitions that must have taken years to plan and an army to realise, then went to an outsider art show and was far more moved and excited

  5. Amazing! I love this kind of "crazy-why not" shapes and mixture of everything together.
    It makes me remember Gaudi also, though I suppose we cannot at all compare both.
    Muchas gracias Zoe!
    About the message, I know that I will be late when I finally decide to do it, and then I will regret I didn't start years ago. Life is too short. I need 3 or 4 lifes to fix all the mistakes Im doing in this one :))

    By the way, I wouldn't get inside the castle, it could colapse down if he built it with no experience... on the other hand, it took him 33 years... he had time to find out where to put the stone to make it secure :))

    Glad to read one more of your interesting posts Zoe!

    1. ha! i hope in all that time, he got the safety part right, i'm sure he did....probably better than anyone else, since it was art to him, not a job :)
      yes, three or four lives, all at once, would be very nice...