venice takeaway

The distress, he thought, was genuine, although several generations of artifice had perfected its expression. He thought, now he had time, that Vanni Loredano looked like nothing so much as a fully articulated model of a Venetian nobleman.
—  Dorothy Dunnett, Race of Scorpions

It is International Women’s Day! A time to celebrate those women who inspire us to be great.

It was in the 1900’s, a turbulent time of great change and unrest, that the worlds population began rising and radical new ideas came bubbling to the surface. In 1908 fifteen thousand women took to the streets of New York demanding equal rights and better pay. It was from here that the first Womens National Day took place in America on the 28th of February 1909 and was soon followed by an international conference of women from over 17 countries who all agreed that Women’s Day should be celebrated world wide. Hence the birth of International Women’s Day.

To think of only one woman who inspires me the most is a difficult task as there are so many wonderful and influential heroines to mention for example Rosa Parkes, Josephine Baker, Beatrix Potter, Dolly Parton, Virginia Woolf, Ella Fitzgerald and Audrey Tautou…an eclectic and extensive list that could go on! However I have decided to write about someone who is little known to most, but certainly a great heroine of mine: a Swiss artist called Emma Kunz.

It was a dank and dreary day at Uni last year when in a dark corner of the library I came across a book entitled 3 X Abstraction, a modest looking hard back, a little dog eared but smelling wonderfully of old musty paper! I stared in awe at the intricate spirograph-like drawings of Kunz and felt that heart crushing sense of wholeness one feels after coming across a kindred spirit.

Emma kunz was an artist and healer who lived in Switzerland from 1892-1963. She was a recognised researcher and used her artwork to heal sick patients. From a young age she believed in the power of telepathy and prophecy and pracised using a pendulum which became the basis for her artwork. Present in her drawings is an intense energy and sense of movement which was dictated by the swing of the pendulum illustrating various energy fields that Kunz believed she could see. She did not believe in miracles however, only abilities that lie dormant in us all. In 1941 she discovered in nearby caves a healing rock called AION A which she used to help her friend Aton C.Meier when he became seriously ill with infantile paralysis. AION A comes from Greek aion meaning without limitations and the substance heals not only through its mineral composition but its bio dynamic energy. It is used by many doctors today in Switzerland and Kunz believed it to have not only physical healing powers but the ability to heal a spirit.

From 1938 Kunz began making large scale drawings on graph paper which are not only beautiful but encode a vast amount of knowledge. She would complete a drawing in a day staying up all night to finish if she had to. She describes them as follows ‘Shape and form expressed as measurement, rhythm, symbol and transformation of figure and principal’. This is certainly apparent in the resulting images where angles and lines swirl together forming a colourful and energetic mass.

Needless to say I checked that book out over and over again for the last few months I was at Uni and hope that I am lucky enough one day to visit the Emma Kunz Centre in Switzerland! Until then however I can continue gaze at her intricate artwork and be inspired by her belief (and mine) in infinite possibilities…

Isabel Moseley