Hollyberrie fantasy

Yesterday I spent the day with my friend Sylvie, a belated birthday trip at the Craft for Crafters show, Westpoint. There was so much to see, we ambled up and down the aisles for hours. One of the prettiest stands was Hollyberrie Studios, where we met the lovely Pauline Spence.

Originally a water colour artist, she now has a passion for textiles and embroidery. Her work is incredibly intricate, some fantasy based.

This fairytale castle had so much detail, I didn’t know where to look, every little girls dream!

Here’s a closer look, but I only had my i phone.

This piece all folds away into the box, dragon and all.

Pauline’s work has won national competitions and been featured in magazines. She has City and Guilds  teaching certificates and loves to run workshops, sadly I wouldn’t have the patience or even the basic skills, but she can be contacted if you search for hollyberrie studios.

This four seasons clock was both Sylvie and my favourite.

A pretty repurposing

Well I think so anyway.

Krista has found the sweetest little thing to repurpose, totally unique. I hope she stores it safely until next Christmas.

These two bracelets of mine are made from plastic carrier bags and bottles. I don’t know how they’re made, but wish I did, I’d have a try myself. I’ve seen plastics upcycled into many things but none as attractive as this.

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Looking Forward

As someone who likes sculpture, I have to confess to being a complete idiot. You know how you walk past something regularly and don’t even notice it? well this is one of those things. Commissioned in 1977 by Exeter city Council, for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, it’s one of a series by Peter Thursby, and named Looking Forward.

The sculpture depicts a Podman, they were ‘Little men on scaffolding, constructing buildings. They appeared to be framed in boxes, like peas in a pod’. Thursby made a full sized model from polystyrene in his Exeter studio. The finished work was cast by the Chris Blackmore foundry near Ashburton.

Will any of you confess to discovering something that you’ve walked past hundreds of times and not seen?

The Details on Guell

I went to Park Guell last year, but my friend didn’t so that was a great excuse to go again! But I won’t bore you with more of the same, instead, I’ve created a gallery of some of the smaller details, the Trencadis mosaics.

It’s commonly believed that Gaudi, Park Guell’s architect, invented the Trencadis modernist style, but it’s more likely that it originated in the ancient Arab world. I’ve tried mosaic work, just making a house number. The result was pretty good, but it was very hard on my hands, and I wouldn’t want to do it again. I can’t imagine the number of hours it must have taken to create Park Guell.

Dorset Buttoned Up

Whenever I go to Bridport Art’s Centre for a craft fair, I meet a lovely lady called Marcia, she makes buttons, Dorset buttons. Here she is concentrating on the tiny stitches.

db1Marcia has been making Dorset buttons for about 8 years, but the craft, known as ‘Buttony’ began in 1669, in a small Shaftesbury workshop, belonging to Abraham Case. The buttons with names like High Tops, and Dorset Knob became the most popular ones in England in the 17th and 18th centuries, spreading to Europe and even to the colonies. I’d be interested to know if anyone in Australia, Canada or the United States have ever come across them, Ruth perhaps?

As demand for buttons increased, so the cottage industry grew, with many farm working families finding that they could earn more money, without the drudge of hard labour on the land.

In 1851, at the Great Exhibition, the Button making machine was introduced. This struck a fatal blow to the workers, some chose to emigrate to the colonies, those that remained suffered dreadful hardship.

The skills of Buttony have not been lost, they are still being skilfully and artfully made by people like Marcia. She makes the Blandford Cartwheel design among others, and has brought their beauty into the 21st century, making them into lovely bracelets, earrings, brooches and cuff-links. She’s also created an ammonite shape alongside the usual round. Here is some of her work.

And what could be nicer than a bold cartwheel brooch adorning a beret?

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Marcia says, ‘As a farmer’s daughter myself, the realisation of what these peoples must have suffered, is my inspiration to be part of a growing interest in bringing this beautiful craft to the attention of the modern world.’

Thank you Marcia for your enthusiasm about Buttony and your lovely company!

 

 

The Palau de la Musica Catalana

Architect Domenech Montaner’s stunning concert hall in Barcelona marks the zenith of the Modernista movement in the city. He called it his ‘Garden of Music’, and it is a joy to behold. As soon as you arrive you can tell you’re in for a treat.

When you turn from the narrow street, there’s a new entrance.

With the Good Conductor waiting to take charge.

Just inside there’s a rather elegant bar. On a guided tour we learn that a church beside the Palau was pulled down and the new entrance created, with a small auditorium. Then we get the first dazzling glimpse.

 

A dynamic representation of Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries flies high above our heads.

It’s hard to know which way to look!

But Pegasus is also in flight.

While on the balcony I have to wait to photograph a row of mosaic pillars where too many people had the same idea.

Then we go back inside on the top floor to see what we’ve really been waiting for.

Montaner’s vision was to blur the boundaries between interior and exterior, creating light that would change throughout the day.

You should be able to click on the image to get a closer view. It’s a kind of inverted dome, a stained glass orb skylight, totally entrancing. The tour finished with a short performance of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue, I can’t think of anywhere better to hear it.

This post is for Jo who’s been to the Palau and hopefully will like this little reminder, and for Jude who may like to go there sometime in the future.

I’m sorry, I’m way behind and owe many of you messages!