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! 

A Library of Abstracts

When Jo and I walked around Birmingham last week, we were both struck by the architecture and interior of the library. We could both have spent hours there, but we dashed about, dazzled by the unexpected beauty in every direction. We tested funky chairs and colourful benches, took advantage of the facilities and peeped at Shakespeare’s memorial library. Here is a gallery of the interior, converted to black and white, I like the abstract look.

Jo, I can’t make any sense of the first picture, can you honey? I’ve tried turning it all ways!

Paula’s Black and White Sunday, Timeless

Timeless: eternal, everlasting, perpetual, unchanging, unaffected by time or changing fashion.

Timeless is Paula’s theme for Black and White Sunday, and this is my entry.

wm morrisThis is William Morris wallpaper, that I saw in the dining room at Lanhydrock, a National Trust property in Cornwall. It’s actually two shades of blue, cream and with a tiny bit of pink. A timeless, classic design.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge, Admiration

This weeks photo challenge has the theme of admiration, I have a tremendous admiration for those creative people centuries ago, who left us a legacy of treasure, in the UK and worldwide.

chest
This sea chest has sailed the high seas, filled with wonders.

18c tureen
I can’t help wondering about the delicious meals that have been served from this tureen.

stitch
The embroidery around this four poster bed has graced the bed chamber for centuries, no daylight lamps or computerised sewing machines, just small hands and candlelight to work with. Click the link above to share whatever fills you with admiration!

Rhapsody in black and white

Paula’s Black and White Sunday theme this week is ‘Rhapsody’, this is what she says about the meaning,

Defined primarily as an instrumental composition irregular in form and suggestive of improvisation, then as an ecstatic expression of feeling or enthusiasm or an unusually intense or irregular poem/ piece of prose, rhapsody is also archaically known as a miscellaneous collection; jumble. 

And this is my interpretation.

nice ladies (2)