The World Turns To Ice

Monday, 26 September 2011

Appreciating where you are right now

I have often posted photographs of the road, which is more accurately a lane, where I live. I usually go along the path to the greenwood or along the country trail. I long for days when the landscape is at its most dramatic, when the crops are at their most vibrant colour or when the snow is on the ground. However, most days I am returning from shopping in the car without a camera and thoughts are more focused upon what I am going to cook for dinner. I am inclined to become oblivious to my surroundings and I am more likely to be dreaming and planning outings to more interesting places where I can find the most photogenic landscapes. Once in a while, though, I take off the blinkers and become aware of what is right in front of me. I took this shot from in front of my house. There really is no place like home.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Designing Christmas Cards

Last year's snow provided plenty of photo opportunities for Christmas card designs. Although it seems early it is not too soon to be thinking of the Winter season with Christmas Fairs booked and work to prepare. This photograph that I found reminded me of a poem by Alice Walker 'Horses make a landscape more beautiful'

So I have selected this one to go to the printers together with the one below which was taken on a walk back from the woods on a most beautiful frosty day. This was taken as the sun was going down so the warm colours of the setting sun were reflecting on the frosted trees.


Sunday, 18 September 2011

Searching for Ideas

Do you have times when you come to a barrier with your work, a time when a blockage occurs and everything you are doing has lost its sparkle and  you don't know which direction to go in next? That is the point that I am at right now.

I am happy with my fine art work. I have plenty of ideas for that and I know just where I am going. At the moment though, I haven't the time to work on it as I have craft fairs coming up and its gift making time for the run up to Christmas. I need fresh inspiration and my head is empty. I have lots of items to finish off and that is keeping me going as the stock is growing but I want to be inspired by a new idea.  Perhaps I am just not ready to get into the pre-Christmas spirit yet. I am still in that jamming, pickling and bottling end of summer frame of mind. I am more attracted by the thought of walking Jasper the Wonder Dog through the forest and picking blackberries as I go than visualising snowflakes and getting out the glitter.

As the weather gets colder and the nights continue to draw in then maybe visions of sugar plums will dance in my head.  Who knows what dreams will fill those long dark nights; what inspirations will come from winter reveries? I shall be ready with my sketchbook and needles to tease out their gossamer threads and fashion their forms as if by magic.

For now, I shall watch the colours changing on the treetops and the mists rising upon the river. I shall prepare warm soft blankets and sit and spin the fleece of sheep shed in summer. I shall place new wool in baskets made of willow and wait for the changing of the season. This is the time of year to be patient and drift with the day. The harvest is in and the fields are ploughed. The earth is slowing down ready for it's winter sleep.  As the darkness comes will it be the the tinsel brought out to catch the remaining light or the flickering of firelight that will bring the ideas hurrying in so fast that I shall have to make my fingers fly to capture them all?

In the meantime, 'Jasper, lets go and find conkers!'.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The Feast of St John of Chrysostom

Today it is the feast day of St John of Chrysostom. I am surprised to find out that he is the patron saint of orators, that he had an exceptional talent for public speaking and that he was very outspoken. This is not what I expected.
    At age 11 I transferred to 'big' school, St Agnes Grammar School for Girls, and was put in the loving care of Sister Mary Chrysostom who was our form teacher for the first year. We all fell in love with her gentle ways and her quiet, caring demeanour. She could get cross and I tried her temper a few times myself. Her face would colour to a violent red but she would never raise her voice and you would feel very guilty afterwards for upsetting her. For me it was like having a loving grandmother at school. She made us feel liked and cared for. She also took us for music lessons and it was there that I usually brought that blush to her cheeks, ever the second best class clown (my friend Jackie was the ultimate champion), I loved to bring as much silliness as possible to the lesson. Whenever I was dismissed from the classroom to stand in disgrace outside the door my worst regret was having upset her and wished that I could take it back. It did make me try harder to behave next time though.
  I wonder, then, why she chose St John Chrysostom as a saint so dear to her that she would take on his name as a noviciate?  Perhaps she admired his fearlessness in his pursuit to do what was right. I remember her with such affection and was sad to hear recently that she had died a few years ago. I am very glad that our dear 'Sister Chrys' made us try our best to do what is right  and to pursue goodness with gentle words and the example of kindness.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Under the Rose

'When we desire to confine our words, we commonly say they are spoken under the rose'
                                                                     -Sir Thomas Browne's Pseudoxia Epidermia, 1646

'Under the rose' or, in Latin 'sub rosa' is a term that figuratively means 'in secret'. In Roman mythology Cupid took a rose and used it to influence Harpocrates, the god of silence, to keep quiet about an amorous indiscretion by the goddess Venus.  In early Tudor times the expression was adopted into English usage. I had always thought that carved roses, that can be seen in a lot of Tudor architecture in public halls, were there to symbolise the Tudor monarchy. However, these carved or painted roses and garlands of roses worn on the head were there to remind everyone that everything spoken of whilst in those premises, particularly by the inebriated apparently, was said to be under the rose and, therefore, to be kept in the strictest confidence.

I shall now look out for them more often and wonder about all the secrets that have been held 'under the rose' and what shocking facts may have been witheld for posterity.