Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Peeling doors in Ag Nik

Today we ventured a bit further afield than Elounda, getting the local bus to Aghios Nikolaos ("Ag Nik") , rather hillier  than expected, both museums closed but we found the market and a delightful local Taverna 'Aouas' where the  whole family including 2 small girls were sorting through a huge pile of snails . Lots of crumbly peeling doors too, although I'd already amassed a collection from other locations around Elounda. 

Tomorrow is May day, a a public holiday when most people go into the countryside to gather 'horta' and have picnics. It's our last day and we're intending to go for a walk in the hills with a taverna lunch and returning to the Lotus Eaters hoping they'll have some of that chocolate and rosemary tart left....

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Island , monoprinting and Minotaurus Blood

Started sketching before breakfast, who could resist trying to capture the amazing sunrise! Then a boat trip to Spinalonga Island ( as featured in the the novel 'The island' ) -impressive Venetian fortifications and poignant reminders of the leper colony. 

After a fishy lunch of  sea bream, an afternoon of monprinting on paper,fabric and colourcatchers, making good use of the laundry facilities for an improvised print rack! I'm intending to put together a little book like I did in Puglia and Rydal

Dinner at home this evening, using the fairly basic cooking facilities to produce pasta and ratatoiulle with gorgeous local ingredients accompanied by a bottle of 'Minotaurus blood'wine -couldn't resist the label !Tho we're just as happy with the local 'wine from the  barrel' at 3.50 Euros for 1.5L ! 
'Ag Nik' by bus tomorrow. 

Birthday in Elounda

 A memorable birthday meal in Elounda at the Lotus Eaters restaurant with chocolate and rosemary tart followed by homemade limoncello preceded by a specially ordered leg of Cretan mountain lamb that had been cooking all afternoon -we managed to demolish it all bar the bleat

Selfie with restaurant cat 

The day itself was spent blissfully doing not a lot, a late start, a bit of shopping, a leisurely lunch on our terrace and a walk around the saltpans accompanied by lark song (skylark or crested lark, not quite sure )  with a few watercolour sketches of the mountains watching fishing boats negotiate  the narrow canal beneath the causeway to Spinalonga peninsula. 

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Morning skies in Elounda

 Up early, trying to capture the sunrise and amazing skies over Spinalonga peninsula in watercolour from the huge terrace of our apartment before bread and honey for breakfast.
 Then a 5k walk to Plaka on backroads, even spotting some late orchids along the way.The last 3k was on roads along the coast seeing all the superposh new developments.
 Seeing octopuses pegged out reminded us of Gerolimni and Gythion and we had a delicious lunch at the Taverna Spinalonga overlooking Spinalonga Island ( as in book 'The Island".)

 Heading back with clouds looming , a couple of kilometres down the road, we sheltered in a metal(!) bus shelter opposite this colourful shrine while the gods threw around copious lightening and thunderbolts which then cleared to sunshine in time for us to be rescued by a taxi driver!

Indigo Evening in Elounda

Last night, at the Lotus Eaters in Elounda, Crete, a wonderful meal of aubergine dip, followed by lamb and a chocolate and rosemary tart rounded off with a metaxa and Greek coffee watching Spinalonga peninsula turn through various shades of indigo to an absolute pitch black ( not used to that after brown london skies). We enjoyed our meal so much we're going back tomorrow for my birthday having ordered a special lamb leg that will be cooking all afternoon. 

Earlier in the day we'd head over to the peninsula , after a lesiurely lunch of leftovers from  dinner the night before at Mam's( my portion was ginormous and also very tired from an early start tho staying at Gatwick the night before is definately the way to go ) . Lovely evening light as we walked by the old salt pans with remnants of the old windmills. 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Boro at Somerset House

More than 2 weeks since my last post, very busy at work as our lab was a winner in the Intellectual Property Office 'Fast Forward' Competition. Plus 2 weekends ago Susan and Glyn came to stay, lovely to catch up, and hearing Susan talk from behind her pile of quilts at  Quilters Guild Regional day . Last Friday, Ian and I went to the 'Vikings' exhibition at British Museum - very crowded and lots of people with BO!( end of week? unsuitable clothes in warmer weather?) so I  moved quickly to the larger area where the impressive boat was. I also enjoyed the interpretation more in this area , concentrating on how they lived, their belief systems  (which had me looking again through excellent book on amulets  when I got home).
Earlier on I'd taken the afternoon off work to go to see the  Boro exhibition at Somerset House, deeply satisfying at so many levels. Several bloggers have written excellent posts on their experiences: Helen; Susan; Margaret: here and here.   
First of all the setting was spacious allowing you to step back from the pieces and also to examine them in detail  at leisure. The pieces were mainly mounted on canvas, very much to be viewed as abstract art pieces. The  minimal mounted boards of explanatory text ( repeated in the catalogue) made reference to  a wide range of artists including 'outsider art' those that used ephemera  and more  mainstream artists such as  Picasso and Paul Klee ( having seen the recent exhibition I can definitely see the links there). But the fabric and stitch gave a whole other dimension. The catalogue  also showed in some instances the same piece in different orientations -  that many looked equally good although different showed just how powerful  these pieces are.   Difficult to choose favourites,  (although  2 out of 3 had been sold so I obviously have good taste!) my preference was for those that had a bit of light to leaven the indigo and with some interesting stitch and patterns.  I concentrated to taking photos of some of the details as these weren't so represented in the catalogue

Taking photos from  beneath or to the side in raked light revealed some interesting textures and clues to how fabrics had been layered.

I loved the  almost vessel like quality , variation in stitch (with some sashiko) and evidence of multiple layers in this piece (no 3)
And the reverse applique ovoids  in no 18 (below)



This was so reminiscent of blind stitching  but then it's probably the back, the 'unconscious side' with neater stitching of the front hidden.
When I got home I fished out the 'cutter' quilts I've bought, thinking I could be even more daring than I was 'darning' and putting together my 'Red Remnants' quilt. Watch this space!
UpdateJudy has asked about details of the catalogue. It's ISBN 978-2-9536279-3-0 Boro Threads of Life Japanese Indigo Patched Textiles 2014  Gordon Reece & Philippe Boudin. Do take a look at the  Mingei Arts Gallery  and Gordon Reece websites  for some of the pictures that feature in the book.