Tuesday 25 June 2013

Ned, Top and me - an unexpected meeting

At the stone masons' festival on Saturday, there was a tent which showed all the conservation and restoration skills from the Cathedral workshop, including joinery, lead work, stone carving and stained glass.  I was having a wander round when some brightly coloured Victorian-looking stained glass caught my eye.  Two panels of a window were shown and the window was originally in St Mark's Church, Lincoln, which was built by William Watkins in 1871-2 and demolished in 1971.
A coloured postcard of St Marks Church, Lincoln (I think) from  www.slha.org.com
I read the accompanying information and could hardly contain my excitement!  The windows were from a design by Edward Burne-Jones (Ned) and made by Morris (Top) & Co. Anyone knowing my love for all things Pre-Raphaelite can imagine how I felt, coming face to face with these in such an unexpected way. However, on reading further, I discovered that they were made around 1921 and it was Dearle, the then principal designer, as Burne-Jones and Morris had died by then, who actually made them. 
The windows had been saved, albeit in a rather sad state and had been in the Cathedral stained glass workshops since 1971, never having been displayed since then.  The stained glass workshop craftspeople are now starting to restore them and the plan is to then find an ecclesiastical home for them, possibly even in the Cathedral.
Apologies for the photo - the light was all wrong!  This is the unrestored state of 'The Virgin Mary', dirty, with large chunks missing and unstable lead work.
The restored panel of 'St John', showing the whole image in gleaming colour.
 I particularly liked the floral patterns.  However, I was leafing through the biography of Burne-Jones by Fiona MacCarthy, 'The Last Pre-Raphaelite' (details here), and she mentions this type of window, created from Burne-Jones' designs from 1914 onwards:
Burne-Jones would not have approved of these late windows.  The colour is much cruder than he or William Morris would ever have allowed. There is the heavy mass of foliage and incidental detail Henry Dearle, still Morris & Co's principal designer, could not resist (p.523).
I still think it is beautiful though.
 Another photo of the Cathedral, for no other reason than the sun was shining and it looked beautiful.  Perhaps the restored windows may one day be seen somewhere in there.

Monday 24 June 2013

Crafts, Castles, Cathedrals and Carvings

 There was a craft weekend at Lincoln Castle and Cathedral, so Chris and I thought we'd head along and investigate.  The craft part was in the castle and we went there first.  There were quite a few traditional crafts on display, including stone carving, felt making, knitting, net making, blacksmithing, wood turning, spinning, tile making, basket and hurdle making, using dyes and stained glass.
This lady was full of information about how these tiles were made and how they are in the process of creating thousands to be used in the restoration of a floor in Dudley Abbey (I think that is where she said).  She carves the woodblocks herself, using a variety of woods and then the woodblock is pressed into the clay tile to create the pattern.  The impression is filled in using slip, contained in a cow horn.

This was a visitor trying her hand at the infilling.  She did really well, I thought.
 The infilled tiles are then fired and this is what they look like when glazed. Fabulous!
 I was rather taken with this willow work pig!  In fact, I was so busy looking round, I forgot to take many photos.  I am considering applying for a stall with my felt making next year and am currently contemplating how I could actually demonstrate the process as well.
We wandered past the cathedral, noticing various new carvings which have be done to replace damaged ones. It is an on-going process.
 Chris really liked this little gargoyle, which he said he hadn't noticed before.
 This is where the gargoyle was - if you click to enlarge the picture, hopefully you can see him circled in red.
 One part of the cathedral has been closed off and under conservation/restoration for seven years.  Lots of new carvings had been created, including these two.  This dragon was my favourite - I love the way his claws have marked the stone.
 Chris liked this one - note the pound signs on his eyeballs, the gold coin between his teeth and the way he is clutching his money bag.  'Love of money is the root of all evil' perhaps?
 This is the section that has been worked on - sparkling clean!
We continued round to the East Green and there was a large marquee with lots of stone masons from across Europe busily chipping away.  The noise of chipping and tapping was incredible!  There was also the added excitement of trying to dodge the flying chips of stone but the atmosphere was wonderfully energetic and creative. There were many different examples of stone and several pieces had been donated by different cathedrals such as Lincoln and York.
It was heartening to see the wide variety of ages of stone masons taking part and there were several women there too. The idea was to carve something on the theme of Food and Farming over the two days and then the work would be auctioned on Sunday. I particularly liked the two or three rabbits/hares that I noticed while looking round.   Unfortunately, we weren't able to see the finished work, but I hope the auction was really successful. We certainly enjoyed seeing the work in progress.

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Poppies...and an astrantia

Finally, my poppies (Papaver Orientale 'Checkers') have flowered!  I have been anxiously waiting as the buds appeared, but no sign of the flowers.  Then they started to open but the weather turned wet and I was worried that the petals would turn to mush inside the buds. 
 Happily, that didn't happen and they are looking lovely.  I grew these from seed and although the flowers aren't quite as big as they have been in the past, they are still beautiful.
 The pattern and colours are amazing.  The blotches look black but are a deep burgundy/purple.
I couldn't resist adding this astrantia in, even though it is nothing to do with the poppies.  Nature's designs are amazing.

Sunday 16 June 2013

A Floriferous post

 Here are a few of the current stars in the garden.  Above is anemone multifida rubra which I bought from a market stall last year. It just had seed heads on it so I was curious to see what the flowers would look like.  It has lovely ferny foliage with tall stems, topped by these small but beautifully formed, brilliant cerise flowers.
 This was sold as gladiolus byzantinus, but I am not sure it is.  It is a graceful plant and I put a few of these in last autumn so am pleased to see them flowering now.
 A crumpled cistus flower.
 Two clematis flowers (I can't remember which variety this is, but I do know it is a patio type).  I really need to pot it on a bit!
 Allium Oreophilum, which was included in a bulb pack and which I really like.  It isn't very tall and was unceremoniously planted in a pot last autumn with grape hyacinths and crocuses.
 My first Gertrude Jekyll rose of this year.  It smells wonderful!
 The astrantias have done really well, despite such a cold spring and being planted in a dry spot.
 Allium Christophii, just starting to flower.
 Allium Gladiator.
A self seeded love in a mist.
Clematis Ice Blue.
Oriental Poppy Checkers, which is tantalisingly close to flowering, but just needs a bit more sun (but then, don't we all?) 
I do enjoy watching and recording the constant ebb and flow of the plants.

Just a little addition (17th June 2013):
As I don't know what will happen with the list of blogs I follow in July when Google is going to retire something or other, which may or may not cause problems for us bloggers - you may be able to tell that I'm not really technology minded(!) and I really don't know what effect, if any, it may have - I have finally decided to join Bloglovin'.  Several bloggers I follow have done that too and said it was easy and was a kind of insurance policy against Google's changes.
I had some techno-phobe challenges to be overcome on the way, but I think I have done it. The link is here, if you would like to follow feltabulous with Bloglovin'. I think I have also managed to add a follow button down to the left under the housework image. Hope it works! I am not on facebook, so if something pops up about joining when you go to the Bloglovin' site, please don't feel you have to sign up.
(This slight worry about blog lists may, of course, turn out to be totally unnecessary, but I won't know until after 1st July.  Google really haven't made it clear what the effects will be.) 

Tuesday 11 June 2013


 Prepare to be surprised - in fact, are you sitting down?  I have finally finished the rabbit I was making! It feels like I have been working on her for years, even though it is about two months or so.  At last, her face has been added and she is done.  Hoorah!
As you know, I found the 'Tilda' pattern quite fiddly and I also needed to do some judicious amending to the dress pattern.  The hat finally fits her and took me five attempts to get right, but I am pleased with the end result.
 I added some vintage lace around the bottom of her dress and it does lift the whole outfit I think.
 I hope she has a serene and pleasant expression - that was the plan when I was sewing!  Now she needs a friend who is going to be wearing a dress made from the left over pink silk from my wedding dress bodice.  I am going to use the 'Sugar Bunny' pattern by Helen Philipps, which is a little larger and see how I get on with that.  What do you think - will I be any quicker with the next one?  (Somehow, I doubt it.)
I was looking through Mum's photo albums and found the only colour picture (from 1972) of me in my puffed sleeve dress - the material of which started this rabbit construction project in the first place.  Granny is behind me and my eldest sister is sitting on the grass with Tina, the Yorkshire Terrier.  It was a bright and sunny day which is why the details are a little washed out, but I do look incredibly pleased with myself, don't I?  (I may have a go with Photoshop and see whether adjusting the brightness/contrast/colours will help.  If so, I'll post the updated version too.)

Monday 10 June 2013

Open Gardens visit

 Yesterday we spent a very nice afternoon in a village a few miles away which was having an open gardens afternoon.  The gardens varied in size and style, but all were very well maintained and, considering the cold Spring we have had, were all full of flowers.  Some were a little too regimented for my liking, but I admired the owners' skill.
 Irises were much in evidence, as were alliums, aquilegias and weigelas.
 This was the last garden we visited and had lots of exuberant planting.
 As we were having a lovely cup of tea and piece of cake, we were treated to a flypast from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster.  It came over three times, but, unfortunately, these were the only photos I managed to get.
I think seeing this aeroplane may have been a highlight of the afternoon for many people!

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Alliums and osteospermums

A bit of a purple post today, due to the rather gorgeous alliums currently flowering away.  I have two varieties in the garden - Allium Gladiator above was purchased last autumn and the bulbs were HUGE!  I was expecting a suitably enormous flower head, but in fact, they have turned out to be not much larger than Purple Sensation (the other variety I have) although the stems are much thicker and more solid.
 Here is Allium Purple Sensation which has been reliable since they were planted about three or four years ago.  I have noticed that the flower heads seem a bit smaller than they were - weather conditions, or aging of the bulbs?
 Another Gladiator -  I bought three bulbs.
 Gladiator flower head close up.
 A trio of Purple Sensation.
 Just for a change, here is an osteospermum which I found at the weekend at a florist's in town.  It is only an annual, but I shall enjoy looking at the deep purply/maroon flowers over the summer.
Velvety rich purple petals - lovely!