Friday, 29 February 2008

Quick Hop Across the Channel

These shop widows are amazing.

This is Linda with a boot load of our purchases - all destined for the washing machine - probably more than once!! We always make sure that our textiles are clean and fresh smelling before they are offered for sale. It is hard work but definitely worth the effort.

I just love the muted colour scheme of this shop window. The soft French Gray and the Fawns seems to blend in so well with the architecture and buildings of the town. It is a very popular colour scheme for lovers of French textiles. It blends so well with gorgeous madder reds and indigo blues. The hand woven French linen and hemp sheets that I am constantly searching for make wonderful curtains and make the perfect back drop for the striped tickings and printed fabrics that are so popular. These lovely old french textiles are becoming harder to find but it is worth the effort!!

Wednesday evening saw me on the last boat to France. My friend Linda and I were on a quick 24 hour trip to search for textiles and anything else that took our fancy. We were off loaded at Cherbourg at 6.30 a.m. French time on Thursday morning (my body is still on Barbados time) and we set off with high hopes. It was a dull, foggy, drizzly day but that didn't matter we were back on French soil!! The morning didn't prove good for shopping and so we concentrated on Lunch! We found ourselves in Coutances at lunchtime. Coutances an ancient town is situated on a rocky outcrop on the banks of the River Soulles in Normandy. Its ancient gothic Cathedral dominates the skyline from every vantage point. This photograph shows it towering over the Market Square its spires reaching upward through the mist. The Cathedral was originally built in 1048 in the Norman style. In 1210 the present Cathedral was started and behind many of the walls and towers are the remains of the Norman Cathedral. This gothic Cathedral was finished in 1274 and has remained basically unaltered since.

We had a look around the market hall with its interesting array of produce stalls full of mouth watering fruit, vegetables, cheese and bread.

This photograph of one of the side entrances to the Cathedral shows some of the amazing masonry detail. Coutances is a charming town and it is an amazing source of inspiration for me and I am sure other Textile Artists. The inside of the cathedral is full of design sources with its huge pillars and amazing arches. As we were walking toward the Cathedral entrance the air was filled with the sound of organ music. We walked as if in trance, following the sound. Once inside it was awesome. The sound of the huge organ filled the building and rose to the top of the 80m towers and reverberated around and finally wrapped itself around me like a cocoon. I felt completely enveloped and very very small. The inside of this Cathedral is quite stark and unpretentious. Its simplicity is its strength. There is plenty of imagery and the stained glass windows are beautiful but the sheer height and size of the building seems to cancel all that out.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Back to Reality

Well I am back home after three weeks in beautiful Barbados. It was wonderful to be there again even though the weather was unsettled and we had rain at some stage most days. It was very windy too, almost mini hurricanes some days, but it was hot and sunny in between and I have brought home a great sun tan to remind me of my time there. We went to a Garden Party at St. James Church in Holetown and this photograph shows the bric a brac tent. The lettering had been made with seed pods. There was a floral display in the church, quite different from the displays here in our Churches. The colours were wonderful. It was a lovely day with a mixture of colourful people and local artisans with their stalls decked out with their various wares. The event was opened by Sir Cliff Richard who has a home on the Island but we arrived too late to see him. The Barbados Police Band was playing in the Bandstand and the atmosphere was great. We had tea and cakes and spent a pleasant couple of hours soaking up the atmosphere. It reminded me of the summer Church Fetes my mother used to take me to as a child. The thing I love most about Barbados is that inspite of all the tourist things and bars and nightclubs it still retains a quaint, innocent charm that I find most endearing and makes me want to return there time and time again.