My Cyprus Adventures ~ Day Two

Day two was all about Nicosia (Lefkosia), artefacts and the Turkish side…

We set off bright and early to the North town of Nicosia, which spans both the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides of the country.  We travelled via the Kornos Coop Pottery, a women’s collective established many years ago to support a small community of women workers.  Now only two people are creating traditional pots, and they are looking to retirement.

 

The two women demonstrating the making process, sit on low stools and feed the clay onto the bases of the pots at such speed, it was most impressive.  I have posted a tiny film on my Facebook Page here (as I don’t have the facility to do it on my WordPress site).

We then headed to Nicosia, to the Cyprus Museum, which houses the Archaeological treasures in 14 galleries, including art pieces “from the 8th millennium bc to the end of Antiquity.”

And here I found mosaic inspiration in abundance.

The utilitarian pots had decorations on them that showed the domestication of animals including cattle and goats.  Three of the designs were interpreted in mosaic later in the week for the kiln (watch out for when I get that one written).

And I was drawn to the fertility symbols, and most certainly feel a mosaic sculpture coming in the future… maybe for next year’s New Hopetoun Gardens Art in the Garden exhibition!  They were flat figures, with breasts and/or arms, some had faces some with expressions on them…  Not that I need any fertility help myself, of course, so may need to find another reason to make them…

And the jewellry was also inspiring.  Throughout the visit, I was more drawn to the textures and use of decoration in all of the different items on show, maybe that is to do with the visual artist in me.

And finally, for my creative ceramacist friend Anna Olson, who has made gingerbread babies in clay for Christmas garlands, this piece caught my eye

Gingerbread Babies

in the archaological museum in Nicosia

We then headed into the town centre of Nicosia, via a traditional lace shop, and a leather supply shop.  The leather shop is a supplier for some of the fashion projects undertaken with the Green Village shop in Lefkara, and is such an traditional, old-style shop full of leather notions!

Lefkara Embroidery

Traditional skills of embroidery of Lefkara

Then it was passports out, and crossed the Green Line into the Turkish side.  I won’t go into the history of it all here, and it is certainly complicated!  There are sad stories of atrocities and also positive stories of neighbours of different origins helping each other, but complicated and still on-going.  Ironically, there is a Peace mosaic (and another impressive sculpture nearby) right beside the passport control.

With a tasty lunch in the Buyuk Han, an old caravanserai with a good restaurant, some craftspeople and touristy shops – I bought a turquoise pomegranite ceramic vase to go in my new kitchen – we then had a bit of time out to do our own thing.  I visited the Selimiye Mosque, which used to be a Catholic Cathedral until the Ottomans, and you can still see the building construction.  As always, surface decoration appeals.

And finally, graffiti … always love a bit of graffiti and personal expression it allows

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My Cyprus Adventures Continued – Day One

As I finally find time to sit and write, only because I woke up so early and am enjoying the peace and quiet before everyone else wakes, I hope to be able to add to my blogging diary!  This week has been so full on, yet truly inspiring for me, that there has been little free time, beyond later in the evening with a glass of wine… blogging lapsed from the first day!  and  now it is the last…

Our hosts, Martin and Panayiota are such lovely hosts.  Martin is larger than life, so knowledgeable, about the local flora and fauna, birds, neolithic sites… you name it, he has knowledge, and he collects branded coffee cups, brightly coloured vintage clothes and zoomorphic branded roof tiles.   Panayiota, whose name derives from the Greek epithet of Panagia or Panayia (“All-Holy”) for the Virgin Mary, and she is an absolute delight.  Married to a Greek Scotsman, she lived in Glasgow for many years and has that keen sense of humour.  She is also very talented in the traditional Lefkara lace, and seems to be related to so many people.

Martin and Panayiota

Martin and Panayiota

We started off the week with a tour of the village by Panayiota, who explained a lot of the idiosyncrasies of the architecture, that they are generally constructed around a courtyard to keep the house cool in the summer… with a big front door.  Of the ones that we saw open, they look so inviting and a the perfect place for a party! And we visited a few smaller churches, to look at the icons, and where she told us about some of their traditions – such as when it is their child’s names saints day, they would bake a special bread and share it with the congregation after the service.

A couple of things that, at first, look a bit weird, but then with explanation, you understand, there were wax heads and bodies by the altars, and in one small church dedicated to a saint whose “thing” was eyes, there was a collection of silver eyes.  All of these were offerings or tokens were for someone who was ill or needed divine intervention.

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After lunch we headed to Martin’s house, which is his place of teaching as well as his home. With curios and items on every wall, it is quite a fascinating place… especially his collection of cups with cafe/coffee/logos on (more about that later). And we got going on the adobe brick making.

This involved stomping about in a pit of clay / soil / liquid / straw until all the bits of whatever were broken up until it became a sludge.  This was then filled into the metal brick-making moulds (mostly by our hands), the mould pulled away and the bricks left to air dry. The moulds are made by tin-smiths in the Turkish side of Cyprus.

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stomping in the mix in size 11s

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the adobe brick oven base

these are existing ovens in Martin’s garden

 

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Study Trip to Kato Drys Municipality in Cyprus

Watch out for some serious bloggin’ coming up this week as I have just flown out to Cyprus on a study trip, and my plan is to record my activities via this blog, as it will feature mosaics, more mosaics and other crafts along the way.

This visit to Cyprus has been funded by Erasmus+, with ARCH Network as the promoter and Kato Drys Community Council as our hosts.  We have been welcomed by Martin Clark, a resident of the town, who is also a partner in Arch Network, and is a Director of Grampus Heritage and training.  Martin has introduced me to concept of the Four Pillars of Sustainability; environmental, cultural, social and economic ~ it is worth watching his passionate short film about it here.

Traditional crafts and skills are alive and well in the Cyprus community of Lefkara and Kato Drys, where they make traditional local products for sale which have real integrity and a true sense of place, using crafts and skills that go back centuries! The week ahead looks at these traditional skills and products and considers why they have importance in our contemporary society. And I will reflect on how I can interpret my experiences into my mosaic practise, my role at Remake Scotland, my links with Comrie Croft and my own ethics and life plan!

So first of all, to introduce you to the participants ~ we are a mixed bunch ~

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Kirsty Cassels ~ owner and director of Creative Cassels , an architectural designer and builder alongside being a creative soul who designs jewellery and has a passion for bricks!

Ian Ross Wallace ~ a mature Masters in archaeology student and a volunteer archaeologist for the National Trust for Scotland

Lucy Cunningham ~ the Education, Families and Youth officer at the RSPB, who is also musical, and another dance lover (bring on the moves!)

Judith Nott ~ lives and works in the Cairngorm National Park, as a wildlife guide and a volunteer ranger. As part of her work, she facilitates an altzeimers group.  Maybe I can get some tips for my mum!

Jenny Schwarz ~ Grants Fundraising Manager for Scottish Wildlife Trust, who is keen to learn about the interaction between the environment and local livelihoods

Keith Roberts ~ Reserves Project Officer for Scottish Wildlife Trust, he is super-excited to do the brick making and lime mortar, which is relevant to his work

Esther Hutchinson ~ works in the Learning and Access team in Glasgow Museums, mostly based at St Mungos, developing workshops for schools and community groups. She has an arts background, and may well be my partner in crime on the mosaic front.

 

My reading of choice on the flight here was “Creative Spaces, Contemporary use of Stone in Urban Spaces”, a recent report written by Perth based artist David F Wilson.

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In the report, David reflects on the traditional approach inherent in the UK to drystone walling (harking back to the Enclosure Act) and to how stone carving focuses on heritage and conservation, and goes on to say

Now is when those concerned with the continuation of the skills should be exploring new methods of working better to the opportunities and challenges of the twenty-first Century” (page 9, David’s website is here)

I think the above quote will form a lot of the discussion of the week ahead, how the traditional Cypriot skills can be re-imagined so that they can have “a market”, how can the young adults be enthused to learn an old skill and make it their own, in their own style.

“every generation has the right to add culture, but neither should we completely divorce ourselves from the past and from our roots” Martin Clark

And for me, how can I learn the more traditional way of making a mosaic, the cutting, the placing of tesserae and even the chosen representation of an image, and then return to rural Perthshire and create my own metaphorical mosaic path?

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Fortingall Art Summer Exhibition – 21st July 2018

Another In the Garden with Friends artist, Dave Hunt, has written a piece about the upcoming Fortingall Art Summer Exhibition which opens on the 21st July 2018.

Jo Cound will also be joining Dave at the exhibition, alongside some other great talent!

So copied, rather than re-pressed (or whatever the term is), here is his article for you to enjoy.

Fortingall Art Summer Exhibition : 14 years and still getting better…

It’s now just 5 weeks until the Molteno Hall in the picturesque Perthshire village of Fortingall will be opening its doors for an annual art exhibition that attracts visitors from both the local community and across Scotland, and beyond.

…. in the words of our esteemed Chairman, artist Eric Timms …

“Glen Lyon is said to be the longest and loneliest Glen in Scotland. True. But it is also the most creative Glen in the entire country. If you doubt this ambitious statement then come to our exhibition and make up your own mind. 35 top local artists will proudly be displaying new, fresh and exciting work that always surprises those that see the work.

Photography, oil paintings, water colours, fused glass, sculptures, contemporary furniture are just a few of the mediums on display. Jewellery that will bring the romantic out in you. Ceramics to contemplate. Contemporary ideas that will confuse and delight. Meet the artists who spend their time trying to make this world a better place to live in. They too will confuse and delight you.

Hop onto our website on www.fortingallart.co.uk and follow the artists who will be exhibiting by travelling around their websites and blogs. All the information you need to find us, and more, is there.

As Picasso said. “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”.

See you there dusty folk.

Eric Timms. Chairman.”

Fortingall Art Summer exhibition starts on Saturday 21st July and will be open every day until Sunday 5th August – admission free.

Small TullochsTeam LangoustineAutumn, Schiehallion from Loch RannochMoss in LoveQuercus PodsMinnow

The original article, and more images can be seen on their website here

Posted in Dave Hunt, Photographer, Jo Cound, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Perthshire Creates Summer Design Market ~ Saturday 23rd June ~ Civic Hall, Perth

I have finally got the opportunity to participate in a summer event, having been so closely tied to seasonal work for the last 25 years… I have broken free, no longer at the beck and call of the tourist season, and am going to attend my first summer selling event.

This one is organised by Perthshire Creates, and takes place in the lovely Civic Hall at the Tay River end of the High Street, which was refurbished a couple of years ago.  It has lots of light and space, which makes for a great venue for a craft and design fair.  Many of the In the Garden with Friends exhibitors are participating in this fair, given that so many of my creative friends are actually located in Perthshire!

In the run up to the event, some of us have provided count-down images.  Here is todays one made by Bradley Napier Design.  My offering is at 4 days to go and features my Mavis sculpture, so if you want to see that, head over to the Perthshire Creates Event on Facebook Page

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I will be focussing on my decorative slates which are suitable for outdoors – so think flowers, birds and fish, working my way through a pile of slates that have recently moved house with me, and also a stash of bone china plates (I have been working on a large project which has used the flat centres of dinner plates, leaving me with lots of edging, too good to throw away)

Other artists from the In the Garden with Friends crew who will be there are:

lou

Crafty Lou

kirsty

Kirsty Dalton

kate

Kate Mclaughlin

 

jenna

Jenna McDonald

diana

Diana King

ceri

Ceri White

jo

Jo Cound

 

Perthshire Creates Summer Design Market ~ Saturday 23rd June ~ 10am – 4.30pm ~ Civic Hall, Perth

Posted in Ceri White, Ceramics, Craft Fairs & Exhibitions, Diana King, Silver Jewellery, Jenna McDonald, Aluminium and Silver Jewellery, Jo Cound, Photography, Kate McLaughlin, Silver Jewellery, Katy Galbraith, Mosaics, Kirsty Dalton, Wooden Sculpture, Louise McLaren, Paper Cutting, Mosaic Art | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment