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Spring, or Winter, or Both

Or maybe we should call it “sprinter”?

Anyway, most of the winter has been quite mild, with a few cold spells in between. Lately we have had some nice weather with clear skies, frost, and some gorgeous evening skies.

sunset

Last week I took a look in our garden, and was very surprised when I saw these popping up everywhere:

crocus      I cannot remember the crocuses being so early before, – the sun had not even returned to our house and garden after the winter months when this photo was taken.

When driving to visit family this week, we also came across lots of these beside the road:

tussilagoColtsfoot (Tussilago) is a sure sign of spring.

On returning home in late afternoon, we had time to stop and take some photos as the sun was setting.

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tree

boatsThere were thin crusts of ice floating about on the surface of this fjord.

A bit later we came across this frozen lake:

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I went out of the car for a better view. It was our last evening of this spell of cold, nice weather. No wind, and all was quiet….

skating… except for a faint sound of a single pair of steel blades on ice, the occasional booming sound of the ice settling into the colder evening temperatures, and also peals of laughter ringing across the lake from the far shore where a group of people had fun on the ice.

skating2I was just able to glimpse some figures moving over there, – one is sitting on a kicksled, and the others skating along.

Now it is raining again, and the ice is probably gone.

🙂

Eldrid

Lagre

Lagre

Lagre

The Four Seasons Embroidered Frieze

This summer Kaffe Fassett’s exhibition “50 Years of Colour” has been on show at Hadeland Glassverk here in Norway. I finally got to see it during its last week, and it was indeed glorious. But I also got to see a lot more.

Since we had travelled a long way for this, and stayed a couple of nights, we also decided to visit the nearby Blaafarveverket in Modum, as we had heard they usually have some good exhibitions there during summer.

blaafarveverket

On arrival we were presented with the options of buying discounted tickets for any two of three sites, or all three. We thought that we had time for only two, and when hearing that one of them had some embroidery on show, we decided on that one, in addition to the main site, – which showed paintings in blue colours and also lots of blue glass and china, linked to the former production of cobalt mined in this area.

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The second site, Nyfossum, used to be the director’s dwelling. The old house and gardens are being restored to former glory, while the log barn in the photo above has been turned into a gallery to house the annual summer exhibitions.

What a surprise to step into the barn and discover that the embroidery on show was actually THE Four Seasons Frieze, also called the Life Frieze, made by Torvald Moseid during the years 1961-1977. I had read about it in some magazine many, many years ago, and I think I also may have glimpsed it on tv at some time, but had never seen it in “person”.

Impressive is an understatement. It is 62 meters long and 58 centimeters tall, and all in one long piece of linen fabric, embroidered all over, mostly using the couching stitch with yarn spun from wool from the double coated Norwegian tail-less breed Spelsau.

The whole piece was hung around the walls in three separate rooms and a hallway. It was not possible to see all of it at once, – you had to move from room to room.

 

Below are more photos showing details from the frieze. I have put them into four groups, one for each season.

For every season there was also a small text explaining some of the scenes. As they were only in Norwegian I have tried to write up an English version, but I fear the poetry of the texts got lost in translation.

springtext

Spring
Early spring starts with naked trees and dead leaves.

The break through is like a powerful gust of wind. Flocks of migratory birds are carried by the wind. They fly with their heads stretched out towards the spring, and the wind is playing in groves and thickets.

The woods turn green, and flowers spring. The tree of spring spreads its glory like an open fan.

Flowers and plants are grown and tended to. Two who are enthralled with each other stand in the middle of them, as if they are part of the flowers’ beauty and vitality.

 

 

summertextSummer

Summer starts with the big wedding feast. Flutes are played, and in the flowering fields there are undulating rows of dancers.

The summer bride has got her finery on. She has a classic profile, she is pale, and a myrtle garland is tied around her brow. The summer breeze is playing with her long hair. A knot of glorious summer flowers is tied behind her neck, and the wind blows her bridal veil into the wedding feast.

The wedding feast is like a flaming bonfire which turns into cascades of colourful midsummer plants.  The midsummer sun shines in bright red and yellow.

Midsummer blooming has a boundless lavishness of shapes and colours. Large flower bowls are opening up, and children are playing with pollen stamens.

 autumntextAutumn

The birds bring the first signs of autumn. They pull golden threads across the earth. The threads turn into light, golden veils which are pulled over the woods.

Nature closes down towards the winter time. Colours and shapes change the trees and plants. Large, brown, knotty plants with filled seed pods are contrasting with the blue.

 

wintertext

Winter

The winter opens with the stormy wind hitting the trees, and dead leaves in brown, yellow, and red are blown into the air.

Through winter cold and frost the death rider on his wild horse charges into the night. Nature is desolate and silent.

The wind plays with light snowflakes, and they are dancing around like pearl embroidered suns.

In the darkness of the winter night a flaming ice rose shines like the fiery northern lights, filled with hope.

 

Needless to say I was above impressed when walking along the frieze, trying to take it all in, – and even more so now, when working with the photos for this blog post, and I really got to study the details.

One cannot help but wonder about the drive and stamina that the artist would need to finish a piece like this. And even so, when comparing the beginning and the end, one can almost get the impression that he did not want it to end, as the sheer masses and density of the stitches are ever increasing towards the end.

Still, the artist has produced two similar works of art after this one. His second frieze, the 50 meters long Orfeus and Euridike (1978 – 1985), was also displayed at Nyfossum in the neighbouring rooms, and was almost as impressive as this one, although a bit different.  I took lots of photos here as well.

His third and last work of this scale, is the 70 meters long frieze based on Draumkvedet, a Norwegian medieval ballad often compared to Dante’s Divina Commedia.  This was finished in 1993. I should like to see that one as well, – maybe I will be so lucky some time in the future.

🙂

Eldrid

ps

“The Four Seasons” and “Orfeus and Euridike” will hang at Nyfossum till the middle of September this year. There are still two more weeks to get to see them.

Annual Spring Report 2015

May 1st has come and gone, so my annual spring report is overdue, but here it is.

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I guess there is no such thing as a “normal” spring, but if there were, this would be close, I think. At least this is very close to my memories of what spring used to be.

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Since we were going away on May 1st, I took these photos in the evening the day before, and nothing had changed much overnight, so I think they count as May 1st photos.

We have had a relatively mild winter with little snow here on the coast (inland dwellers will tell a different story), but the spring has been quite cool, especially April. The leaves on the birch trees have just started to come out, but very slowly.

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The daffodils are budding, and a few are in bloom.

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The exceptions are the ones by the walls facing south, they have been blooming for some time. The crocuses are all finished, unlike the very cold spring 2 years ago, when they were still in full bloom on May 1st.

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The flowering currant bush is also in full bloom, ….

spring15f

…. but none of the rhododendrons have shown their colour yet, – not even the early ones.

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The tulips by the wall are ready to bloom, and were opening up when we arrived back home two days later.

spring15i

The rose bush has got some green leaves, but the spirea bush only has a hint of green on it.

spring15j

No leaves on our old rowan tree yet, but it is budding. We still have snow falling now and again.

As we travelled into the fjords on May 1st, we could see that there was still a lot of snow in the mountains, and the greenery varied from quite green to none at all, depending on whether the slopes were facing south or north, and on the altitude. Some high lying farms inland still had their fields covered with snow.

 

 

🙂

Eldrid

Festival of Quilts III – More Quilts

I continue my journey through my photo folders, this time in no particular order.

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The “million pieces” quilts always impress me, and here are a couple. Above is “9 Patch Tastic” by Jean Perce, (with a Jacqueline de Jong inspired quilt in the background).

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This one is called Jardin des Fleurs, and is made by Eileen Swart.

It is made of lots of different Liberty fabrics. Love the praerie points and the pearls.

This Courthouse steps quilt made by Mary Mayne has 1700 pieces in it, and are not foundation sewn. One block is different from the rest.

I liked the calming colours, and the button centres.

This storm at sea quilt was made by Breege Watson from Ireland. Blue greens are my favourites.

Here is an other take on the storm at sea pattern. The quilt is called “Fish at Sea”, and was made by Pam Stanier, who had it longarm quilted at Quilters’ Trading Post. It won a Judges Choice award in the Two person category.

“Dragonfly in Teal” is the title of the quilt above, made by Daphne Barker. Lovely colours and quilting.

wally754

Here are some colours for you. The quilt is titled “Wally”, and was made by Doritha Smith.

The fabrics are African wax prints, combined with a hand dyed background fabric. It is machine pieced, but quilted by hand, and won a Judges Choice in the Traditional category.

jamesquilt779

I liked this quilt because of the tonal fabrics, and the simplicity of the design. It was made by Rosemary Payne for her grandson, and is meant to be used. The fabrics are Kaffe Fasset shot cottons.

This one is also made of shot cottons, and the colours are practically glowing. It was machine stitched and computer guided longarm quilted by Brigitte Gillespie.

 

“The Magic of Skye” was made by Hanne Asbey from Aberdeen.  Beautiful Scottish themed quilt in lovely colours, and beautifully quilted, – on a domestic machine no less.

Another beauty combining foundation pieced pineapple blocks with an applique border. It is called “On Green Pond”, and was made by Judith Wilson. The quilt reminded me of some of the Egyptian Tentmakers’ quilts seen lately.

girlsbestfriend760

This quilt, Liz Jones’ s “A Girl’s Best Friend” came second in the Traditional category.

All the diamond shaped blocks have different applique motifs.

Here is also applique. The quilt is called “Brightness”, and was made by Kazue Iwahashi from Osaka, Japan.

capuccino713

This quilt by Gwenfai Rees Griffiths won third place in the traditional category.

It is called “Cappuchino”, and has both hand applique and embroidery, in addition to lovely quilting.

celticpearls737

This quilt was made by Angie Taylor for a friend’s 30th wedding anniversary. Everything is in triples, including the three triple wedding rings.

It also includes things the couple love, like cats and horses, and there are 30 pearls scattered across the quilt surface.

I, for one, especially loved the poppies.

beyondgardenwall609

Every now and then a quilt that does not capture your interest at first sight, turns out to be a gem at closer inspection.

This one, made by Irene Harris and Susan Campbell from Australia, did not stand out when viewed at a distance.

But up close, you got drawn in and in, – all the way “Beyond the Garden Wall”, which is also the title of the quilt. There were so many exquisite details to admire. I spent quite some time looking at this one.

Lots of quilts were made by two persons, or larger groups. Below are a few:

belowthesurface628

This one is called “Below the Surface”, and was made by Sue Roberts and Margaret Owen.

The inspiration was early Victorian microscopic images of sea life.

A fun and colourful quilt: “Bird Parade”, made by 6 quilters from The Netherlands. One motif made up of 6 smaller quilts, assembled by zippers.

lavilledejosselin515

This one is utterly charming. “La Ville de Josselin” was made by 13 quilters from around this town in France.

It was a gift to the town, and hangs in their tourist office.

sharedabstractions544

This quilt looks as if it has been made by one person, but there are in fact three makers.

The quilt is called “Shared Abstractions”, and the group calls themselves “Two-Plus-One” The inspiration was what to do with leftovers.

ruralprospekts618

“Rural Prospects” above was made by Mary Palmer and Anne Kiely from Ireland.

The quilt is a result of a collaboration between a textile print artist and a quilter.

triassictrio520

16 quilters from “The Exe Valley Contemporary Quilt Group” put together this quilt called “Triassic Trio”.

It was inspired by the varied geology in the south-west region where they live, and each quilter contributed a segment from one of the areas named in the top part.

The quilt won a third in the Group category.

fourseasons528

And this is the Second prize winner in the Group category: “The Four Seasons” made by a 4 member group called “Cauldron”.

It hung in a crowded spot, so it was difficult to get a straight shot. I did not get a detail shot of the top part, but luckily my husband had taken one.

The quilts above are all from the Traditional, Two Person, or Group categories. I still have “a few” photos from the other categories to look through.

The last one in this post is from the Pictorial category.

snowing-65

It was one of those crowded spots again, where I planned to return for a better shot, but ran out of time. Luckily, my husband had got a better shot of this one too:

snowing-65b

The quilt is called “Snowing” and was made by Abeer Al-Khammash, from Riyadh. Perhaps one of the places where you do not expect a winter motif like this to be made. Turns out it was made from a calendar picture, and very well done, too.

It received both a Highly Commended and a Judges Choice in the Pictorial category.

Stay tuned, – more goodies will come soon.

🙂

Eldrid

 

Blue Night again

Michele Foster over at the Quilting Gallery organizes weekly show and tell contests.

bluenight2

This week my quilt “Blue Night” was voted first in the theme Winter Landscapes. I was thrilled, of course. A big thank you to all those who voted.

I was even more thrilled when I was informed that there was a prize.

vickwelsh-fabrics

Vicki Welsh,  who makes glorious hand dyed fabrics, was a sponsor of the event, and offered one of her fabric packages as a prize. I was even allowed to make my own choice between all the colour combinations available in her Etsy shop.

I had a hard time choosing, but landed on the pink packet in the end.

pinkfabrics

The quilt “Blue Night” was made of half inch fabric squares using a collage technique. Lots of colour variations are needed when making these collage quilts, so this packet will be a great start for a new project. Thank you, Vicki, and thank you, Michele, for arranging the shows.

Just after the quilt was made, I posted some work-in-progress-pictures on my website so that you can get an impression of how it was made.

One of the inspirations for the quilt was a class I took from Mr Edmund Cluett, a very talented fiber artist.  He used to have a website showing some of his work, but it is no longer online. However, on this page I have posted a suggestion on how you might still be able to see some of his work.

🙂

Eldrid

It’s Cold

The weather has been cold and clear lately, – perfect for the growing of ice crystals.  The pictures below are a small part of the result of two ten minute photo safaris in our garden area, – one yesterday, and one today.  Choosing which pictures to show out of the two hundred or so, took much longer than shooting them.

iskrystallar1

The crystals have grown quite big, – they are almost like small plants with leaf rosettes, and they are everywhere on grassy areas.

iskrystallar1a

On the tree stump, a bit higher off the ground, they are not quite so big.

iskrystallar1b

The small heather plants are nearly covered by ice crystal “plants”.

iskrystallar1c

iskrystallar1d

They tend to “grow” in clumps.

iskrystallar2

As happened with the star crystals last week, I am reluctant to step on any of these wonders.

iskrystallar3

But it is impossible to move without doing so.

iskrystallar4

When stepping on to the grass, you can hear a faint sound, as if millions of miniature glasses fall and break.

iskrystallar5

… or like you are wading through heaps of tiny, tiny glass shards.

Below are some more photos, – I couldn’t stop myself  …   😉

iskrystallar6

iskrystallar7

iskrystallar8

iskrystallar9

iskrystallar10

iskrystallar11

iskrystallar15

iskrystallar14

iskrystallar16

On some of the photos I have tweaked the contrast quite a bit to better show off the fabulous patterns.

The last photo below, I also turned to gray scale. Some of the crystals are very, very thin and transparent.

iskrystallar-svkv

I hope all of you in the northern hemisphere are enjoying the winter time.

🙂

Eldrid

Falling Stars

The weather has been very good lately, – what snow there was around Christmas rained away, and this last week the weather has been cold and clear, with no snow on the ground.

As we drove home early this afternoon, the skies were gray, and we noticed a few tiny white specs falling through the air.

Walking from the garage to the house, I suddenly stopped short, exclaiming: There are stars on the ground!

stjerne8

I immediately put my bag down and got my camera out.

Please don’t step on any of them before I have taken some photos, I asked my husband.

stjerne5

Then I had to laugh at the impossibility of my own request; –  the stars were everywhere, and we could not move without stepping on several at a time.

stjerne2

There was more than enough both to photograph and to walk on.

stjerne1b

They were all over the wooden steps…

stjerne4

… and on the grass…

stjerne3

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… and on the cold stones.

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We do not often see snow crystals like this here, – most often the snow comes down in big flurries, – not tiny stars like these.

stjerne

We were lucky to spot them when we did. A few minutes later it was raining.

stjerne9

Just a few tiny drops, however, – and then we got a little bit more snow. But not stars this time.

Does walking on stars mean good luck?

I hope so.

🙂

Eldrid