Saturday, 28 May 2011

goodies received

I've received a whole boatload of goodies over the past few days and have at last got round to scanning them so I can show them to you.

The first six cards are from the Surface Design groups 'May Blossom' swap.

 I love May Blossom the cow with her bell, unfortunately it stuck up a bit when I scanned the card so there is a darkening of this card, which is from Pauline.  The beautiful bird is from Lesley which is handpainted and finished with machine stitches. Carole has appliqued a branch and and embroidered blossom onto it.
 Irene's card also has painted the background on which she has sewn some pretty flowers on, I think created on a soluble fabric, very effective they are too.  Jan and Jacquie both depict flowers in different ways.  Jan's are stamped, painted and quilted, Jacquie has made use of printed fabric and photo printed fabric of blossoms plus a rather lovely stamp enhanced with a bee button.
 This card is again one of the Surface Design swaps with the theme of  'Coast'.  The card is from Pauline who has painted the background sky and used puff paint rocks and embellished the whole with hand dyed fabrics and topped of with hand embroidered flowers.
 One last swap, again with SD this one 'Art Dolls'  The top doll is from Debs and made from a tiny glass bottle.  The second doll is from Pauline and has beautiful moulded arms and face.

Last, but not least my QuiltGallery basket swap arrived all the way from Oslo, made for me by Anne Kari Holli.  It's a lovely bag, really sturdy just the right size for me to take to workshops with my lunch packed it it.   I love the faux quilting she has done on this bag.  It's made from strips of fabric sewn then attached to the bag by sewing them down the centre in a criss-cross fashion.  After that she has further defined the pattern by embroiderying large cross stitches in the centre of each  section.  I rather like this idea and hope she won't mind if I use it myself sometime in the future.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

More holiday snaps

Did I say we'd been to a Potter's in Fez. Well I'll show you the piccies we took whilst there. The first two are of the labourers building a new kiln with mud, dung and sand.
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The worker at the top is covering the kiln in the 'plaster' the previous worker made.

Under the table the potter is moving the wheel by means of a wooden pedal and a piece of string wrapped round a pole, bit like an early lathe.
The pots are laid in the sun to dry but they must not get too hot or they will crack.

Once they've been dried and fired in the kiln they are ready to be hand painted.  All the patterns are drawn on by hand.  This young lady is one of the few women allowed to work in these premises and is a very skilled worker.   The youngest pattern maker is only 13 years old, the nephew of the proprierter.   They have very steady hands.

Examples of their handwork it is absolutely beautiful and so painstakingly done.

They also make tessellated fountains for gardens from the broken pieces.

Do they remind you of quilt patterns?

This young man is learning from a master craftsman (sat behind him).  They create the patterns upside down so its important he picks up a piece from the correct basket.

Finally the salesman who was trying very hard to sell us a portable fountain, yes all of these fountains have two wheels at the back so you can move them round your garden or home.

I bought a tangine with a Fez Blue design on it.  I probably could have got one cheaper at home but was so impressed with the amount of work they put into making everything I bought one from them.

If you are wondering, we missed the bomb on the Jamaa El Fna Square, it went off two days before we were due to go on holiday.   While in Morocco we did meet with several student protests but nothing serious.  We were supposed to go to Tetoune but as there was a student uprising there we were taken to Mekness which meant we visited all five imperial cities in Morocco.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Back Again

Typical thin horse this one has just off-loaded its cargo and is much better fed than some of those in the souks.
We got back from Morocco in the early hours and its taken me well over 24 hours to recover and download my photos onto my pc.  These are a few of the many taken while in Morocco.  I'll post more later.

Street stalls in Meknes en-route to our hotel.

The 'mens wear department' of the souk.  This square is much bigger, cleaner and lighter than anywhere else.

Decoration on one of the many entrances to the souks in Fez.

The labyrinth of lanes inside the souks in Fez were very narrow, often dark and riddled with skinny cats.

As a comparison this is the entrance hall of our hotel in Fez.

Dyers in the tannery.  The day we called in the smell was bad but better than it had been a few days before when the refilled the vats.  Men splodge about in the mud tubs and scrunch the leather into the dye vats with their feet.   A bit like treading grapes only they smell worse.

  These sacks are full of raw wool.  People pay for the wool a bit at a time until they have enough to fill a mattress.  The wool comes complete with fleas so each year the mattresses are dismantled, the wool spreadout across the floor and the wives deflea it and sew it all back up again. 

One thing we saw constantly in Morocco were Storks nesting anywhere up high.  Here they are on a building site.

Some of the shops outside the souks, this one is a tangine and plate sellers.

IT bits and pieces anyone?  This is in the Mellah, the old Jewish quarter market.

More tomorrow, got to go and sort out dinner.