Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Hammering Silver at Goldsmiths …




I saw that Goldsmiths was having an exhibition of silver, entitled ‘Renewal … and thought how wonderful I can go to London and check out other exhibitions … well no: I was thwarted – this particular event would be held in Dundee, Scotland …


The advert for the Exhibition
I just checked and it’s 550 miles from here … but when I first googled - what popped up was 16,870 kilometres (over 10,000 miles) to Mount Duneed, Geelong, Victoria, Australia – something’s wrong I thought! 



Google’s guesswork (prescriptive interpretation?!) for my ‘Dundeed to Eastbourne’ … !!  (I might have put the extra ‘d’ in … but who’s counting – common sense should rule – I guess AI hasn’t got there yet!).


17th C Goldsmith -
hammering away

Fortunately later on Goldsmith’s exhibited the winning pieces at their Design Centre in Clerkenwell, near Smithfields in London: so I was able to see their amazing work.





Hammer and Silver don’t seem to be compatible ‘word partners’ … but here they are: the HammerClub is a forum for silversmiths from across Europe … who get together to showcase their workings, in conjunction with the year’s exhibition.


Showing the forging of the 'common bowl'
at the Hamburg 2018 HammerClub forum

This is the first year the Club has come to Britain - the highlight being the communal forging of ‘a common bowl’ by the silversmiths, at which the public were invited to attend … so I was sorry to have missed that.




The new V+A Museum at Dundee's waterfront -
designed by Kengo Kuma: considered to be the
quintessential Japanese architect of today.
(he is also designing the Tokyo Olympics stadium 2020)
The Victoria and Albert partnered with Dundee to open their first V+A Museum outside London … then in conjunction with Goldsmiths of London and Edinburgh, invited the HammerClub to hold their ‘Renewal’ event as part of the regeneration theme for Dundee’s waterfront.


Fragments from treasure
found at Traprain Law,
East Lothian  found in a
Roman era pit
Silver has always been renewed, re-used … probably in pre-history, though more recently since Roman times when ‘hacksilver’ became a way of life … nibs, clips and scrapings were ‘silently’ accrued through exchange, payment and barter for goods along the trading routes.


Small bowl of two - fine silver hand raised by
Carsten From Andersen, Denmark 2019


Silver has never been mined in Scotland … yet in the first millennium AD, silver was the precious metal of choice.  The Roman army’s influence spread as far as the Pictish tribes from marching north, or plying the seas …







1st and 2nd prize winners - the two bowls won first prize,
while 'Breath' by Yuki Fernadendsen, Denmark is of Sterling
Silver, Hand raised, Arare decoration

This is how silver became a symbol of status and Roman favour.  Vessels, tableware and other objects were ‘hacked up’ – to be turned into bullion – fragments carefully cut to standard Roman weight measures and then often folded into handy packages to be used as gifts, bribes or payment …




… unlike coins, 'hacksilver' was designed to be reused and remade.

Larissa Thiel's 'Bolle III' - this was made from a 'thank you
gift' from 2018 ... see here for her story ... about
the leaves ... 



Throughout history precious metal has been bartered, stolen, confiscated for nefarious means … greed, raising funds for war … buried for safety …







Drawn Connections: 3rd prize by Peter Musson
Silver and vitreous enamel

… and in our day – when the archaeologists either rue past generations pillaging any treasures found, as historical research is then almost impossible, or delighting in being able to bring to life a small part of our heritage through the finds.









The few exhibits on show were exquisite both in beauty, creativity and design … reflecting our next generation’s social, cultural and economic influences.








'Lost in Space' - three small playful patinated objects ...
by Cecilia Moore, Dublin - see more hereon renewal and childhood ideas



It was wonderful to learn about the re-use of materials, also to know innovative and emergent technologies were being explored, as well as thinking forward.





A selection of objects created for the 2019 Hammerclub


Renewal in all its forms should be considered and remembered so that change can improve things leading to economic renewal. 



It was a treat to visit Goldsmiths to see the HammerClub prize winners and exhibits …

Cecilia Moore's interview is very interesting ...  

Goldsmiths HammerClub information ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday, 30 August 2019

We are the World Blogfest # 28: Bird Song ...



Eighteen months ago for a #WAWTB post I wrote about nature allowing the Khasi peoples to ‘bridge the gap’ - where living tree roots are guided across ravines to form long lasting bridges …




… enabling them to ‘farm’ their lands for broom grass and other agrarian crops - even in times of monsoon rains, or when the hills are shrouded in cloud.



What I hadn’t realised, nor had I thought about (how often do we not think?!) … was how did they communicate as there are numerous gullies and raging rivulets in this mountainous region.


Khasi girls ... 

I’ve just come across the fact they call out to each other using short tunes that resemble birdsong, which act as a second name for each villager … being used more frequently than villagers “real” names.



This practice is called “jingrwai lawbei” which translates to “song of the clan’s first woman.”  They use it to communicate amongst themselves and with their neighbours …
Peacock Pheasant
(there are over 660 species
of birds in Meghalaya's forests)



… wouldn't it be lovely to hear their songs along with the native jungle birds found flitting from tree to tree – easily traversing those ravines, for which humans need tree roots.





These traditions developed by different tribes, as well as their cultures – all deserve to be recognised and preserved … not bespoilt by our so-called advanced nations …


Elephanta Falls spewing out of the
jungle growth


B U T … this is not so positive, as like other things that have happened in the world … modernity threatens … music from our world, mobile phones are now available, electricity came in as the new millennium clocked in, a road was cut through and made in 2003 …


… the villagers have realised they need to open the village up to the world – so they can preserve these two unique traditions: the living bridges over which their beautiful bird song calls …



The rapid approach of modernity in the Khasi hills reminded me of the ‘availability of coca-cola’ to the Eskimo peoples …


Out of darkness comes light

… which leads me to suggest and ask that we each pay more attention to our neighbours … as many will need assistance as the century progresses …





… and to think of those peoples on the fringes of our so-called modern society … the Amazonian Indians, the Inuit and other indigenous peoples, opponents of ruthless regimes …


Broom grass being laid out
in readiness for the making of brooms

… perhaps more importantly let’s take the middle line and use our powers of communication to gently spread more peace and understanding …




… I know I would like retaliation to be reined infor consideration and understanding to be our goals … so we can work together towards peace and harmony in today’s world and for its future.





We are the World – In Darkness Be Light

The Deccan Chronicle article on “jingrwai lawbei” – the Khasi peoples musical-birdsong names …

My earlier post on the Khasi’s Living Tree RootBridges




Write and Talk with peace in mind … without thought of conflict --- we here, as part of #WAWTB, can influence others, by setting examples … the butterfly effect will, over time, take hold …



Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Write … Edit … Publish … Bloghop: Red Wheelbarrow ...




The weather was calm, the sun shone brightly as the evening started to draw in … the three siblings had finished sorting the old family home out … and were having one last evening together reminiscing about their childhood …





Their mother had died a while ago, but had made sure they’d all look after their father til his time was up … he had been a frail figure …





… usually dressed in a large shirt, a moth-eaten jumper, his trousers held up with fraying string, keys dangling from his right pocket’s belt loop, or tucked inside … and, when the sun was out, with an ancient floppy hat perched on his head …



He’d spent his last years wandering the garden tidying, pruning, happy to have one of his children over to mow the lawns …





… the property had been sold and in another week the new owners would take over, but for now – they’d made their plans … a quiet evening with a game of monopoly out on the veranda as the sun went down.


All had worked out peacefully … their parents had been at home to their last … so that the only thing left to do was a final tidy up before they closed the door on the family home …


Lasagne

They’d all brought something for the evening … the daughter had made one of the family’s favourite dishes – lasagne … rich, full of tasty mince, covered with a delicious cheesy sauce … served with herby bread, then …






Herby bread

… all fresh ingredients from their gardens made the salad – lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, cucumber, baby carrots … baked potatoes were in the oven …




Blackberry sprig ...

… they’d had one last walk round the garden picking blackberries for dessert – Cornish cream had been brought … there was cheese: Cornish Yarg and Cornish Brie to nibble as the sun finally set on them and their life at this house …



There was red and white wine … to enjoy pre-supper and after as that golden orb let the cool air start to chill them down as night set in.


Monopoly board

Then over the evening they had decided to have one last game of monopoly … as children with their parents they’d all enjoyed this sort of evening – so it was felt that one final turn with the familial set would be just the right closure for them and the house.




An American token
wheelbarrow
The board was out … they talked about why the little red wheelbarrow was amongst the tokens … the original galvanised one had cracked and broken … then their father felt it would be better to have one that wouldn’t cut their hands if they fell as they were fighting over some trivial consequence …


… he’d gone off to his workshop … and come back with a wooden wheelbarrow, painted red … it stood out on the board, so was our most favoured token … as children we’d had to take turns.


The early evening was drawing to a close … we drew up our chairs, relaxed with the wine, chatted in familiar tones, set the monopoly board out … and decided there’d be four players … the three of us and, using the little red wheelbarrow, we’d surrogate for our parents by playing a fourth token ... reminding us of those early years as the family grew.



Roses in garden with white five bar gate ...


Supper was got ready … the play continued … the tokens we used were the thimble, the boot and the top hat … 






... we went to Jail, took our Community Chest or Chance cards, purchased our London properties … got cross with the penalties we needed to cough up to the banker … our parent’s little red wheelbarrow was bringing them luck as the banker …


Cornish Yarg covered with nettle leaves
… we laughed, nattered, ate and whiled our evening away as we enjoyed the views down the garden … the rose beds, across the lawn past the huge cedar tree, over the ramshackle tennis court, where we’d found the blackberries in the hedgerows …






We were all happily settled with our own families – but we would miss the memories of our times here in our childhood home … our oldest brother would, for his children, inherit the Monopoly set.




A new chapter was about to begin for the little Red Wheelbarrow …

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Bran Tub # 17: Moonlight is my Silver, Sunlight is my Gold ...




Moonlight is my Silver, Sunlight is my Gold …



Music was my first love
And it will be my last.
Music of the future
And music of the past.

The card, from where the title of post comes from, depicts this immortal tiger … reminding me of William Blake’s poem … but also bringing to mind John Miles' beautiful song from 1976 ...

Blake's original copy see link



Tyger Tyger, burning bright …
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?







The Nebra Sky Disc - the Pleiades
represented as the circle of stars


Then I remembered the Pleiades … their rising heralded the start of the Ancient Greek sailing season using celestial navigation … which cultures around the world have known since antiquity.







Onto the Cyclades … the island group in the Aegean Sea - with uninhabited Delos considered the birthplace of Apollo – the God of Sun and Light …  







See antipodes for Crates
Mallus


My wandering thoughts went on to Antipodes … any spot on earth diametrically opposite to it … each point is as far away from its opposite as possible. 

We are used to referring to Australia and New Zealand as our Antipodes – not quite true, but for the chit chat of life, near enough …




Trondholm Sun Chariot

Well Bran Tub # 17 has let me wander around … each word or image leading to the next … it seems my world always leads me onwards, reaching out beyond the silvery moon into the great unknown of life beyond the glowing sun …



With these thoughts and images I leave you … it is a wonderful world.

Links to poems and images: for more information and credits ... 

John Miles - musician, songwriter - who wrote "Music" ... the first verse appears here ... 

Tyger Tyger referencing Blake’s original painting of The Tyger c 1795 held by the British Museum …




The Terrestial Sphere of Crates Mallus (c 150 BC) ... showing the region of the antipodes in the southern half of the western hemisphere ... and see Antipodes ...

Trondholm sun chariot ... a Nordic Bronze Age artifact, c 1400 BC

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Clonakilty and why I missed the moon landings …




I suspect I was just plain busy … but that summer (1969) I had been over to Eire to see my childhood friend … we’d been inseparable for the first 9 years of our lives …

Clonakilty pinned in southern Ireland
(Cork further to the east with the large harbour)


 She was very different from me … creative, artistic, horsey … I wasn’t any of those - loved sport, creature comforts … happy to be different – but needed a base to come back to …




Renny was a traveller … and a wanderer … she spent time in Morocco, India, New York, a commune in Wales, and Ireland – married by now possibly twice – I think eventually there were three …


An Sugan pub in Clonakilty

 … she was taking stock at her mother and step-father’s new home in Clonakilty– before deciding on her next ‘escapade’ – however the new siblings weren’t flavour of the month!




I came over for six weeks arriving via the Swansea-Cork ferry – we both needed to think about our futures, but thankfully we still got on really well … one balanced, yet prepared to try things and one happy go lucky …


Gypsy Cob - a mare


… Renny had a ‘huge’ horse – for me: they aren’t amusing … I’d been thrown as a kid when we were neighbours …





… but caution thrown to the wind I decided I’d like to try again – it is not my forte … and this beloved animal walked me up to the top of the hill, then promptly threw me – bang … mind you that could explain a few things?! 




The horse didn’t bolt, once the stars disappeared … he and I walked back down the hill – me feeling pretty dejected that I wasn’t riding, but I had my rather large bump … well that solved the horse dilemma – never again!


Renny's was similar - but
much more rustic and in need
of some attention!


Renny had thought of taking her Romany gypsy caravan with himself (the horse!) around Ireland … that hadn’t and didn’t happen to my knowledge – but she’d always loved her animals …



So we ‘played around’ her parent’s house, yard and outbuildings … it was quite big – there was space for us all … Renny was creative and happily making and designing her own clothes … she failed with me – rather I flunked out – I had the dusty pink, velvety satin pieces for a long long time! …


Clonakilty farmland 

The Romany carriage – looks idyllic … but not for me!   They’re called Vardo carriages … and this one is a Reading or kite wagon … so named as it was made in Reading, Berkshire – west of London …



… it is the  type of wagon that is highly prized by the Romanies for its aesthetic design, beauty and practicality to cross fords, pull off road and over rough ground …


Cobh - the early harbour - where the Titanic
stopped over before her fateful voyage
(near Cork)


Renny was desperate to get her ears pierced … my arrival was the clarion call to achieving that goal … I had a car and we could easily go to Cork …





The English Market in Cork city
… secretly I’d always wanted mine pierced – she was wily though … she knew I was braver and would go first! – then she had no choice but to follow … gosh it hurt – those were the primitive days …



Theatrical poster for the film
'Women in Love'

… we dulled our pain by going off to see a film …  I thought we’d gone to see Women in Love … but as it only came out in September that year … it must have been another similar art house movie – whatever it was the agony was mostly over by the time we came out!



Poster for the film 'The
Pride of Miss Jean Brodie'



Perhaps it was The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which did come out earlier in 1969 … who knows – not me?!






Beara Peninsula, Bantry Bay area

After that we travelled around … firstly to the west … Bantry, Killarney … we went further north for a few days – we’d just drive and map read our way around – at the end of the day find a B+B …






It was a stunning visit ...  and I love the name
Knockmealdown Mountains!
… we also went east … across the Knockmealdown Mountains on our way to Waterford … where the rhododendrons were out … the whole area had a purple hue … gorgeous colours …







1897 - his wife is holding his trouser belt!
… and slightly north of Cork to kiss the Blarney Stone … I think that’s probably one of the more odd things I’ve done in my life … now 50 years later – no doubt it’s worse ‘disgust-wise’ (unhealthy!) …





Blarney Castle - it's a fair drop!

… whether it achieved its objective: said to give those who kiss it a mystical eloquence … I leave for you all to decide – but if so – it took 40 years to get going!




Then home from Cork on the overnight ferry to Swansea … to Market Harborough, Northamptonshire through the Welsh hills in a thunderstorm … I was flagged down by a lorry driver – who said … go another way – it’s flooded and you won’t get through … I had a low slung girth (the car did! – my low slung version developed as the years rolled by) ... 

Brecon Beacons, Wales


These are some of the remembrances of why I missed the moon landing … Ireland is beautiful … I’ve been back, but would love to go again for further explorations …

It’s a good thing the moon doesn’t wander or ramble on … but I’d half-forgotten those days … fun times – interesting ones too …


This prattle, babble, blather endeth here … thanks for the memories and for reading!


My inspiration and memory jog came from Fil and her husband Tom's recent trip to Cork ... they are from Northern Ireland, but had a visit back to Clonakilty ... they are folk singers, musicians and all things associated with a composer and singer's way of life ... including extra snippets about places visited, book stores, nature ...  delightful stories ... I'm late adding this ... 

Fil's Songs and Stories - found here ...  Thanks Fil and Tom for reminding me that it was Clonakilty that Renny's parents had moved to in southern Ireland ...  

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories