Lorca, the goldwork in action

I am catching up with all the things that I have not posted about over the summer. At Easter, before the trip to Seville, we visited Lorca, a small city in the mountains a couple of hours from La Marina to see the Good Friday fiesta.

We have wanted to see this for a few years since we went on  our trip to see the goldwork museums. The four museums house all of the robes and banners that are used in this festival and we were absolutely amazed by them then. Two of the groups that organise the festival, the Blue and the Purple ones, are responsible for the religious side with the icons and the White and Scarlet organise the armies and other groups.

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We really had no idea of the scale of the festival though, what we saw in the museum was only a fraction of what filled the streets. We had a couple of hours wandering around watching everyone get ready and had drinks and something to eat before finding a spot to watch. It was quite bizzare seeing the streets filled with Roman soldiers and chariots and Egyptian girls!

Lorca 1

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There are stands where you can buy seats for the parade so next year we will do that but we had a pretty good view of events from our little spot. We were right behind the camera crew so we could see a lot on their monitor as well.

Lorca 14

Apologies for the slightly blurry pictures but I wanted you to see the scale of the floats. As well as the Roman and Egyptian armies and their chariots there were horses racing up and down the street and the huge floats carrying icons , Roman Emperors, Cleopatra and her consorts and even the Pope!

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A truly incredible spectacle and the amount of work that went into the costumes is amazing. Some of the larger group ones were made by machine using ready made goldwork but most of the main characters are hand embroidered and it is truly stunning to see the mass of beautiful work that goes into this event.

A really great celebration of the art of the stitcher and another reason to love Spain! This is only a very small city and not famous for anything apart from this parade so we really wondered how they got to be producing something on this scale every year. We are going to go back next year and hopefully will book seats so we can have an even better view!

I am planning more pouch making this afternoon as Yarndale is in a couple of weeks and I need to get all my stock finished. Then it will be on to the Christmas ornaments, I have made a few of different types but need to decide on which will be the design I make six of for this year for my group of friends.I think I might go with baubles as have not done any of these for a very long time and have just acquired a huge stash of polystyrene balls from a local shop that was closing down.

Hope you have a lovely rest of the weekend and week ahead. We are off to Caldicot Castle for our last event so are hoping for good weather to end the season with.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

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Just a little bit of bling!

The last photos I want to show you from Seville are from the cathedral. This is one of the largest in the world and it uses the tower or Giralda of the original mosque as part of its design.

Seville cathedral Giralda 1

Seville cathedral Giralda 2

The Giralda is stunning, with all of that detail made from brick and the surrounding buildings are also really beautiful, there are lovely cafes and restaurants all around the cathedral which makes it a gorgeous area.

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Seville cathedral 1

Seville cathedral buildings 2

I loved the exterior of the cathedral, the front entrance looks to have been completely replaced as it is a different colour stone and the roof decoration is stunning.

Seville cathedral 2

Seville cathedral 3

As we were queuing for a while to get in I took a few artistic shots looking up the facade, the second one is one of my favourite building photos ever, I love the contrast of building shapes and sky.

Seville cathedral 4

Seville cathedral 4 - angled

I really liked the little creatures on the facade especially this fox and the dragon, I think he looks cute and definitely tameable!

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Seville cathedral 6

Inside the cathedral was very impressive though not as decorated as I was expecting, compared to others such as Valencia the interior was quite plain but with beautiful lighting illuminating the intricate carved ceiling.

Seville cathedral interior 1

Seville cathedral interior 2

There was the most impressive gold altar that I have ever seen, absolutely mind blowing in its scale.

Seville cathedral interior 3

There was also a beautiful display of goldwork and the precious artifacts and paintings in a side room that was gorgeous. A truly magnificent place and a fitting end to our trip.

Seville cathedral interior 4

Seville cathedral interior goldwork 1

I have had a lovely weekend, mainly watching the rain come down while I have been stitching, which has been a bit of a shock after such high temperatures here for so long. I am hoping that my friends in the re-enactment group have not had bad weather as they were doing a show on top of the hill at Peveril Castle this weekend.

Sadly I missed that as the recent infected bites have led to a flare up of arthritis so I knew I would struggle getting up the hill. I know that other friends have had to cancel events this weekend due to the extreme weather which is such a pity for everyone involved.

Our next event is in a few weeks time at Lincoln and I need to finish my Steampunk jacket for then so I am planning to work on that this coming week.

Hope that you have a lovely week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Bordado – the art or pastime of embroidering cloth

Bordado, as we found out in Seville, is Spanish for embroidery. The Folk Museum had lots of really interesting artifacts all housed in the beautiful Moorish Pavillion.

Seville Bordado museum

The first section we looked at was devoted to materials and their transformation and there were lots of displays of all types of artisan workshops including gilding, woodwork, leather and bakery.

There were also some brilliant works in progress pieces, one of the most exciting things for me in museums is seeing the unfinished pieces so you can see how they have made the embroidery.

In these pictures you can see the whitework paisley before the holes are cut and where padding stitches have been done first before satin stitch. There is also the lace being worked over a paper pattern.

I was really interested to see the tissue paper pinned round the working area on this last piece to keep it clean. That is something I haven’t done but is a great idea. The embroidery frames are beautifully made as well.

Seville Bordado 5 - paper

Then to my great excitement there was a whole gallery of embroidery and lace, one of the biggest collections that I have ever seen, so much wonderful work.

Seville Bordado - lace display

Much of it was a very similar type of work, sets of tray cloths or table cloths and napkins all unused and very similar in design.

Seville Bordado - napkin display

I wondered if they had been sample pieces for a book on embroidery or a series of magazines.I would guess they may be from the late 20s or 30s looking at the designs, there was no information about their origins though.

There was also very detailed whitework, some with cutwork lace.

I have never done any whitework though have some books on it and would love to. I don’t think I could ever make lace though I love looking at it.

One of my favourite pieces of whitework was this amazingly detailed unfinished tablecloth, you can just see the pencil outline of the rest of the design on the right.

Seville Bordado - whitework 3 - unfinished

Things like this always make me want to know the story of the maker, what happened, was it boredom and it became a WIP? Was there a tragedy and she never finished because of this?

There was also lots of amazing Spanish lace, whenever we go to the Easter Parades we admire the beautiful lace mantillas that the women wear with the high combs and these were stunning examples of mantillas and shawls.

When we at the recent fiesta in Alicante there were a group of people in costume with mantillas and lace aprons, it was too crowded and dark to get pictures then but these are a couple from Google from previous year’s fiestas to show you how beautiful they are. Spain has such a wonderful history of textile crafts and I love these traditional costumes.

Alicante costumes

Alicante costumes 2

I am still working on Jenny’s embroidery sampler at the moment and having fun practising stitches I have not done for a while like chain stitch. I still can’t master French Knots so may have to substitute seed beads.

I have a nice week ahead as I am working from home all work which means lots of early finishes and sewing time. We might even get some more BBQs in, only 7 to go to hit our target of 20. Hope you are also going to have a lovely week, take care and thanks for visiting.

Seville – saving the best bits till last

I was thinking about what to blog about next, I have so many posts waiting to be written and then realised that I had not shown you my favourite bits of the Seville trip. Although I really loved the Real Alczar the highlight for me was going to the Plaza de Espana.

Plaza de Espana 5 v

When I first saw pictures of it I assumed it was part of the Moorish heritage due to its water gardens but it was actually built in 1928 as part of the Ibero-American World Fair, along with a beautiful park and lots of other museums. I was amazed by all of the beautiful tiles.

There is more information about it and some stunning panoramic pictures here. We spent about two hours here just wandering, taking photos and listening to the fantastic Flamenco buskers and admiring all the different varieties of tiles.

There were several solo guitarists and then in the centre a group who had set up a simple board for the dancers with boxes for the drummers and three women taking turns to dance and sing. It was wonderful and very moving.

Plaza de Espana Flamenco

We really loved looking at all of the cities listed on the tiled seats and discussing which we have visited and which we want to.

Plaza de Espana cities 1 h

Mum has seen more of Spain than I have as before deciding to buy a house in La Marina she travelled to the north and south-east looking for potential homes. We now have a long list of places to see, virtually everywhere in Spain!

After the Plaza we went through the gardens to the museums at the end of the park. I will show you the contents of the museum we visited in another post as they had a whole section devoted to embroidery 🙂 so I was a very happy bunny. This is the Moorish Pavillion which houses the museum of Folk Art.

Below is the archaeological museum which we didn’t visit but just admired the gardens between the two pavillions.

I am so lucky to be able to go and visit all of these wonderful places, especially with my Mum who is just the perfect travelling companion. We like all the same things and she is very used to putting up with me taking endless shots of the same things.

We have had a lovely time at Tewkesbury, it was very hot so our cold flannels were much in demand. I unfortunately got bit by mosquitoes on the last night and the bites have become infected so have spent the last three days feeling very rough and not doing much at all. Thankfully the antibiotics are taking effect and I now have legs rather than swollen sausages. I am going to be having a very quiet weekend with my feet up!

Take care, have a nice weekend and thanks for visiting.

A little bit of Mediterranean madness

Hello again. Spain was very lovely as always , I spent most of my time at the pool and reading but did go on a trip to Alicante to see the fogueres or bonfires of the Festival of Saint John where the people make the most beautiful sculptures and then set fire to them.

They are dotted all around the city and every year there is a new theme, this year I think it was Nature as there were many with seasons or animals.

Alicante fiesta 2018 1

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The level of detail is amazing and then they burn them!

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Alicante fiesta 2018 5

At midnight there are fireworks from the castle on the top of the hill, then each foguere was lit in turn with accompanying fireworks.

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Alicante fiesta 2018 7

We were standing on the opposite side of the road from the beautiful Winter themed one pictured above and we could feel the heat from there, it was so intense.

Alicante fiesta 2018 8

There were firemen hosing down the palm trees as smoke and sparks poured out and the owner of the nearby ice cream bar was on top of the roof hosing it down so it didn’t catch light. Madness and another reason to love Spain!

I was sad to leave but it was getting very hot, 34 degrees the last few days but it has not been that much cooler here.

I have had a brilliant weekend having a reunion with friends from college who I first met a mere 34 years ago. A fantastic time, lots of sitting in the sun and reminiscing about our time together and sharing hopes and plans for ourselves and our children.

I have a quiet couple of days ahead then it is off to the wonderful Tewkesbury event next, I would like it to cool down a little before then as don’t really want the boys to have to fight in 30 degrees plus. We British are never happy are we, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, it’s too wet, what would do without all this weather to talk about 🙂 !

I hope that you have a great week ahead, I will hopefully get chance to post some more travel pictures soon and then can update you on my recent Liberty blocks.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Seville – The Real Alcazar

By that I don’t mean as opposed to the Hotel Alcazar where we stayed, I mean the Royal Alcazar, as that is what it means in Spanish. This was an eagerly awaited visit, I went to Granada 15 years ago and saw the Alhambra and this was just as beautiful.

It was also used as a location for Game of Thrones as the kingdom of Dorne and when I saw those episodes I put this on my wish list to visit.They used some of the gardens and interior rooms.

Seville Alcazar gardens 1

Seville Alcazar gardens 2

Seville Alcazar gardens 3

It is amazingly beautiful, the Moorish place at the centre being surrounded by a later period palace and gardens and there was just so much amazing pattern everywhere.This ceiling in one of the state rooms was incredible.

Seville Alcazar ceiling

Lots of inspiration for the book of designs I am going to do one day!

Seville Alcazar patterns 1

Seville Alcazar patterns 2

Seville Alcazar patterns 3

Mum had been looking for a new travel shoulder bag as the one she bought in Florence was getting old so she decided on this lovely print from one of the gift shops. The following day when we visited the Alcazar we could see the original tiling!

Seville Alcazar Mum and bag

The work that went into this is just incredible , everywhere you turned there was more beauty.

I am pleased that I managed to get so many photos without people in as it was very busy as is to be expected in the height of the tourist season.

Top tip if you are going to visit, book in advance online, or as we did get there very early. Pre-booked tickets get let in first, we did not organise that before we got there so went very early, we got there at 9.10 and were let in at 9.50 so not too much of a wait but by that time the queues behind us were really long.

A truly amazing place, one of my favourite visits, I so love Islamic art and decoration.

I am looking forward to a very good weekend, it is a Bank Holiday here so three whole days in the craft room working on Liberty churn dash blocks and pouches! Plus a bit of clearing out the pots and hanging baskets if the weather is good. Everything has died over our very long winter so I need to but lots of new plants.

I hope that you are all going to have a nice weekend as well, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Seville – a very Spanish city

That may sound like a strange title for a blog post because of course it is in Spain but when we were wandering around Seville it felt very different to the other cities we have visited in Spain. Many of them have amazing architecture but it is often Art Deco or Modernista and while stunning is very similar to other things we have seen in places like Budapest.

Seville has a very unique character and it felt very much like old Spain, real Spain, the Spain that the Moors had a huge influence on. An amazing culture that had a very significant impact on the rest of the world. A friend messaged me when I said I was going and told me it was the most beautiful city in the world. That is a difficult one to judge having been lucky enough to visit some of the most beautiful cities in Europe and I don’t know if this is more beautiful than Venice, Florence, Prague, Paris, or any other of the places I have been.

It is certainly different and stunningly beautiful as these pictures show.I loved the fact that there were still the very narrow lanes everywhere with no cars and the possibility of getting lost.We decided on the last night to take a different route back to the hotel down some of these winding little lanes, past crowded bars where lots of people were sitting outside, not really knowing where we were until we turned a corner and realised we were only a short walk from our hotel.

A really lovely place and and a city and a region that I would love to return to one day.I still have so many more pictures of the things we saw, I went a little snap happy in the palace and took so many pictures so will have to just choose the best ones for you.

My teaching has generally finished now so I have had a very nice week with my students doing tutorials, most of whom I won’t teach again now but will see at their graduations. I am very lucky, I have a job that I love, despite it being sometimes a bit stressful, I get to go on brilliant holidays and have the prospect of 2 and a half days crafting coming up as I am planning to finish work early tomorrow 🙂 Life is very lovely.

I hope that you are equally happy with your week, take care and thanks for visiting.