Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cotswold Stone

For thousands of years, the look of our homes, shops and places of worship was determined by the nearby landscape. Houses of timber, brick or stone grew from the proximity to trees, clay or rock. In the English Cotswolds, from Bath up to Chipping Campden, a special limestone still reigns. Its color enchants me. In the shade, it is subtly warm. In the afternoon sun, it is as golden as a jar of honey. We took country roads to and from whimsically-named villages. Along those roads, we passed some of the limestone quarries, half-hidden behind a screen of trees. I spied the yellow rubble on the edge of the road where trucks emerge with their golden cargo. Oh how I wanted to stop and pick up a few small pieces, as a souvenir, and also as my very own Pantone-color-chart-in-a-rock. instead,I will make do with my photos. This one is a detail of the Lygon Arms Hotel in Broadway.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Big Red ART

The annual Quilt Surface Design Symposium has finally moved to the Columbus College of Art and Design. This monumental sculpture has been a useful landmark for navigating around a campus that is new to us. "Go to the ART and turn right." I've enjoyed looking at the big red ART. I love the way it interacts with the its environment. Sometimes it's a silhouette, not red at all. Other times, clouds surround it with a blue and white pattern. We've adopted and embraced the ART. I’m guessing the ART may show show up in our art.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


This is Snowshill, a British National Trust property in the Cotswolds. It is exactly what I've imagined that an English country garden should look like, in all its green, flowery glory. Roses and ivy climb up aged stone walls. Iris, lamb's ears and poppies spill over the walkways. Hedgerows follow the curves of the hills beyond the confines of the garden. I fall into the fantasy that strikes all garden loving Anglophiles. I want to make my garden look like this. Alas, I have neither an army of gardeners, nor the ideal climate. But I will have the memory of this day forever.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tintern Abbey

Sitting in a Welsh valley edged by the winding Wye River, Tintern Abbey was once a center of power and learning. Founded by the Cistercians in the 12th century, the monks went about their business for 400 years. Henry VIII took case of that. Now it is a stone skeleton, open to the sky. I stood in the nave, on green grass dotted with michaelmas daisies. I listened to the wind and looked up at the sky. The stained glass and gilding are gone but this place still holds spiritual power. Now it is a near-perfect blend of the works of Man and the works of Nature. I think the monks and abbots must be at peace with its fate.