Viva Vivary!

Viva Vivary #2

One of the many treasures to be found in Taunton (the county town of Somerset in south-west England) is a classic Victorian park which was first laid out for the public’s enjoyment in 1895.

Known as Vivary Park (after the medieval fish farm or ‘vivarium’ that was once sited there to serve Taunton’s ancient castle and priory), it features prominently in my memories of life in Taunton in the 1970s, and is still one of my favourite places to visit whenever I find myself in the town.

Vivary Park is the venue for the famous Taunton Flower Show which takes place annually in August, at which I was thrilled to win some prizes for my quilled art last year.  If you like, you can read about that particular adventure here and here.

The park has now become the subject of my latest quilled collage featuring gothic-style tracery, which aims to create a decorative ‘window’ on to this peaceful and colourful oasis in the town. At the centre is a digitally stylised picture of the gorgeous fountain which was unveiled as a memorial to the late Queen Victoria in 1907, and which is regularly re-painted in vivid bright colours which preserve its original magnificence even in modern times. The beauty of the fountain is echoed by fabulous displays of flowering plants throughout the year. There is also an elegant Victorian bandstand in the park, plus a peaceful sensory garden area – it really is such a delightful place!

I have tried to capture the rich colours of the park in this collage through my choice of background papers and the quilled flowers I made to complement them. Quillers will notice a little combed work along the edges of the deep magenta panels, nestling in between crimped-strip teardrops. The tracery is constructed using 3 mm gold-edged gold strips, triple-rolled to create ring coils around dowels. By cutting the ring coils, it is possible to make arcs that form the basis of classical gothic architectural shapes. I’m learning more and more about the geometry of tracery every time I make one of these pieces!

This picture will be placed on public display at various locations (including Taunton) in the coming months, unless previously sold. Should you be interested in purchasing it (or maybe even something similar, custom-made), please contact me by emailing quilliancemail@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

Viva Vivary!!

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Gold beneath Burrow Mump

Gold beneath Burrow Mump

 

So, this is the style that I’m adopting for my gallery collection: a segmented collage of different background papers, individually bordered with black crimped paper strip ‘leading’ like the panes of a stained glass window – all contained within a rigid framework made from ‘sandwiched’ multiple quilling strips and selectively decorated with various forms of paper filigree. Continuing the stained glass window analogy, each piece is going to be framed by tracery shapes, constructed from metallic-edged quilling strips. In church architecture, tracery forms an integral part of the window, crossing the panes, whereas mine positions itself – perversely! – around the edges.

If art provides an insight into a person’s soul, this speaks volumes about my affinity with bold shapes, ideas and colours. I’m so excited that others have seen and responded positively to this unique new style of mine … and I feel as though my creativity has been unleashed in a way that I’ve really never experienced before.

Yes, it’s moving away from quilling just a bit … well, away from ‘traditional quilling’, anyway, and for that reason I suspect it may not necessarily find favour with all of my friends and acquaintances in the ‘quilling blogosphere’. However, quilling still underpins the work in so many different ways: in the tracery (ring coils, cut and joined); in the edging (straight and crimped quilling strips sandwiched together); in the decorative detail of the window panes (open coils, ring coils and delicate huskings – the very essence of filigree as practised by our ancestors).

Because the piece shown above speaks for my soul, it had to contain just a little bit of Somerset. You’ll find this in the uppermost segment: a tiny image showing the summit of Burrow Mump – an iconic hill which rises dramatically out of the flat lands of the Somerset Levels.

King Alfred the Great is known to have climbed Burrow Mump to scan the distant landscape for marauding Danes in ancient times. During the time of his reign as the King of Wessex, the area of the Somerset Levels was a vast, marshy sea in which this natural knoll stood out as an island, making it an ideal lookout post. The ruin at the top of the Mump is the medieval church of St Michael which was used as a refuge by Royalist soldiers during the Civil War. Soon afterwards, the King’s army occupied it again during the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685. The views from the summit of Burrow Mump are spectacular to say the least. As you catch your breath beside the ruined church after your steep climb, you can look out towards other ‘islands’ standing in the Levels, such as Glastonbury Tor and Alfred’s own royal Isle of Athelney. The Rivers Parrett and Tone converge at the foot of the Mump and flow away together to the Bristol Channel. It’s a truly magical place.

When creating this piece, I imagined that there might be gold deep inside the Mump, stretching out beneath the strata of the rock. Go deep enough down, and you might eventually discover subterranean water, whose colour echoes the brilliant blue of the sky above. However, I will leave my image of the Mump to speak to you in its own way …

For those who are interested in the technicalities of these things, I created the outline for this collage using a cross formation assembled using blank jigsaw pieces, which then provided templates for the individual segments of the design. The borders of the cross are delineated using my quilling strip ‘sandwich’ technique , glued down on to an outline shape which I embossed on to the blue background card over mounting board, using the crooked end of a crochet hook. In this photo, you can see how I applied tiny dots of glue into the indented outline and allowed them to go ‘tacky’ for a minute or so before placing the ‘sandwiched’ strip into position on the background card:

DSCF7358

 

I am proud of this piece, which will be placed on public display at various locations in the coming months, unless previously sold. Should you be interested in purchasing it (or maybe even something similar, custom-made), please contact me by emailing quilliancemail@gmail.com or leave a comment below.