Friday, 3 May 2013

Ice Age Art

After an early morning attempt at being a domestic goddess I took myself off to the British Museum for an afternoon of thoughtful contemplation. It's one of my favourite places, there are so many ideas contained within the artefacts, so much food for thought - absolute bliss.

I went to see Ice Age art, (extended until 2 June) an exhibition of pieces made sometime between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, many of the pieces made with mammoth ivory and reindeer antler. Beautifully skilful work made by artists with an understanding of scale, perspective and abstraction, all concepts that we associate with the 'modern mind'.

This male figure caught my eye, perhaps because all the other figures were the female type we expect from this period (I've not seen a male figure before). Thought to be a doll or puppet like sculpture and made from mammoth tusk. 

I especially like the way the shadows implies legs.

This sophisticated, long, slim leaf shaped piece of flint is impressively thin. At just 6mm it's almost translucent and much too fragile to be a spear tip. We can see the skill and dexterity of the maker, (experimentation has shown it takes about 5 hours to make) but remain mystified as to why it was made.

My photograph does nothing for this piece. But this was the piece that made me draw a breath and think How Wonderful. I can not explain why - the elegance of the horses form, perhaps the abstracted woodland through which he runs, or the confidence of line, I don't know. . .
A pair of swimming reindeer, made from mammoth ivory.

The great court, the BM’s inner courtyard is the largest covered public square in Europe, a two-acre space enclosed by an impressive glass roof, and it feels fresh each time I see it.

On my way from the exhibition to the book shop - a foregone conclusion!
Back home and revealing the booty of my visit! 
Images from the book, Ice Age art, showing the imagination and the exquisite nature of the work on show. 

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

End of a long dark winter . . .

It felt like a long and dark winter (and not just the weather) thankfully some warmth is returning to the soil. Not just warmth, colour too . . . hurrah!

And if ever an excuse not to cut the grass was needed, this warm sunshine has peppered daisies throughout the lawn - how cruel it would be to mow them down. 
I'd thought we were weeks behind with spring growth, however this blossom was photographed on 6 May 2008 . . .
and this is today's apple blossom. If the weather keeps on like this, I would guess that in a weeks time it'll be pretty much at the same stage. This is a worry because we're still sporadically waking up to a frosty garden, and that could wreck all the apple blossom.
With my new enthusiasm for colour I couldn't resist the temptation to pick up my camera and have a wander around the garden.

With the accompaniment of a couple of large bumble bees and some birdsong, I could see how much now needs attention, but I like to think I'm supporting a whole host of insect life with my relaxed approach to gardening, which has to be a good thing.
 Forget-me-knots against the wall, with a bit of herb robert hiding at the back,
and yellow tulips starting to reveal themselves (a lack of spring flowers was making me feel a little cheated) we're on a frost line and get a predominantly north westerly wind so the back garden can be a difficult environment in spring - we're due a frost tonight . . . there was frost this morning . . . there was frost over the weekend . . .
The front garden is south facing (a big difference there, you can see with the desiccated lavender at the back) and it seems suddenly it's all systems a go-go.
Flynn and Rufus have been following in my footsteps all morning, not sure what I was up to but hopeful something delicious might turn up
Pretty pulmonaria at the base of one side of a hedge,
cowslips on the other side.
Sulphurous yellow daffodils growing up through sage, not a combination I'm too fond of now but they are really cheerful on a grey day so I've left them there.
I was pleasantly surprised to find these pots of pasque flowers had survived the winter, they were hidden outside at the back of the house where it's coldest and wettest - rescued now for a new bed.
I have a soft spot for magnolias, in general they don't like a shallow chalky soil but this little stellata has never disappointed.