New Year New Horizons

Happy 2015 to one and all and may it bring you joy.

Now that Christmas and New year are out of the way I am getting nervous about my arrangements for “The Big Trip” so forgive me readers if I seem a little distracted in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile my friend and fellow community gardener Rosemary Moon, has been busy recording podcasts for her new website Rosemary Moon featuring whiskey and food. She invited me to taste a dram with her over a kolokoppitta which she made for the first time from “Androula’s Kitchen-Cyprus on a Plate”. The whiskey she chose to go with it was called Monkey Shoulder, an unusual name for a whiskey, at least it wasn’t monkey’s armpit??? A blended whiskey it was light and fruity and went down well with the crispy little pies. Rosemary is lucky enough to have an Aga cooker so the cooked results are a little closer to a wood fired oven than say cooking with gas or electric.

We talked about cooking and food of course but the main drift of conversation tended towards the process of self publishing. This idea has set me thinking of doing a few podcasts while I’m away so watch out in future. Here is a link to the podcast.



A Friday Tale

Troodos mountains offer a very modern infrastr...

Troodos mountains offer a very modern infrastructure (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After reading about the snow in Cyprus last week the snow has now also arrived in Tangmere today.  I found a nice little article here at On This Island  illustrating the extraordinary phenomenon that is Cyprus in winter, where you can go up to Troodos and ski in the morning then go down to the beach for a swim in the afternoon.

We don’t have quite enough snow here to ski although we do have a few hills where you can have fun sledding have you a mind to. If the snow is still around tomorrow and it looks as if it will be, I will be out with my camera and taking a few photos but not from a sled! I wanted to build a snowman earlier but when  I poked my nose outside the door this morning it was snowing a veritable blizzard, so I brought it back in sharpish and decided that making bread would be more of a suitable pastime.

I’ve also been browsing the web of course, perfect day for it, I was reading a recent post by Cypriot and Proud which was on a topic I relish: artisan/designers. This post  focuses on a young Cypriot weaver designer Joanna Louca who  studied ‘Textile constructed design’  and then gained a masters in ‘Textile in Art’ at Middlesex University London.  She now has a weaving studio in Cyprus where the textiles are produced and has collaborated with Italian designers to produce some wonderful bags. She also weaves her textiles to use  in all manner of creative ways, I love her colour combinations and her patterns echo the traditional patterns used in Cyprus for centuries.

I was thrilled to see this article as it is a fervent wish of mine to see the valuable traditional crafts like weaving and basket making, being used by young artists designers to produce contemporary and exciting designs, looks like Joanna is doing just that. I love it. She will be someone I would very much like to visit in person on a future visit, to see those beautiful textiles for myself.

Joanna Louca's work Photo courtesy of Cypriot and Proud

Joanna Louca’s work Photo courtesy of Cypriot and Proud

Another basket case

I’ve just watched this video via a link from Stroud International Textiles facebook page and was enveloped  once again in enthusiasm for the craft and it’s possibilities. So much diversity exists in creative basket weaving.

In Cyprus the basket making tradition is strong and in the past this was a highly versatile and much practised craft for making all manner of containers used in everyday life. Now, sadly there are fewer and  fewer  exponents of this once ubiquitous craft. The younger generations are not encouraged to take it up, and I’m sure they must think there are much more lucrative ways of earning a living. But what a shame it would be if the skills were lost completely, already the last man to make baskets out of twigs has gone from Kritou Terra.

Weaving is another craft that looked like it might be going the same way but, as already discussed in earlier blogs initiatives are now being put in place to invigorate interest in not only preserving the traditional techniques but also, just as importantly, instigating collaborations between universities in Cyprus and around the world to take an interest in the weavers and weaving techniques of Cyprus, so that innovation can take place and the practises are carried forward. I feel sure the same kind of initiatives can be put in place to re- kindle interest in basket making and get innovation going to produce some  exciting and creative products using the traditional materials and techniques.

Lace is yet another very traditional craft  of Cyprus and I was excited to see a poster earlier this week, again posted on facebook via Phitiotika, for an exhibition taking place at the  Lefkara Hotel  with the fabulous title of your ‘Granny can fly’,showing the results of a collaboration between local lace-makers  and craft-makers and artists from the UK, Romania and Bulgaria. I wish I could be there to see it. This is so encouraging to see these revered crafts being carried forward by the next generations in new ways.