Local Heart, Global Soul

February 17, 2019

How To Train Your Tree…

All around Zierikzee and in a few streets of the surrounding villages, we spy some very strange looking trees. We visited the area during our 2017 Easter break, so it was only just the end of winter and the beginning of spring. These trees have been “trained” to be more or less “flat” so that they can be added to streets where there is not a lot of room. but greenery is wanted. In spring the leaves will come, new branches will form and these strange, stumpy looking threes will be bursts of green. The fact that they line up also gives protection against the sun in the height of summer, their shade not only being most welcome but the introduction of nature into the city, helping to break up the concrete, cobbles and bricks of the urban environment.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)


Some trees were not stunted, just appealed to my artistic whims.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 16, 2019

For Drawing Cobbles And Tiles…

Ok, a weird “Arty” post just for myself.  It’s all very well wanting to draw an object if you are in the drawing mood, but what do you do with the background? How do you fill in details of the ground, of cobbles and bricked pavements? Ditto for things like roof lines, how do you draw the tiles that cover them if you can not see them up close and understand how they fit together? the light and shade? texture? colour? and everything else you need to literally fill in the gaps? For me the answer is to make a post that delights me and probably has you all scratching your heads. This is a handy place for my “reference files.” If you are arty it might be something you do too? Don’t worry: “normal service” will be resumed tomorrow.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 15, 2019

Flowers Wrought In Iron…

There are some delightful wrought iron decorative gates, rails and even an enclosure to safeguard a large tree that divides a road in Zierikzee. Some have gold painted “flowers” as well. I love the extra effort put into beautiful works like these… it’s very much appreciated by this art lover at least. As usual I also find quirky things, like this little tap on the side of one of the houses. Put in to make it easier to water the plants ?(there were none close by). More likely if I know my Dutch family history, it was there to aid the ritual cleaning of windows, doors and steps by Dutch housewives. Doorknobs and brass letterbox surrounds were polished until gleaming and it was a matter of pride and validation of a being a goog housewife to have everything on the inside and outside of your home spotless. The outside cleaning was at least , a once weekly event that entire streets and cities took part in, in days gone by.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 14, 2019

Finding An Art Deco Design…

Zierikzee has building of all ages, here’s one in the Art Deco style…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 13, 2019

Age, And The Texture That Comes With It…

Filed under: Architectural Detail,ART,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Throughout the centuries, old buildings in the Netherlands did not often just get pulled down. I suppose that the cost and the unwillingness to waste good building materials was a good motivation for just “adding on” rather than “starting over”. This is why it is possible to see all mixtures of styles and building materials in buildings that are centuries old. The original was probably begin between 1500 and 1600, all of the extra additions added in a piecemeal fashion  or by levels after that. Today these are historic buildings of special note of course, not necessarily famous for anything that happened in them, or people who resided in them, just valued because they are still standing after all this time.

Like all old Dutch cities Zierikzee has it’s fair share of these buildings, so in one very narrow street I spied several adjoining buildings that are probably listed somewhere in a historic building register. A mix and match of stone and brick, they have their characteristic wrought iron pins that hold walls to walls, and the look of age that can not be duplicated other than to likewise stand for four or five hundred years in all weathers and seasons. The street was so narrow that I stood with my back touching the buildings on the opposite side and still couldn’t get any wide shot to include any decent amount of these weathered neighbours. This post is all about age, and the texture that comes with it.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 12, 2019

A Walk Down Century Lane…

The building that I looked out on whilst I visited Zierikzee’s Stadhuis (City Council /Town Hall) are as old as the Stadhuis too. Together they stand as a testament to beautiful architecture of centuries past and retain many of the original features. Once back outside I photographed the façades, with the brickwork patterns, shutters, and stepped gables. Less a “walk down memory lane” and more a “walk down century lane”.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 11, 2019

Clasped, Chained, Engraved, Micro-Mosaic, …Silver Bibles!

The exquisite detail and workmanship in the tiny bibles on display during my Easter break visit to Zierikzee back in 2017 was amazing.  Some were encrusted with semi-precious stones, leather and silver combined to make intricate patterns even on some of the smallest of it’s parts. Even the clasp to keep the bible closed and thus the pages protected, were engraved or decorated. It’s possible that bibles such as these might be one of the most expensive items in the family home. All of the bibles were standing on glass shelves and for obvious security reasons enclosed in a glass cabinet, so getting photographs with as little reflection as possible was quite a task.

One of the bibles had micro-mosaic figures in each corner of the front cover, quite a few have monogrammed initials worked into the designs or Family names etched into the silver on clasps or within the silver work. Another has an indented flower pattern in the closed pages and a wrist chain, presumably so that this precious object didn’t get accidently dropped into the mud if your horse jolted unexpectedly whilst you were getting into your carriage.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 10, 2019

Illustrating A Book, Bitch!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The reason for my 2017 Easter break visit to the Zierikzee Stadhuis (City council / Town hall) was because I had unexpectedly discovered an information board advertising an exhibition.

The exhibition advert was for a display of bibles… and not just any bibles, but bibles in silver cases, often stunningly engraved with intricate and amazingly detailed designs.

Bibles were usually one of the only “approved” decorated items in the home of the Calvinist (in North America these were known as the “Puritans”), so in upper class families this was also the one outlet for conspicuous expression of wealth or special care of a treasured possession.

The Calvinist lifestyle was austere in the extreme: colour, indulgence, extravagance, decorative objects, hobbies and fun were denounced.

Restrictions were so strict that people could be tried for the offence of dancing!

The exhibition shows us not only the bibles but also around the walls were early photographs where Calvinists were shown holding their beautiful silver encased bibles.

Not every bible here is from the Calvinists however, some are from the Dutch Reformed Church, Catholics and other “branches” of the faith as it was at the time.

The visitor is instantly struck by  the size of the bibles, for the most part they are all tiny, roughly 10-15 cm in height (3-4 inches). Some of the bibles on display were presented with special pages open so that visitors could also see etched or woodcut illustrative pages, those too, although tiny, have exacting detail.

I first watch a short video that details where various bibles are from since this collection includes examples from Germany, France and several other European countries.

There was a lot of additional information in the film too, dates, and a little background about a few of the bibles where it is known.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s not hard to imagine this lady practicing the strict Calvinistic / Puritan ethic of austere living! In reality though, she probably had a very tough life.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Above) The text on the banner the angels are holding is in old German. As a lover of languages Himself took pleasure in digging into his library of language books and dictionaries and found out that it reads: “Strassburgisches Gelang Buch”  which translates into English as “Strasburg Hymn Book”  (Strasburg as in the city in France, and the word we translated as “hymn” could also be literally read as a past tense of “singing“).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Your eyes may be playing tricks on you in the photograph above, the last word isn’t “Bitch”, but rather “Buch” (the German word for “book’ or possibly ‘Buch” as in a Family name).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 9, 2019

Stadhuis Windows And An Old Masters View..

In one of the Zierikzee Stadhuis (Town Hall) rooms, I was captivated by the light coming through the large windows. There were also cool shadow patterns on the floor and there was an “atmosphere” created by this centuries old building that no camera can ever capture. Then I stepped up to one of the windows.. and on the opposite side of the street was several other beautiful centuries old classically Dutch styled buildings. That day during the 2017 Easter break was one of those “four seasons in one day” sort of weather patterns, and at this exact moment, winter weather was beating down the summery sunshine that had been getting through the clouds for most of the day. This time the sunshine wasn’t winning and the skies were growing darker by the moment.

This incoming inclement weather, the contrast between light and dark, combined with the shapes of the beautiful structures before me had the effect of making you feel like you’d stepped into a 16th Century Old Master Still-life painting. I wonder how many people from the time these buildings were new (1600-1700’s) have stood at this window, or windows like these and looked out on similar views. This typical Dutch weather for late winter, early spring. The dramatic shapes of dark threatening clouds and signs of impending rain. The camera could not do this justice, (well maybe it could, but this camera operator could not). I took several photographs trying to capture the changes in the clouds and the drama they created. A period drama could only hope to generate such feeling and atmosphere…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 8, 2019

Stadhuis Rooms…

Other parts of Zierikzee’s Gemeente Stadhuis (City council / Town Hall) that I managed to visit during the 2017 Easter break, were several beautiful rooms. However I didn’t see all of the Stadhuis by any means because of time constraints, mostly due to my taking time out to keep sitting down to have a rest. One room has a large piece that has been made with thousands of sea shells. Marble pieces above the fireplaces are also amazing…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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