Local Heart, Global Soul

February 9, 2020

Detail At The Top…

Following yesterday’s post I an outside the Sociëteit “De Vereeniging” (Private Member’s Club) in the Hague. The building has some beautiful stone detail on the outside, worth taking a closer look…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 30, 2020

One Street, Five Names…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In the summer of 2019, I took my wheelchair and my sticks and made a few visits on ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (Open days for National Historic Places sites).

This allows visits to places that are not usually open to the public, and since I didn’t want to travel far between sites, I tried to visit just a few in close proximity to one another.

Travelling between Javastraat and Parkstraat, several things caught my eye.

First: the tallest building on the right in the photograph below, used to belong to the Gemeente (City Council) and it was possible to have weddings here as well as in the (old) Gemeentehuis in the very centre of town.

The “old” building is no longer somewhere where you can take your vows,

Himself and I were lucky and were married in the old building right before the Gemeente’s new building opened and they closed the old one to marriage ceremonies.

That was extra special because I married in the same room as my Dutch Grandma did in 1916.

I loved her to bits, and miss her wit and the twinkle in her eye still.

Back to this building: notice the front door, that thing is massively tall.

Sadly it’s partly obscured by the tram pole in this photograph, but I can assure you that the top of this door goes all the way up to the top of the windows either side of it.

I was sitting in a tram one day, heading home from work and a wedding party were posing in the doorway for their wedding photographs, the brides big dress only seemed to emphasise the height of the doorway they were standing in. That image has stuck in my mind and I remember it every time we pass by here.

(Below) Another building and a stork, the emblem of The Hague.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) Corner of Mauritskade and Parkstraat, although technically the building we see here is standing on the Scheveningseveer due to the very odd Dutch habit of changing street names after every major intersection.

To illustrate this: This one long street starts out as Dr. Kuyperstraat, then becomes Mauritskade when a canal turns a corner and appears next to it (the “kade” part of the name indicates the presence of a canal, or body of water), then it changes to Scheveningseveer (even though the canal is still next to it), then it becomes Hogewal, and then finally, Elandstraat until it’s end.

I have no clue why they have this habit especially since the Laan van Meerdervoort is maybe the cities longest street and has no name change for almost it’s entire length (until it becomes Javastraat right by Masonic House/ by the section of the first photograph.)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 29, 2020

Angry Birds Next Door ?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Last summer I visited some of the Hague’s National Historic Places as part of a national event called ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (National Historic Places Day).

This allows public access to parts of buildings usually closed to the public.

There is a published booklet with a short blurb about each destination and maps in the back of the booklet to help you find each address.

I accidently started off the day arriving at the Hague’s Freemason’s House an hour earlier than planned but members there took pity on someone using a wheelchair and sticks and let me in anyway, so in essence I got not only a head start but also a private viewing.

I am very grateful for their kindness, since I always have to spend time waiting patiently for people to move out of shot when I’m photographing in museums etc, it was massively appreciated that I could take photographs without needing to wait.

Believe me, it was an opportunity I did not waste.  Therefore I owe Many Thanks to these kind people in Freemason’s House for letting me make exceptionally good use of my errant time.

Upon exiting Freemason’s House into the warm blue skied day, I was packing things into the wheelchair bag, and then the building next door caught my eye.

It’s not part of the Masonic building but looks like it may have been built around the same time (around the turn of the 20th Century). There are emblems on the building that are very impressive.

I can’t believe I used to take a tram past here every working day for more than five years, would “architecture gaze” out the windows as much as I could because I have a fascination with old buildings, and I never noticed these details before!

The flag outside is from the province of Zeeland in the south of the country, if it has any other meaning than the inhabitants/ owners / business within have Zeeland connections I don’t know.

A bird, (stylised eagle?) sits majestically on top of the building, while just below are pair of left and right facing stone creatures. Due to the flag getting in the way on the opposite side which I did not take into consideration at the time, the only proper illustration of them was in the shadow of the first photograph, not exactly a close-up, or good quality but enough to give you the idea.

I tried my best to do an edit/cut from Paint because I was totally unsure how else I was going to describe these. “An angry bird with it’s mouth wide open, art deco wings spread out behind it and a snake-like tail raising behind it?” Then it dawned on me that using the words “angry bird” would give you a completely different image in your mind! Closer inspection shows me that this creature appears to have ears… and the tail is a little like that of a sea-horse. It’s like a patch-work of creatures. …No wonder it’s angry.

Unusual ornamentation or not, I will be sure to remember to check this building out now that I have finally “discovered” it. It just goes to prove that a city I have lived in for more than 25 years now, and on a route that I used twice a day at one time, can still surprise me with it’s beautiful details.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 18, 2020

Stone Sentinels Close To The Fire…

Following on from yesterday’s post I took the opportunity to visit the Freemasons House in the Hague during the 2019 ‘Nationale Monumentendag’. This is an Open day for National Historic Places sites, or private establishments who open their doors to the public on this weekend. Yesterday I was looking at a stunning fireplace that had beautiful carved wooden faces in it’s upper section, now, closer to the heat source, carved figures continue, but this time in stone.

Today I am looking at the male and female head and torso figures standing in matching (modest) poses, below them, cheribs and close to the floor, very small busts of a woman. All of these figures are idealised and show far less detail and character than the wooden figures above them. Who knows, maybe they are even “catalogue” pieces, bought off the rack and fitted below the personalised section? The cherubs and ladies at the bottom are pretty much identical so I only photographed one of each. These stone sentinels can definitely take the heat.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 16, 2020

Lions And Their Place Near The Fire…

One of the things I found whilst visiting the Freemason’s House in the Hague on ‘Nationale Monumentendag’ (National Historic Places Day) sites) was a stunning fireplace in one of the rooms. It included carved woodwork, Delfts Blauwe tile work and these stone lions that are placed either side of the fireplace. They are imposing, beautiful, tactile and even in the low light, photogenic.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 16, 2019

The Sculptor’s Workshop…

Following on from yesterdays post, I am lucky enough to have been given a glimpse into what a sculptor’s workshop looks like. This shed-converted-to-studio is perfect solution for someone who needs a specialist environment for their hobby. After all I can’t see any of this going down well on the kitchen table or in a corner of anyone’s living room!

I love tools, metal with wood handles rather than plastic, chisels here of the size, shape and feel that any medieval stone mason would recognise if he stepped into the future several hundred years and landed in the twenty-first century. Some things never change because the “improved” version has already been found, and no further improvements have been needed. The shelves sit lined with stone from which the final image has yet to be extracted. This is the perfect space to make this possible. Tools with wooden handles are just bonus.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 15, 2019

A Treat In Store Or at Least …In The Shed.

I get inspired when I see the workspaces where other artists work. After visiting a sculptor during one of the “Parels” (Pearls) events, I got not just a look at their art, but also the workshop where it was made. The Parels events are held at different times of the year in many neighbourhoods around The Hague. Artists, collectors and people involved in many other activities (yoga, aroma therapy, musicians, choirs, furniture restoration, churches, libraries, to name but a few) open their doors and homes to the public and share their hobbies/art/activities with the wider world of their neighbourhood or city.

Here the treat is that I also get to see the spot where an artist makes their creative choices, how they want to shape a piece, how to in this case, handle the stone and produce the item they had imagined within it at the very beginning. This studio is in a shed at the bottom of their garden, a perfect spot apart from the world to sit and craft stone. Magic!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 13, 2019

Bronze And Stone…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) Ken of “Geest in Ontwikkeling”, Frans calksteen, Euville (French chalkstone from Euville) 2007. (Translation: “Developing Mind”, French Limestone from Euville, 2007.)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) (Bust) “Kees”. Brons, 2002. (translation: Bust / portrait of Kees ( Note: Kees is a mans name in Dutch). Bronze, 2002)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) “Veilig”, bruin albast 2011. (translation: “Safe”, brown alabaster, 2011)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below) Verbinding in vrijheid, bruine albast, 2006. (translation: “Connection in freedom”, brown alabaster, 2006

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 12, 2019

Rocking That Stone…

These are some of the “Parels” (Pearls) weekend sculptures I discovered on my visits…  Enjoy!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 11, 2019

Record Keeping In Of Stone…

It is excellent to find another artist who is keeping a record of their work. This time the art concerns sculptural pieces, they may be commissions or items made purely for the enjoyment of the artist. Regardless if the works are kept by the artist or not, a record of the pieces can inspire and show progress in skill. Here are a few records in of stone!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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