Local Heart, Global Soul

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)

August 20, 2015

Hey, Look What I Found On The Floor!!!

Several years ago I visited the Basilica of Saint Servatius in Maastricht and in it, found a building that is a surprise and delight to anyone who adores pattern and detail. These are a few of the tiles I found in the floor… and considering that most Basilicas and churches at this time had only plain paving stones or slate… these really stand out. Yes, of course these are probably Victorian additions, but stunning all the same… For my foodie friend and regular reader Carrie: this post is for you….

(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 Basilica of Saint Servatius / Maastricht

January 17, 2013

Letting Your Own Delfts Blauw Creativity Loose…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We wanted to do something very special with our New Zealand friends when they visited a few years ago so bought them to the Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles  (The Royal Porcelain Bottle) pottery in Delft for a unique experience.

In this establishment, where the  famous Delfts Blauw (Delft Blue) has been in continuous production for more than 350 years it’s possible to paint your very own blue and white tile or small earthenware piece.

Since we are not experienced pottery artists we opted for the safer option of the flat surface of a tile rather than the possible Christmas bauble.

The workshops (reservations necessary in advance)  take two and a half hours and the brushes, the paint and the earthenware item to be painted are provided. Our tiles are 13 x 13 cm in size ( 5 x 5 inches) square and cost € 37,50 per person.

The staff provide  papers with various popular patterns  of things like windmills and flowers pinpricked into it and then they dust it with some sort of coloured dust that  goes through the holes and leaves a join-the-dots type of pattern on the tile to give you a starting image to fill in and embellish, or you can simply make your own image free-hand.

I’d made a tile here before with American friends who we also bought here in 2007  for a visit, and after learning from the first trip that there was an option to design your own tile, I took inspiration from my favourite plate: also a small  Royal Delft and designed my own tile ( or “ode to Delft ” since it’s a poor imitation of the professional version), preparing it with a zillion tiny pin pricks before I went and luckily it all worked fine when they dusted it with the coloured powder: the image transferred correctly.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You paint your tile in what looks like thin black paint which turns into the beautiful blue once the tile is fired.

The lighter your paint layer the lighter the colour blue and I now know that if you want really intense dark blue that you need to make several layers of paint because some sections of my tile still weren’t as dark in colour as I intended to them be.

The paint substance kind of soaks instantly into the tile, there is no second-chance for error and no rubbing out so a steady hand is needed and you get a very short practice on some small shards of earthenware before you start your tile design.

A few points worth noting: If you have a complex piece like my second tile you’ll be under real pressure to finish on time, the time zooms by and there are no extensions of time in the workshop possible.

You tend to try and hold your breath a lot as you attempt to keep a steady hand so it’s intense work!

There’s an age limit so Little Mr. who was too young on our first trip here, went to a playground with Himself instead. Also if I go here to make a tile again I will ask if  it’s at all possible to skip the tour of the factory that’s included in the price and use the extra time to paint instead.

After you’ve painted your tile they will take it away to be  fired and you can pick it up in person at a later date or pay extra to have it posted to you worldwide. The others got their tiles posted to their home address overseas since they were busy touring Europe so I didn’t see them finished, but I have “before and after” photos of our tiles so that you can see get an idea of what they look like after firing. (I’ve edited the photos to remove some identifying name information).

http://www.royaldelft.com/index.asp?lang=2

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Different interpretations of the same patterns: the butterflies were very popular with the kids, windmills with the adults.

(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)

I chose the above pattern as well for my first tile: before, after photo follows…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Little Mr. was old enough to take part the second time and went for a free-hand design of his own making (incorporating several names)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Turned out brilliantly!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My little plate is my beautiful inspiration…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My second tile…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 16, 2013

Oh YES! It’s a Royal Flush!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Regular readers of my blog will know that I seem have a knack for finding unusual loos.

Some of these lavatories are truly quirky, some come with a view, some a highly decorated and most of them will leave you with a smile on your face.

I’m a firm believer that creative expression, humour and beauty should be found in as many places as possible and but sadly sometimes the most functional places in our lives, where we spend time every day are completely sterile and without character instead of being places of inspiration.

Here in the premises of the Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles  (The Royal Porcelain Bottle) in Delft I was delighted to find that even the toilet bowl was decorated with the companies iconic flourishes.

Blue and white tiles have been a traditional feature in Dutch households for many centuries and as one of the Dutch pottery companies responsible for producing these tiles it was nice to see that they decided to use the blank canvas of the walls of their public toilets to showcase just a few of their designs.

There are  mirrors over the hand basins in this Ladies loo,  and the lights caused some difficulties with reflection on the tiles so getting the photos, but I did my best and I think that this set of conveniences is inspired: A right Royal Flush!

(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)

April 5, 2012

Needing a Breather… Let’s Take a Seat…

Filed under: ART,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Places and Sights,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One of the things that people said they really wanted in Napier after the 1931 earthquake were wide streets.

This was duly incorporated into the rebuild of the city and  gives a lovely relaxed feel to the shopping area.

There is also plenty of room for public seating,  something achieved here by placing simple large , white geometric  Deco inspired  forms  down the length of the shopping area.

On the top of these seats there are all sorts of Art Deco styled motifs in various tile designs.

Some of these are different,  with a more abstract, Pacific and Maori inspired designs within their patterns. These  ones were in  silver and gold colours.

I didn’t get photographs of them all because naturally enough sometimes people were busy sitting on these seats and well, it’s strange enough to be the kind of  foodie photographer who takes photos of their food in a restaurant or cafe before eating … but I draw the line at photographing people’s derrières whilst they sit in public places!

There is one photo that kind of looks like it might have been someone sitting there, rest assured it’s not,  it’s a coat that some people in a group next to the seat had put down on it whilst they had a chat close by. I think that they quite rightly figured that the camera lady on crutches wasn’t exactly going to grab it and sprint off it with it!

What was extra nice for me too was that I used these seats as  convenient resting places whilst making my way back to where Himself and a kids were, but  in the end they met me half way so these are the photos I managed to get during the smaller amount of walking that I did do.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 5, 2011

Hard Work Going on in More than Just the Bakery…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Yesterday’s post was about our  soap holder and toilet roll holder tiles that are recessed into the wall and original to our 1930’s Dutch home.

Our simple yellow ones are beautiful for architectural reasons but they can’t compete with their glamorous and famous cousins from Delft, or many of their decorative relatives dotted on and in buildings around certain parts of the city.

First a few new Dutch words and their pronunciations…  if you go to the Haven (pronounced “haaa van”) which is the “Harbour”  of The Hague, you will pass  in or around the Statenkwartier , (pronounced “start-en-quar-tear”) which is a very affluent neighbourhood of the Hague.

It’s an old established neighbourhood with many beautiful and ornate buildings, and in that neighbourhood you will find the Frederik Hendriklaan,  which is also affectionately known locally as “the Fred“.

On the “Fred” there is a bakery, and it’s worth a second look, not only for the baked goods but also for the tiles that adorn the inside.

Last year I went in one day near the end of the afternoon when I knew they would be less busy and asked if I might take some photos please.

They were happy to oblige, but actually with the strip lighting in the shop it was harder than I thought.   The tiles depect typical historical agricultural scenes from  around the Netherlands. Here are the results…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 4, 2011

Tiles that are So Much More than just Holes in the Wall…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

About a year ago I made a blog post that featured the old fashioned oddity that is our traditional Dutch toilet….

https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/new-post-47/

… And I’m happy to report that yep, it still startles unsuspecting non-dutch visitors.

Not that we hear actual screams like those that one four and a half year old managed upon her first encounter, rather it’s sometimes a wry smile from adults and maybe a comment along the lines of: ” that’s one rather unusual convenience you have there isn’t it?”

As I mentioned in the link, this style of toilet is fast disappearing because  newer styles of bathrooms and toilets are in high vogue …

and not surprisingly this not longer fits with the chrome, stark and chiseled modernism and whiter than white that is all the rage today.

Call me a dinosaur but these  “old fashioned” features nay, lets  do a little re-branding and call them “historical”  features…   … are I believe, something to hang onto.. a heritage that is quickly and easily lost and difficult to replace once gone.

Of course, if you have a modern new-build home then that’s another story completely, but ours is a typical 1930’s Dutch “portiek woning” that happens to have almost every last original feature intact ,so as much as it’s humanly possible we intend on keeping it that way.

Another one of the old features that are fast disappearing from Dutch homes are wall tiles,  which in our house come in two styles:  the soap holders, which we have  in our minuscule kitchen  and also the shower and the toilet-roll holder.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Both are built directly into the wall.

I first tried to take photos of the toilet-roll holder with a full roll on it, but the roll hides the curves of the inner part of the tile and you can’t see any detail, so I tried again with the roll nearing empty …

The original wooden dowel holds the roll, at each end there are two tiny pegs that slot into holes on the sides of the tile.

Ingeniously there is a little spring mechanism inside the wooden dowel, so to remove the roll you simply push it to one end, the spring compresses and the rod pops out so that you can add a new roll.

To put it back, place one peg in the hole, push gently to compress it, slot in the other peg at the other end,  let go,  it resumes it’s normal size and stays in place.

The soap holders have a little hole in the centre of the bit that juts out from the wall, water drains though the hole.

Our hand soap is of the liquid variety so we use the kitchen soap holders as a good place to put the pot scrub/sponge thingy.

I know, I know, I’m easily pleased, but as the saying goes:  “small things amuse small minds”  !

But  it IS part of a very Dutch tradition that is dying out, so I figure that I’m just doing my bit for keeping history alive.

Welcome to the Kiwidutch Museum LOL !

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 21, 2010

Yea or Nay ? Are these Tiles “Style”… or not?

Filed under: PORTUGAL — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There is another other sort of  Portuguese Azulejo (tile)  that don’t get the same publicity as their regular blue, white and yellow tile cousins.

These poor relations often appear  in more than one colour,  but  feature the added bonus of being three dimensional, so they have an embossed sort of look.

When I first saw these kinds of tiles I have to admit that I didn’t think I liked them much, because close up the detail is often rather crude, even rather sloppy looking.

(and like any good detail fanatic I have to look close up). sigh, I was critical of the apparent lack of finish, but I’m learning that even detail fanatics have to take a step backwards some times, and learn to see the bigger picture.

They look so much less “crafted” then a lot of the regular flat tiles that Portugal is famous for and they definitely can’t compare with the delicate detail of the tiles that fit together to make stunning tile paintings.

But,  over time these “different” tiles have grown on me.

Why?  mostly because I’ve seen many buildings where these tiles look kind of strange, and rough when viewed close up and on their own, but when seen from a distance as a “whole” they can look amazing.

Add a little sunshine and shadow and these tiles show off their personality…

Actually when the sun shines on these they don’t just come to life… they party!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 20, 2010

Azulejos are Portuguese Tiles of the Unexpected…

Filed under: PORTUGAL — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

No matter where you are in Portugal, there is one thing that you will see over and over again.

Something Portugal is understandably famous for… Tiles!

The Portugese word for “tiles” is “Azulejos” pronounced as  “Azz-u-lay-ju-ss” and they appear to come in three distinctive sorts.

The first are the famous montages of tiles, this is where more than one tile is painted so that together they form a picture… imagine a jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces have neat straight sides and you get the idea.

Porto’s São Bento train Station is a fine example of this sort of tile-work. https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2010/11/06/new-165/

Then there are the plain, flat, square tiles with patterns ranging from the most plain to the most complicated… floral, geometric,  colours are often blue and white, sometimes with the Portuguese yellow mixed in, browns also feature, as do cream, green and even gray.

In many of these tiles, the Moorish influences can be seen in the beautiful geometric patterns, originating from Islamic occupation of the Iberian Peninsular in centuries past…

(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)

So that’s a little insight into my time out on the tiles… but there are some I’ve missed out completely….

 

October 29, 2010

Porto’s Walls of Beauty…

Filed under: PORTUGAL — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

Whilst we were waiting for our lunch (of yesterday’s blog post) to arrive, I find myself drawn out onto the street… well the footpath to be precise. What is it that  is so captivating? Let’s look around….

This?…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Nice, and close, but no… maybe this?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Wow…drop dead gorgeous! but  no…

This…  the stunning tile work on the walls of the building (almost) next to the cafe….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

..and another one that we saw a little later,  for good measure… artistry personified –  literally…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(sigh) I could just pull up a chair and drool all day…

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