Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Design and craftsmanship

Yes, it's a log cabin quilt design in corduroy, pillow shams and, really!, a pair of slippers. These are most surprising items I saw in the craft market in Krakow. I didn't search for other quilt related things, like fabric shops. I didn't have time.

More the sort of thing I expected to see are these beautiful embroidered table cloths. This is the traditional folk embroidery I've read of in books and it was just as stunning as I expected. I also saw cut work and counted stitch embroidery.
Unexpected, but definitely in line with other crafts booths are these lamps in a Tiffany style but the shades are studded with the plentiful amber that is sold in many, many, many shops in Krakow ... as jewelry, as embellishment on many other things. I'm a little stunned there seems to be such an endless supply of amber. Were there so many trees with resin back in some geologic age that the stuff is so plentiful? I suppose the answer has to be yes. Of course, I purchased a lovely big ring and also an "every day" ring which is just a circle with inset small pieces of varicolored amber. Although we use the word "amber" for a particular color, the stuff actually comes in several colors and with differnt opacity, from deep brown to paler than butter yellow, from clear, and sometimes with insects or bits of leaves embedded, to opaque as a stone. Some amber is greenish. This makes the many different pieces of jewelry in which it is use unique because all amber is unique by it's nature.

Finally there was wonderful design in the city streets. All of the old part of Prague is cobbled, both the streets and the sidewalks, no slabs of concrete. I didn't take pictures because the patterns are simple and geometric ... and therefore always aesthetically pleasing. Probably hell on high heels, but just fine for flat shoes. The picture here of a cobble street is from a small city in the Czech Rep. called Jincin. The sidewalks in the center of the city had this design, although I think this was unusual in that the two "flowers" are not identical. I loved looking down from the window of my hotel room at sidewalks with this design.

The most important design, of course, was the architecture which was from Gothic style right through art deco [very little of latter] But with some wonderful examples, especially of Itlaian renaissance influence. More about that tomorrow, or maybe the next day -- at some point I have to talk about food, and of course, beer. This vacation is worth a few posting -- be warned. I freely admit, too, that I am far from artistic with my digital camera. I hurry when I'm with other people and I cannot judge the picture accurately on the little screen as I can with my film camera and it's old fashioned view finder.

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