Saturday, 16 June 2012

Day trip to Wells

Cloister, Wells Cathedral
I love going to Wells, the saturday street market is great, lots of really good food stalls too. But this time, we decided to be tourists and visited the Bishops Palace and grounds. How weighted with history are these sheltered and moated grounds. Most of the centre of Wells is like a film set for a medieval or gothic drama, specially f you know which alleys to wander through. The twin towered cathedral is huge and solid from the outside, etherial and timeless inside.
The palace grounds are beautiful, peaceful and calming in the soft English sunshine. There is the little bell that the swans have learned to pull at a certain time, to be dutifully fed through a window above. Or you can go play Robin Hood on the ramparts overlooking the moat and the Bishop's see, as in see all that? it belongs to the church, see?
The Wells pool with the Cathedral beyond
Also in the grounds are the Wells. This is the water source for the whole town.
four million gallons of water a day bubble up in several different spots on the floor of this pool, it is mesmerising to watch. Yes, technically springs, but called Wells in this spot for as long as anyone can remember... undoubtedly a Somerset thing.
So I love the sense of history, I am comforted by the longevity of the buildings, the continuity of worship and ritual, even by the stories on the memorial plaques that bring the dead back to us as real people who strived and achieved, or not, just as we do. But just tickling away like a naughty whisper is... why did they build the church on top of the only water source in the region... and the awful feeling of knowing exactly why.
Back in the sunshine, we sit and enjoy coffee and I doodle some motifs to add to my collection and the story about talismans. Here are two of the pieces that began the idea.

I was educated in a convent school, which I loved and hated in equal parts. One summer then nuns were told to hand in their large ornate and very gothic crucifix pendants, which were to be replaced with smaller far more modern brushed steel crosses that were almost not crosses at all. I could see that some nuns were profoundly upset to loose their iconic talismans. Not comfortable with having to build a relationship with a new symbol. This momentary glimpse into lives which held so very few possessions gave me an insight into the subject that has become a fascination in my work.
Eye for Scrying
Scrying Compass

One of these two pieces will be a workshop next year, I've worn it a lot and have finally resolved how to offer a class without making everyone french knit a cord with very fine crochet cotton (! labour of love alert!), as I explore this theme more the shapes for the symbols resolve and rearrange. This will be a fun class too as we get into multiple layers and some really cute beaded end caps.