Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Inspiration from Vienna

I have always admitted that travel was a passion second only to my needlepoint and that, over the years, many, many of my designs are inspired by traditional designs, colours, architecture, all things that I have been fortunate to see on my various travels.

Private Tea Room With Group
Vienna, where I went shortly before Christmas was no exception; it was my first visit and I was lucky enough to be with a small group that were particularly art/architecture orientated.  While it was only four days we had an excellent guide and packed in masses – including coffee and Sacher-Torte at the famous CafĂ© Sacher!

Sacher Torte
Packing delights in, we went straight from the airport to the Museum Hundertwasser, probably the most exciting and unique ‘village’ I have ever seen.  Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928 - 2000) was an artist architect and here is a cross section of examples of his ecological commitment.  The floor tiles undulate as though there has just been volcanic action, the furniture explodes with colour and his artwork (of which there are some great postcards) are itching to be represented in needlepoint.  Do take a look at some of his art on the web, I hope you will share with my excitement. http://www.kunsthauswien.com/

On the following days we were treated to visits to many of the museums – particularly the vast and very impressive Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Belvedere with pleasant walks through the streets with their impressive architecture.   But another highlight for me was to see many of the works by Gustav Klimt, so often reproduced in posters, cards and of course, needlepoint;  the richness of the apparel work by the figures represented, the extensive use of gold leaf and his women wrapped in furs are so sensuous  they are a natural for exciting stitching.  But actually seeing the paintings was far more exciting.
Again excellent web sites to visit for both the history behind the man and examples of his work.

The two of his works that captivated me were the opportunity to see his Beethoven Frieze, measuring over 34 meters in length and created in 1902 for a major group show.  This mural now is installed in the Secession exhibition space.   The most famous  Klimt is undeniably The Kiss which of course is both beautiful and thought provoking;  standing in front of it one realises that while their bodies are entwined her face is actually turned away – was she less enthusiastic, was she simply tolerating his attention, questions, questions?    However I do recommend, should you have the chance, enjoy many of his other works, to me they are equally beautiful.

I find Short trips with a like-minded group and good guide are lovely;  I left wanting more, I discovered the works by Egon Schiele, I understood how original paintings are superior to reproductions and I came home anxious to reread ‘The Hare with the Amber Eye’ and had made some new friends.

Friday, 9 January 2015


I almost called this blog 'Christmas Presents' however I thought you would believe I had made a typo and won't bother to read it!  However with strong memories of the panic of finding suitable presents for friends and family I truly believe that getting organised early is both sensible and practical.

Believe or not, tomorrow I have a small group who are starting on Christmas tree ornaments. So often, far too late in the day, the idea of making our own greetings card from one of my designs, presents itself; why oh why don't I do something about it in late summer?

A popular New Year's resolution is to use up some of the ever growing stash of threads, couple this with stitching small projects, spec cases, needle cases, Kindle  and iPad covers, lavender bags - the list is endless.   These designs have two pluses, one each item can have the recipient's initial(s)  to make them extra special and second they are small enough to keep in your bag for the odd stitching moment.   For this reason I am happy to supply instructions with or without canvas for you to use up existing threads.

Plans for the Spring are well underway;  the trip to Italy, our wonderful relaxing stitch-in is 16 - 25th June and Robert and I have two exciting trip before that, more of that when we return.  I confess I have some fantastic threads from Guatemala that I haven't used yet but as I am always on the lookout for smallish pieces to stitch on our travels I hope I shall get inspiration before too long.

On a non needlepoint note, have you discovered the pleasures of live opera, ballet and theatre in a cinema close to you?  I do recommend it, much closer to home, less expensive and we take a picnic for the interval!  The most recent was 'Alice in Wonderland' from the Royal Opera House, truly fantastic and such a nice feeling that the very same production is being enjoyed by people all over the world.   Do look out for them and tell us if you enjoy the experience.