|While we have encountered artifacts left by the Knights Templar in many areas and several countries the site in Rakvere, Estonia stood out from the rest. Traveling by bus for approximately an hour and a half from the Estonian capital of Talin we passed through an interesting country side while enroute including some very intriguing circular Viking burial mounds. The site itself was a partially restored fortress a top a large hill in Rakvere which gave it a great vantage point over the City and surrounding area. Within its walls there lay a veritable treasure trove of artifacts and recreations. From armor to swords to jewelry and plague chambers the fortress had some of each and more. Much of the site was poorly restored and difficult to reach but Tanner scaled every available inch of it anyways and collected a great number of photographs on which we would later call for inspiration. While I was inspecting the artifacts in the lower portions of the fortress I would catch glimpses of Tanner two stories above me peaking out of narrow windows are strolling across the walkways between the fortresses towers and snapping innumerable photographs. According to our guide this site was not only once occupied by the Knights Templar but, at a later date, the Teutonic Knights as well making it all the more special of a location.|
Belt buckle based on the Crown of
A photograph I took at the Muttart Conservatory
in Edmonton of a Crown-of-thorns or
Euphorbia milii plant. I used this image to make
the Crown of Thorn items you see about that
went perfectly with the copper icon above.
The Cave of the Apocalypse entrance.
The mosaic depicts John of the Apocalypse dictating his visions to a scribe.
In the cave there was a spot in the rocks that was heavily worn away.
Apparently this is where John rested his head while receiving the visions.
What we recall best from this site was the overall ambiance of the
experience. We started off by hiking up a narrow dirt road which wound around the
side of the mountain. The heat was excruciating and the sun was so bright
it washed out the details of the day as we ascended. Upon reaching the site,
pictured above, the pleasant fragrance of incense wafted out through the
entrance way. Everything from the colour of the stones, to the specific incense,
to the view from the mountain top added to the religious and special feeling of
this site. It was the combination of these sensations that would later become
the building blocks for our artistic inspiration.
The cuffs are both sold now and we will potentially make new ones in the future.
They are a double anticlastic copper cuff that sits nicely along the wrist.
The wall art that we have left in this series is two 'abstracts' from my photographs of
the Crown of Thorns plant mounted on red mahogany and will be available on the online store in the future.
Below- Sterling silver oxidized palm earrings with faceted spinel. With these earring we make the originals in brass and then roll print them onto the sterling silver sheet.
The palmette was thought to have originated in Egypt 2,500 years B.C (2) and is still heavily used today in various designs. In our own house we have it on picture frames, light fixtures and multiple other items!
Above: our interpretation of the lotus flower from Egypt.
Below: Lotus found at Aswan, Egypt.
There were two common lotus' often depicted in Egyptian temples and ruins. I am also including the meaning of the Greek lotus because it was popular as well in ancient decoration.
The white lotus, pictured above, where the petals are narrowed into tips was considered a symbol of creation in Egypt and in Ancient Greece it was a symbol of innocence and modesty.
The blue lotus (often identified by the flat surface of the petals) was very frequently depicted in Egyptian art. It has been depicted in numerous stone carvings and paintings, including the walls of the famous temple of Karnak. It is frequently depicted in connection with "party scenes", dancing or in significant spiritual / magical rites such as the rite of passage into the afterlife." (3)
Please check out out store for all the other palmette or lotus inspired pieces available!!
The palmette is found on hundreds of items from all over ancient Egypt, Greece, Turkey etc. It is more recently found in it's original form and updated motif all over the world on all types of items and architecture. The palmette in ancient Egypt also slightly varied to show the lily or lotus.
According to Wikipedia "The essence of the palmette is a symmetrical group of spreading "fronds" that spread out from a single base, normally widening as they go out, before ending at a rounded or fairly blunt pointed tip. There may be a central frond that is larger than the rest. The number of fronds is variable, but typically between five and about fifteen.
In the repeated border design commonly referred to as anthemion the palm fronds more closely resemble petals of the honeysuckle flower, as if designed to attract fertilizing insects. Some compare the shape to an open 'hamsa' hand – explaining the commonality and derivation of the 'palm' of the hand."(1)
The above picture shows what remains of Greek palmette leaves. Although the design was common during the 6th century the location of this ruin was not. We had traveled to Sevastopol, on the coast of the Black Sea, in Russia when we came across the excavation which included this piece. According to the information available at the site a group of Greeks colonized this area during the 6th century.
The neat part about seeing this ruins here was that Sevastopol was off limits to all foreigners and many of it's own people up until the mid 1990s. We took a small ship the to area and probably over a hundred people came to take pictures and pose in front of the boat. We learned as we were leaving that there was only one other boat that carried tourists to that city since the mid 1990s.
Although the above palmette is carved with great skill, many of the other out door artifacts were more of a crude version of the ones we photographed in Greece.
Another beautiful example, of the palmette, we came across while traveling was located in the Ephesus museum. Besides the standard palmette there is the lily or lotus version we found throughout Egypt.
These ones are for sale on our store.
Our blog is based on the short stories we write that inspire the pieces, where we get our inspirations from, travel/history, stones and our pieces, how-tos, our lives etc.
The entries, travel photos or posts about products are not in any chronological order. We post the pictures as we sort them or as we make new items. Some of the pictures or products are from before we started as a business, but it shows the inspiration behind a certain items that we make now.
A lot of the information we include with our pictures was gleaned from historians, tour guides we encountered or what we have read about in the museums. We try to back it up with Wikipedia, credible websites or books.
The picture below is one we took in Rostock, Germany of a small church not far from the Schwerin castle. Rostock is along the Baltic Sea area and we visited this city after making a brief stop in Warnemunde.
The Schwerin Castle is now a museum and it has one of the most amazing, almost, modern dragon carvings we have seen to date. Please see my following post regarding dragons for more information.
A person can see a lot of the gothic quatrefoils while visiting Europe, but we didn't make these earrings until after we returned from this trip. We also incorporate the quatrefoil into our own made up cathedral window designs as well. According to Wikipedia; "The word quatrefoil means "four leaves", from Latin quattuor, four, plus folium, a leaf) and applies to general four-lobed shapes in various contexts. It is also used as a heraldic charge and possibly it's roots are based on Islamic architecture." (1)
On the left: Brass earrings with the quatrefoil design. Right: Copper pendant with the quatrefoil design.
This picture from the Great Hall in the Edinburgh Castle contains one of the few quatrefoils in the designs throughout the room. It has inspired several new items that we will post in 2015.
The focus of this site was the architecture and the structure of the Edinburgh Castle ( a fortress) rather than artefacts, furniture or elaborate carvings.
Christchurch cathedral in Dublin, Ireland is the oldest of the city's two medieval cathedrals. The cathedral has various medieval patterns, however, since it was heavily restored during the Victorian time it is difficult to determine which designs were original. Whether they are original to the cathedral or not this beautiful quatrefoil faux wall caught our eyes. This site has inspired multiple items that will be included on future posts.
The picture below shows the quatrefoils decorating a wooden chair in Rakvere, Estonia. This fortress was inhabited by the Templars and, later, the Teutonic knights during it's long history.
One last photo of a quatrefoil, from the Utstein Abby located on the island of Mosteroy in Rennesoy municipality in Norway. This is Norway's best preserved medieval monastery and it was established by 1160 and founded during the reign of King Magnus VI of Norway. To get to this location we had to take the highway through the Rennfat undersea tunnel (the world's longest and deepest subsea road tunnel) for 30 mins! It was worth the long drive to see such a beautiful site and hear a recital (of Edvard Grieg's music: who "used and developed Norwegian folk music in his compositions") on the more recently installed organ residing in the chapel on the monastery grounds. As many of our customers know we are fans of classical, opera, flamenco and other world music. Below the picture of the window is an Edvard Grieg piece to listen to. This video happened to be filmed in the "Rock Church" in Helsinki which we have also visited.