English Medieval Embroidery at V&A

As embroidery is currently back in fashion, it is very interesting to see what were the tendencies some centuries ago. The Medieval embroidery exhibition at V&A looks closely at the old masterpieces, skillfully crafted to tiny details, hundreds of years ago.

It is rather remarkable how intricate handwork this is – so much that one may suspect it being painted instead. The smallest stitches are created by hand in varieties of colour, over the presumably long period of time. The exquisite attention to details is rather outstanding, giving glimpses of both Medieval reality and imagination of the time. From the grim torture of martyred saints to the scenes with baby Jesus and other saints, scenes are depicted with a meticulous precision that the sophisticated embroidery techniques made possible.

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Latin for ‘English work’, the phrase ‘opus anglicanum’ was first coined in the 13th century to describe the highly-prized and luxurious embroideries made in England of silk and gold and silver thread, picturing complex imagery.

From the 12th to the 15th centuries, England enjoyed an international reputation for the quality of its luxury embroideries, which were sought after by kings, queens, popes and cardinals. The exhibition will present an outstanding range of rare, surviving examples – both ecclesiastical and secular. Although documents show that many embroideries were made for secular use at the time, very few survive today as they were either worn out or became unfashionable and were discarded.

This is the largest embroidery exhibition of this kind in half a century, depicting over 100 pieces of work Medieval period of time. Sponsored by the Royal Embroidery specialists of Hand and Lock who carry the traditional craft into the modern day.

Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery at V&A till 7th Feb 2017.

Medieval towns of Pals and Peratallada

Having the scooter allowed us to discover Llafranc neighborhood even further, so we headed inland from Aiguablava beach, to see the medieval towns.
First view spot was outside the little town of Begur, with its 16th century castle. This time we just had a look at the town´s scenery from afar.

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While the road along the coast, travelling from one beach to another was rather hilly, but quiet, then going slightly inland it turned rather highway-like and less scooter-friendly. Away from the coast the typical Spanish dryness had settled in, turning most of the nature desertly yellow.

Our first destination was Pals. Its medievalness dates back quite a few centuries, namely to 11th century, with its town walls and four square towers dating back even further, to the 4th century. During our visit on the Sunday morning, the town seemed to be abandoned ghost town. Everything was well in tact, but very few people were wandering along the cobbled streets of the medieval quarters.
My favourite spot in town was a small boutique/café Bazara, that combined casual boho clothing and accessories shop with stylish coffee corner. Just for this shop I´d like to live there, or maybe rather “transport” the same kind of boutique to my neighborhood. 🙂

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About 10km from Pals there is another medieval town, Peratallada – famous for its Medieval festival in October. Most of the buildings in Peratallada are built from stone carved from the moat which still encircles parts of the small fortified medieval town. The castle from 11th century, in the middle of the town has been turned into luxury hotel. Its beautiful stone buildings, narrow passages and cobbled streets were very charming indeed.

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Spanish nature is just so unbelievable and totally different from the rest of Europe! The air changes as soon as you cross the border at the Pyrenees. The ground is desert-like yellowish, rather than black, the plants are different, with large selection of cacti, and of course the heat. I just love it!

Visual Diary: Estonia

Estonia for me is home, nature, relaxation and destress.
The Summer days are never ending and nights are “white” in July.

Tallinn Bay
Tallinn Bay at 1.30am

My part of Estonia is the Western Island of Saaremaa.

Saaremaa

The land of nature and forests full of goodies.

Saaremaa2

Every night at the sunset, around 10pm I went for a run – 2.5km of rural road embraced by nature till a little feral pond to dip right in, even when the weather wasn´t hot. On one of my runs i saw a wild deer eating grass just 2m in front of me at the side of the road.

deers

We went on a road trip to Kõrvemaa Nature Reserve in Northern Estonia, which is great for hiking and has remarkable boggy environment with small carnivorous  plants.

Kõrvemaa
Kõrvemaa bog

The capital Tallinn has preserved its fairy-tale-like medieval identity.

Tallinn
Medieval part of Tallinn

Visit Estonia if you can, Summer is the best season for it!