27 November, 2011

Gemma's Mural . . .

. . . in our kitchen!

I simply cannot imagine why I have not, before now, given myself the fun of introducing this remarkable work to you out there. The mural has sat on one and a bit of the walls of our rather cramped kitchen (including the doors of cupboards and even on the wall at the back of a glass fronted cupboard) for more than ten years and has given a wonderful feeling of warmth and airyness and soft breezes carrying the the scent of thyme and oregano . . . to us and to all those who visit.

Way back then we had met Gemma who lived a mile or two downstream from here but was, at that time, spending most of her time at art-college. She painted, she sculpted, she made pots and at every point there was splendid evidence of a meticulous approach to the portrayal of the natural world - especially plants.

When her College course had ended, it seemed the right moment to mention our idea of a commission to transport some of our kitchen walls to a sunnier clime! "Good idea" said Gemma, "Where would you like it to be? I have never been to Greece". "That does not matter" said we, "Here are some photographs of Crete to start you off and the rest can come from your imagination!"

It was lovely to see the great work develop and thrilling to see it finished. While Frances is cooking away of an evening, I am often to be found propping up one of the doorposts and staring out to sea past one of the headlands standing steeply up from the warm, surfy sand.

In the intervening years we have seen Gemma around a bit but have not been able to spend much time with her.

Last evening, however, we had a lovely meal with friends a bit further up the river and they asked whether we had seen what Gemma has been up recently and had we seen her blog.

It has been the greatest fun, as I said earlier, to reminisce about the genesis of Gemma's mural but what really made me want to break what seems to have been a truly Trappist degree of silence from my Blog is my enjoyment of Gemma's internet presence and my strong desire to share with as many as possible the images that she has already made public there and those which I feel sure will follow during subsequent months and years.

I hope that you will be intrigued enough to want to follow up this link. You will be rewarded by a photograph of a sculptural event involving wood and fire and water and of ice sculpture that is slowly built up rather than the more usual carving down.


Holly Dean said...

Wow! I love how you two make art an "every moment" part of your lives. I can relate :) I definitely was intrigued enough to follow the link to Gemma's blog and found her work breathtaking! Thank you so much for being you and for sharing your love of all things beautiful.


So wonderful to have more news from the Wye Valley and to see these detailed images of the mural. Thank you for enabling me to discover more of Gemma's work. She's so versatile! The ice discs are remarkable.

I hope you will be installing a flaming leaf or an old man's beard ball on your dining table in the near future...

Frances & Nicolas McDowall said...

Hi Holly
Thanks so much for your generous thoughts and for responding so immediately to the post about Gemma. We have forwarded your words to her (and told her how far they have come!) and I know she will be greatly encouraged. For my part, I will put up any stuff about Gemma that comes my way!
Best wishes from us both

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

How is it that I never saw that lovely mural in your kitchen? Am I blind or what?

I'm going to visit Gemma's blog now.

Holly Dean said...

Thank you for all the inspiration your blog gives me, Nicolas & Frances. I have presented you with the Liebster Blog Award. Congratulations!
Check it out here: