Tuesday 1 February 2011
Unofficial Work Space Day
This is what I see when I look out the window. The summer garden is looking pretty this year, and I love watching the birds bathing in the bird bath (hidden behind the splash of pink begonias at the bottom of the garden). My favourite sighting is when a shy Burchell's Coucal gives its distinctive call and appears out of the bushes. As you can see from the sun and shadows, today is a beautiful summer's day; a relief from the heavy rains we've been experiencing.
Here is where I write my first draft. Always by hand and always with an HB pencil. This photo also shows my favourite icon, the Madonna hand-painted on old wood, gilded with gold leaf. A natural heart-shaped hole is in the wood and the artist painted the Madonna around that. Stunning. Husband bought it for me at the ancient St Donat's in the old city of Zadar, on our trip to Croatia.
The framed page below it is a hand-painted calligraphy page from a 15th century Koran, the Holy Book of Islam. One of our Muslim friends has an uncle who is an Imam. He gave us the Koranic reference (Sura 9, Verse 101 onwards), which talks about hypocrisy and repentence.
To the right is a crucifix, made of wild olive wood, which I bought at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
When you wander around the rest of the room, you will find iconography from a variety of religions: a mezuzah from Judaism, a Native American dream catcher; aboriginal art (thanks to my sister's recent trip to Australia); a papyrus scroll of the Ancient Egyptian goddess Bast (the cat goddess, of course, as HRH Theodora wouldn't have any other!); Kuan Yin, the Chinese goddess of compassion and mercy; a Tibetan thangka, and many other symbols and artefacts of the world's faiths.
What's the purpose of mixing the different faiths of different people, you may ask?
Harmony. At least here, in this one tiny corner of the world, the different religions co-exist in peace and tolerance.
The interesting thing is, is how people are drawn to this room. We have our lounge, where we try to take our visitors...but, before long, everyone migrates into my studio and that's where we stay until the evening's end.