As the nation prepares for the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, there has been much press coverage about the couple. One article in particular attracted my attention, that was a visit to the lake and island at Althorp.
Years ago, I was invited along with another designer and a ceramic manufacturer to visit Althorp the home of the Spencer family and the final resting place of Diana, Princes of Wales. The home is open to the public between July and August; although we went in the autumn long after the visitors had departed. The purpose of our visit was to suggest possible china designs suitable for inclusion in the exhibition shop. Sadly, my designs never made it into production, which was a major disappointment!
It was, however, a most unforgettable experience. We were shown so many things that day: the wedding dress, the exquisite shoes with details on the soles, the designer dresses displayed alongside photographs of each occasion. We later visited the stables, the memorial and the house, all bathed that day in a glorious golden light.
There was one thing that stuck in my mind more than any other and that was the lake. On that particular day it was resplendent in autumn colour as we walked along a path set with thirty six oak trees, one for each year of Diana’s life. I was told that the little row boat at the edge of the lake was used by the Princes William and Harry, to enable them to have some privacy whilst visiting their mother’s grave on the little island in the middle of the lake. When Diana was laid to rest there were four black swans swimming on the water amidst lilies and surrounded by carefully planted lakeside gardens filled with white roses, which were Diana’s favourite flowers.
It seemed to me so very beautiful and a fitting resting place for the Princess. Dan Pearson, the garden designer managed to create a scene from a fairy tale, it was in fact how I imagined an illustration from the pages of Sleeping Beauty.
It’s April already, I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown. Here in Cheshire, England where I live the weather has been typical; March winds followed by April showers. Everything is greening, buds are opening and many wild flowers are making an appearance.
I did the painting above some years ago for a children’s book called “Down the Lane” which depicts the sights and sounds over the year. I recently had the artwork carefully scanned and now can offer prints in my Etsy shop. Like many other artists I have been able to use the internet to reach a wider audience. Not only have I been able to sell my wares but I have discovered many new talents, and new ways to shop.
If you appreciate the handmade you may be interested in the second part of this post and a special give away sponsored by Novica. If you haven’t come across this internet marketing company they work with artists and artisans across the world giving them a global platform and enabling them to sell their wares to a wider audience. They are a fair trade company who believe in creating a relationship between their artists and customers, they say:-
- “At the deepest essence of our philosophy, we want to create a bridge between you and the many talented artisans across the globe.”
And now for the fun part, I am able to offer a $150 Novica gift voucher to you! This free drawer is open to anyone who follows my blog, all you have to do is take a look at the website and choose which gift you would like from the many wonderful objects featured. You can learn about the artist who created it and where they are based. Just leave a comment below and tell me if you want to take part and your name will be entered into the drawer. One important thing to consider however is that the winner may have to pay some import duty or taxes on their gift so please bear this in mind before entering.
They also offer an extensive range of handcrafted, fair trade corporate gifts.You can see for yourself the very wide selection they have here.
I will choose one lucky winner on Wednesday the 20th. Good luck everyone!
My name is Valerie Greeley. I am a minaiture artist, surface pattern/textile designer and illustrator. I have a special interest in the book arts including illustration, bookbinding, printmaking and artist books. I also have an interest in quilting, nature and bumblebees.