AN EXHIBITION IN GHAJNSIELEM

During my walk today I came upon a small exhibition of cribs in the local village. In Malta and Gozo it is very traditional to build nativity cribs named ‘presepju’, quite often a whole village scene is built around it too, the structure can become quite large and is always interesting as features are used that shows life, and incorporates items of farming or domestic scenes from long ago set in local landscape. The traditional figurines that are made here, are called ‘pasturi’ they are hand-made out of unfired clay or wax.

I have been fascinated by some of these cribs here in Gozo, last winter I saw some beautiful and very artistic ones in a shop window.  The clothing of the figurines quite elaborate, my favourite was one crib where the figurines were all dressed in medieval textiles and clothing design of that day.  This time too among the cribs in this exhibition there was use of textile in the making of one of the cribs and the effect was rather nice, down to the minutest details of for example a slipper, made in miniature with fine gold thread and use of deep reds and greens.  There is no doubt that a lot of loving and patient work goes into making these cribs and it is fine to see exhibitions of them all over the island around this time of the year.  I took some photos to show some of the variety for your perusal.

In this crib all the figurines have been dressed in beautiful textile.

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This Christ child is surrounded by traditional flowers made of metal wire, silk thread, beads, and or jewels. This work is done by hand and is called ‘ganutell’. I read that this beautiful art form was practised in monasteries. But it also mentions that the Maltese in the sixteenth century made use of the spiral gold and silver wire called canutiglia, and together with silk thread, glass beads, pearls, gems, and gold and silver wire would produce these beautiful flowers which are mostly kept under glass domes now – and here is one of them. One of my Gozitan friends has made me a flower bunch like that, she told me that it is very intricate work, and I believe her. For more information on Ganutell see this link: https://www.google.com.mt/search?q=ganutell+malta&sa=X&dcr=0&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&ved=0ahUKEwj8trq0v63YAhULbxQKHW10DQcQsAQILg&biw=1366&bih=622

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Another one of the Christmas traditions in Gozo is putting a crib in the window, it is an old custom, and I saw it a lot in Victoria last winter. Here is an example, made as part of the exhibition.

And these are then some of the ‘pasturi’ made in unfired clay, some of them painted.

More ‘pasturi’ but larger this time.

blog on exhibition in Ghajnsielem These is a collection of all the participant of this exhibition, I just wanted to include it in case anyone would like to know.
It was an unexpected and nice surprise to come across during my walk to fetch some milk today, things like this always teach me something more about Gozo and the Gozitans for which I am very glad and thankful.

A GOZITAN MID WINTER

Under a bright sun on this midwinter day we took a walk among the limestone rocks and wild plants in Xlendi, a seaside fishing village on Gozo.
It feels so good to be among these beautiful honey coloured rocks, and to see the fresh young green after the days of rain we have experienced.
How beautiful this earth really is and how everything regenerates even when the drought of last year threatened to destroy so many trees and plants. It is a joy to behold all this freshness.
My partner said earlier “today is the shortest day, from now on the days are lengthening again”. Yes ‘light’ is coming, that is what we celebrate on Christmas day after all isn’t it, the ‘light’ coming into the darkness.
There is hope yet for mankind and for the earth, I will never give up hope. Every new little plant that comes up out of the earth even through the rock gives me that hope. People are much more beautiful than we think they are. Love to all my friends at this Christmas time.

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A SCATTERING OF MEMORIES

At mid winter time

a fresh new cone on our little Korean fir tree

a snowy landscape during one of the colder winters some years ago

a star coming straight from India

dear friends all over the world

the library where I worked

our once delightful cat ‘Goldberg’ licking the cream, a special  treat

our bird table under snow

and candles in the fireplace.

Great memories, lots of people in there too, times spent with my family, in India with the children of the orphanage, with friends, always wishing for a more peaceful world.  Enjoying walks in nature, exchanging gifts, listening to beautiful music, and just generally having a wonderful time.  Mid-winter is a magical time, it’s lovely when it comes around.

So I would like to wish all my dear friends, followers, and everyone, Peace, Joy, and happiness at this time and always.

Blessings all year round.

CHRISTMAS GREENERY

I went picking some greenery to make a wreath and flower piece this afternoon, close by there is a boreen ( Irish word for a little pathway with lots of greenery), and during the year I saw lots of ivy growing there, some of which won’t be damaged by a little pruning, so I set out to cut some and bring it in for decoration. There was ivy with lots of the most beautiful berries, some quite dark and bright green. There was also quite a bit of gorse in flower, these bright yellow flowers are usually open end of January but already they are fully in bloom. Then I spotted some of the last Hawthorn berries, the birds have so much food in this mild winter that there are many berries left for them. The beautiful red berries stand out lovely against the dark green of the foliage. At home I raided some of our cotoneaster hedge very profuse with fruits this year, and I picked some ivy and holly from along the hedges.

I know that I am too late to make an advent wreath which is what I normally would do but that is for the four Sundays before Christmas, so I will just make a wreath for the front door, and a piece for the dining room table. Candles and greenery do make it for me around this time of the year, and pine cones!

Tomorrow is mid-winter and the days will start to lengthen, this winter more than most has been very dark, we will all welcome the light again.

CHRISTMAS GREENERY

A BIG BEAUTIFUL SURPRISE

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A most beautiful surprise this morning.  Our little Christmas tree, which is alive, gave us some lovely tender young cones!  So this Korean Fir is doing well and healthy, and producing more growth, very pleased about that.  On the seventh all the decorations are coming off it and then I will keep it inside to make sure that it survives the winter.  It’s been a lovely experience having this life tree in the house, and this morning we were both so happy to see these lovely young cones.

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The new and the old cone here.

 

KOREAN FIR FOR CHRISTMAS

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Today we went to a garden centre some way from home, we wanted to get a lovely live tree for Christmas, one that we could keep for years.  In the past I have done this but not been successful at keeping the tree alive, So this year I am going to make a very special effort.  So we found this lovely little tree, it is a Korean Fir (Abies koreana).  The small soft pine cones are bluish before they become brown, and it’s a slow growing tree.  There is a silver sheen to the underside of the needles.  We both fell in love with this little tree and hope to have it for many years.  At Christmas it will be decorated and it will be in the place of honour, and then later we will leave it outside albeit with a cosy garden fleece around it.  The above photo shows one of it’s pine cones, there are a few on it and this will make a lovely natural decoration.

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