Mend the cracks with gold

Burton has been invaded by a herd of carousel horses! The Big Burton Carousel sculpture trail recognises and highlights the fact that Burton was home to Orton and Spooner, designers and producers of colourful showmen’s caravans and fairground rides, including carousel horses. The company manufactured such items in Burton from 1890s to the 1950s.

There are 30 carousel horse sculptures around the town, each one sponsored by a local business and painted by up and coming artists from around the country. When the trail closes, the sculptures will be auctioned off and the proceeds will go to Burton Mind, the mental health charity.

We haven’t visited them all yet but one of my favourites so far is Mend the Cracks with Gold and if art is intended to educate and make you think, this piece of artwork has certainly succeeded. It introduces us to the idea of Kintsugi, the Japanese art of putting broken pottery back together with gold. Although this is a centuries old Japanese tradition it has come to be a metaphor for embracing our flaws and imperfections. When you think you are broken, you can pick up the pieces, put them back together, and learn to embrace the cracks, making you stronger and better than ever before.

The Mend the Cracks with Gold horse was painted by artist Lois Cordelia, who explains so well the thinking behind the sculpture.

“We all feel a little broken right now in this post-covid world. But if we set about mending our broken hopes and dreams with the radiant gold lacquer of friendship, love and optimism, we will find that the result is more beautiful than it was before it broke.”

If, like us, you enjoy watching The Repair Shop on BBC you will probably admire the skills of Kirsten Ramsey, ‘the queen of the invisible fix’ and her ability to repair ceramics in such a way that you just can’t see where the damage was. Kintsugi seems to me to be the exact opposite of the invisible mend. So next time you break a piece of china, or anything else for that matter, will you go for the invisible mend or will you choose to mend the cracks with gold?

Trees have personalities 2

In January I published a post about trees having personalities and included this winter view of three trees.

I walked by the same three threes the other day and took the following shot from a slightly different angle. What a difference 8 months makes! Those January skeletons are in full leaf and the small green shoots which surrounded them have now developed into a very healthy looking crop of wheat.

I wonder if the farmer is ever tempted to cut them down because they get in the way of his ploughing, sowing and harvesting. I certainly hope he never does.

St Swithin’s Day

We are currently experiencing a heat wave here in the UK. I say ‘experiencing’ to avoid using words such as enjoying, suffering, or enduring, depending on your point of view. The weather forecasters tell us that today will almost certainly be another hot and dry one. This brings me to the rhyme and folklore associated with St Swithin (or Swithun) which suggests that whatever the weather is on 15th July, it will be the same for the next 40 days and nights.

"St Swithin's Day, if it does rain
Full forty days it will remain
St Swithin’s Day, if it be fair
For forty days t’will rain no more”

Swithin was born in or around the year 800. He became Bishop of Winchester. He must have enjoyed the rain as he instructed that when he died, rather than being buried within Winchester Cathedral, he wanted to be outside in a simple tomb “where the sweet rain of heaven may fall upon my grave”.

Despite our love of folklore, we know that the predicted 40 consecutive days of rain or shine never happens. The meteorological office has confirmed that since records began there has never been a period of 40 dry or wet days following St Swithin’s Day.

So you may prefer the more pragmatic version of the rhyme…

If on St Swithin's day it really pours
You're better off to stay indoors!

That said, when it does eventually rain after all these days of hot weather, I for one might be tempted to take a leaf out of St Swithin’s book and stand in the garden and enjoy the sweet rain of heaven falling upon me.