Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Looking up ... and down

In Thursday’s post I mentioned visiting the church of Charing. The two most surprising features of this church can be seen looking up …



The roof timbers.

… and down. For the congregation’s comfort, each and every pew in this church has a full-length cushion. Nothing unusual, if it weren’t that every cushion is adorned with picturesque scenes depicting village life, the country side, religious themes and the name of people who made these needlepoint gems: The Church Women's Guild.








I can’t imagine how many hours it took to produce these little works of art. Because, although they are not really my cup of tea, I do admire the women who, after having taken care of their daily domestic duties, evening after evening sat by the fire happily stitching away. I would like to imagine that it was done by the light of a candle or a petrol lamp, but that would be exaggerating, because the colours look too fresh and the cushions are in too good a condition to have been made during the 20th century World Wars. Nevertheless, one can’t but admire the work and zeal that went into creating these cushions.

How are your needlepoint skills? Mine used to be quite good when I was in primary school. As a teenager, however, I had ‘better’ things to do. I tried to pick it up again just after I got married. I started out on the ambitious project of making a table cloth with a red and green Christmas motif. If someone had ordained then that there would be no more Christmases until the work was finished, Santa Claus would since long have eaten his reindeer, simply in order to survive …

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Like you Martine, this sort of artwork isn't really my cup of tea (quaint old English expression! ):) either but like you I admired the effort, skill and industry when we saw them in Charing. What is more usual in these countryside churches is to have the same sort of decorative needlework on the things people kneel on, called hassocks (I think)...I'm not very well up on the Anglican Church. I am absolutely useless with needle and thread, apart from sewing on buttons and doing the odd hem but that's it.
Veronica

Mark said...

I love that first photo. I'm only mad that I didn't take it.
Enjoy your weekend! m.

Craig said...

It's remarkable handy work Martine and I rather like the spirit of local community which led to it.
My idea of sewing is taking it around to my Mothers to fix...

Niall & Antoinette said...

Amazing needle work--something I have always avoided at all costs!! :-) I am hopeless and loathe it.

The beams are stunning--great pic!

Patricia Steele said...

My idea of sewing Martine is my sewing maching, handy for fixing zips etc and home furnishings when I'm in the mood.
I admire all the work though gone into making those little works of art.

ladybird said...

Veronica, I'm like you. Buttons, hems ... no problem, but once it becomes more complicated I do as Craig: I take it over to my mother who used to work as a professional seamstress in an 'atelier de haute couture' in Brussels when she was young.

Mark, Thank you. Have a nice weekend too. I hope 'Irene' won't come your way. Take care ...

Craig, Aren't we lucky to have such skillful mums!?

Antoinette, How about knitting and crochet? :)

Patricia, We wouldn't make it into the women's guild then, would we? :^)