Thursday, June 28, 2012

Decorative relief carved ceramic dandelion tile

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3x3 relief carved, hand painted ceramic dandelion tile.
Not only does it sport a most beautiful flower, the dandelion is also an excellent food and medicinal plant. With it's large supply of nutritive salts, it is a blood tonic and stimulant for the entire system. The young leaves of the dandelion are much higher in vitamins and minerals than ordinary garden vegtables, (we all know how easy they are to grow too) and can be eaten raw in salads or lightly steamed, dried leaves are used for tea & beer making. Dandeloin wine can be prepared from the flowers and young roots can be cooked as a vegetable or roasted and ground for coffee. Oh and lets not forget the delightful pleasure of sending dandelion seeds parachuting off into the wind with one puff of breath!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Decorative relief carved red clover ceramic tile

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3x3 relief carved, hand painted red clover ceramic tile
Red clover, whose Latin name (Trifolium pratense) means ' clover found in meadows' is a primary food source for honey bees, bumble bees and and dozens of types of moths & butterflies. Though it is native to Europe, west Asia and Northwest Africa it's ability to flourish in such a wide range of climates has enabled it to naturalize in many other parts of the world. Where ever it's found, despite often being perceived as a weed, clover is an environmental and economic asset. Aside from aiding the ever more delicate survival of pollinating insects and being a valuable source of nourishment for nearly any herbivore, clover also helps to re-build depleted soil, being one of the most efficient nitrogen locking ground covers.
There is an old expression 'to be in clovers' which means living an easy carefree life of comfort and prosperity. This expression originally comes from clover being known to fatten cattle and preserve the soil of the pastures. Perhaps the exuberant red clover with it's tiny, perfectly balanced  inflorescence's is a good reminder of the important balancing aspects of nature which we can so often overlook.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Decorative relief carved ceramic sun tile

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8x8 relief carved ceramic sun man tile.
A very happy summer solstice to the northern hemisphere.
The longest day of the year, celebrated for centuries with bonfires and revelry is one of the most significant days in the pagan calendar. The sun is at it's height of power, the earth is abundant, herbs are at their most potent and magic is said to be more powerful on the solstice. Called Alban Heruin ' light of the shore' by the Druids, it's the mid point between the equinox festivals, 'light of the earth' and 'light of the water.'  In the Wicca tradition it is the Sabbat of Litha when the apex of light is symbolized by the crowning of the oak king, god of the waxing year, who the next day must relinquish his crown to the Holly king, god of the waning year. In ancient Sweden mid summer trees were erected and decorated in each town. Villagers would dance around the tree and women & girls would ritualistically bath in the river to bring rain to the crops. Today it is the largest celebration in Sweden next to Christmas and in England thousands of people still gather at Stonehenge and Avebury to welcome the sunrise on solstice morning.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Decorative relief carved ceramic orange tree tile set

The sweet orange, a symbol of physical and spiritual prosperity, is believed to have originated in southeast Asia as an anciently cultivated hybrid between the mandarin and pomelo ( predecessor to the grapefruit) By 2500 BC sweet oranges were being grown domestically throughout China. In 1493 the first orange tree arrived in the western hemisphere from Spain and was planted on Haiti. The now common naval orange was discovered relatively recently, originally the product of a naturally occurring mutation it would most likely be very rare or extinct by now had it not been cultivated. The mutation was found in 1810 growing on a selecta orange tree at a Brazilian monestary near Bahia. Sweet oranges are now the most widely cultivated fruit in the world and each navel orange tree,  being a mutation and unable to reproduce,  is essentially a clone of that original tree in Bahia.  Thus the very popular navel orange is the same as it was 200 years ago.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Decorative relief carved wild rose tile

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6x6 relief carved ceramic wild rose tile from

To The Rose Upon The Rood Of Time
Red rose, proud rose, sad rose of all my days
come near me while I sing the ancient ways
Cuchulain battling with the bitter tide;
the Druid grey, wood nurtured, quiet eyed
who cast round Fergus dreams, and ruin untold;
And thine own sadness, whereof stars, grown old
in dancing silver sandaled on the sea,
singing in their high and lonely melody.
Come near, no more blinded by mans fate,
I find under the boughs of love and hate,
In all poor foolish things that live a day,
Eternal beauty wandering on her way.

Come near, come near, come near - Ah, leave me still
a little space for the rose breath to fill!
Lest I no more hear common things to crave;
The weak worm hiding down in it's mall cave,
the feild mouse running by me in the grass,
and heavy mortal hopes that toil and pass;
But seek alone to hear the strange things said,
by God to the bright hearts of those long dead,
and learn to chant a tongue men do not know.
Come near; I would before my time to go,
sing of old Eire and the ancient ways.
Red rose, proud rose, sad rose of all my days.
~W.B. Yeats~

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Handmade relief carved ceramic rose faerie tile

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4 x 10 relief carved rose faerie ceramic tile

So named by Aphrodite
the fairest of the fair
a lifeless nymph upon the ground
was by the gods compassion spared
Kissed by Dionysus
sweet nectar at her heart
Her fragrance cast by the breath of Zephyr
who bade the clouds depart
And from the endless heavens
Apollo this day, kind and warm
granted ever after by his light
the rose would be reborn.
                                              By Sara Gresham

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Handmade relief carved wild rose ceramic tile

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3x3 relief carved, hand painted ceramic wild rose tile

 Wild roses & rose hips have been used medicinally, cosmetically and as a source of nutrition for thousands of years. They are mentioned in many ancient manuscripts and have been found in the tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs. In the middle ages rose hip tea was used to calm anxiety and depression as well as to aid circulation. To this day it is still used for these and many other purposes.
Roses are very beneficial for the heart, mind, stomach and respiratory system, teas and tonics made from the hips are used to treat nearly every digestive upset, coughs, flues, fevers, menstrual cramps, hypertension, along with a wide range of disorders caused by vitamin deficiencies, most notably vitamin C. Taken internally or applied topically roses help to enhance the skin, hair and nails. Poultices made from the flower and plant are used to heal burns & rashes, eliminate the pain of bee stings and sooth puffy sore eyes. There are hundreds of species of the genus Rosa, both wild and domestic with more every day due to their ability to naturally cross pollinate. Every part of the rose plant with the exception of the thorns is edible and beneficial. Even smelling roses is known to have an uplifting and energizing effect on the mind body and soul, and their beauty has inspired many a love poem. So DO 'stop to smell the roses' and maybe eat a few as well, you will be accepting one of natures most precious healing gifts.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Handmade relief carved ceramic mermaid and seal tile

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8x8 relief carved mermaid and seal done in emerald shadow art glaze.

 It is said Selkies are capable of great compassion and love. Many tales have been told of people being rescued by seals off the coast of Scotland and Ireland and many tales of love between the Selkie and the sea folk there. Selkies dark eyes speak of deep emotions, but the true depth of their gaze comes from the abyss of the sea. It's there in the quiet weightlessness of the ocean that they belong, it is there alone that they can find true peace and contentment. A Selkie may stay many years in human form, living and loving as any other, but the waters will always call to them and eventually they will return to it.