Sunday, April 21, 2013

Decorative hand made relief carved Frog and fern ceramic tile

6x12 relief carved and hand painted ceramic frog and fern tile/plaque
with a notch in the back for hanging.
The unexpected and tranquil beauty of one's first encounter with wild ferns on a foray into the woods is very memorable to many; crosiers beginning to uncoil from their cinnamon colored woolly casings and the surprise scent of new mown hay.Scientists were mystified by their unusual propagation process until the mid 19th century when the interest in ferns in Britain was reaching mania proportions. While indigenous ferns were available in England , the exotic ferns were more sought after and very expensive due to the cost of transporting them from the tropics. Around this time a physician named John Lindsay found a way to propagate ferns even though niether he nor anyone else at the time understood the process. British  greenhouses were soon able to offer vast numbers of  less expensive tropical ferns. Unfortunately out of the greenhouse these ferns could not survive the noxious fumes of the day being spewed out by city factories. The craze for ferns would most likely have died off at this point if not for Nathaniell Ward, who in a round about way discovered that when the ferns were encased in a glass box they stayed healthy. Ward pursued this idea and invented what he called fern cases, now called Wardian cases which in time led to terrariums. The fern case was just what pollution oppressed Londoners seeking a durable bit of greenery to brighten their lives needed. The boom began in earnest, everyone had to have one. Modest little cases for the poor, elaborate cases that knew no limits, such as miniature Taj Mahals and the like for the rich. At the height of the mania ferns were cherished in every way, besides live ferns, homes were decorated with baskets of cut ferns and there was a thriving trade in pressed ferns, suitably framed to hang on busy Victorian walls. All number of fabrics, rugs, wall coverings and even flatware were adorned in the pattern of fern fronds. About the only place where ferns were not to be found were in the fields and forests which had largely been stripped clean of them to indulge the mania, the mania which in my theory was ended by the emerging popularity of the polka dot.

1 comment:

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