Archive for March, 2013


21 March 2013

hangjik tile

This is the ‘Hangjik Tile’ designed by Lois based on a book of traditional Albanian textile designs. Lois has made four ceramic tiles and they are installed as part of the indoor windowsills of the pleme.


19 March 2013


The arke is an old bridal chest. Albanian brides are special.

“Gold, white light and beauty were all present in the room. The gold circled the girl’s thin wrists. The weight of gold tugged at her ear lobes and hung as a medallion around her neck. She stood before the window and the sun lit her veil, caught the satin formed around her figure and drew sharp contrasts in the appliquéd flowers, leaves and ribs that made their shape around her; the girl become woman. Her hair was timelessly curled, fixed, her eyes etched, her lips reddened, straight. The broad fan of her skirt filled space. But, beyond all this was her presence, her being; the statue with the power to move, the servant dominating, the submissive spectacle conquering the inquisitors. She did move. The princess stepped forward. Her still hands took the hands of a guest, lifted them slowly to her forehead, the body bowed, the guest hands blessed in the service were returned. The bride passed on to the next guest, hands touched, raised, blessed, returned. The ‘nusa’, for that is the name of a bride, glided to the next, hands brought to the forehead, the frame obsequious but controlled, disciplined, generous, afraid, servant, actor, ordered, in the dilemma of choice, obedient. Silence.”

Embroidery Stamp

18 March 2013

Embroidery Stamp

Our little B&B experiment is at the decorating stage. Some time ago in Kruja, Albanian, Lois and I bought this stamp – thinking it might work to pattern the wall.

During out last trip to Kruja – and fluent enought to discuss decorating, hand crafts, and old skills, we learnt that the carving was used to stamp tablecloths prior to embroidery stiching around the pattern.

Still I am thinking to try it on the walls.


17 March 2013


Do you know that feeling that everything you touch has multiple layers of richness underlying the first impression?

Mary introduced me to Hellebore during a walk years ago in Dragash. Here is one on the hill directly behind the house in Runjeva.

The Greeks wrote of them and used their poison. The Victorians collected them and bred light with light and selected the lightest, dark with dark and selected the darkest – to make colours and variety. Somehow I like the plain natural green.

They have a role in medicine. They spread around the world. Their cells know how to flatten in the cold and go rigid in the warmth. They are a sign of spring.

Hangjik in Winter

16 March 2013


I have been away from Runjeva for a year or more.  Why?  Well the real answer is: come and see!

The old house has been loved and mended.  Craftsmen with skills in stone and mud and lime came to visit – almost constantly – and now it is the end of winter.

One more month of work and our little experiment in rural tourism should be open!

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