A favourite designer, I reference often and never tire of his paper lamps. His museum in LIC is a mix of raw concrete and beautiful trees, bamboo all carefully placed, and considered to compliment the architecture both inside and out.
Perched above the town of Malancrav (meaning Little Apple) sits the impressive manor. It once belonged to the Apafi family who have been traced back to the 15th century, although it is believed that the manor dates from the 17th century with alterations made to the house throughout the 18th & 19th centuries. Now restored to its former beauty through traditional & soft restoration, the manor is surrounded by ancient heirloom apple orchards that were in full blossom during my spring jaunt. A apple press is a few metres down the road where you can purchase the juice.
There was a ring of chestnuts conversing to the left, with an attention seeking cuckoo. The background noise was of bells tied to the necks of sheep & goats as the shepherds herd them to the higher grasslands for the day, the clip clop of horse drawn carts moving through the village and birds & hundreds of bees collecting. The rooms are huge and airy with French door & elongated windows in every room, terracotta tiles herringboned throughout, windows softened by locally loomed linen with red pattern detail. I have raided the linen cupboard, found bone handled cutlery, cut blossom & wildflowers from the surround, opened the benches & chest for glasses & plates, and this is what we came up with. Still-life Case Study:
My mother (1944-2008) was a textile lover, collector & keeper of knowledge. Coming to Istanbul makes me understand the collection she has left behind, a reflection of her travels, her love, her aesthetic & her knowledge.
I was in Istanbul on a buying inspiration trip with the Anthropologie team as well as shooting & gathering for my next book, Gypsy. The things they are delighted by & the wares the traders are selling make me understand how important my mothers collection is, and the need for me (with my brothers & sister) to curate it, record it in some way. Amongst my siblings we have the skill set to orchestrate a book, exhibition, catalogue, memoir. It could be something for us to share & treasure, a keepsake full of her travel photographs, memories, recipes, stories, pictures, textures, her notes & lectures, itineraries and faraway friends. My brother is a photographer, my sister a graphic designer & Indian fabric merchant, my older brother, a general all-round enthusiast.
I kept walking into shops thinking she might be in there trying on an ikat jacket that she just has to have, or another hat with an amulet she can’t be without. She is so close to me when I am travelling, I like to think she is gallivanting the world getting caught up with gypsies, guesting with the Berbers in a Bedouin tent or on a very long camel caravan and I am hot on her trail!!!
A missed turn in Transylvania on the way from Miklosvar to Viscri lead onto a forest track. Heading NW (or so we hoped) early spring leaves of birch & oak, plum & apple blossom lined the road as we followed a river. We passed some children collecting wild strawberries, a one–armed horse and cart driver, some campers with their beers cooling in the steam, many steep cart tracks leading into the higher forest and a coal burning camp.
These are medieval villages and many are not much changed. The Romanians are ploughing potato patches, ready for seeding by May 1st. The houses often have a brightly painted exterior and internally each has a yard, stable, barn & kitchen garden for fruit & vegetables. The villagers are forest foragers as well, collecting mushrooms, chestnuts, berries and tending hives.
Our favourite breakfast has become yoghurt with honey, bread & butter and soft boiled eggs. There is no slow food movement here, it is just slow food preserved and made in traditional ways. The coal burners set up summer camp on their yearly grounds deep in the forests, building Andy Goldsworthy-esque sculptures of stacked chopped wood in a large circle about 2m high and 15m wide with a 4m high pyramid shape in the middle. This is slow burnt for many days with hay as it slowly turns to charcoal. It is walking back in time, pre-machinery & commercialism.
On my first trip to Istanbul, I tried to get into the Empress Zoe on my Mum’s recommendation. Although unsuccessful on that trip, I was fortuitous enough to squeeze a couple of nights in on this trip.
An internal garden of secret spots to discover, sit and escape the hustle of the busy old city. All higgledy-piggledy with 26 rooms, up and down marble stairs surround the leafy, wisteria covered garden – it makes me want to miss some sightseeing & enjoy.
My room is a small apartment with two large rooms, suzanis galore, handcarved marble washbasins similar to those you see in the hammams. Arched doorways lead from one room to the next with softly sheered windows on one side, a small balcony overlooking the garden on the other. Plenty of room for more, and lots of space to think & relax. I could write a book here, or maybe I’ll jump on the Orient Express and change genres! Murder mystery coming up.