Tag Archives: Belfast

Quilt Comfort

 

Quilting in my book requires time, space and a bucket load of patience. An eye for colour, pattern and placement all contribute to a completed work of art. A finished piece can bring comfort and love for many years. The quilt below brings a different kind of comfort

Comfort quilt_1

Comfort quilt_1

Comfort Quilt’ 2006
Ceramic artist: Diane McCormick

It is a ceramic wall-based work, by Diane McCormick  the ceramic artist from County Tyrone for Marie Curie Cancer Care Hospice, Belfast. The link above to her website gives the background to the Quilt. It was commissioned by Marie Curie Cancer Care supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

 

Comfort quilt_2

A closer look

Hand made ceramic tiles, mono printed with ceramic colours and glazes. Multiple fired to build up layers of colours and textures. It measures 2m x 1.8m on the theme of Marie Curie history

Alternative theraphy

Alternative therapies

depicting some of the alternative therapies available to the patients.

Comforting words

Comforting words

Daffodils

Daffodils often used as a Fundraising symbol

Fundraising

These sections cover some of the fundraising efforts. Sponsored walks and cycling. The engagement ring was a rather special donation: At one of the early meetings when funds were needed to build this hospice a lady present removed her engagement ring and placed it on the table, offering it as a gift to be auctioned for the fund.

mariecurie-2

mariecurie-2

The border strips include symbols to represent the research work of Marie Curie.

The Log Cabin Quilt, which this design is based on, is associated with the home, with light and dark strips of cloth around a central square which represents the heart of the home (Marie Curie nurses come into the home to help care for patients).

This design is made in clay tiles of various sizes, printed and patterned to resemble material and quilting. Each square panel incorporates a central motif to show aspects of the history of Marie Curie, the work done in the Marie Curie units and research into the causes and cures for cancer. Strips around each motif have patterns, textures, words and sayings to illustrate the central panel. Uplifting proverbs and written words (from patients and staff) are printed in this area to give comfort to patients, staff and family. The panel is surrounded by a border of daffodils.

Diane McCormick graduated in 1988 from the University of Ulster with a first class Degree in Fine Craft Design. Since then she has had pieces commissioned for numerous hospitals, a restaurant, a bus station, shops, an arts centre, a church, a major charity, arts awards and a museum as well as many private clients.

Since 1991 she has exhibited at trade fairs in Ireland and the UK supplying numerous shops and galleries with her quirky and colourful ceramics. Her work is in the collections of the Ulster Museum and has been presented to musicians, politicians and heads of Church. She and her husband Martin, are now concentrating their art skills in public and private commissions and selling their unusual ceramic and wood pieces from their studio in Co. Tyrone as well as making pieces for exhibition.

Each public art commission is designed specifically for the enjoyment of the users of the building often with references to the history of the site or with input from the staff or patients as a major influence.

As you all know

I live in Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland. An area of great beauty, heritage and some wonderful people. It is variously described as a country, province or region of the UK.

At last count we had a Population count of 1.811 million. The majority of whom wish to go about their daily business and earn an honest crust. Unfortunately there are a few………….

The Northern Ireland Assembly, sitting at Stormont, is the devolved legislature for Northern Ireland. Don’t be going interrupting them with any little problems at the moment, 😉 they are in recess (14 December 2013 to 5 January 2014).

The NI Assembly is responsible for making laws on transferred matters in Northern Ireland. In recent weeks (maybe months), the members of the five main Stormont parties have been examining a draft document on the way forward on flags, parades and the past, drawn up by US diplomat Richard Haass.

Early in December 2012, the organisers of a ‘Fleg’ protest (that is how these folk pronounce the word Flag), caused major disruption to the hard grafting folk of Belfast and many other towns across the province. Marches and protests were often followed by violence, which discouraged people from shopping or planning meals out with friends etc. In times of recession, every sale is important, some establishments and stores were depending on pre-Christmas business to make quotas after poor sales earlier in the year. Many of these businesses did not survive past the end of the year.*

The organisers of the ‘Fleg’ protest, following the decision of Belfast City Council to limit the days that the Union Flag (the flag of the United Kingdom) was flown from Belfast City Hall, are the same people who decorate every highway and byway street light and telegraph pole with a flag every year for the marching season. Some of these specimens are attached to the pole at the furthest reach of the person attaching it. Many looked like the country was in mourning with the flags looking like they were at half mast.

The enthusiasm ran out, as it does every year during the marching season.  The flags are crudely hung, on occasions upside down, and left there until they rot. No sign or thought of having respect for a flag, as we see in other countries. Today I managed to take a few photos of one such rag that was pristine (but cheap poor fabric, probably made in China) when it first graced a light pole in my neck of the woods, last May. Not alone is it an insult to Queen and country, it is now no longer suitable to be used to wipe your shoes.


Not wanting to be left out in the cold, ‘theotheruns’ wanted some of the action…..

On Monday 25 November 2013, masked men in boiler suits hijacked a car and forced the driver to take a beer keg packed with 60 kg (132 lbs) of home made explosives to the city centre and leave it at an underground car park entrance to Victoria Street Centre, the prime shopping location in Belfast close to one of the city’s main police stations and the court complex.

The centre was evacuated and surrounding streets closed during the alert, with dozens spending the night in the Ulster Hall concert venue. The bomb detonated at 11.15pm as army bomb disposal experts prepared to examine it. Car owners who had parked their vehicles in the underground car park, were unable to return and retrieve them until 7am the next morning.

Last Friday night dissident republicans claimed responsibility for a small bomb explosion in Belfast Cathedral Quarter. The weekend was one of the busiest for staff outings in the run-up to Christmas. Dozens of those forced to pile out onto the streets had just sat down to food, when the police began evacuating the area.

Just think of the wasted long hours spent in growing, shipping and purchasing the food. This is before the costs to purchasing premises, running costs, hiring staff and paying wages and preparing, cooking & serving the meals. One nights disruption alone, cost restaurants £60,000′.

* This three part interview with Paul Rankin and Michael Deane, made in April this year, gives a picture of the mountain that businesses have to negotiate here in this tiny corner of the globe.
Part 1Part 2 & Part 3

If we, in this tiny speck on the globe cannot work together, what hope is there for the rest of the world? Peace how are you!

Where has all the Traffic Gone?

My story today took place about 10 days before Elly started Nursery School. The new intake for the year started in small groups adding three or four children each week. The teachers worked according to the alphabet and since our surname belonged in the second half, it was October before her exciting first day.

 

Elly always found waiting difficult; she liked to be in the forefront of all the action. I am not sure that she has changed much over the years! I was running out of ideas to keep her distracted and knowing that my trips out shopping would have to fit in around her schedule for a couple of months, I decided to have one last morning in town. Since Jack, Elly’s dad was working in the Belfast area that day he offered to drop us off and then we could make our own way home when we had finished.

 

As we were getting out of the car Jack pushed something into my hand and told us to have a good lunch before going home. The note he gave me was well more than the bus fare, lunch and a few books at Cranes Bookshop!

 

Despite the regular frisking and checking of our bags as we entered each shop, we had fun looking at all the new autumn fashions and found a few items to add to our wardrobes. We picked and bought a tie for ‘Dad’ before heading to see Miss Crane. Being a normal Business/school day Miss Crane had plenty of time for Elly. An hour passed quickly as we browsed, checked out suggestions and finally selected three or four books to add to the growing library in Elly’s bedroom.

 

Adding this latest purchase to our ever increasing shopping bags we went in search of a good lunch. The garden Restaurant on the upper level of the Fountain Centre was our choice. Don’t go looking for it now, because it’s no longer there. We had a very enjoyable lunch and feeling satisfied with our morning we decided to catch the next bus home.

 

We reached the High Street bus stop in good time and sat on the wall at the ground level car park to await the arrival of our bus. It was a nice bright day and Elly enjoyed watching the world all around her. Busses came and went, cars passed and people sauntered or walked briskly to keep appointments. From the sky above we heard the drone of hovering helicopters, a sound we were very used to in this part of the world.

 

After a while I noticed the traffic was very light, no busses were arriving and then the cars disappeared completely. A few minutes later we heard the blare of sirens and Police and Army vehicles roared past. Things quietened and then after a pause with sirens blaring some of the vehicles returned from whence they came. It was a real indication of a bomb scare. This went on several times and we heard a few explosions. I had no idea if the explosions were controlled or from abandoned vehicles. None of this bothered Elly as she watched all that was happening around us. Never once did she ask why the bus did not come.

 

It was still early days for me in the North of Ireland, mobile phones were unheard of, and I only knew of two routes from Belfast to our home town. One of these was the motorway, not a possibility for walking home and the other was through some highly charged areas. There was also the fact that I had no idea of what to do if we were re directed at any point from this strife torn part of Belfast. My strong southern brogue was more a hindrance than a help so I decided that staying put was the safest option. The bus would come at some stage, so we sat on.

 

After a couple of hours I realised that Jack would be aware of what was going on and begin to worry about us. All drivers in those days stayed tuned to local radio for the latest traffic problems and delays. I saw a phone Kiosk on the corner of the street and checking I had sufficient coins I decided to call Jack’s office to see if he was there, alas he was not so I left a message for him saying we were safe and staying at the bus stop in High Street.

 

Ten or fifteen minutes later the traffic started to move and busses were allowed to leave the bus station once again. Our bus arrived and we boarded gladly. The traffic was very slow and the journey involved many changes to the normal route. We travelled on roads that day I had never seen before or since. The main part of the journey took us up the Crumlin Road, past Ballysillan to the Upper Hightown Road. Up on that high ground I had the most wonderful view of Belfast way below us glowing peacefully in the late afternoon sunshine. It was hard to credit the chaos that we had left behind us and it was almost worth the long delays just to get that view.

 

It was 5.30p.m as we arrived at our local bus station and alighted into the arms of a much relieved Jack. He had called his office and was given my message within five minutes of my call and he tried to reach us in High Street. A bus was drawing away from the stop when he turned into the street and he was unable because of the traffic to overtake us. He decided to make his own way home and wait at the bus station for us.

 

Safely home and preparing our meal I contented myself with no more visits to Belfast for the foreseeable future.