The cat collector or kat a log part 24

Ahoy kittens!

Meow to the lovely weather outside! What a joy is to finally have the full fledged summer! Long days, warm nights, fighting for the territory at 3 am, singing at the top of your longs – a true cat’s dream!

Kat-a-log team had a little break (we need holidays as well!) but we are coming back with an excellent summer collections of kittens, cats, strange felines, old companions and newcomers – everything in one splendid edition of your favorite cat-friendly magazine!

A big thank you to all readers and visitors! Some friends of ours claim that Olympia and her cats will one day end up being featured on BBC’s show called “Collectaholics” but that would be too good to be true! If you know anyone working for British Broadcasting Corporation, please send them a link to our blog. We will buy you a beer! In the meantime, you can use the links below to read previous editions of  Kat-a-log:

Kat-a-log Part 1: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-1/
Kat-a-log Part 2: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-2/
Kat-a-log Part 3: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-3/
Kat-a-log Part 4: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-4/
Kat-a-log Part 5: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-5/
Kat-a-log Part 6: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-6/
Kat-a-log Part 7: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-7/
Kat-a-log Part 8: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-8/
Kat-a-log Part 9: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-9/
Kat-a-log Part 10: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-10/
Kat-a-log Part 11: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-11/
Kat-a-log Part 12: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-12/
Kat-a-log Part 13: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-13/
Kat-a-log Part 14: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-14/
Kat-a-log Part 15: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-15/
Kat-a-log Part 16: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-16/
Kat-a-log Part 17: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-17/
Kat-a-log Part 18: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-18/
Kat-a-log Part 19: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-19/
Kat-a-log Part 20: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/12/24/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-20/
Kat-a-log Part 21: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-21/
Kat-a-log Part 22: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-22/
Kat-a-log Part 23: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-23/

If you have anything to add, don’t forget to contact us at rdabrowicz@yahoo.com. We will be forever grateful for any information about makers, models or links. You get a full credit and Kat-a-log can be as precise as possible.

Now ladies and gents, please welcome our today’s guests!

Kat-a-log Feline no.106
Three sides of a cat: How high, Fade to grey and My own reflection
Country of origin: UK, bought as a gift from Download Festival in June 2014

Hey kids rock and roll! The first cat in this edition of Kat-a-log, has been bought at Download festival in June 2014, just before the Linking Park concert and it is literally made of metal!  If you look closely, you will notice that this is not a figurine but kitten shaped picture frame! And the kitten is wearing a bow tie.  Bow ties are cool!

This beautiful and very cute frame is only 10 cm tall but weights quite a bit. A small, passport size photograph can be displayed inside, but caution is advised when the thin glass cover is removed. Rita nearly cut herself while trying to take it out! The frame was mass produced in Hong Kong and is distributed in the UK by Flame Homeware.

Official site: http://www.flamehomeware.com/rsm/5/about-flame-homeware
Flame of Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/flamehomeware

How high

How high

Fade to grey

Fade to grey

My own reflection

My own reflection

Kat-a-log Feline no.107
Three sides of a cat: Tree Trunk Hotel, This way, I know the short cut and There you are!
Country of origin: Ibiza, brought as a gift in July 2014

Kat-a-log kittens  no.107 and 108  can be purchased as a set or separately, that’s why we decided to give each cat its own number.
Let us introduce you to the gentleman first – this absolutely adorable Siamese cat is not a figurine but a pepper pot!  Designed by Sass and Belle of London (gift ware company), the pot can be refilled by removing a small plastic seal placed on the underside. The male cat is slightly bigger that the female and his measurements are 11 cm x 12cm x 8cm.

Tree trunk hotel

Tree trunk hotel

This way, I know the short cut

This way, I know the short cut

There you are!

There you are!

Kat-a-log Feline no.108
Three sides of a cat:Reaching up, Now you see me and now you don’t and Weekend out of town
Country of origin: Ibiza, brought as a gift in July 2014

The lady is a salt pot and just like her partner, it can be filled by removing the seal at the bottom of the figurine. Both kitten are made of  good quality ceramics and have a high gloss finish. Placed next to each other, the kittens are embracing in a very cute fashion that will melt your hearth. Placing them at your dinner table is highly recommended unless you have a real cat that likes to jump at the table. Both cats are very delicate and should be handled with care.

Reaching up

Reaching up

Weekend out of town

Weekend out of town

Now you see me and now you don't

Now you see me and now you don’t

And now both cats photographed together sitting at hand carved bench in Symonds Yat Park:
Three sides of a cat: Selfie!, Let’s dance and It’s better to be together

Despite being designed and made in the UK, both felines traveled a long way. They have been bought on the island of Ibiza by Rita’s friend who spent her holidays there in June 2014.  They were spotted in a gift shop at the hotel and acquired straight away. Now they are awaiting their ticket to Poland where they will be employed  in Olympia’s kitchen.

You don’t have to fly to Ibiza to purchase them. The set is available online at Sass and Belle official site:

http://www.sassandbelle.co.uk/product.php/4189/siamese-cat-salt—pepper-set

Sass and Belle on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sassandbelle

Selfie!

Selfie!

Let's dance

Let’s dance

It's better to be together

It’s better to be together

Kat-a-log Feline no.109
Three sides of a cat: Can I have a hug?, Pinball wizard and Rock and Roll kitten
Country of origin: Hereford, UK, bought in April 2013

Say hello to Buttons Kitten! One of the biggest plush mascots in Olympia’s collection. Buttons has been bought in April 2013 by Rita and currently resides in the UK. He is spending his days sitting on Rita’s bed and keeping Smudge company (described below). As you probably know, Rita had some problems with her thyroid and underwent an operation in October 2013. Buttons kitten was purchased in Hereford  Hospital after biopsy results proved to be quite bad. Luckily everything ended well and Rita is now fully cured and back in action. If you don’t feel well, a big black and white cat will keep your spirits up!

Buttons Kitten is still in production and can be purchased from the official website of Humatt Ltd and Perkins Group Services Ltd at:  http://www.buttonsbearandfriends.co.uk/products.php?id=16
Buttons on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Buttons-Bear/145488225471785

He comes in two colors (grey and black/white) and in four different sizes (small, medium, large and x-large). Rita is a proud owner of  extra large kitten, that measures 32 cm in length and weights 340 grams. His pictures have been taken during May Day 2013 celebration in Hereford.

Buttons Cat

Official picture of Buttons Kitten

Can i have a hug?

Can I have a hug?

Pinball wizard

Pinball wizard

Rock and Roll kitten

Rock and Roll kitten

Kat-a-log Feline no.110
Three sides of a cat: Garden Adventure, Stuck on Magnolia tree and Befriending a Bluebell
Official name: Smudge
Country of origin:Indonesia, bought as a gift on 14th of February 2012 in Hereford, UK

This beautiful fluffy kitten is an extremely important part of Kat-a-log.  He is one of the cats kept by Rita in the UK, but is still counted among Olympia’ menagerie. Rita remembers the day she was given the cat very well – it was 14th of February 2012 and the mascot hasd something wonderful attached to his left paw. A small blue box contained her engagement ring!!! Rita fell in love with Smudge straight away and he is sitting on her bed every single day. This is how you make a crazy cat lady happy: give her a ring and a cat :)

Smudge has been made in Indonesia for Keel Toys. He measures 30 cm in length (12″), weights 8 ounces, is made from super soft quality plush (as described by maker) and comes with European safety certificate and a name tag. Sadly, his line (Keel Toys Cats) is not longer continued but you can purchase Smudge on Ebay and Amazon without any difficulties. Smudge’s photo session was taken in Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum in Hereford and the magnolia tree he has climbed is Magnolia Atlas native to New Zealand.

Keel Toys website: http://www.keeltoys.com
Keel Toys on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Keel.Toys.Ltd

Official picture of Smudge by Keel Toys

Official picture of Smudge by Keel Toys

Garden adventure

Garden adventure

Stuck on Magnolia tree

Stuck on Magnolia tree

Befriending a Bluebell

Befriending a Bluebell

We hope you have enjoyed the 24th issue of Kat-a-log as much as we did writing it for you. It is always so much fun trying to remember where did we get the cats from and then investigating different leads online. We love collecting cat figurines and we dedicate a lot of our time and energy to make our hobby look professional and interesting for virtual passer by’s.

Please do us a favor guys and put out some water and food for stray cats (and any other animals too), especially in this hot weather.
This doesn’t cost anything but can save many lives! A big THANK YOU in advance!

x0x0x’s
Olympia and her faithful sidekicks: Rita+Mal

The Reading Hour – 12 (un)easy questions for Primadonna Angela

Selamat datang!

Welcome back to The Reading Hour! Sorry guys for not posting anything new in this column for so long, but we were quite busy with other stuff, mostly traveling to fascinating places and attending various events. Today, we have  something truly sensational for you, and we really mean it.  As far as we are concerned, nobody has ever done this thing before us and we are absolutely proud of ourselves!

Firstly, if you have missed previous editions of The Reading Hour, please use the links below to read interviews with superb authors like Nathan P Butler – Star Wars Community guru, and Jana Oliver – one of the most successful authors of YA fiction out there!

Interview with Nathan P Butler:
http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/the-reading-hour-15-uneasy-questions-for-nathan-p-butler/

Interview with Jana Oliver:
http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/the-reading-hour-15-uneasy-questions-for-jana-oliver/

Today’s issue of The Reading Hour is a very special one. By the popular demand, we have decided to report on Helen Stringer again. Helen has been featured on our blog twice already and it seems our readers just cannot get enough! Lots of things have changed since we last spoken to the lovely British author -  Helen’s independently published book “Paradigm” has been given a Silver Benjamin Franklin Independent Book Award in Teen: Fiction (13–18 Years) category (http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2014/ibpa-announces-benjamin-franklin-independent-book-awards/), she is working on several new projects including an online series named The Gloaming and third book in the beloved Spellbinder series.

Talking about Belladonna Johnson, she is now a global citizen! She has left her native England and went on to become a true sensation in France, Germany, Italy and now in Indonesia! Yes, you have heard it correctly – “The Last Ghost” is now known as “Sang Pengikat Mantra (Spellbinder)”.  How fantastic is that!

Please read the previous articles about Helen:

Interview with Helen Stringer:
http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/the-reading-hour-helen-stringer/

A Day with Helen Stringer:
http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/a-day-with-helen-stringer/

Thanks to the kindness of  Indonesian publisher of the book, Gramedia Pustaka Utama, we have sat down with the esteemed translator, editor and popular writer in her own right, Primadonna Angela to have a little chat. It was an absolute pleasure to talk to her – she is witty, funny and fascinating, all at once. Talking to Donna (as she prefers to be called) opened our eyes to the thriving Indonesian book market. Millions of books sold, thousands of dedicated fans, countless online book clubs and  social media groups dedicated to the newly punished titles. Indonesia has many talented writers, yet only handful of books are being released in the western world. Let’s hope that Helen will lead the revolution! And we cannot wait for Primadonna’s books being translated into English. Common British publishers, that’s the perfect opportunity for you. Remember, the bloggers are always right – we can find true gems long before you can :)

Primadonna Angela  - official portrait

Primadonna Angela – official portrait

Official bio:

Call her Donna or Angela, she might respond with a smile. This Indonesian writer divides her time juggling to make ends meet, writing, balancing her attention between her partner (Isman H. Suryaman) and children, managing the household, and of course, occasionally sipping earl grey tea to keep her sane. She has written twenty books so far, popular fiction, in Gramedia Pustaka Utama (GPU). Her newest book, How to be a Writer, was published in March 2012. Her passion for new experiences propels her to seek new chances to meet more people. Enthused for fresh inspirations, she longs to join multicultural events, collecting data and broadening her horizon.  She claims to be unique, independent and strong. She dreams and imagines a lot. “But what is love, and what is life, if you do not let yourself live?”

Please enjoy the first ever English language interview conducted with this immensely talented writer! Primadonna is not only an author of excellent books for young adults and female readers, she has also translated numerous foreign books into Indonesian including Laini Taylor’s best selling series “Dari Asap dan Tulang” (“Daughter of Smoke & Bone” #1), “Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snicket, “Pesta Prom dari Neraka” (“Prom Nights from Hell”) by Stephanie Meyer and many many others.

————————————————————

The Reading Hour – 12 (un)easy questions for Primadonna Angela 

Primadonna Angela

Primadonna Angela

Vanadian Avenue: Who is Primadonna Angela? Please introduce yourself to Vanadian Avenue readers.

Primadonna Angela: Hello. I am a full time mom and freelance writer/translator/editor from Indonesia. In my spare time (when I have any!) I like cooking, doing crafts, and traveling.

Vanadian Avenue: Tell us how did you become involved in translating Helen Stringer’s popular young adult novel?

Primadonna Angela: An editor in Gramedia Pustaka Utama (GPU) asked me whether I was interested in editing (the first four-five chapters) and translating the rest of this book. She was teasing me, I think. She knew I’d be interested. I love the cover and the premise. I agreed right away.

Vanadian Avenue: “Sang Pengikat Mantra (Spellbinder)” has been released by Gramedia Pustaka Utama and we need to admit that it looks simply beautiful. How long have you been working with them?

 

Helen Stringer's book was released in April 2014 in Indonesia! The full title is "Spellbinder Sang Pengikat Mantra"                                                                    You can purchase Indonesian version here: http://www.gramediaonline.com/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=876554 English version is available here: http://www.amazon.com/Spellbinder-Helen-Stringer/dp/B008D6Y450/

Helen Stringer’s book was released in April 2014 in Indonesia! The full title is “Spellbinder Sang Pengikat Mantra”
You can purchase Indonesian version here:
http://www.gramediaonline.com/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=876554
English version is available here:
http://www.amazon.com/Spellbinder-Helen-Stringer/dp/B008D6Y450/

Primadonna Angela: I’ve been working with GPU since 2005, when I published my first book. In 2007, I began translating and editing for them.

Vanadian Avenue: You have not only translated “Spellbinder” from English into Indonesian but also served as the book’s editor. Was it hard to translate a British book so it could be understood by Indonesian readers? Was there any particular part of the book that gave you a lot of trouble?

Primadonna Angela: I think the book was easy and fun enough to translate. I had some difficulties in translating Sibyl’s prophecy, because it should be poetic and yet include clues for Belladonna’s quest.

Vanadian Avenue:  Translators sometimes take liberty when approaching a book. This happens often to fantasy literature. French version of Harry Potter moved entire action to France. Some international translations of The Hobbit implied that Middle-earth was located in Ireland. Spellbinder takes place in the United Kingdom. Did you keep the original location or names? Wasn’t it tempting to give Belladonna an Indonesian passport and spice the story a bit with some local flavour?

Primadonna Angela: Definitely not. Indonesia and UK are very different. The location is still in UK, with original names. If Belladonna was Indonesian, the storyline would be changed dramatically. An Indonesian girl would behave and think differently.

Vanadian Avenue: The world of Bella is full of mystical creatures, magic spells and artifacts with strange names (like a sword called Rod of Gram). Some things will be lost in translation, especially when the public may not be familiar with British culture or folk tales. How did you solve this ultimate dilemma?

"Kotak Mimpi" released on 29th July 2013.  Meet Larissa Isabella, a singer/song writer extraordinaire.  Left at the altar years ago by her former fiance, Patrick, Larissa concentrated on her career with music producer Arya. But when Patrick  asks Larissa to write him a song for his new love, Noreen,  Larissa is dragged into the past she thought she left behind. And who is responsible for publishing online compromising pictures of her? Pictures she  doesn't recognize and  with a man she doesn't remember!  You can buy your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Kotak-Indonesian-Edition-Primadonna-Angela/dp/9792297774

“Kotak Mimpi” released on 29th July 2013. Meet Larissa Isabella, a singer/song writer extraordinaire. Left at the altar years ago by her former fiance Patrick, Larissa concentrated on her career with music producer Arya. But when Patrick asks Larissa to write him a song for his new love Noreen, Larissa is dragged into the past she thought she left behind. And who is responsible for publishing online compromising pictures of her? Pictures she doesn’t recognize and with a man she doesn’t even remember! You can buy your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Kotak-Indonesian-Edition-Primadonna-Angela/dp/9792297774

Primadonna Angela: I just translated it as is. I hope Indonesian readers, upon reading about Rod of Gram and other things, would be intrigued enough to at least Google some information about British culture and folk tales.

Vanadian Avenue:  Every reader (and every translator!) has a favourite character. Whose team are you on: Belladonna’s, Steve’s or maybe Doctor Ashe’s?

Primadonna Angela: Actually, I am Team Elsie. She might seem annoying and too perky, but I find her refreshing. You can say that perhaps I see a part of myself in her.

Vanadian Avenue: “Spellbinder” is the first book in Belladonna Johnson Adventure series. The second book is entitled “Midnight Gate” and Helen Stringer just recently started writing a third one. If the Indonesian edition proves to be successful, are you willing to translate others installments as well?

Primadonna Angela: Yes, of course. It would be fun to immerse myself in Belladonna’s universe again and again.

Vanadian Avenue: You are a popular writer yourself! Your official Good Reads profile mentions that you have published many young adult and girls novels to critical acclaim. Are your books available in English?

Primadonna Angela: Unfortunately, no. All of my stories are in Indonesian. However, I did put two or three English short stories in one of my short story collection.

"Pojok Lavender", published on April 22nd 2013.  Welcome to the Lavender Cafe! The best place in town for a hot chocolate, a slice of cake, new friendships, quarrels, heartbreak and romance.  Rosemary, Lavender, Cinnamon and Cherry - four young women, four stories, four lives entwined and one place, the Lavender Cafe.  Order your copy here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17623169-pojok-lavender

“Pojok Lavender”, published on April 22nd 2013. Welcome to the Lavender Cafe! The best place in town for a hot chocolate, a slice of cake, new friendships, quarrels, heartbreak and romance. Rosemary, Lavender, Cinnamon and Cherry – four young women, four stories, four lives entwined in a single place, the Lavender Cafe. Order your copy here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17623169-pojok-lavender

Vanadian Avenue: First love, compassion, fighting against the odds and finding one’s way in the world are recurring themes in your books. Where do you find inspiration for your novels?

Primadonna Angela: This might sound cliché, but it’s true. Inspirations might come from anything. And also from my own (and my friends’) personal struggles. Sometimes I had this dream and I wrote it down. Then once or twice I overheard a conversation that piqued my interest. Maybe I read a book or some news, and I thought, hey, what if… supposing this happened like that, what would happen? See, when you’re a writer, you develop this habit of filtering whatever you hear/taste/feel/see/smell into into ideas for your stories. I am lucky because I have a very trustworthy idea/writing buddy. His name is isman h. suryaman (he prefers his name to be written this way, like e.e. cummings) and he is my partner in life. He is also a writer and whenever we banter and exchange words, I am bound to get an inspiration or two. A bit about my reason to write. I was not a popular teenager. I considered myself a bit reclusive and melancholic. I had a difficult time growing up. I was different. When you are a teen, I guess you have this need to conform and be a part of the group. I never felt that I belonged anywhere. Books became my consolation. I read to escape, and to heal myself. I became a better person, more relaxed and fun, because of books. I believe in the cycle of life. I took, now is my turn to give. By writing for teenagers and young adults, I hope to humor and instill hope to them. This is just a phase, reach your dreams when you can, and believe me, things will be better if you strive for better future.

"Dunia Aradia", second edition. First Published in 2009 and published again on  May 26th 2014 by Grasindo. You can order copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Aradia-Indonesian-Edition-Primadonna-Angela/dp/602251519X

“Dunia Aradia”, second edition. First Published in 2009 and re-published again on May 26th 2014 by Grasindo. You can order copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Aradia-Indonesian-Edition-Primadonna-Angela/dp/602251519X

"Dunia Aradia" back cover. The title can be translated as  "Aradia's World".  This is a tale of a modern day witch who tries to maintain two separate lives: the one among humans where she works as a translator and the supernatural one as the Queen of the Witches. Soon she will have to make an ultimate sacrifice, but is she ready to do it?

“Dunia Aradia” back cover. The title can be translated as “Aradia’s World”. This is a tale of a modern day witch who tries to maintain two separate lives: the one among humans where she works as a translator and the supernatural one as the Queen of the Witches. Soon she will have to make an ultimate sacrifice, but is she ready to do it?

Vanadian Avenue: Indonesian book market seems to be huge. Internet groups dedicated to new releases have thousands of members yet only few Indonesian novels are available to Europeans readers. Can you name any authors that we should be on the look out for? What books in your opinions should be translated into English?

Primadonna Angela: I recommend reading books written by Ahmad Tohari. He writes about regular Indonesians and their dilemmas. His works are rich in local flavor. I believe Agustinus Wibowo’s books should be translated into English. He writes about his experiences abroad, in remote and difficult places like Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan. His books are about journey and self-discovery.

Vanadian Avenue: Any plans for the future? What are you working on now? Is there anything you’d like to tell your new European fans?

Primadonna Angela: My plan is to write more manuscripts! I have been planning to write books for children and perhaps a recipe book or two, but they are long-term projects. Right now, I am revising my newest manuscript (a fiction about friendship between an Indonesian and a Japanese), writing another book (marketed for adults), translating a book, editing a YA fantasy book, and reading proof for a YA fantasy book. I hope one day I’ll be able to write a book that European readers will enjoy!

Vanadian Avenue: Thank you very, very much for answering all those questions!

Primadonna Angela: Thank you as well :)

"QuertyPita" published in 2007, 2012 and recently on 15th of May 2014.  Two worlds collide: Querty is a world famous musician who wishes he was poor. Pita is a struggling young artist and she wishes to be rich. One fateful day to fall in love and a whole world of music and problems! Based on a real story (Donna's parents!)   Order your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Query-Pita-Indonesian-Primadonna-Angela/dp/979223392X

“QuertyPita” first published in 2007, 2012 and recently re-published on 15th of May 2014. Two worlds collide: Querty is a world famous musician who wishes he was poor. Pita is a struggling young artist and she wishes to be rich. One fateful day to fall in love and a whole world of music and problems! Based on a true story (Donna’s parents!) Order your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Query-Pita-Indonesian-Primadonna-Angela/dp/979223392X

 

Useful links:

Helen:

Official site: http://helenstringer.net/site.html
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/hcstringer
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoQSE7pU1jrLmn93L1L8Smg
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hcstringer
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Helen-Stringer/e/B001JSFBY2
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1463193.Helen_Stringer

Primadonna:

Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/primadonnaangela
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/cinnamoncherry
Official Twitter fan-club (aka “Angeliers”): https://twitter.com/angeliers_id 
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/621891.Primadonna_Angela
Wikipedia entry (in Indonesian): http://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primadonna_Angela
Donna’s official blog (in English): http://vervain.blogspot.co.uk/
Primadonna on Amazon! http://www.amazon.co.uk/Primadonna-Angela/e/B00J7TEK92

Writing is a family affair! Please also check out Donna’s partner, Isman H. Suryaman:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/600538.Isman_H__Suryaman
Official blog: http://the-fool-found-a.blogspot.co.uk/
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/ismanhs

Gramedia Pustaka Utama (Publisher):

Official website: http://www.gramediapustakautama.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Gramedia
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GramediaPublisher
Spellbinder on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Gramedia/status/454177723577942016

Rita and Mal would like to thank to Gramedia Pustaka Utama for their support and assistance.
We would also like to thank Helen Stringer for her continuous hard work, and of course the lovely Primadonna Angela, the main heroine of this article – without you nothing of this would be possible.

If you’d like to contact Helen of Primadonna, please send us an email  to rdabrowicz@yahoo.com and we will pass all questions, inquiries, fan-mail and everything else to both wonderful ladies.

Have a good weekend folks,

Selamat tinggal!
xxx
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

One castle a day – The Baskerville Hall

Ahoy comrades!

Another day, another journey and another interesting place to see! Forget the boring days at the office when you have to curb your imagination and concentrate on Excel spread sheets and invoices! The monotony of ordinary life magically disappears when we set out to discover ancient ruins, wild spots and castles. Well, this column might be entitled “One castle a day”, but sometimes we make a small excursion and go where no castles can be found. Remember our trip to Malvern Hills to see the fabled British Camp, an Iron Age fort? It was hardly a castle in traditional sense of the word, but what a royal experience it has been!

Welcome to the The Hall of Baskervilles

Welcome to the The Hall of Baskervilles

Woof, woof, there is a dog on the roof!

Woof, woof, there is a dog on the roof!

Our personal definition of a “castle” is quite broad. It includes all mansions, manor houses, forts, fortified houses, real castles, ruined castles, mock castles, palaces, grade I and II buildings, remains of a castle (including archaeological digs and motes) and all other locations where a castle might have once stood. The reason why we decided to include so many objects in this column is very simple. Today’s understanding of the term is completely different than before. The meaning has evolved and changed with each age, historical period, culture or even a society. Let us give you an example. A simple wooden fort in Iron or Bronze Age would be considered a castle by local inhabitants as it housed the chief of the tribe. Renaissance palazzo before the unification of Italy was treated in the same way. Even 200 years ago (just a blink of an eye in the history of a mankind), country manor houses in United Kingdom were sometimes referred as castles. In general, a castle was a main residence of a local ruler and his family, a seat from where the leader ruled over his or her land. It served many purposes: a family home, a court of law, a capitol, a prison, a garrison, an academic and scientific centre, a temple or even a monastery. It was the heart and soul of a small community, a large kingdom or entire country. Nobody really cared of detailed descriptions, technical terms or labels – they are the invention of 19th century. There was no need for confusion. Look at the popular fairy tales you know from your childhood. Princes, kings, queens, princesses, the nobles – they all live in castles. Very simple and zero problems. It could be fun to add a bit of historical realism to folk tales and legends but that’s not what we are going to do. Are there any long houses and mead halls in Eddas? Is Cinderella living in a mock castle with a large mottle, drawing bridge and neo gothic towers? Is Rapunzel kept in a keep? What about Pocahontas? Is she sleeping in a wooden Indian fort or maybe just a tipi? So many questions and no answers! Please don’t be frustrated if one day you will come across an article about a pyramid or megalithic temple. They are not castles per se but treat them as monuments of our history and development. One monument a day is not a good title  so let’s stick with castles. Castles are cool!

A black dog on the thin hot roof...again

A black dog on the thin hot roof…again

Arcade entrance in detail

Arcade entrance in detail

The castle of the day is a noble residence erected in 1839. Quite new compared to the old proud ruins we have described in previous issues. Yes dear readers, we are about to embark on a trilling adventure that features big black hounds, a world renowned consulting detective (the one that invented the job!), a family curse and a posh hotel with a swimming pool!

Arthur Conan Doyle, a medical man, the pioneer of forensics and a talented detective in his own right is one of the most beloved and well-known British authors. Hundreds of books, essays and scientific papers have been dedicated to his life and work. He had several official biographers and even his personal letters and diaries have been published. Each step he took, each town he visited, every person he had ever known – everything has been studied, documented and investigated in the smallest details. There is nothing new under the sun – as Sherlock Holmes himself used to say. It would seem that the popular author has been stripped naked to just bare facts, numbers and dates. A tragic end for a person who earned his living by writing murder and mystery tales!

Baskerville hotel - view from the gardens

Baskerville hotel – view from the gardens

Baskerville Hotel - main balcony visible from the gardens

Baskerville Hotel – main balcony visible from the gardens

If we ask any respectable Sherlockian about “The Hound of Baskervilles”, we would receive a very quick answer. The book has been released in 1902, is set in 1889 and is one of four novels written about the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson. Upon release, the book received rave reviews and to this day, it is considered the best book penned by Conan Doyle. In 1999, The Hound of Baskervilles” was given a perfect rating from scholars of 100 – a score so rare that only a handful of books in existence have been rated that high.

It is wildly accepted that a young journalist from Daily Express, Bertram Fletcher Robinson introduced the writer to the legend of gigantic phantom dog roaming the moors of Devon. At that time, Arthur Conan Doyle returned from his long stay in South Africa and started thinking of writing again. He was so impressed with tales heard from the journalist that he immediately thought of them as the next case for Sherlock Holmes. As for Robinson, there are several surviving accounts of his friends and family members recollecting that he was very proud and boasted that he was the one who ensured the resurrection of the unsociable genius. Indeed, such accomplishment cannot be easily ignored. Doyle pushed Sherlock Holmes to his death along with Professor Moriarty eight years earlier during the events of “The final problem” and refused to mention him ever again. Many people tried to persuade him to change his mind but none has been successful. Doyle felt that the pressure and public demand for sensational stories were dragging him away from more ambitious work. It is also worth mentioning that Bertram Fletcher Robinson had a coachman named Henry Baskerville who received a copy of the book  signed by Conan Doyle himself with dedication that he was sorry for borrowing the coachman’s name and turning him into a main character. This particular copy has not survived to this day, but Henry Baskerville was a real person. He is listed on the 1901 census as living in Ipplepen and being in the service of Earl of Devon, of Powderham Castle. According to Sherlokian historians, Henry often picked up the writer from Bovey Tracey or Ashburton railway stations and drove him to Heatree House in Manaton, a large residence of Kitson family with whom Conan Doyle was closely acquainted with.

Another view from the gardens  and Rita's favorite shot

Another view from the gardens and Rita’s favorite shot

Gardens - view from the right side :)

Gardens – view from the right side :)

It seems that everything has truly been said and written about the “Hound of Baskervilles”.  We have convincing proofs of  inspiration, we found the real Henry Baskerville and even the house that became the infamous Baskerville Hall in a book. Nothing new under the sun, indeed! No more mysteries, no more allure – just plain, old boring facts.

You don’t have to be  a master detective to deduce that there is something more to the story of Baskervilles. We mentioned a posh hotel with a swimming pool at the beginning of this blog and this is when things are getting really interesting. What would you say if we told you that everything you have read so far is  incorrect? What if  Arthur Conan Doyle was a cunning man who preferred to keep few mysteries of his own? What would happen if all Sherlokian scholars have been mislead just like the writer wanted them to be? We are going to start a small revolution here and prove that the original Baskerville Hall is not even close to Devon. Revealing a real place where the best crime novel of all times has been born might come a shock to you, so be prepared. Welcome to the small  Welsh village of Clyro, the last secret place of Sherlock Holmes!

Clyro (Cleirwy meaning “Clear Water” in Welsh) has always been a tiny hamlet hidden amongst the lovely Welsh hills. The village lies in Powys municipality and has approximately 600 inhabitants. It is located some 2 miles away from Hay-on-Wye (a site of internationally acclaimed literature and arts festival) and about 25 miles from Hereford. There isn’t much that people from Clyro could use as their claim to fame. A large castle once existing in  the 14th century is now gone and all what’s left is a large dried motte. A small Roman fort has been discovered about 20 years ago in the village centre but according to archaeologists, it never played any important role and probably has been abandoned several decades after being constructed. Even the picturesque village church called Saint Michael and All Angels, thought erected in the 15th century, has been completely remodeled in Victorian times. History lovers could only be interested in Francis Kilvert, a curate of the parish church between 1865 and 1872 who  regularly wrote about the village and its inhabitants in his excellent diaries. The diaries are counted among the finest examples of memoir genre in English literature and are still in print. Kilvert lived in Ashbrook house that now serves as a private art gallery and a commemorative plaque has been placed there in celebration for his contribution to the local community.

Picnic area with an old oak felled by thunderstorm a week earlier

Picnic area with an old oak felled by thunderstorm a week earlier

Small stone steps  leading from the restaurant into the heart of the gardens

Small stone steps leading from the restaurant into the heart of the gardens

On the outskirts of the village, a weary traveler will find a tall, grey stone mansion that has been standing there since  its creation in 1839. Today it is a hotel, but in Conan Doyle’s times, this  grand mansion belonged to an ancient noble family, so old that their genealogical roots could be traced to the Norman conquest and Battle of Hastings of 1066. The house is known as Clyro Court but in reality this is the true Hall of Baskervilles.  How can we be so sure, some of you may ask? Well, read on and we shall give you five undisputed proves that show we are 100% right!

 1. English country side – Arthur Conan Doyle is Scottish, but he chose to make his most famous character strictly English. Sherlock Holmes tells Doctor Watson that  “My ancestors were country squires, who appear to have led much the same life as is natural to their class”. Holmes has a great knowledge of  English country side, habits of its people, folklore tales, local legends and he is an expert on country manors and houses as shown in “The Valley of Fear”.  His mastery is explained in books through his  ancestry and may suggest that Holmes’ close or extended family lived in a country manor similar to that of Baskerville Hall.  However, Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character and all his knowledge comes from the writer, Arthur Conan Doyle himself. It is possible that Edinburgh based doctor simply researched the topic of  English land gentry in smallest details to make his detective  realistic and  believable.  Or maybe he had good teachers. Arthur had a large circle of friends, most of whom were children of landowners in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and in Devonshire. Two specially close friends were the Kilverts from Devon and Baskervilles from Clyro – both old, entitled noble families with large manor house residences. They would make a great source of information to the writer.

Main balcony  - picture taken from below. The balcony can be accessed at all times fby the guests.

Main balcony – picture taken from below. The balcony can be accessed at all times by the guests

The famous main staircase inside the hotel

The famous main staircase inside the hotel

2. The Baskerville Family – Clyro Hall has been constructed by Thomas Mynors Baskerville (1790 - 1864) second son of Peter Richard Mynors from Treago near Ross-on-Wye and Meliora Powell.  He inherited the title and estate in Wales from his third cousin, Colonel Thomas Baskerville who passed away on May 4th 1817 without leaving any heirs. Thomas Mynors was married twice, first to Anne Hancock (she died childless  in 1832) and then to Elizabeth Mary Guise with whom he had six children. He died in 1864 and was succeeded by his first born son, Walter Thomas Mynors Baskerville. We are not sure if Arthur Conan Doyle befriended Walter first or became acquainted with him through Walter’s son, Ralph Hopton but it is believed that he visited Clyro  Hall just before Walter’s death in 1897 and it wasn’t his first stay there.  Between 1900 and 1910, Conan Doyle was a constant visitor and even a business partner to Ralph.  Ralph inherited Clyro Hall in 1905 and two years later decided to enlarge the estate by  buying two well prospering farms in Radnorshire. Powys Council Archives are in possession of an official legal document signed by Ralph and Conan Doyle after the purchase. The writer is either acting as a witness or a surety.

3.  Popularity – Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson made Arthur Conan Doyle a millionaire and the first celebrity writer in existence. The demand for new stories featuring the detective was so great, that people were queuing in front of  The Strand Magazine’s offices on Southampton Street long before opening, something that has never happened before. The novels and short stories were often sold out within hours and the public still wanted more. Many Londoners were looking for Baker Street ready to hire the duo whom they perceived as a real people. Arthur Conan Doyle had to hire a literary agent who was helping him reply to fan mail and his personal life began to leak to news magazines (an early 20th century equivalent of tabloid press). It is understandable that the writer wanted to remain anonymous and enjoy the privilege of working undisturbed by fans or the press. David Hodby,  a current owner of Clyro Court, is convinced that the Baskerville family were a bit troubled that the author used their name and a local legend of phantom black dog in his work, allowing the readers to identify them easily. They asked Conan Doyle to move the story from Welsh border to some other location. It wasn’t a hard task to do – at the time of writing “The Hound of Baskervilles”, Arthur was staying in Devon and gladly agreed to protects his friends. The fact that a coachman he used from time to time was also named Baskerville, served as a perfect cover up.

Fire place and two Victorian chairs placed in the middle of the staircase - perfect observation point

Fire place and two Victorian chairs placed in the middle of the staircase – perfect observation point

Looking down from the gallery at the fire place

Looking down from the gallery at the fire place

4.  The Phantom Dog - a legend of the big black dog is very popular in English folklore. Every region has at least one mysterious hell hound appearing in solitary locations and bringing death to those who see it.  Conan Doyle’s first wife Mary Louise (nicknamed Louisa) had extended family living in Wales and introduced the writer to the story of Hergest Ridge, the Black Vaughan and Elen the Terrible. This is a fascinating tale and quite a nice detective story in itself.  Being a crime writer, Arthur Conan Doyle was no doubt inspired by it and used it in his book. You can read the story yourself here:
http://www.were-wolf.com/articles/Black_Vaughan.htm

5. The Baskerville Hall – “The Hound of Baskervilles” gives the reader a detailed description of Baskerville Hall. John Watson finds it gloomy, mysterious yet beautiful. Strangely, the interiors of Clyro Court are almost identical with the design of the fictional
manor! Please take a look at the attached pictures and you will immediately see that a “square balustraded gallery (that) ran round the top of the old hall, approached by a double stair” is right there! Doctor Watson also mentions that his bedroom was very spacious and located next to Henry Baskerville’s. Clyro’s Court rooms are unusually large (most of them contains Victorian styled four poster beds with carpeted stairs) and are located very close to each other. The dining room has a dark ceiling with old beams exactly as described in the book and the billiard room where Watson relaxes with a cigarette is located at the back of the building and serves now as the hotel’s office. Clyro Hall has large gardens and grounds surrounding the manor (130 acres) that can be seen from the first floor’s bedrooms. Again, just as described by Conan Doyle, the manor is surrounded by wooded park and a moor.  Do you remember the famous night walk among the yew trees? A yew alley can also be found near the house as well as “grassy space which lay in front of the hall door”.

Magnificent roof

Magnificent roof

Gallery  that runs around the main hall - as described in the book!

Gallery that runs around the main hall – as described in the book!

Clyro Hall is now known as The Baskerville Hotel. It has been changed many times since Arthur Conan Doyle’s era. It has been sold in 1945 to local council and served as a boarding school until 1986 when it was bought by  David Hodby. The hotel is a perfect retreat for a family holidays, even well behaved dogs are welcome! Some quests we know were complaining about loud music coming from the night club, but it is a popular destination for stag and hen parties! And we cannot forget about the heated indoor swimming pool and sauna – what else can you ask for?

You can book you stay at:

Baskerville Hall Hotel
Clyro Court – Hay-on-Wye – Powys – HR3 5LE
Tel: +44 (0)1497-820033 Fax: +44 (0)1497-820596
Email: info@baskervillehall.co.uk

A couple of links for you dear detectives in training:

Baskerville Hall Hotel:
http://www.baskervillehall.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Baskerville-Hall-Hotel/168875793159331

Old picture of the Clyro Hall taken at the beginning on 20th century. Please excuse the poor quality but we couldn't find any other copies on the Internet.

Old picture of the Clyro Hall taken at the beginning of the 20th century. Please excuse the poor quality but we couldn’t find any other copies on the Internet

Baskerville Family history:

http://www.benybont.co.uk/other/ess-art/hound.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baskerville_%28surname%29

http://www.burkespeerage.com/search.php (type BASKERVILLE ands scroll through results)
http://www.houseofnames.com/baskerville-family-crest (Baskerville coat of arms explained)

Photograph of the Great Hall 100 years ago

Photograph of the Great Hall 100 years ago

Articles about the sensational discovery of Baskerville Family’s 42 pieces cutlery set auction from 2008:
http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/hound-cutlery-tracked-down-2167935

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/mid/7427998.stm

Gallery around year 1912 - this is how the court looked like during Arthur Conan Doyle stay

Gallery around year 1912 – this is how the court looked like during Arthur Conan Doyle stay

A very interesting article about the rest of the Baskerville set and a fantastic investigation! Sherlock Holmes would be proud!

http://www.ascasonline.org/articoloAGOS161.html

Breakfast served in the day room

Breakfast served in the day room

Bigwood Fine Art Auctioneers – auction house that was selling the cutlery set in 2008:
http://www.bigwoodauctioneers.com/index.php/info/aboutus
https://www.facebook.com/bigwooduk/info

Sitting room

Sitting room

Our trip to Baskerville Hotel wasn’t planned at all. They have a large parking space that was used by Hay-On-Wye Literary Festival  after torrential rainfalls turned the traditional field parking in town into a lake. We took the opportunity to walk around the lovely gardens, see how the hotel looks like inside and we even discovered that a very known person has booked a room there!  It is definitely a place worth visiting – especially if  you own a big black dog (Labrador retriever) like us!

We don’t know if we managed to convince you, but at least you have now something to think about. With the new series of Sherlock returning  next year, there will be plenty of interest not only in the excellent acting duo (Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman) but in the Clyro Court as well!

xoxo’s
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

Cardiff Bay in 37 clicks

Hello world!

Summertime is a great time for adventures and recently we have been out and about a lot!

Do you remember our post about Malta in 41 clicks? If you missed it, please use the link below to read it. This article is one of our most popular blogs and has been for the last two years! Last week, we realized that we haven’t done anything like this in a long while so we are bringing the formula back:

 http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/malta-in-41-clicks

How can you present a place filled with numerous attractions to readers who do not have much time? Cardiff Bay is enormous, a single day is not enough to see it all and fully appreciate it. Yet, we have found a way. Keep it sweet, short and interesting  – this is our recipe for success.

Dear visitors, let us give you Cardiff Bay in just 37 clicks! Enjoy the information, look at the pictures and once you have read it all, we guarantee, you will know  more than a licensed tour guide! Allons-y!

Roath Lock
BBC Cymru studios, media and drama village are located  in Porth Teigr area of Cardiff Bay, between Roath Basin,  Roath Dock and the channel to Queen Alexandra Dock. The studio houses nine ready-to-go sets that have been used during filming of Doctor Who, Casualty, Pobol y Cwm, Upstairs Downstairs, Wizards vs Aliens and The Sarah Jane Adventures. The whole building is an equivalent of three football pitches and covers a jaw-dropping 170,000 sq ft (16,000 m2).
Official website: http://roathlock.com/index.php/working-at-roath-lock
Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roath_Lock

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Roath Lock entrance

Roath Lock entrance

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Roath Lock studios

Roath Lock studios

National Assembly for Wales -Tŷ Hywel
Unofficially known as  The Assembly Building, Tŷ Hywel has been opened in 1993 to provide assembly members and their staff with places to stay during  parliamentary sessions. It was fully redecorated in 2006 to match the rest of newly constructed building.  Nowadays it is a popular venue for teaching, conferences and lectures. Its name comes from Hywel Dda or Hywel ap Cadell,  better known to English citizens as  Hywel the Good, the first Welsh lawmaker.

Official website: http://www.assemblywales.org/gethome/assembly-events/get_involved_trefnwch/get_involved-tyhywelevent.htm
Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%C5%B7_Hywel

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National Assembly for Wales entrance

National Assembly for Wales entrance

4.

Tŷ Hywel

Tŷ Hywel

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Tŷ Hywel , picture taken from the main street

Tŷ Hywel , picture taken from the main street

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Tŷ Hywel - Vview from the car park

Tŷ Hywel – view from the car park

National Assembly for Wales  – Pierhead Building (Adeilad y Pierhead)
This monumental Victorian Revival grade I* (star) building has been constructed in 1897 as the headquarters for the Bute Dock Company, a trade and industrial conglomerate founded and chaired by John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute. It has been designed by Wiliam Frame, a student of William Burges, the most famous architect of Victorian era.  The building is famous for its clock tower, affectionately known as The Little Ben or Big Ben of Wales. There is a coat of arms and motto “wrth ddŵr a thân” (by fire and water) on the main facade of the tower, a souvenir inherited after previous tenants, The Cardiff Railway Company (now part of Great Western Railway). Today, the building houses Welsh History Museum and The Futures Art Gallery.

Official website: http://www.assemblywales.org/pierhead_history.htm
Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierhead_Building

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Western facade of Pierhead Building

Western facade of Pierhead Building

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The Big Ben of Wales block tower

The Big Ben of Wales clock tower

National Assembly for Wales – Senedd

Senedd (Welsh for Senate or Parliament) is the largest building in The National Assembly for Wales Estate complex. Built in 2006 for nearly 70 million pounds, it was designed by award winning architect, Richard George Rogers, Baron Rogers of Riverside. Senedd houses Siambr (debating chamber for 60 members of the National Assembly) and Committee Rooms. The building is open to visitors each day  (Siambr public gallery can accommodate up to 120 people) who have access to two event spaces called The Neuadd and the Oriel. Senedd is also known for  its large collection of works of arts including blue and gold glass installation called Heart of Wales by Alexander Beleschenko, Assembly Field by American sculptor Danny Lane and The Meeting Place on the Plinth by Richard Harris which serves as an unofficial sitting area.

Official website: http://www.assemblywales.org/abthome/about_us-assembly_history_buildings/senedd_history.htm
Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senedd

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The main entrance to National Assembly building

The main entrance to National Assembly building

Wales Millennium Centre  (Canolfan Mileniwm Cymru)

This enormous structure has been called as “unmistakably Welsh and internationally outstanding”.  It is an art centre  for all types of performances including opera, ballet, dance, comedy, drama, pantomimes and musicals. The center has three main auditoriums: Donald Gordon Theatre (capacity of 1,897 seats), Hoddinott Hall (350 seats), the Weston Studio Theatre (250 seats)  and three supporting performance halls: Neuadd yr Urdd Hall (153 places,  recital, activity hall, conferences and events), Dance House (capacity of 100 places) and Glanfa (foyer). Wales Millenium Centre also offers access to Crema – coffee shop, Portmeirion – gift Shop, Tourist Visitor office and 9 partner organizations (Literature Wales, National Dance Company Wales, Hijinx Theatre, Touch Trust,  Tŷ Cerdd, Urdd Gobaith Cymru, Welsh National Opera and BBC National Orchestra of Wales).

Official website: http://www.wmc.org.uk
Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wales_Millennium_Centre

 10.

A view on  The Wales Millenium Centre from Roald Dahl Plass

View of Wales Millenium Centre from Roald Dahl Plass

 11.

Wales Millenium Centre - front

Wales Millennium Centre – front

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Two poetic inscription  on the front of the building: "Creu Gwir fel gwydr o ffwrnais awen" (Creating truth like glass from the furnace of inspiration in Welsh) and  In These Stones Horizons Sing in English

Two poetic inscription on the front of the building: “Creu Gwir fel gwydr o ffwrnais awen” (Creating truth like glass from the furnace of inspiration in Welsh) and In These Stones Horizons Sing in English

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Wales Millenium Centre  - a side view

Wales Millennium Centre – a side view

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Wales Millennium Centre  again

Wales Millennium Centre again

 

Roald Dahl Plass (Plas Roald Dahl)

Roald Dahl Plass is a popular public plaza located in front of Wales Millennium Centre. It was formerly known as Oval Basin and was redecorated in 2000 by William Pye and Nicholas Hare Architects. The stone pillars  you can see below on the pictures are actually concrete lamps that illuminate the plaza after nightfall. The most popular attraction is the 70 feet (21 m) Water Pillar fountain. The plaza is often used for open air concerts and serves as Doctor Who set.

Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roald_Dahl_Plass
William Pye (water sculptor) official website: http://www.williampye.com/
Nicholas Hare Architects official website: http://www.nicholashare.co.uk/

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Roald Dahl Plass 1

Roald Dahl Plass 1

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Roald Dahl Plass - circle of illuminating pillars

Roald Dahl Plass 2 – circle of illuminating pillars

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Entrance to Roald Dahl Plass

Entrance to Roald Dahl Plass

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Tardis was parked in this exact spot in "Boom Town" - the eleventh episode of the first series Doctor Who

Tardis was parked in this exact spot in “Boom Town” – the eleventh episode of the first series of revived Doctor Who

19.

Roald Dahl Plass  from a distance

Roald Dahl Plass from a distance

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Water Pillar fountain

Water Pillar fountain by William Pye

Ivor Novello sculpture

Born and raised in Cardiff, Ivor Novello (real name David Ivor Davies, born on 15th of  January 1893 and died on 6th March 1951) was an acclaimed poet, playwright, songwriter, actor, performer and composer. His career spanned more than 4 decades and covered every part of show business from being involved in theater, choir, movies, radio to being a manager! The 7ft (2.1m) bronze sculpture was made by artist Peter Nicholas and has been unveiled on 27th of June 2009. Apparently it cost more than 80.000 pounds (Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber was one of the donors!). It now stands next to the entrance to Roald Dahl Plass, outside the Wales Millennium Centre.

Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivor_Novello
Ivor Novello Appreciation Bureau: http://www.ivornovello.com/
Ivor Novello Awards: http://www.theivors.com/
Peter Nicholas (sculptor) profile: http://peter-nicholas.artparks.co.uk/artpark_sculpture_sculptor_details.php?artistID=64&sculptor=peter_nicholas

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Ivor Novello sculpture1

Ivor Novello sculpture -  front

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Ivor Novello sculpture - back

Ivor Novello sculpture – back

 

Norwegian Church Arts Centre and Norsk Coffee Shop (Canolfan Gelfyddydau’r Eglwys Norwyaidd)

Built in 1868, the thriving arts centre, coffee house and art gallery known as  Norwegian Church Arts Centre and Norsk Coffee Shop, is an iconic structure in Cardiff Bay. The church is Rita’s favorite spot and their hot chocolate is worth every penny. Originally, the church was located at the spot occupied now by Wales Millennium Centre but had to be refurbished after it fell into disrepair in late 1970′s. Moved close to Atlantic Wharf, the church is now a home to hundreds of events and exhibitions. From a temple to ruin to major tourist attraction – the transformation of this beautiful place is simply stunning. If you are in Cardiff, don’t you dare to miss it!

Official website: http://www.norwegianchurchcardiff.co.uk
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/norwegianchurchcardiff
Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norwegian_Church,_Cardiff

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Norwegian Church Arts Centre - a portrait of a dog 1

Norwegian Church Arts Centre – a portrait of a dog 1

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Norwegian Church Arts Centre - a portrait of a dog 2

Norwegian Church Arts Centre – a portrait of a dog 2

 

Antarctic 100 (Captain Scott Memorial)

Very original mosaic sculpture located near the Norwegian Church is entitled Antarctic 100. It has been designed and sculpted by Jonathan Williams to commemorate the British Antarctic Expedition led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott in 1910. The sculpture has been unveiled on 6th June 2003 by Her Royal Highness – Anne, Princess Royal. Antarctic 100 is protected against vandals by  a metal fence as it has been twice damaged. At night, this mosaic wonder is illuminated by colorful lights.

Captain Scott Society website: http://www.captainscottsociety.com/memorial.html
Jonatha Williams (sculptor) official website: http://www.williamssculpture.co.uk/
More information: http://www.vanderkrogt.net/statues/object.php?webpage=ST&record=gbwa015

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Antarctic 100 Captain Scott Memorial sculpture - side view

Antarctic 100
Captain Scott Memorial sculpture – side view

26.

Antarctic 100 Captain Scott Memorial - front view

Antarctic 100
Captain Scott Memorial – front view

Merchant Seafarers’ War Memorial

Designed, sculpted and donated by artist Brian Fell, this monumental sculpture made of riveted galvanized steel has been commissioned by the Cardiff Bay Arts Trust (now Celfwaith Public Art in Wales) in 1997. It was created using traditional ship building technique of riveting plates of metal together and is dedicated to those who served in Merchant service. The sculpture can be found near Senedd Building.

Brian Fell (sculptor) official website: http://www.brianfell.org.uk/index.php?/albums/merchant-seamans-memorial/
Celfwaith Public Art in Wales website: http://www.celfwaith.co.uk/
Merchant Seafarers’ War Memorial at Geograph: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3112403
More information: http://lost-at-sea-memorials.com/?p=681

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Merchant Seafarers’ War Memorial by Brian Fell

Merchant Seafarers’ War Memorial by Brian Fell

28.

Another shot of the sculpture

Another shot of the sculpture

Mermaid Quey  (Cei’r Fôr-forwyn)

30 restaurants, coffee houses and bars, 20 shops, 14,000 m² (150,000 sq ft.), one million visitors a year – this is a short description of Mermaid Quey. The world’s largest waterfront development was opened in 1999 and has numerous water taxi stands, bay trips, cruises, large arts and crafts area,  Landsea Gardens & Graving Docks relaxation space (called Landsea Square) and a web of well established public paths leading to Doctor Who Exhibition, hotels, World of Boats showroom, city center and Techniquest – a science and discovery centre.

Official website: http://www.mermaidquay.co.uk
Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mermaid_Quay
Crafts in the Bay: http://www.makersguildinwales.org.uk/

28.

Water Taxi at Mermaid Quey

Boat Hire at Mermaid Quey

29.

Water Taxi and  Bay rides

Water Taxi and Bay rides

30.

Landsea Gardens

Landsea Gardens

 

 Cardiff Bay (Bae Caerdydd)

Cardiff Bay is called the most successful redevelopment project in the history of Great Britain. At the beginning of 20th century, Cardiff port was one of  the biggest ports in Europe, exporting coal and steel from the mines in South Wales to almost every part of the globe. It had a vibrant multicultural character, habituated by people of 45 different nationalities. When the coal deposits depleted, the port fell into disuse and was sold in 1986 to Cardiff Bay Development Corporation. Extensive  revitalization plans were undertaken in 1990′s a now the area of 1,100 hectares (2,700 acres) is completely unrecognizable! The Bay was once a tidal bay with extensive mudflats, but it has been changed after the creation of Cardiff Bay Barrage in 2001. Now the bay is an artificial fresh water lake 500-acre (2.0 km2) supplied by rivers Ely and Taff.

Cardiff Harbour Authority: http://www.cardiffharbour.com/
Cardiff Bay Visitor Centre: http://www.visitcardiff.com/
Cardiff Bay Waterfront Partnership: http://www.visitcardiffbay.info/
County Council of the City and County of Cardiff:  https://www.cardiff.gov.uk/ENG/Pages/default.aspx
Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiff_bay

31.

Official map of the Cardiff Bay

Official map of the Cardiff Bay

32.

Cardiff Bay 1

Cardiff Bay 1

33.

Cardiff Bay 2

Cardiff Bay 2

34.

Cardiff Bay3

Cardiff Bay3

35.

Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay

Welsh Carousel

Wanna go for a ride? The only one Welsh themed carousel in the world is standing right in the front of The Pierhead Building. You can ride on a horse, sit in dragon chariot and listen to traditional Welsh organ music. The carrousel is opened every day from  April to October the first. It is a property of Norman Sayers Amusements, a family run firm that specializes in outdoor recreation and events.

Norman Sayers Amusements website: http://sayers-amusements.co.uk/
NSA on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Norman-Sayers-Amusements/246377972218286 – they joined on May 7th 2014 and have only several likes. Give them a shout, they are doing a good job!

36.

Welsh themed carousel

Welsh themed carousel

Welsh Coffee Company

When in Wales, do as the Welsh.  There is nothing better than relaxing near the Millennium Centre with a cup of freshly brewed coffee in your hand. Welsh Coffee Company is a 100% Welsh family run company, fair trade certified and established in 2011. They make a really strong, aromatic drink from authentic Arabica beans “shade grown at altitude under a canopy of rain forest”. The owners are  also experienced dragon handlers as they use native Red Welsh dragon species to roast the beans. If you haven’t tried their coffee yet, do it next time when visiting Cardiff Bay. You can buy it from cafeteria in Wales Millennium Centre.

Welsh Coffee Company website: http://www.welshcoffee.com/
Welsh Coffee Company on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Welsh-Coffee-Company/172392379469098
WCC on Twitter: https://twitter.com/welshcoffeeco

37.

And that's the reason why  we keep dragons in Wales!

And that’s the reason why we keep dragons in Wales!

Wow, that was a long and exhausting journey!
Hang in there as this is just one of our summer trips to Wales.

More to come very, very soon.

XXX
Rita and Mal
(this entry is dedicated to our Welsh friend Rebecca. Thanks for your help with writing!! xx)

 

Earth Garden 2013 Review

Hello cupcakes!

Just one day left! 24 hours and we will be back in lovely Ta’ Qali National Park for a whole weekend of fun. We are so excited, we can barely contain ourselves. Cats are packed, table and chairs prepared, balloons ready to be blown up -  a bit of a rest and off we will go. Being a part of Earth Garden is  a true privilege. We have said it many times in the past and we will keep on repeating: this is one of the best independent culture festivals on Malta. A must go if you are visiting or living permanently on our beautiful rock!

The gates of the festival.

The gates of the festival

We have been blogging relentlessly about Earth Garden in the past week. If you want to see our coverage of 2013 edition please click on the links below:

http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/looking-back-earth-garedn-2013/
http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/looking-back-again-earth-garden-2013-workshop/
http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/back-to-the-garden/

Our newest entry regarding this year’s edition can be found at:
http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/earth-garden-2014/

As the previous edition of festival is concerned, what we didn’t cover yet is the 2013 set up of our Cat Shop and the general conditions of the Ethnic Market. And let us tell you – it was something we will be remembering for a long time. Action, great friends and some challenging weather made Earth Garden 2013 truly unique experience.

Arm wristband and a car pass given to the exhibitors

Arm wristband and a car pass given to the exhibitors

First of all, a year ago, the festival itself was returning after unscheduled break. Lack of funding prevented Earth Garden from happening in 2012. To this very day, we still can’t understand how anybody would fail to see the importance of supporting local art scene (oh wait, maybe it is one of the reasons why the previous administration is currently sitting on the opposition benches in Malta), and made a decision to cut off the entire artistic community from one of the biggest commercial events in a calendar year.

Yes, you read it correctly – Earth Garden is a commercial entity: you pay to get in, you pay to exhibit. However in today’s economy, even commercial events do need support from the establishment. Sometimes a small contribution can literary make or break an entire festival. This is exactly what went down in 2012. Not enough sponsors came on board and the local community was left out in the cold.

You need to understand local scene in Malta – arts and crafts makers have limited appeal on village festas and only few proper markets are organized on the island. Patches Market is set up four times a year and they are highly selective (they work with whom they like, if the don’t like you – forget about being invited). Malta Artisan Market is another circuit which recently started being organized on a monthly basis – but that’s still not enough if you want to live from your craft. So each and every festival with craft market should be treated like a national treasure – it provides tourists with unique, made in Malta goods and puts some money in the pockets of artists (who tend to earn less than 10 000 EUR a year, that’s below minimum wage if you ask). Yet this simple maths doesn’t seem to stick with the powers that be.

Our cats waiting to be adopted.

Our cats waiting to be adopted.

Box of cat treasures

Box of cat treasures

Stand in its full glory

Stand in its full glory

Thankfully, in 2013 the organizers of Earth Garden pulled all possible ropes and secured enough funds for the event to continue. People flocked to the Ta Qali National Garden, even despite horrible weather and we have never seen so many visitors and so many exhibitors. It must have been around 50 stalls out there – something extraordinary to see.

It was fun to set up our Cat Shop. Few days prior to the festival, Rita went to Birkirkara and came back few hours later with a large folding picnic table. She said it was a bargain and it would suit her perfectly for s stand. You can never underestimate the shopping skills one can learn from “Cash in the attic”. We used a big rattan box for additional space and we were pretty much covered. Rita decided to decorate the entire area around the stand with balloons. Have some balloons on hand and kids will appear in no time, all eager to assist you in decorating. We have been huffing and puffing and pumping entire morning and it was fun. In the end, we had one of the most colourful stands as far as eye could see.

Cats and soap dishes.

Cats and soap dishes.

More shots.

More shots.

Stand from another perspective

Stand from another perspective

While Rita was encouraging both children and adults to draw cats, Mal was stopping random strangers to take their portraits in case they wore something with a cat pattern. We are going to continue doing so this year – our small homage to the Humans of New York project. We will call it Cat Fashion (or Cat People of Earth Garden). Or something along these creative lines.

The view from the from of our stand.  Taken at the moment when everybody were setting up.

The view from the from of our stand. Taken at the moment when everybody were setting up.

The view from the back of our stand

The view from the back of our stand

Balloons, lots of balloons

Balloons, lots of balloons

Being  a part of the Ethic market is not only about you and your sells. It’s a place where you come to see your friends, meet new people and have  some of the craziest conversation possible. Can you imagine discussing Søren Aabye Kierkegaard philosophy, new fashion trends, ways of mixing non alkoholic drinks and vegan cuisine, all under five minutes? Everything is possible with a cup of a hot chocolate in hand and with a group of crazy artists around you. You will never, ever get bored during Earth Garden, remember that!

Socializing is what Vanadian Avenue does best and we would like to introduce you to some of our favorite partners in crime. We will start with a lady that brought entire fashion world in The Mediterranean to their knees just last week at Malta Fashion show. Ladies and gents, give a standing ovation to Fransina!

1. Handbags by Fransina

We have wrote about Fransina on pour blog nearly a year ago when she was  just starting up her business. It was obvious to us that she possesses not only a great talent for designing, but her sewing skills are second to none. As we predicted, Fransina is taking the fashion community by storm now. From her humble stand at Earth Garden to the red carpet catwalks of  Malta Fashion Week – this is an amazing progress in just 12 months! Fransina’s handbags have been featured in several fashion shows and her profile was featured in New Designers column in the festival booklet. Fransina works with metal frames, fabrics and leather to create a unique retro vintage style that will seat your heart in an instant. She is a graduate of the prestigious Manzoni Fashion House

Hand made handbags by Fransina at Earth Garden 2013

Hand made handbags by Fransina at Earth Garden 2013

And the gifted designer herself!

And the gifted designer herself!

Fransina’s official FB: https://www.facebook.com/FransinaHandbagDesigner
Fransina bio at Malta Fashion week: http://fashionweek.com.mt/28-designer-labels-brands-at-malta-fashion-week Fransina at Malta Fashion week Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=876948508999174&set=a.876946972332661.1073741861.207687515925280&type=1&theater

2. Burlesque Candles

Jo Monte-Bello, the owner of Burlesque Candles is an old friend of ours and we have been neighbors at Earth Garden multiple times. She is incredibly funny and intelligent, you can talk with her for hours and still learn a lot of new stuff from her.  Jo knows the candle making business inside and out and can give a sound advice on how to use the aromatic candles for relaxing, home decor and well-being purposes. Forget paraffin, petrol-chemicals and some suspicious oils that will make the entire house stink. Jo uses  real spices, herbs, flowers and natural oils to create beautiful fragrances. Our favorites? Kitty Kat candle (mango & papaya) and Ivy May (cassis & pomegranate).

Burlesque stand

Burlesque stand

Jo wearing her warm winter jackets as  the weather was  freezing!

Jo wearing her warm winter jackets as the weather was freezing!

And another very fashionable shot of Jo

And another very fashionable shot of Jo

Please visit Jo’s business FB page at: https://www.facebook.com/BurlesqueCandles

3. Berivan Serin Art Gallery

Berivan is an Turkish artist living and creating in Sliema. We have discovered her several years ago at a local arts festival where she had a stand with extraordinaire pictures painted on sea stones! Guaranteed, you have never seen anything like that before! Two of her artworks are part of Olympia’s Kat-a-Log cat collections and we are very proud of that fact. Berivan uses acrylics and oil paints in her artwork and exhibits them frequently.  She is open for commissions. Her telephone number is 00355 9960 9721.

Berivan proudly displaying her art at Earth Garden

Berivan proudly displaying her art at Earth Garden

Some of Berivan's  incredible stone artworks were  displayed at her stand

Some of Berivan’s incredible stone artworks were displayed at her stand

Last year, violent protests rocked Istanbul, starting with massive demonstrations on May 28th, just two days before Earth Garden opened for visitors. 3.5 million of people took to the streets after being angered by proposed changes to constitution and law. Police answered with guns and water cannons, injuring hundreds and killing 11 protesters. The unrest in her native country was very hard for Berivan as she feared for the safety of her family and friends. Support for local and independent artists is the most important thing in the world today. The money are not only allowing creators to earn their wages but can also help their relatives. We are lucky to live in a free country without war, hunger or radicalism. People in other parts of the globe are dying to be able to vote! Remember, remember – you can change the world with your wallet. Be aware and be smart!

Viva la revolution!

Viva la revolution!

Please visit Berivan’s official facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Berivan-Serin-Art-Gallery/269851559715713

4. Trash Treasures

There is a treasure in your trash and you don’t even know it! Trash treasure is a popular art recycling company operating on Malta (Sliema) and Italy (Rome). Two dedicated artists, Daniela and Giuseppe can create everything out of nothing and sell it with a profit.  A bit of skills, a bit of imagination, few random items – and something unique is born! Old plastic bottles are turned into beautiful lamps, scraps are twisted and turned into fashionable earnings, pendants and bracelets that would make Carrie Broadshaw faint with delight. Trash treasures are  displaying their  creations on Patches Market and  Earth Garden, so please visit them if you have a chance!

Trash Treasure stand

Trash Treasure stand

This is how you do it - turn an old plastic bottle into a decorative lamp!

This is how you do it – turn an old plastic bottle into a decorative lamp!

Trash Treasures official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/trash.treasure
Official website: http://trash-treasure.webs.com

Now, we are almost done. Almost. The last thing we want to show you are the pictures that Malicia took during our time at the Earth Garden. A bit of a mess, but this is what we like – spontaneity and freedom. Here they come!

Cat fashion at Earth Garden - our tribute to Humans of New York!

Cat fashion at Earth Garden – our tribute to Humans of New York!

Cat fashion once again - we want that shirt!

Cat fashion once again – we want that shirt!

Why Not Chill Out Zone - a favorite place to go

Why Not Chill Out Zone – a favorite place to go

Chill out zone from a different perspective

Chill out zone from a different perspective

Body painting

Body painting

Anybody fancy a bunny?

Anybody fancy a bunny?

Hand made jewellery, sadly we don't remember who the artist was.

Hand made jewellery, sadly we don’t remember who the artist was.

We loved the red handle holder. where can we get one??

We loved the red handle holder. where can we get one??

Some handsome artists kept waving at us. Any names guys? Give us a shout!

Some handsome artists kept waving at us. Any names guys? Give us a shout!

Ok, time to rest now and we will see you tomorrow at Earth Garden 2014!
The weather forecast is  good, so we won’t need jackets and  hot chocolate this time.

We love Maltese Summer!

XXXRita and Mal Dabrowicz

Looking back again – Earth Garden 2013 workshop

Greetings gardeners!

Thank you so very much for your clicks and visits! We knew our review of  cat drawing workshop for kids will be a popular topic among our readers, but we had more traffic than usual! Lovely stuff as Rita always says. We guess you want more and we shall not disappoint you!

For those who missed yesterday’s blog, here’s a shortcut. Please click on the link below and it will open in a new window:
http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/looking-back-earth-garden-2013/

We all know that children are very imaginative and creative. They don’t need any extra encouragement and will literally jump at the opportunity to learn how to create abstract cat drawings. Adults are a different fairy-tale.  Rita remembers their reactions when we offered them a chance to gain new skills.  Some visitors gave us strange looks and disappeared not to be seen again, others giggled, shook their heads and fought hard almost like we were trying to convince them to swallow a poisonous pill.  Luckily, adults can be persuaded to do everything when offered a bribe. The sweeter the bribe, the better.  If you are preparing any public event and you lack participants, offer them free chocolates or candies.  Success is guaranteed.

It's a dare! Draw a cat!  Our poster advertising art lessons for adults

It’s a dare! Draw a cat! Our poster advertising art lessons for adults

Once our guests discovered that drawing can be fun, we had many willing students to teach (a bag of free sweets on the table served as an additional motivation). You should see how pleased and delighted they were after learning few basic abstract techniques. They created amazingly cheerful cat portraits and proved that sometimes all you need is a bit of spontaneity and positive craziness. Don’t be ashamed to act silly and unpredictable.  Life is not about doom, gloom, death and taxes.  Simple pleasures like that can change your life!

By the end of the weekend, we had enough cat artworks for a full blown art exhibition! Mal was kind enough to scan all drawings  so sit comfortably and enjoy the best abstract artworks on Malta!

1. Lady cat with dedication for Malicia from Mahii. The autographed masterpiece says “For a sweet girl, Malicia. XXX”

A cute cat drawn by Mahii

A cute cat drawn by Mahii

2. Cat attack! Six wonderfully abstracts cats drawn by Valentina, Frany and Chrissy.  The VFC art collective wrote that they are sorry, but we do not know about what. Not enough space for another cat? Should have said so earlier. We had additional sheets of paper!

Group effort by Valentina, Frany and Chrissy

Group effort by Valentina, Frany and Chrissy

3. We are not sure why but there is number 4 next to Tyra’s name. Her cat wears a stylish scarf probably because summer tend to be quite cold in Sweden.  Tack Tyra!

Cat by Tyra

Cat by Tyra

4. Red and black cats duo drawn by Steph (19 years old) and Bekka (17 years old) are cute as buttons. They are very happy as well. Just look at their faces :)

Two cats  by Steph and Becca

Two cats by Steph and Bekka

5. Very professional cat portrait by Roisin. It looks almost manga-like. Well done Roisin. Contact us if you  come across this blog. We’d love to see your other works.

Cat by Roisin

Cat by Roisin

6. Another visitor, Kym, came up with this  lovely, larger -than-life female (judging by her long eyelashes!) kitten.  Perfect in every detail.

Cat drawing by Kym

Cat drawing by Kym

7. Simplicity is a virtue in abstract art. A visitor named Marcon used some classical tricks for a great result. Rita especially likes  his soft quick  lines that fill out the cat’s silhouette. Beautiful job.

Cat drawing by Marcon

Cat drawing by Marcon

8. This cat is Rita’s absolute favorite.  Drawn by Miguel, 32 years old resident of Malta, his  feline is very original and unpredictable. Perfect proportions, absolutely mesmerizing face. Winner!

Cat drawing by Miguel

Cat drawing by Miguel

9. Antonella, 29 years old from Malta tried to convince us that she cannot draw. But we know better and we have a proof that she can! the cat is very talkative and says MIAOOO to all blog readers. Say hi!

Cat by Antonella

Cat by Antonella

10. Ilenia is yet another non believer, thinking that she is unable to draw a cat. Proven wrong! She named her delightful creation “Nikita” and that’s just ideal name for a stealthy feline.

Ilenia's cat Nikita

Ilenia’s cat Nikita

11. Pointy ears, extremely long tail, soft fur – this is a description of a new breed of domesticated cats discovered by English artist  named Gordon. Fédération Internationale Féline is in the process of registering The English Abstract Short-haired breed as we speak.

British cat by Gordon

British cat by Gordon

12. Our fist anonymous artwork is that of a dancing red cat. Anyone is claiming the authorship?

Dancing cat by Anonymous  artist

Dancing cat by Anonymous artist

13. Giulia and Brogan portrayed two distinctively different types of cats. Brogan(20 years old from Malta) went for minimalistic style while Giulia (18 years old) painted a peace loving feline. Brogan might be a dog person but she surely knows how to draw a cat. Greetings to you both!

Brogan and Giulia and their cats

Brogan and Giulia and their cats

14. The last cat is a big, fat blue striped boy that probably would own the entire neighborhood if he was real. Drawn by anonymous artist – it’s a real shame that you haven’t given us your name!

Blue cat by anonymous artist

Blue cat by anonymous artist

 

Many visitors and art students were too shy to draw or paint anything. They left us wonderful and warm greetings in the guestbook and we would like to share  the best comments with you:

Page full of comments - straight out of the guestbook!

Page full of comments – straight out of the guestbook!

Comments  - page two

Comments – page two

Wow! What a great memories we have.  So many cats, so many comments and so many new friends we have met. Earth Garden 2014 will start  this weekend (just  3 days left, we cannot believe it!) so please come and say hello.
We will be at Ethnic Market in our usual space so don’t  miss it.

Have a great time and we will speak to you soon,
XXXX
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

 

Looking back – Earth Garden 2013

Hellooo people!

Are you excited? We sure are! Earth Garden starts in just few days and we are already packing our cats pictures, figurines and other goodies into bags and suitcases. It will be our fourth time at Ta’ Qali National Park and we are truly thrilled!  There’s nothing better than Maltese summer, good music, great company and lots of cats! Earth Garden is known for its excellent atmosphere, interesting visitors and good organization – you just cannot ask for more.

We have to make a bit of confession: last year has been so busy that we forgot to upload  some beautiful pictures taken by Malicia. As you know, Rita is the marketing side of Vanadian Avenue and she is responsible for arts, crafts and stand at Earth Garden. Mal is the artsy – fartsy photographer, running around the whole festival site with big Canon camera and taking billions of pictures.  Her  photographic archives are bigger than those of Magnum and Reuters combined together and sometimes it takes weeks before pictures are edited and ready to be published online.

Since we haven’t posted anything from the last year’s festival on the blog yet, we decided to show you what have you missed.  Please be aware – it’s going to be so cute, you will faint from sugar overload! Don’t say we didn’t warn ye – kids and cute animals are ruling the Internet!

Official Earth Garden  AD 2013 poster

Official Earth Garden AD 2013 poster

A bit of reminder – last year’s Earth Garden took place on 31st of May -2nd of June 2013. Thousands of people arrived to celebrate ecology, culture, healthy life style and bohemian freedom. Ta’ Qali National Park was packed for three consecutive days – some  guests even complained that they had to look hard to find a place to sit! It was a great event for us.  We had our  small store at Ethnic Market, we listened to some  great tunes and had a lot of vegetarian delicacies to snack on. Rita sold several of her paintings and had a great time posing for pictures. This is what we call a life of a celebrated cat portraits! Meow!

Our biggest success, however was the cat drawing workshop for kids. The idea to teach the youngest visitors how to create abstract art was not new at all. For several years, we have been thinking of actually doing it, but for one reason or another, it was never used. It was Malicia who decided to give it a shot for the last time and the rest is history as they say. Many people stopped at our stand and discovered that painting could be so much fun.  It’s not as easy at it seems but you can start doing it  at any stage of your life.  The results are beautiful. Please take a look at the  pictures below to see for yourself!

Our guestbook was quickly turned into an art book by kids

Our guestbook was quickly turned into an art book by kids

Tell us what you think!

Tell us what you think!

Kids are wonderful creatures, we have to admit it. Give them a piece of paper, several coloured pens or markers and watch them create real masterpieces. They do not need much encouragement at all!  A simple “please tell us what you think” is enough to have them talking, laughing and drawing at the same time. Truly wonderful the mind of a child is” – Master Yoda was perfectly right on that (as about everything else too!)

Many kids approached us and took part in drawing classes, but we were only allowed to photograph only few of them. We are grateful to every parent that helped us to document the workshop and gave us their permission to picture the kids at work. Majority of adults were a bit suspicious and refused. We are not going to criticize them at all for doing this! The world is a big scary place and not everybody is honest. Please show respect to the kids and their wonderful parents and do not save or use those pictures anywhere. If you are parent/guardian of any child pictured here and you have changed your mind, please send us an email to rdabrowicz@yahoo.com We will take the pictures down if that’s your wish (but we will be very sad as we love how they turned out!) If you’d like to receive a bigger resolution of any photo – we’d like to hear from you too. Pictures are professionally edited and can be printed into posters of great quality. Let us know! (We will only send bigger resolution to family members – do not contact us if  you are a stranger!)

1. Samantha – the girl in yellow cardigan: six year old cat lover and a great artist.

Sam - The girl in yellow_cardigan

Sam – The girl in yellow_cardigan

Sam holding a framed picture of Tera, our mom's first beloved black cat!

Sam holding a framed picture of Tera, our mom’s first beloved black cat!

Sam's beautiful creation during workshop

Sam’s beautiful creation during workshop

2. Jaimelee – art lover and creator extraordinaire: 8 years old. She drew two cat pictures and we are know a real talent when we see it.

Jaimelee is hard at work!

Jaimelee is hard at work!

Jaimelee's cats

Jaimelee’s cats

another picture with excellent  depth and  a true abstract vibe. Puurfect

Another picture with excellent depth and a true abstract vibe. Puurfect

3. Sam and Jaimelee together – great minds think alike and great artists usually collaborate with excellent results. Sam and Jaimelee are sisters and the talent runs in the family!

Sam and Jaimelee thinking what to draw

Sam and Jaimelee thinking what to draw

And this is the end result

And this is the end result

4. Liam and Julian - two best mates and partners in art. Liam is 8 years old and Julian is 6 years old. Both equally gifted with real passion for kittens and drawing. Julian even named his creation Max. What a lovely name!

Liam and Julian concentrate on creating the best abstract artworks in the world

Liam and Julian concentrate on creating the best abstract artworks in the world

Creative process can be hard - Liam and Julian are doing their best

Creative process can be hard – Liam and Julian are doing their best

Liam's very elaborate cat

Liam’s very elaborate cat

Max - a cat made by Julian

Max – a cat made by Julian

5. Alissa – This four year old  princess traveled a long way to Malta from South Africa and she wouldn’t miss Earth Garden for anything in the world. She  sadly missed the workshop but was kind enough to  leave us a lovely picture. Thank you kindly Alissa, you are a great artist as well!

Alissa posing for a picture  after workshop

Alissa posing for a picture after workshop

Ali has a big heart and  left us beautiful comment in  the guestbook

Ali has a big heart and left us beautiful comment in the guestbook

 

Isn’t it wonderful? Art can bring the best out of everybody, that’s why we should create more. Forget about war, politics or conquests. Let’s grab some pencils and create something unique ! Don’t believe when they say that everybody is a critic. Everybody is an artist and that’s the truth!

It’s getting late so we need to go. Please visit us soon. We will show you some excellent artworks from adult participants!

xxx
Hug your cats (it’s an order!)
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz