Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Hello folks, nice to have you back. I've been playing tourist this week - I've lived and worked in and around Coventry since 1992, but have never been to see Coventry Cathedral, one of the most iconic ruins in this part of the country. The Cathedral is relatively new, having been rebuilt in 1962 after it was razed to the ground in the Second World War. The ruins of the original cathedral exist and one can even climb up into the tower (I didn't). There are loads of lovely old buildings around the cathedral and the whole area is so nice, one would be forgiven for forgetting that we were in Coventry.
The aid raid on Coventry on the night of 14 November 1940 was the single most concentrated attack on a British city in the Second World War. Following the raid, Nazi propagandists coined a new word in Germany - Coventrieren - to raze a city to the ground. Code named 'Moonlight Sonata', the raid lasted for 11 hours and involved nearly 500 Luftwaffe bombers, gathered from airfields all over occupied Europe. The aim was to knock out Coventry as a major centre for war production, and perhaps as revenge on an RAF attack on Munich. 14 November apparently was a brilliant moonlit night, so bright that the traffic could move around on the road without lights. The Luftwaffe dropped 500 tons of high explosive, 30,000 incendiaries and 50 landmines, and was also trying out a new weapon, the exploding incendiary.
It has been claimed in a number of books that the wartime prime minister Churchill knew that the city was to be targeted by the German Luftwaffe, but chose to do nothing because it would have alerted Adolf Hitler to the fact the Allies had recently cracked the Nazis' top-secret Enigma codes. Coventry and its people were sacrificed, the theory goes, "for the greater good".
Shortly after the destruction, the cathedral stonemason, Jock Forbes, noticed that two of the charred medieval roof timbers had fallen in the shape of a cross. He set them up in the ruins where they were later placed on an altar of rubble with the moving words ‘Father Forgive’ inscribed on the Sanctuary wall.
So, why did I feel I should visit the cathedral after so many years? Well, there was an art installation making the rounds of the country, and it came to Coventry Cathedral having been in Hull and Liverpool. The 27ft Knife Angel sculpture is made from 100,000 blades handed into police across the country. It was unveiled in 2017 and artist Alfie Bradley, who created the sculpture at the British Ironworks Centre, said it was a "monument against violence and aggression".
The Knife Angel
I think you'll agree that the angel is a very moving and beautiful object, made from some pretty scary knives. The wings have the blades visible and overlapping one another, while the body has the blades covered over with the hilts of the knives more on sight. The installation is placed at the entrance of the cathedral, to one side of the bronze of the Archangel Michael slaying the devil. The face of the Archangel was modelled on the nephew of the architect of the new cathedral, Basil Spence - not terribly handsome, I thought. The devil had a more interesting face, but maybe that's where the phrase 'devilishly good looking' comes from!
The staggered nave walls are illuminated by ten narrow floor to ceiling windows filled with semi-abstract symbolic designs arranged in pairs of dominant colours (green, red, multi-coloured, purple/blue and gold) representing the souls journey to maturity, and revealed gradually as one approaches the altar.
The altar is dominated by a tapestry of Christ by Graham Sutherland and is thought to be the largest one piece tapestry in the world - I can't imagine how difficult that must have been to make.
My own little efforts pale into insignificance after this.
It was the pinks and the greens in this pair of earrings that gave it its name - spring is in the air, after all. The Shibori ribbon is a pale pink, shading into green and I added crystals and leaves liberally, it was so much fun to make. I first tried it with a gold tone oval stud finding, but changed it to a silver tone shell shaped stud, which to my mind suited it better.
I've found it difficult to take pictures of Shibori Jewellery - the undulation in the ribbon and the fact that the entire thing is not on the flat requires better photography skills than mine, but I'm sure I will get better as I go along. The earrings are very light even though they look large and heavy - they are only 14 gms each and are well supported by the stud findings in the ears.
And after I made these, I developed the worst cold I've ever known and stayed in bed for the rest of the week. I'm only just feeling better in time to post this.
Have a great week folks, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place