7/06/2011

Strawberries.



“Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did. ” William Butler

No doubt, like me, you will have been feasting on fresh, ripe strawberries, maybe even eating them at Wimbledon? Nowadays strawberries are available all year round, or so it seems, but there is something rather special about eating a homegrown strawberry in July. Is it my imagination or do they simply taste better when they have had the chance to mature naturally?

Strawberries have inspired artists and designers over the centuries, there is something rather irresistible and satisfying about that plump, red, heart shaped berry with the tiny, decorative seeds dotted around its middle.



This “Strawberry Thief” design by William Morris will always be linked in my mind with this time of year. Maybe because it was one of the first textile designs that I studied as a schoolgirl and needed to apply that knowledge to summer exams!

Morris was said to have been inspired by the sight of thrushes stealing fruit from his garden at Kelmscott Manor. It presented him with many problems during printing, which he finally overcame, although it took many attempts and several years to produce the desired effect, which used a red alizarin dye, and a yellow weld combined with indigo blue.
I think I love it the most of all of his designs and my heart still skips a beat every time I see it.

26 comments:

  1. Lovely strawberries.....everytime I paint strawberries...the best part is when the piece is finished and I get to devour the model.......

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  2. I love this time of year for the stawberries and only ever buy them during this season. We have grown some of our own this year and they tasted best of all - so sharp and yet sweet! I love the Stawberry thief design by William Morris - we've been watching blackbirds eating the black currants in the garden - no thrushes this year, we had a little family of them last year. Love your little stawberry painting:)

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  3. Just lovely - and the stawberries!

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  4. strawberries taste better when they mature naturally! william morris . . . i still remember when i first came across his work and went right out to buy a book of his designs. i come across it every so often when i'm wading through the shelves and it's like stepping into the most luxurious and refined world imaginable! steven

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  5. Absolutely - I would venture to say that EVERYTHING tastes better when allowed to mature naturally... Love William Morris, hadn't seen that particular design, beautiful. Happy strawberry time!

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  6. Valerie, I really like your tribute to beautiful, delicious strawberries.

    I am another fan who relishes them during their true season. The little strawberries sold in our farmers markets are the sweetest, ripest and ... most expensive. Yet, they are treasures worth enjoying.

    Your strawberry painting is lovely and really has the feeling of early summer. William Morris...well, what an amazing man and artist. His design "repeats" are such lovely puzzles.

    xo

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  7. It surely is the most beautiful berry! Your painting is exquisite as always. :)

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  8. It is one of my favourite designs Valerie particularly as we regularly have one under our strawberry netting. I agree about the taste - there is nothing better than a strawberry straight off the plant.

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  9. Such a lovely strawberry design! I like the light, delicate style.

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  10. They do taste better - though I prefer raspberries! WM might just as well have used a blackbird for his lovely design, we have quite a few devious little thieves raiding our garden, or at least they did until our fat cat Clover started sleeping in the strawberry patch - which has led to the problem of squashed strawberries!

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  11. Love your strawberries Valerie - and the William Morris design too. x

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  12. An interesting fact regarding the inspiration for a Wm. Morris wallpaper design. I love to eat plain yogurt with fresh strawberries and blueberries.

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  13. How perfectly William Morris
    captured the essence of those thieving thrushes all those years ago.And today their descendants continue to plunder the strawberry beds and we continue to be captives of beauty.
    I hope you had a happy Strawberry Moon.It was traditional in some cultures to serve strawberries and honey wine at midsummer wedding events. It sounds like a good idea.

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  14. My garden produces tiny, knobbly little ones but OH! what flavour!! Love the new little painting...you should design fine china.

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  15. William Morris and strawberries together in the one post? Lovely post!
    One of my favourite prints too, and always reminds me of my childhood dining table. Thank you!

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  16. oh valerie...what a lovely post...i adore that quote too....

    and you are so right...nothing better than a strawberry in july...

    you are so talented...i just LOVE your work. breathtaking, really.

    so happy to see you at farmhouse kitchen, my friend

    sending love,

    kary and teddy

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  17. I love that print. I am lucky to live near Wightwick Manor which has lots of Morris works and can pop and look at them anytime - good old National Trust.
    My 12 year old son and I went to buy some locally grown strawberries yesterday and the ladies were sitting amongst the strawberries to pick them. He took one look and said "Wo Mum those strawberries are deep!!!" He thought they were standing up and the strawberries reached their shoulders. Dear boy!!

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  18. Delighted to have found your lovely blog! I'm a happy owner of "A Book of Days" which has given much pleasure over the years as the record of family birthdays, weddings, and other significant anniversaries.
    I've enjoyed browsing through your beautiful illustrations - thank you!

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  19. Great blog, lovely strawberries! I love W. Morris textile :)

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  20. My absolute favourite food. My last meal choice.
    And of course, how I do love William Morris. Kelmscott Manor is still on my list of places to go - I've not yet made it there. What a wonderful post!!

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  21. It is a most perfect design. I think too, lucky you to have had the design studies that gave the history and insight into his work. It certainly shows in the beauty and integrity of your own designs.

    Along my daily dog walk there are wild strawberry bushes with very small sweet berries - I'm talking my camera next time, and a small basket!

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  22. Hello, acornmoon.

    Your heartwarming works fascinates my heart.
    Thank you for your kindness.

    I wish You all the best.

    Have a good weekend.
    ruma

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  23. The designs of William Morris always fascinate me, like a kaleidoscope. As for berries, I am a blackberry sort of gal myself.

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  24. Strawberries at Wimbeldon - now there is a thought! Thanks for allowing me a nice slice of UK summer! Beautiful artwork.

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  25. It is surely not your imagination, they do taste so much better, sadly we only grew one strawberry this year! I love that particular piece by William Morris.

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  26. What beautiful strawberry image you created!

    Regarding William Morris' "Strawberry Thief": are these thieves fieldfares? A couple of months ago I watch about a dozen of these birds from my window, feasting on berries in my neighbour's garden.

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