Tuesday, 16 March 2010

The Hedge Brother Clock


HOTCHI WITCHI he is called by the Gypsies, Pal of the Boor - brother of the hedge. And in my latest clock he crouches shortsightedly amongst the weeds holding up an umbrella clock.



The hedgehog was highly thought of amongst Gypsies, who compared him to themselves because he lives on the fringes of the wild, neither in the open field nor in the deep forest. In addition he is subject to Gorjo (non-gypsy) rumours that he steals eggs, impales apples on his spines to take back to his lair and sucks milk from reclining cows. Hedgehogs also made for the Gypsies a tasty (and free) meal, often roasted in clay over the open fire. The meat is rich and was only shared occasionally. There is tell in folktales that the liver of the hedge brother, a great delicacy, was eaten to overcome deceit and find the truth. Since the hedgehog represented the Gypsy's ideal inner self, the eating of this animal became like a sacred totemic act.

To read more about the Hotchiwitchi, there is an interesting chapter in The Traveller-Gypsies by Judith Okely. Here, in a photo from the archive of The Museum of English Rural Life, a Gypsy family outside Snow Hill near Birmingham roast a hedgehog in clay over the fire.


My Hedge Brother Clock was made for Gina who told me she loved gardens and umbrellas and hedgehogs and who gave it to her husband Jim on the occasion of his sixty-fourth birthday. This little fellow is waiting timidly for the rain I think, under his circus-tent-coloured clock-brolly. He is nestled amid Dürer-inspired weeds.



This clock was made with apple wood again, I think it is the preceding slice from the same tree that bore the hare-violinist. Here you can see even earlier branch intentions.


In my new Hermitage whilst nesting amongst my own weeds I have been industrious with the paintbrush. And in between creating I have been occupied with more prosaic tasks, like collecting a second hand washing machine from a lady in the next village, wrestling with furniture-that-refuses-to ascend-the-steep-and-narrow-stairs, and finding interesting old carpets, brick-a-brack and other magpie delights. I managed to connect the washing machine myself (the first one I have ever owned!) and found in the outlet pipe a dead snail, (a hedgehog feast if ever there was one!) which I removed and put to one side on the windowsill. This morning the "dead" snail was gone! I eventually found him contemplating life half way up a kitchen tile. And there I leave him, and you.




60 comments:

laoi gaul~williams said...

a wonderful clock rima~i love hedgehogs and his little spectacles are a great touch :)

A mermaid in the attic said...

Gorgeous Rima, I so love your clocks. I am going to have to save up and treat myself to one soon as I've been coveting them for months, though Lord knows what our Customs officers will think! Perhaps if I sell a painting, I'll earmark the funds just for me!

Tonia said...

A really beautiful clock - his glasses are an inspired touch. Hedgehogs are the producers of quite a lot of nocturnal snuffling and snorting - a little disconcerting in the dark!

WannabeVirginia W. said...

Absolutely breathtaking. I always get excited when you post because I know I will be inspired and astonished with your artwork and how you see things through your artwork.

A mermaid in the attic said...

Oops, I meant to say as well, that speaking of gypsies, have you seen Tony Gatlif's new film, 'Liberte'? It's wonderful, I absolutely recommend it.

Leslie said...

Wondrous clock and so glad to see you working again. Love the snail story too.

Genevieve said...

Wonderful! I shall keep coming back to hear your stories.

tree shadow moon said...

Another fairytale clock and some lovely insights into gypsy life.

I have a little cookbook by Salmon Books called "Favourite Romany Recipes" ...it's a great little book. There's a recipe for a mean cordial in it which I have renamed the witch's cordial, it's good hot or cold and is perfect for colds, contains lots of spices and fruit.

Have lots of fun making your lovely new house just as you like it!

Nadia x

Julia Kelly said...

We are all like that snail and shouldn't give up, just need to find ourselves a window sill and a little bit of sunshine!

Amy said...

I think this is my favourite clock so far!

Anna said...

hello Rima! Love the new clocks. How interesting that the story of hedgehogs harvesting apples (or grapes) on their spines survives in Romany culture - I'd only encountered it in medieval bestiaries. Some pictures:

http://tinyurl.com/y9zpw7f
http://tinyurl.com/yazrgs7
http://tinyurl.com/y989gxw

hope the links work - blogger doesn't seem to want to make them automatically.

Mo'a said...

What a wonderful clock...I am with Amy...my favorite so far.
The Hedgehog is so quintessential English...takes me back to my College years in London...I was hooked on anything Hedgehog...although I never had one on my plate...For years I cleaned my Welles on the back of a Hedgehog brush :)
I am happy to see that in your new life you are so productive. The village you live in must be an inspiration...such a beautiful place and the home of so many great artists...including yourself.

Folk Heart said...

Oh, Rima! You have no idea how you inspire me, with your musings, your artwork, your stumbling and your tumblr-ing. How unique and inspiring you are! I'm off to paint now.

Lynn said...

I never really thought about hedgehogs much, but apparently they are very interesting creatures.
The clock is really beautiful.

Melanie said...

Love it! I've loved hedgehogs since Mrs Tiggywinkle days. My Dad told me about baking the hedgehog in clay- a sweet spicey sort of meat.

He has such a thoughtful expression as he peers at the ground.

acornmoon said...

Your clocks are always wonderful, this one especially, I love his little spectacles. I am more than impressed with your washing machine fitting!

willow said...

Rima, your clocks are so charming and unique. And I love that fabulous old door as the backdrop, too!

cindee said...

I could be quite envious of your hermitage and your creative artistry and your deep connection to Lore and Land. But isn't Envy one of the seven deadly sins?
Instead, I will be inspired - deeply inspired.
Cindee

Daniël said...

Hello,

Your blog is SUPER !

I am fan end favoriet.

Daniël Gustaaf
Par-l"arte - Belgium

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I love his spectacles.

Anita said...

Oh Rima...I love this clock/painting....Won't you do it again or make a print so we can take our coin over to the etsy shoppe and have it for ourselves. Everything about it is so very charming. Please, please, please!
Yea for nesting. Being the proud owner of a washing machine myself... I will say the freedom to do things public laundrys frown upon is worth the price! Oh the possibilities...

apinkdreamer said...

it is perfect! next week i'm gonna order one for my new studio in fairyland!

dellamarinis said...

Such amazing clockwork, this post and last. My wish list grows for that prosperous future day. And many best wishes on your beautiful new hermitage.

RoSe said...

Simply divine piece Rima, thanks for sharing your art and life, as another artist, a world away both geographically and stylewise, I find such inspiration and strength here, it feeds my soul and muse.

Heather said...

The hedgehog clock is magical Rima - I love his glasses and the weeds. I am impressed by your practical skills - I have never attempted to fix in a washing machine, but then I'm no artist either!

Eliza said...

I love that clock, and your new hermitage - I'm saving my pennies for a clock of my own, mind you you've probably got a mile long list of people wanting clocks :-)

Anthropomorphica said...

What a wonderful Hotchi Witchi! Hope snail is creeping along fine ;)

Vitor Chuva said...

Hello Rima!

Another lovely clock you've got for yourself ... right out of a fairy tale story.
Ans it was nice to hear about the snail "resuscitation", too: One can never trust them!
And, before I go, I would like to wish all the best on your recent discovery of the electric appliances'world - a new territory for you!

Vitor

Tiffany Gordon Wilson said...

Hello Rima.
I love this clock. It conjurs up memories of my childhood, and one night in particular, when past midnight, my dad came and woke me from deep sleep to show me a hedgehog. He had it in his hand (gloved of course :D) - a magical moment. I was so amazed. It is so rare to sight them nowadays, yet I do remember leaving out saucers of milk for them in the middle of the garden once upon a time .... one day we hope to commission a clock, when we've got some pennies saved up. They are so beautiful. Apple wood is lovely too. Oooh, and I love your 'Mad as Birds' picture too.
Tiffany :D

EB said...

Hello, I found your blog from Gina's link in the post about this clock so it's great to read more about it. I have sent links to your blog to several of my friends too who have all been delighted with it. It feels as though part of my mind is here already, rather oddly.

Snippety Giblets said...

Another lovely piece Rima. Did I tell you Tal said out of the blue a couple of months ago "Can we bake a hedgehog ?" which I found most perplexing. I came to the conclusion that he has a bit old Romany soul from somewhere :0)

Congratulations on the washing machine. I made Curt plumb in ours and we puzzled over it for an age before realising that the necessary connecting pipe had been stowed neatly in the drum !!

teodora13 said...

I love your blog!

ArtSnark said...

charming clock & wonderful post

ALeks said...

Soooo cute,and beautiful! :O)
Zdravo!!

Graceful Moments said...

Adorable hedge brother and interesting gypsy lore! It is always such a pleasure to visit with you.

Treegirl said...

Another lovely clock! They keep getting better and better I think.
I want to order one myself but have to decide wich one of all the motifs I can think of I would prefer.
Thank you for all your lovely work and words.

Rebecca said...

I love the hedgehog and hare clocks Rima - and am so glad you are writing and reporting on the world again! I hope the Devon-spring is being as kind to you as the Sussex-spring has been to me so far.
xox

triciahutchinson said...

Your clock is simple stunning... nice to have you back posting again...:)

Karen said...

I love hedgehogs and really miss them in the garden, they seemed to have disappeared a couple of years back. :(
The clock is wonderful!
Hope you are settling in ok. The house looks full of character, a house of stories.
x

Regina Rozenbaum said...

Beloved Rima!
Another lovely, super, amazing clock!!! How unique and inspiring you are! My best wishes for you, always
Regina
www.toforatodentro.blogspot.com

steven said...

i love that you see the worlds within this world. i love that time is your play friend. steven

Terresa said...

Lovely clock. Nesting is an adventure in and of itself. As we settle into the bones of a new place, it somehow settles into us, too.

Best to you in this magpie nesting time.

Half-heard in the Stillness said...

Hotchi Witchi!
Such a fantastic Faerie sounding name! I remember a story an auntie told me years ago. Her husband worked nights so she was alone in her cottage when she was wakened by scuffling and snorting noises in the garden. Bravely brandishing the poker and torch, into the garden she ventured, no doubt shaking in her pj's and wellies,only to discover a couple of Pale of the Boors. Well..probably one of each actually... making merry in the moonlight!
Loving your stories of clever washer fixing and furniture wrestling. ALL your clocks are so beautiful and each one a treasure!

I get so excited when I realise you have posted another gem for us all to share.

Hugs.

April said...

You reach inside my heart and pull out the fairytales and paint them alive! And I agree- PLEASE make a print of the clock (Or if it's too personal-having been created specially for the birthday boy) another similar so we might have a hedgehog in our homes as well- he is wonderful! Thank-you!

jamjar said...

Another beautiful clock, hedgehogs are so endearing, it is always a special moment when one is seen. Many thanks for the lovely print of Vainamoinen which arrived safely in Lancashire. It is such a beautiful painting, I am thrilled with it.
cheers Joy.

Rima said...

Thank you folks for your lovely clock compliments! I am delighted that you love these last two!
As for prints.. I don't print the clocks as they are difficult to scan with the hands on and I mean them to tell the moving time not make it stand still :)
There is a hedgehog in this print of mine though - Hiding the Hedgehog.
Warm spring wishes to you all
Rima

if the link doesn't work, the hedgehog is hidden here: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=sr_list_1&listing_id=36557465

gz said...

Beautiful clock.
Glad to hear of the snail-I stamp snail-shell shape spirals on my pots.
You inspire me- so I must be away to work!

blessingsgoddess said...

Lovely blog entry.

BT said...

I'm so glad my clock meets with everyone's approval - and it's MINE. Gloat gloat! No, I mustn't crow about it.... but I just love love it and admire it often during the day. I love the stories of the hedgehog too. Thank you for those. I'm glad your nest is growing around you Rima. How long will you stay there?

My New Life said...

We missed you when you were gone, Rima, with your poetry of soul and delicate step upon this land. It is good, good, good that you have found a place to be and can return to us, your enchanted listeners. Your beautiful clocks mark the passage of your time as well spent and fruitful. May there be many more adventures for you in this coming year, and many more lovely, visual poems that let us follow your path. You are a gift, truly. Bev xx

Artichoke Annie said...

Rima, Thanks for stopping by and leaving your little note. The Hermitage is always a special not-so-secret place where I find comfort and peace and happiness. Thank you my strange-friend.

Anita said...

Thanks Rima for letting us know we won't be seeing any prints at your shop...Sigh... It is a wonderful clock. I love the shape of the umbrella...and then there are the soon to open dandelions and of course the hedgehog who is so charming. I find any creature carrying an umbrella delightful and am so thankful you posted a picture. I will simply enjoy it on your blog and try not to envy the clocks very fortunate owner.

Mrs Yappy Dog said...

I love your hedge brother clock, Rima, he is wonderful. I have Romanies in my family and have heard about cooking the hedgehog in clay. We are gorjo now but I love to hear about the old beliefs and traditions. Kushti bok in your new home.

sinnlighet said...

Your blog ..... it's amazing and soooo inspiring. Nice to find you!

A small footprint from Agneta & Sweden

Ps. I have an ongoing jewelry contest on my blog. Welcome! Ds

Yoli said...

Ahh Rima, you are a dream weaver with that brush. What a beautiful clock. My Fencer's clock is now in my bedroom, I treasure it. I hope one day to own another of your clocks. I wish you would draw the Queen of Hearts. I can only imagine what you could do with such a character.

Kari of Writing Up A Storm said...

I have so loved reading your posts, looking at your enchanting art, and getting a peek into your enchanting life. You remind me so much of my years on the road, living in a volkswagen camper, in handmade houses, in abandoned houses, during the heyday of the 60s. I love continuing my journey a little differently now. I wrote about "the journey" today and made mention of your wondrous blog with a link to it in this post:

http://www.writingupastorm.com/writing-up-a-storm/2010/03/the-journey.html

I hope this is okay with you! Thank you for sharing your lovely life with the world. xo Kari

Frances said...

Rima, I saw your comment at Gretel's place, and thought I'd just click and have a catch-up on your unique creative place.

Glad I did. The clocks are very fine, the new home seems full of good spirits.

Wishing you well.

Lydia said...

Hello Rima, This is a fanciful post, what with charming Hedge Brother, a most thankful snail, a first washing machine. Last week my kitchen clock was pronounced too undependable to hang on the wall. I've had it for years. Now, even with fresh batteries, it greedily holds onto a half-hour (and climbing) for itself and won't let it go. First thing I thought was: O, how I wish I could have one of Rima's clocks...but just not in the budget this spring I am sorry to say.

Brilig said...

How good to see you back. A Girl Mad as Birds - my second favourite Dylan Thomas poem after Not From This Anger

miakodo said...

So glad to read what you have to share again. Your new home is amazing and warm.