Tuesday, 13 May 2014

G is for Gargoyles, Ghosts and Gravestones

G is for Gargoyle from A Dark Alphabet designed by Julie and Becky's Note of Friendship blog.

Gargoyles are essentially stone drainpipes designed to take the water fromthe roofs of medieval buildings away from the walls.  The name comes from the old French word "gargouille" meaning throat or gullet.  The stone masons liked to make their work as fanciful as possible and enjoyed carving the most grotesque gargoyles they possibly could.  Some were even made in the image of their bosses or disliked members of the clergy!!

They were also believed to keep evil spirits away from the churches and cathedrals by frightening them away.

Some of the most famous gargoyles are found on the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, and here are some I met when I was there:

Iconic photo!

In the centre of the photo you can see the little park where we had our lunch after climbing up Notre-Dame.

This fellow would make a good door guard!

Our next G - Ghosts need no introduction!  Ghosts are one of the most popular cross stitch motifs for Hallowe'en.  Usually the cute and friendly variety like our own Mr Boo

Hallowe'en Ornie SAL 2014
Boo - Val's Stuff JCS 2012 Hallowe'en Ornie Special

(two more Gs there!)

There are even Glow-in-the Dark Ghosties (another G!)

Carand88 Ghost Kitty in the dark photo DSC03383GlowinDarkGhostKitty.jpg
Stitched with Glow-in-the-Dark Kreinik

Carand88 Ghost Kitty photo DSC03384GlowinDarkGhostKitty.jpg

And the final G is for Gravestones.  I must confess, this is one symbol I am not so sure about stitching!  I don't know why.  I don't mind within a larger Haunted House picture but as a standalone stitch I am not interested.  Superstitious me.

Gravestones themselves started out as a mere pile of stones to protect the body from wild animals digging it up and to prevent the body from rising again!  They gradually evolved to become carved with the deceased's name and dates added then into the memorial stones we recognise today.  The Victorians were the masters of gravestone carving and their's were ornate and highly decorated with long verses dedicated to the person below.  Nowadays stones are not so much carved as etched with a laser.  The designs are often modern pictures with no religious significance, usually something connected with a sport or hobby.

I love Tracy's designs and the blurb on this one intrigues me - You've seen the three monkeys in the classic "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" pose. These tombstone angels make the same gestures, with the epitaphs letting us know the tomb's occupant made a fatal mistake. If you're familiar with your patron saints, you might notice the gentle folks' names were not randomly selected.

I must go Google those names now!!


Jacqueline Morris said...

This is FANTASTIC!!! Loved it.. and love your gargoyle stitch :)

Marcy said...

I love gargoyles! I have two little ones among my dust catchers. This was a great posting and thanks for the pattern link. I'm sorry I almost have my monster finished or I would stitch it this month.

cucki said...

So cute x

Lili said...

Nice post Jo.
Love your photos from Notre-Dame Cathedral :)

I like the Tombstone Monkeys!

Looks that JCS Halloween issue is coming soon!!!! ;)

Tiffany said...

I like gargoyles.

Stitching Noni said...

Gosh, I can't believe that I didn't get around to commenting on this post.....

I have finally settled on my May stitch and it is G for Gorgoyles - except I still haven't stitched it and now its June!!
Hugs xx