I had an Easter greetings card in the post today, from a long-time friend in Ireland. It was handmade especially for my husband and included this gorgeous dried petal from a tulip that blossomed in her garden last year.
I don’t deserve friends. I’m the worst correspondent. And she’s been poorly, too. I’m ashamed. But I’m going to send her one of my eco prints on khadi paper. She’ll get the shock of her life. I hope it shocks her into better health.
The thoughtfulness of the card deepens. My husband’s of Turkish origin. Did you know that tulips didn’t originate in Holland, but came to Europe during the 16th century from Turkey? Tulip, its shape resembling the turban, is supposed to come from the Turkish word for gauze – lale – the fabric of turbans, though my translation for gauze is gazli. (To be absolutely correct, the i should have no dot, but I don’t have a Turkish keyboard).
In flower language, purple tulips symbolise royalty. Maybe that’s because in the 17th century you’d need to be royalty to afford the price of a single tulip bulb. Between 1634 and 1637, the enthusiasm for tulips triggered a frenzy known as the tulip mania when tulip bulbs became a sort of currency.
From now on, the tulip will remind me of a greater treasure than money, that of friendship.
My friend’s card has an uncanny aspect, in that she doesn’t yet know about my new enthusiasm – for eco printing.
I sent off my Arthouse Coop Sketchbook Tour 2015 contribution yesterday, meeting the postmark deadline by the skin of my teeth, as usual. I’ll be posting some of its 41 images shortly.