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The cloister – Mont St Michel
Image by Jorge Lascar
The Mont-Saint-Michel abbey is divided in two parts: the church-abbey and the "Merveille". The "Merveille" was the monk living area. Seen from outside, it has a gothic front, on the North side, has three levels and was built over 25 years.
The "Merveille" can be subdivided into two parts: the East and the West sides. The East side was built first (from 1211 to 1218) and has three rooms: the chaplaincy, the hosts room and the dining-hall (from bottom to top). The West side was built seven years later and has three rooms: the wine cellar, the Knights room and the cloister.
Due to the nature of the Mont and the way that the abbey has needed to be constructed, the cloister is on top of the rest of the abbey buildings and not at the centre of the complex. Despite this, the cloister which crowns the Merveille  has maintained the form and functions of other cloisters found in all other monasteries with just a few subtle differences which set it apart, turning it into a symbolic representation of an ideal monastic life.
As with other abbeys the cloister’s function is above all a communications centre inspired by the atrium of a Roman villa and providing access to all the essential rooms: to the east, the refectory and the kitchens which no longer exist; to the south, one door led to the church another to the dormitory; to the west, the three traditional apertures must have opened into the chapter hall that was never built and a small door led to the archives. Only the north gallery, in the direction of the sea was not meant to serve as a way of communication with other rooms. The principal functions of monastic life, except for work and reception, were thus distributed around the cloister.
The cloister also served as a passageway, and as in all the other monasteries, it was the place set aside for the monk’s personal meditation. Paradoxically, this symbolic centre of the Benedictine abbey, the very essence of which was the community life that St. Benedict considered the only truly monastic way of life is the only space in which the individual is more important than the community.
The columns are as tall as a man and are spaced a shoulder’s width apart. This difference in scale compared to the other rooms is all the more striking in view of the fact that truly imposing spaces must be crossed before arriving at the cloister. The impression of weightlessness aroused by the cloister as a whole is thus accentuated.
The purely physical need to make the cloister, which rests on the vaults of another room, as light as possible explains the airy quality which never fails to take the visitor’s breath away.
It was impossible, due to the restrictions of weight to cover the portico with stone vaults and columns and buttresses. The covering therefore had to be of wood, and the plastered barrel vault in wood provides the galleries with their astounding perspective.
The weight and thrust of the framework are sustained externally by thick solid granite walls, decorated with blind arcading, and inside by the double arcade, set slightly askew, with its two overlapping rows of pointed arches. These authentic small ogive cross vaults in between carried on the acutely pointed arches hollow out the wall and ensure the triangulation which provides the whole with a perfect stability.
Unusual esthetic effects combine with the physical advantages of this type of architecture. The unbroken continuity in the rhythm of the supports and the absence of the solid masonry at the corners permit the eye to move unhindered and at the same time assures an absolute transparency towards the centre of the cloister.
The cloister is designed to be closed off to the outside yet extremely open to the centre. It is placed so that no other building rises higher and the slope of the roof reaches directly up towards the sky drawing our attention upwards towards heaven giving the monks a continual reminder of the subject of their meditation [montstmichel.co.uk]
Embroidery Pattern for Kitchen Clock
Image by davis.jacque
What’s not to love about a Kit Kat Clock?
I have two kit kat clocks flanking my kitchen door. They are the traditional black and white ones and they are some of the finest functional art I have ever owned. I frequently draw kit kat clocks into my digital pictures. Listed below are some of my art pieces that the clocks appear in.
It made sense to create an embroidery pattern so that I could stitch up a towel or pot holder for my kitchen with a kit kat clock on it, and here it is. If you would like to download it, use the "ALL SIZES" button above. To see more embroidery patterns that you can download for free go to my set, "Stickers, Softies, Stitching Patterns, and Coloring pages here:
To see the pot holder I made with this pattern, go here
If you stitch up one of my patterns, I would love to see a flickr photo of it.
Best Regards, Jacque
Image by JLS Photography – Alaska
The theme or challenge for MM this week was "contraption". I shot a couple of items and then had to decide which one to post. Since I chose another, this one was left behind. Rather than hit the delete button – I thought I’d add it to my photostream for anyone who might not have seen a "Spaetzel Noodle Maker." It is used to make a traditional dumpling or egg noodle, used in cuisines all across Europe. I might add that they are delicious, and are better than any noodle or dumpling that you can purchase in a box.
In this image you see just a two inch square corner of my noodle maker.
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