I thought of Italy at breakfast this morning.
I've been making new series of pots based around medieval beasties. These pots are so much fun and have sprung out of my time in Italy last year when I did a week long master class with Marino Morretti in Umbria. (If this sounds idyllic, it totally was!)
It is amazing to me when I contemplate a world where people really did believe that beasties and creatures were living right beside them, sleeping under their beds and being harboured in the bodies of their spouse on the odd occasion. I sometimes believe that my spouse is harbouring a medieval beastie, it is the only logical explanation.
I have been very inspired by the 'Lutrell Psalter" a 14th century manuscript describing rural life in England. The British library has a great website with a section called "Turning the Pages". Here you can download the Lutrell Psalter and actually use your mouse to turn the pages of this incredible book. I really urge you to try this , it is not a boring computer nerd thing but a way for everyone to see rare manuscripts.
St Martin's Kirche in the tiny Swiss town of Zillis has a magnificent carved wooden Romanesque ceiling. With over fifty panels this ceiling tells the story of Christ complete with angels, monsters and demons.
One of the most inspiring things I have ever seen in the Piccolomini Library in the Duomo in Sienna, Italy. After walking through a forest of striped marble pillars in the nave the Piccolomini Library is an explosion of colour and trompe l'oeil frescoes painted by Pinturicchio in the 15th century.
The colours are so bright it could have been done yesterday and the walls are lined with ledges holding huge open medieval manuscipts.
A library full of ephemeral things such as books has managed to survive into the 21st century and still has the ability to inspire people who have seen just about everything in their imaginations "come to life" on a movie screen.