Villa Tasca

Villa Tasca rises out of the tall Palm avenue and a flourish or two of bougainvillea that tumbles nonchalantly over the crumbling walls. A golden pink stone facade, windows shuttered from the relentless sun and atop the roof sit  finials decorated with garlands of vine leaves and grapes.  It was these that captivated me first when I arrived at Villa Tasca for the first time.

From out of a series of sketches came first an elegant pair of cufflinks with the ridges from the finials making waves across the slightly domed surface. I would later enamel these in pale watercolour washes of slate blue and botanical green.

Villa Tasca

Then a necklace with randomly positioned finials along the length of gold chain - a chain long enough I could double it up and wear it short as a choker. A single finial as a necklace pendant charm with its unusual shape looked good amongst a cluster of other charms.

orangery Villa Tasca Necklace

Inside the house the frescoed walls tell of ruins, the floors of old tiles painted in wonderful patterns (some with the intricate details of tapestry)  add a coolness to the summer's heat and the view out over the botanical garden shields the Villa from the busy world of Palermo.

The arrival to the Villa Malfitano is through elegant gates and swirls round past the magnificent Ficus before reaching the steps of the house. Inside hang elegant tapestries below which a small detail along the dado caught my eye. A simple circular motif with a crossing of laurel leaves repeated around its circumference. The sketch from this became the Villa Malfitano cufflinks with the central circle becoming the perfect place to engrave initials or a date to mark an anniversary.

From the gardens of Palermo to the steps of mount Etna where a small and rare violet grows. Driving out from Taormina, the mist over the volcano did not seem to lift till late morning. Seemingly dormant amongst fields of desolate black lava, the lower levels of Etna broaden into terraces of unrivalled richness. In spring time the fields are full of spring flowers bursting forth in golden citrine yellows, innocent peridot greens and blushes of pink amethyst. Sometimes altogether like a bunch of flowers foraged on a walk. This five petal flower delicately set in gold with a diamond at its centre makes a charming pendant that can be worn in a variety of ways. I have created a gallery on the back of the petals allowing the chain to run through different sections.

viola Viola Pendant

And there are still sketches in my sketch book of other treasures that I will add in the coming months to this architectural and botanical collection…