(Apologies, this was written while we were still in Paris, but only posted today!)
Hello peeps! We're finally in Paris!
So the last time I wrote, I was excited about having my team building event in Delft. Delft is just 20 mins away by train from The Hague. It is a quaint little town which looks very much like a mini Amsterdam; buildings and canals wise.
As soon as I got off the train, I saw an actual functioning windmill. It was quite a walk away, hence I didn't get the chance to explore. Walked with my team mates towards the town square, which is also where William of Orange was buried, in the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) of Delft. Every member of the Dutch Royal Family since then has been laid to rest in the same place. The town square was hosting their weekly Saturday market sale, so we managed to get some coffee and Stroopwafel muffins for breakfast. Incidentally, it was one of the coldest mornings I've experienced since we arrived (reminded me soooo much of Sakhalin), so my fingers and ears were freezing from the outdoor experience.
|Stroopwafels but in the form of muffins!|
Delft is a canal-ringed city and home to the Delft University of Technology. Apparently, whenever one graduates from the university here, there is a ritual where you throw away your bike into the canal, as a symbol that you are now allowed to buy a car. The Delft municipal council has had to dredge several of these bikes out!
I was notably charmed with Delft, so I quickly texted Hubby to bring the kids over. They had no plans that day anyway, since I was going to occupied with my colleagues for at least half of the day.
|The boat we boarded to tour the canals.|
My team and I then took a quick boat ride around the canals, and mid-way we got out and walked to Royal Delft. Royal Delft is the official manufacturer of Delft Blue. We started with the Royal Delft experience - a guided tour around which included a painting demonstration and a wander through their museum collection. We then ended our team building session by attending a Delft Blue workshop, where we were given the opportunity to paint our own Delft Blue tiles!
|From far left, a basic vase, then painted in a 'secret' cobalt mixture, and lastly fired under extreme heat to produce the final product. As I mentioned in my previous post, the intensity of blue depends on the darkness of the cobalt paint.|
|Delft Blue dining ware.|
|You can read the description in the photo for a better explanation, but in short this is a tear bottle. Sailors would bring some of their wives' tears in this bottle to remind them of their loved ones at home.|
We were given a short practice session at the start of our Delft Blue workshop. We were allowed to try out our fine brush and thick brush on a broken piece of tile; just to get familiarity with the amount of pressure you need to exert to get the desired effect. After that, we were asked to choose a design to attempt. I chose to paint a typical street building of Delft. *ambitious much* You can also choose to paint your own design too. As soon as I made my choice, the workshop coordinator took an empty tile and rubbed charcoal dust on the stencil sheet, which in turn provides a basic sketch on the tile. Charcoal is used to sketch because it easily burns off during the firing. (So if you don't paint over the charcoal, it will disappear in the end product.) Using the sketch as a guide, I then painted the tile with the black cobalt paint. Since I am not artistic and have literally zero imagination (*chuckles*), I made sure I followed the intensity as depicted in the sample picture.
|The charcoal sketch on the 13cm x 13cm tile. Not really visible, so you have to depend much on the sample picture.|
|My masterpiece! What do you think?|
The painted product is not ready to be taken home immediately as they must first be fired. Hence we made arrangements for it to be shipped to our local office, and then posted to Malaysia. So... no final masterpiece photos just yet! But what happens behind the scene, is that glaze is applied to the tile and then fired. During the firing, the glaze melts and become all shiny and transparent, while the chemical reaction between the glaze and the cobalt paint, changes the colour from black to blue.
After that, I joined Hubby and the kids who had arrived safely and were having fish and chips at the town square. Apparently while waiting for me, they went gallivanting across town to visit the functional windmill that I saw from the train station that morning. They had to take quite a number of steep steps to get to the top, and when they arrived, Aiden refused to step outside. Ian on the other hand, ran everywhere so confidently, that Hubby had to pull him back.
We then spent the afternoon browsing in the shops within the square. We bought Delft Blue ceramic plates (of course!) and cheese. Particularly flavoured cheese, such as red pesto, green pesto and even blue lavender cheese. Henri Willig is a particularly established brand for cheese.
|The free windmill that depends on visitors donation to keep it running... and steep stairs heading to the top of the windmill.|
|Hubby and Ian at the top of the windmill.|
|Delft Blue souvenirs.|
|Posing in a giant clog.|
|Cheese making machine.|
|Us at the market square.|
|The beautiful canals of Delft.|
|Back in The Hague.|
I think this post is getting too long so I shall stop here. Next post, Amsterdam!