The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

The face of the sun

Photo: Sun face

Photo: Sun face

“Is that sun made of gold?”
The little boy was five. I was living in a two up two down cottage in the next village. But in that wonderful fairy tale world of childhood, I could easily have an eighteen inch gold sun face hanging on my kitchen wall.

I bought this brass sun face about twenty years ago, on a visit to Devon. It was quite expensive as it was made in an Indian community supported by the Dartington Hall Trust, where craftsmen were paid a decent amount for their artefacts. It glittered on the wall of their shop. I had to buy it.

“It will brighten a dark room,” was my initial excuse. “It’s so beautiful that it will always bring solace and joy.”
But I felt guilty as I packed it into my suitcase.

Over the years this sun face has brought me so much pleasure and peace that it has repaid its price over and over again. It hangs on the wall just opposite the place where I write at the kitchen table.

I like to think that this is the face of Surya, the Hindu Sun God. He certainly lights and calms my days.  In the evening when the blind are down and it’s dark outside, he serenely radiates light with the powerful promise of sunshine to come. And like the sun he often seems almost too dazzling.


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9 Comments

  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Michelle

    Yes, this sun is a wonderful piece sometimes I don’t notice it for days and often when I’m writing this blog I examine it intently. It’s inspirational and can relieve writer’s block within seconds.

    Your funky fish sounds good too. Anything that has the ability to bring joy needs to be treasured.

    I have a wonderful painting – quite big. Painted by a Polish opera singer. It used to hang in the rat room. Danny hated it so he moved it behind the bookshelves when he took ove rthe space.

    Thanks for leaving a comment as I’d forgotten all about it until I read about your fish.

    I think I will retrieve that picture – it always made me feel so happy.

    Hi Amanda

    I forgot to mention that this head was made in India (I’ve updated the post). But it’s clearly not just churned out for export and is a really special piece.

    Hi Lindsay

    That’s very interesting. Tiny bells rang in my head when I read your comment and I remembered that you had to subscribe to insurance policies to protect your house from fire! We are so lucky these days that everyone has the right to call the fire brigade!

    Hello Stephen

    Great. And so good that you have the benefit for a fiver 🙂

    Yes the rays are dangerous. Say no more.

    Hi Toffeeapple

    The sun head is a joy. I love him and after the first half hour have never regretted buying him. He is now a good friend.

    Hello S.O.L.

    It was a pleasure. Perhaps the cast iron ones would do the trick with a very long extra chimney (Tessa used air conditioning ducting and it works like a dream). HFW also has plans for building a cold smoker on line but it looks like a bit of a palaver to me.

    Hi Belinda

    What rotten luck. Losing $200. Even though it was for an extra we would have cried. Extras are often essentials that you have to do without.

    Big hugs. I hope that you have an unexpected windfall very soon.

    I do also hope that you live well away from those terrible, frightening fires.

    Hello Jan

    Yes. I totally agree. The special things at home always add warmth – it could be a pretty little jug that you find at the charity shop for 50p.

    Even better it’s another person or a special pet, welcoming you home.

  2. With the snow outside it’s wonderful to see that warm, glowing sun, full of hope and promise.

    Our personal treasures are priceless, however much they cost to buy.

  3. My feeling toward spending on big money items is that once the money is spent, and a short amount of time goes past you dont usually regret it… I spent a fortune on a handmade cane basket last year, but I love it so Im not worried by it though I felt a little guilt at the time.

    Money is a funny thing… we had some stolen this week…

    My husband dropped his wallet (we are assuming) either in the local fish & chip shop or just outside.

    I rang the owner who told me the shop girls had found it under the softdrink fridge while sweeping the floors. I asked him to open it & have a look to see if there was any money in it ( we know him well enough to know he is honest, this is a small village) and there wasnt a cent… at the time it was lost more than $200 was in it.

    We were very lucky, it was money saved for a project & not the rent, bill or grocery money. If it were household money I know I would be much more upset.. this is a case of just waiting for a bit longer to finish a project, frustrating, but not life threatening.

  4. thanks for looking for a chimnea for me. I will scour around for one when the snow has gone.

  5. Toffeeapple

    What a lovely thing to have, as you say it has repaid you over the years, whatever the original price.

  6. i couldnt believe it when i saw the picture! ive got almost exactly the same ‘sun’! mine cost about £5 a few years ago i dont think its brass but has the same effect! i agree mine has brightened up a dingy hallway! are the ‘rays’ around the edge quite sharp? cut myself once on them never again!! 🙂

  7. At a junk shop in South Moulton many years ago we bought a “Sun Alliance” insurance plate with a policy number stamped on it. We have this hanging outside our door (which was what you were meant to do – the fire brigade would come and put out your fire). It looks very much like your sun but a lot more battered.

  8. We’ve all grown so used to buying things at a cheap price that I sometimes find it a shock when I see something I like and find out it’s been made in England by a skilled crafts person and therefore heralds a real price. Inevitably they’re always things which bring lots of joy just like your golden sun and worth every penny.

  9. michelle sheets

    What a great piece! That is one of those wonderful things that just make you smile when you see it. As far as the price goes, I always tell myself anything is worth the price you are willing to pay for it.
    My pleasure piece isn’t nearly majestic as yours. I have a large tropical fish that is hand-made, cut out and welded together, with great big exagerated lips (think yellow submarine), and painted blue, green, fushia, with lots of glitter splashed over it. My husband questions my sanity every time he looks at it, but every time I see it, I think of Louisiana (where the artist is from) and it just makes me smile.

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