The Challenge of Literature Blog Hop: mythic fiction, fantasy stories…

I enjoy the challenge of a Blog Hop – as evidenced by the frequency of Hop related posts lately. I am a full time working artist, in one studio or another every day. I alternate between the ceramics studio and the mixed media/ jewelry space, but as my jewelry contains ceramic components, and my ceramic shrines contain collages and found objects – you see the flow, the continuity there. These Hops give me a chance to experiment, to play, free from the deadlines of a show, hanging an exhibit, doing production work. And because I have the opportunity to share my results, my offerings, with the community, it assuages any guilt I have in not “being at work”. So without further ado: 

The Challenge if Literature Blog Hop, hosted by Erin of Tesori Trovati. (She hosted the Music Hop a little while back as well…)

I chose to pay homage to one of my favorite genres, and one of my favorite authors. Charles de Lint is a Canadian author, known for his mythic and fantasy fiction, or ‘urban fantasy’ . His work is filled with folklore, faerie, music, urban settings, and  contemporary themes. To quote Terri Windling: …the importance of myths in our modern society, the need for tales rich in archetypal images to give coherence to fragmented modern lives…” (xv, DU). De Lint’s stories are such moderm myths. 

I picked up “Dreams Underfoot” (The first deLint I ever read) a collection of de Lint’s short stories set in the town of Newford. I love all his work, but there is so much to choose from – so I went back to my beginning. These are loosely interconnected tales as he weaves a web of characters; artists, musicians, writers, dryads, conjure men…

Whispered Tales

This piece “Whispered Tales” was inspired by the story “The Conjure Man”. The story revolves around the loss of the community’s Tree of Tales – a rare Quercus robur/oak. (Common in Europe, but Newford is in Canada). ” She was a Tree of Tales…She held stories, all the stories that the wind brought to her that were of any worth, and with each story she grew.” (DU, 229) The traditional ways are growing weak with the influx of technology and people are becoming estranged; as symbolized by the loss of the Tree of Tales.  There are many new tales but “a Tree of Tales is an act of magic, of faith. It’s existence becomes an affirmation of the power that the human spirit can have over its own destiny. The stories are just stories – they entertain, they make one laugh or cry – but if they have any worth, they carry within them a deeper resonance that remains long after the final page is turned, or the storyteller has come to the end of her tale…” (230, DU) The Conjure Man, a wise old soul, inspired Wendy, a young poet to start a new seedling, nurturing it with tales and poems until it can be planted. 

Whispered Tales, detail of focal

 

Whispered Tales, detail

 

clasp and charm detail

My piece: Cedar stained with acrylic paint, nickel silver, copper wire, tree branch with bud, grommets, micro fasteners, silk, leaf/face charm, gems, hand forged links. 

My intent: Woven elements as the tales are woven; the branch, cedar and text to evoke the Tree of Tales. 

It only seemed fitting to select a tale about tales for the Challenge of Literature Hop, where we are looking to the words on a page for our creative inspiration. de Lint’s stories do resonate long after the pages are turned. He creates a real world, filled with the things I wish I could find in my real world…Perhaps you will pick up a book, or tell a tale. ( Quotes taken from Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint. 1993) 

Here are the list of fellow storytellers: 

FaerieCon m.a.g.i.c – I is for inspiration

 

INSPIRATION

1
a : a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation b : the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions c : the act of influencing or suggesting opinions
2
: the act of drawing in; specifically : the drawing of air into the lungs
3
a : the quality or state of being inspired b : something that is inspired 
4
: an inspiring agent or influence
Well – FaerieCon to me seems to be all of the above! While this may seem obvious…When you attend any event and have the opportunity to meet artists and authors whose work you are familiar with, work you admire, of course it is inspirational. There can be  moments of star-struck tongue tied amazement, when you meet someone who has influenced your work, your outlook on life… (I had never dreamed I would meet and chat with Brian and Wendy Froud years ago as I showed “Labyrinth” to my 6th grade art students. Like in the early 90’s… a while ago! And some of those same students have now met the Frouds as well, with yet another generation in tow. Oh heavens!) At my first FaerieCon I was struck with the openness and generosity of the VIP’s – they were so accessible and giving of their time and energy. That continues to this day and it creates an atmosphere that is charged with energy. Where the air drawn into your lungs IS inspiration, coming from the community of like minded highly creative people gathered for fun, frolic, music, and mayhem. 
This is an atmosphere ripe with cross pollination. There is a print of Linda Ravenscroft’s called “Daughter of Avalon” inspired by the song “Rose Red” by Woodland.
Ravenscroft Avalon
Gorgeous in its own right, and more magical when you know the song… I have a tile design for a Gyspy vardo that is buzzing around my head, anxious to emerge in clay – inspired by “Caravan” by Frenchy and the Punk of course. Perhaps in time for next year?   Inspirational conversations spark up at any moment; a chat with Noelle and Stephanie about sculpture materials has me pondering sculpting skulls and bones. (And to Stephanie – the acorn! Many thanks. I will create a piece that does it justice…)
I am very fortunate to have met and developed friendships with amazing artists and creative people, growing from an initial encounter  at FaerieCon. Last year I struck up a conversation with Helena Nelson-Reed, whose work I had been drawn to for years. Her ethereal yet detailed watercolors are so rich with hidden images and symbols, they are dreamworlds in which I could lose myself. Mystical and spiritual, they continue to reveal hidden images and meaning to me over time. There is so much soul and passion inherent in her work; I was honored to meet her and thrilled to continue our friendship over social media. Through Helena I also met Antony Galbraith, a mythic painter and sculptor. His work is intense, powerful – images from myth and archetype. So often you meet new friends and talk long into the night swapping personal histories. sharing experiences. With Helena and Antony we have a friendship based on artwork, recognizing themes and beliefs each in the other, meeting on common ground through myth and metaphor. We were able to sit down Sunday morning to talk about the challenges one faces as a proffesional working artist, the long hours, the demands of family incroaching on studio time, the solitude. It is so valuable to have like minded souls in one’s life, and I am thankful to them for their sharing, their camraderie, and their friendship. We were joined by Charles Vess, and chatted companionably about art spaces, art retreats, collaborative works… and tricksters! Truly the most inspirational coffee and slice of lemon cake I have ever had!
And the authors! This year’s FaerieCon hosted the talents of: Carolyn Turgeon, Charles deLint, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman and Melissa Marr, among others. 
DeLint cover
“Dreams Underfoot” was the first Charles deLint book I ever read. The cover states – “Myth, music, and magic, and dreams underfoot…This is a book that you will never forget.” So true! (And cover art be Terri Windling! Fairy goddess-mother of the mythic arts, she is often called.)  I have been avidly reading anything that deLint writes since then. This book is a collection of  short stories set in the town of Newford, where magic and myth are woven into the lives and histories of contemporary characters. Modern day, urban fantasy. So fantastical and magical, yet so real – a place I would love to live. To those of you that know Newford – my dream would be to show in a group exhibit with Jilly! His work is a visual feast to me, and a source of inspiration. 
As is the work of Carolyn Turgeon. A friend gave me “Godmother” which I loved, then “Mermaid” which is incredible… a completely new enchanting vision of the Little Mermaid’s tale. Prince, mermaid, princess – a triangle of complex relationships with depth and grace. I look forward to her upcoming middle grade book “Under the Moon” about a girl who discovers her mother was a swan maiden. And regardless of any bookstore classifications – I will read them all! She crafts a well written, thoughtful enchanting tale – I recommend them!
Mermaid cover
Turgeon cover
After I read “Mermaid” I was in the studio creating siren themed jewelry. I wonder what the next book will inspire?!
I could go on. FaerieCon in a unique place, away from home, where one feels completely at home. Where the novice and the mentor can talk, where mediums influence and inspire each other, where like minded people share ideas and magic. It feeds my soul. Thank you one and all. 



 

A to Z: D is for destination… ( and delay – apparently)

1
: the purpose for which something is destined
2
: an act of appointing, setting aside for a purpose, or predetermining
3
: a place to which one is journeying or to which something is sent <kept their destination secret>
4
: a place worthy of travel or an extended visit —often used attributively
  
  
“Destination” really seems like a normal mundane word at first. A word we use frequently, and know very clearly its meaning. But look deeper, if you will. Destiny. Fate. Journeys. Travel. Those words are more intriguing, alive with possibility. And so this entry comes to you from my destination, a place I find well worth traveling to… The Mythic Faire.
  
I like my life. Quite a lot in fact. I work doing what I love, I have amazing family and friends far away, and friends close by. House, pets… But twice a year, I have a chance to leave the mundane world behind and enter the Realm. FaerieCon and RenCon – The Mythic Faire create a world out of time. a place of magic and creativity and mystery and lore. You have heard me talk on them before. I find them soul refreshing.When you find yourself surrounded by hundreds of kindred spirits for a weekend – the energy is phenomenal! Talking of art, music, myth, magic, lore, legend… all the things that inspire me and fuel my artwork. 
  
It begins today. It nice to have found my tribe. 
March 22nd – And it was a great weekend… albeit over a week ago! It was a whirlwind, and wonderful. Let me finally wrap this up with a few high points of my weekend: 
SJ tucker Siren, songstress, petite pixie of a bard – SJ Tucker. Got to hear part of her set Friday night, and finally got to meet her and chat in person. The new cd “Mischief” is amazing, naturally. 
Cucina Aurora My friend Dawn of Cucina Aurora. (Sorry you cant see my ears in that picture…) Great to see her again, and catch up…
Grimassi and Taylor Raven Grimassi and Stephanie Taylor.  It was lovely to meet them, and yes, that is John Matthews peeking out in the background…
But I would say, as always the most inspirational is meeting and talking with fellow artists. Although my medium is so very different from theirs, I have found amazing kindred spirits!
Please take a look, and enjoy!
Ashwood's Locust Queen
Jane's Within the Woods
Lostimolo Rosemary Raven
Noska'S Kindled Conversation
Goblin Bazaar watercolor
 
**Please note: all images copyright of the artist. **

 
  

Myth, Fantasy, Folklore…Oh MY!

RenCon! A new vision by the FaerieWorlds team, this weekend festival combines the best elements of a Rennaissance Faire, FaerieCon, and the like. Located at the Marriott Hunt Valley, just outside Baltimore MD, this weekend long celebration of myth, fantasy and folklore features music, art, lectures, and 2, yes 2, Masquerade Balls.

From the FaerieWorlds blog: “This is NOT your typical tankard toasting, turkey-leg weilding” RenFaire. In the spirit of the true meaning of “Renaissance”, RenCon celebrates today’s exciting re-birth in the mythic arts. Grounded in history, rooted in myth and legend and inspired by fantasy, people of all ages are seeking to “Live their Legend” in every aspect oftheir lives. At RenCon we are assembling the best artists, crafters, jewelers, costumers, clothiers, mask makers, and body decorators from the Renn, faerie, fantasy, and yes, steampunk worlds. It’s all here for three magical days and two enchanted nights with the amazing music of Estampie and Qntal at the Masquerades where you (and your wings!) will feel right at home! For more information and tickets, visit: http://www.renconvention.com

I had such a phenomenal weekend at FaerieCon last fall, I am looking forward to another similar weekend of creativity and enchantment. Now off to the studio – time is ticking away!