B is for Brigid – Happy Imbolc

Brigid

Imbolc – the Feast Day of Brigid – goddess and saint. Marking the halfway point from mid-winter to the coming of spring, days are a bit longer, early blooms are soon to bud. Brigid, the goddess of fire, of inspiration, healing, poetry, smithcraft. St Brigid – keeper of the flame, Abbess of Kildare. 

The above image is from my Encyclopedia of Goddesses – my submission for the Sketchbook Project. I included many of Brigid’s symbols – the snowdrop, the Brigid’s cross…and of course a triskele design to reference her Celtic nature. To me this marks a time to start things anew. Sweeping out the old, coming out of the winter hibernation to clean, refresh, and become ready. A new outlook, a new fresh start. Time to undertake new projects and endeavors, time to come out and start to blossom. I spent today with my attention on hearth and home. Cleaning and puttering around the house, neatening, organizing.  And I spend a good bit of the morning in the ceramics studio – purging, sorting, and making ready. Ready to do new work, ready to make the magic happen. Here’s to a fresh month, a dose of inspiration – the fire in the head of the Celtic bard! ( Yeats used the phrase to reference a visionary experience. I use it to refer to the fire of creative inspiration.)

Here are a few links if you are interested in more information or celebrating Brigid’s Day today…

Brigid – Celtic Goddess

Brigid of Kildare

Imbolc 

The Wild Hunt – Brigid article

Montage video for Brigid

And let me close with this lovely peom by the wise and wonderful Caitlin Matthews: 

HEARTH OF BRIGHID PRAYER by Caitlin Matthews

Brighid of the Mantle, encompass us,
Lady of the Lambs, protect us,
Keeper of the Hearth, kindle us.
Beneath your mantle, gather us,
And restore us to memory.

Mothers of our mother,
Foremothers strong,
Guide our hands in yours,
Remind us how
To kindle the hearth,
To keep it bright,
To preserve the flame.
Your hands upon ours,
Our hands within yours,
To kindle the light,
Both day and night.

The Mantle of Brighid about us,
The Memory of Brighid within us,
The Protection of Brighid keeping us
From harm, from ignorance, from heartlessness,
This day and night,
From dawn til dark,
From dark til dawn.

Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Standing over a cauldron, tossing in snippets of this, portions of that – brewing up a potion, a recipe in a cauldron. You imagine them, sisters three, over a large smoky steaming cauldron, aged, gnarled and bent – Shakespeare’s Three Witches. Or perhaps you imagine a younger more contemporary potion maker – young Hermione sitting, small cauldron inher lap, brewing Polyjuice Potion in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom. (I DID just get back from vacation to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando…)

Cauldron are symbols of creativity, inspiration, transformation in Celtic myth (see the myth of Cerridwen I blogged recently.) So I find it apropos that I am participating in a creativity challenge/bed swap dubbed “Bead Soup Blog Party”. I have been sent the beady ingredients and I will start brewing up a creation of my own – little of this, pinch of that…and what comes out will transform the disparate parts into a wearable piece, or two, or three…

Jelveh's box

This lovely arrived inthe mail from my talented partner Jelveh of Jelveh’s designs. Eager with anticipation…

BS box 3

So full, so many treasures… 

BS box4

…irridescent beauties….

BS box5

…a riot of color…

BS box6

…metallic medley…

coral and clasp

Sterling and coral…

lampwork and focals

…and the focals! WooHoo. Oceanic landscape and a goddess? Sweet! The detail on the Oceanic treasures necklace is stunning. I want to do that bead justice, and really show it to its full glory. And of course I love the goddess bead for me; and she has a little flower on her bottom… Not to mention the gorgeous colors in the lampwork beads. They range from pinks, mauves, lavenders, blues -and are so harmonious together, just my style. 

Many thanks go out to my Bead Soup Blog Party partner, Jelveh, for this fantastic generous package! And to Lori at Pretty Things for masterminding this whole event! I have to say – I started working with my soup last weekend. I have the focal planned, and have already created a few other pieces since my soup was so bountiful! Stay tuned for the big reveal on September 17th! (There are 362 participants around the world!)

 

 

The goddess and the lunar hare

Faux Bone – just what the name implies, a relatively new material, related to PVA plastic, yet non toxic and high quality. It was launched on the market by Robert Dancik, and I have had it on the workbench for months! Wanting to try shaping, sanding, carving, impressing, staining… this versatile material. So here is the first attempt: 

Faux bone goddess

The ceramic oval on the left is my goddess/poppet. To me She is the self, the soul, the creative muse, the feminine divine. Her shape is inspired by Cycladic idols and other ancient sculpture. I wanted to see her in faux ivory of a sort. The copper acts as a structural base for the piece, the dark rich patina of the copper setting off the subtle tones in the FB. From a design sense it serves as a halo, and allows holes at hands (for attachment to a necklace) and feet ( gemstone dangle, of course!)

Cycladic idol  Nile Goddess (Left: Cycladic Idol, app. 2500 BCE. Right: Nile Goddess, app 3500 BCE)

I was happy with how she turned out, although I am still considering giving her breasts… I turned my focus next to me second favorite of my ceramic pendants – the lunar hare. The  hare is a bit of a totem animal for me, and I am greatly inspired by the many myths of the moon hare. From so many cultures, so diverse, yet illustrating a commonality…

Lunar hare

The crescent on the right – is polymer clay. I was baking some other pieces for the Blue Hen and I made a few crescents to test. While i like the sculptural possibilities – this one is too bulky. I think Faux bone will work best here, too. Other things in progress: 

Copper and nickel silver windows/ frames. Images are sandwiched under mica, tube rivets, stamped words… This was a direct inspiration from Melissa Manley – and although she wasn’t the first to ever use this technique – it is only proper, and respectful to give credit. (Her work is amazing, and I am happy to have studied with her, and to call her a friend. ) The piece on the far left: “Such stuff as dreams are made on…” quoted from “The Tempest” – houses an image of Miranda from a painting by my favorite, John Williams Waterhouse

copper frames pendants

The piece on the right is a bit different. It is carved wood, housing a collage. The collage is set in a plastic lens and resin. The front image is an Irish stamp, copper, and the word ‘Journey’. The back: 

MM bird back

It is an idea I am experimenting with – crating sculptural frames for collage/lens. My text, as always, is from 200+ year old books. It is a meditation of sorts, to thumb through the yellowing pages, eyes flitting and darting, until the right words present themselves to me. Words I would not have chosen; phrases I would not have composed…

I would love to hear your thoughts, out there in the ether. Do you have a personal talisman? A totem animal? 

 

Catching up… and creative undertakings

Where did last week go? I lost a few days in a pollen induced haze of headaches and general lethargy. It is amazing how fantastic “Normal” feels after running  on depleted energy stores. SO last week-  no posts. Oops. 

This week – there is a lot going on. Meeting today with the amazing M. Carol Mauer to finalize our plans for a ceramic finger labyrinth class. Should be wonderful. More on that ASAP. (It will be soon, in Wilmington, DE)

Last week recieved the foundation for a fantastic journey that I will be undertaking over the next year. 

Sketchbook

 

The Sketchbook Project – artists from around the world sent a slim paperback sketchbook. Choose a theme, and create! The completed books will be exhibited in Brooklyn, San Francisco, Austin, among others – with corresponding exhibits overseas in Melbourne and London! At the exhibits the books are out to be seen, read, examined.  All of them. I am thrilled. I selected “Encyclopedia of…” as my theme. I am thinking Goddesses – of course! I am glad they are coming to Philly so I can see the show – and hopefully my sister will see it in Austin! I need to get planning… Perhaps an A to Z of goddesses… There is still time to sign up if you are interested. 

And glazing. And weeding. And enameling. Let me post this now, and i will tell you more later – promise!