Back in time: my Celtic inspiration

 One last timehop, one last stop on the Beading Back in Time travel schedule. This final installment encourages artist to select their favorite time period. Mine will inevitably be Celtic, time and time again. For fresh inspiration, I grabbed a few books and a cup of coffee… started sketching. No pre-conceived idea, just browsing at first. 

celtic sketches

The crescent “lunula” shape has been on my mind for a while. Its a recurring motif in Celtic, Slavic, Russion cultures. As a lunar symbol it is associated with women. The moon rules ocean tides, and a woman’s tides. The moon, seen as female, embodies the stages of one’s life in the lunar stages – from Maiden to Mother, to wise Crone.

lunula references

Diagram of lunula pendants - I'm trying to translate the text from Russion, with Google's asistance... 

Blessington Lunula  Crafty Celts lunula

1. Gold lunula from Blessington, Ireland, Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age, c. 2400BC – 2000BC, Classical group ( from Wiki)
2. Lunula pendant in bronze from the Crafty Celts. "Lunula amulets date back to the end of the Bronze Age, and continued to be worn into modern times. They were common in Egypt as well as among many farming peoples of Europe and Asia and reflected the worship of the moon, which was associated with fertility. Earrings, pendants, metal details of headdresses, and other 
ornaments had the form of lunulae. Lunulae were especially widespread in Rus. in the tenth to 12th centuries."

I was contemplating doing a lunula pendant for myself in sterling, but time was not cooperating. The polymer was out… I was creating ornaments for my local gallery. These pieces – 2 styles – are polymer crescents with a hammered metal frame. The frame curls around, allowing a space to attach chain. I have stitched the small gems on with 26 gauge wire. I love using the tiny gems here – holes so small its hard to string them otherwise, but perfect in this application. 

my lunula pendants

The top pendant in cream and brown features the word “self” in the Celtic Ogham alphabet. This linear font was used for carving, and had many layers of meaning, among them trees and months of the year. I wanted an amulet – trust yourself. Take care of yourself. Center yourself. Have faith in yourself… it all comes back to “self”. The gems are green garnet. The blue lunula below incorporated sterling and aquamarine. This is more lunar to me, evocative of the Moon goddess – the three stars for her three aspects. 

I plan something simple to finish these, maybe just chain, or one wrapped gem each. I may make more, but these each feel personal to me, and I plan to keep them and wear them. 

Thanks for stopping by. I have thoroughly enjoyed the creative challenges of these historical “Back in time” hops. Thanks to Sheri and Lindsay for organizing! Please stop by the other blogs! A full list can be found at: Phantasm Creations

Until next time… 

 

 

 

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?