Tangled webs: the waxed linen blog hop reveal

Waxed linen. 

When I think of it I imagine the colorful options, know it is versatile, and then draw a blank. Its not in my wheel house. Friends like Linda Landig and Erin Seigel, to name a few, use it with great results. But for me… its a challenge. So thats exactly why I decided to join when Diana of Suburban Girl Studio announced this blog hop. 

I sat down with my journal – and a coffee – to try to sketch… I like to think visually on paper in doodles. The characteristics of waxed linen that I was drawn to: multi strands, an assortment of treasures, versatility for beads of varying size holes, and I wrote down one word more, that really started the ball rolling. WOVEN. 

Athena and Arachne. 

In Greek myth, Athena ( Goddess of wisdom, war, and patroness of the arts) enters a contest with Arachne. Arachne, a human girl of consumate skill at the loom, commits a fatal mistake by bragging of her talent and offending the Goddess. They weave tapestries in competition, and although Athena wins, Arachne’s skill is great. Arachne hangs herself in the tatters of her weaving. Athena, in a moment of mercy, transforms the girl into a spider so she is allowed to/cursed to spin all her days.

Polymer hollow focal

I created a hollow polymer focal with aluminum tubing inside to act as a channel for multiple threads. The owl, representing Athena, is cast from a reproduction drachma. The web for Arachne is a linoleum stamp that I carved to use in clay. I toyed with various spider options, but they ended up distracting from the focal… 

thread and beads choices!

I have an amazing assortment of waxed linen from Mary at White Clover kiln. I also delved into my Czech glass treasure, from back in the days at the Shepherdess in San Diego. Just making the color decisions was the hard part! 

knotting the strands

My original plan involved all three of these strands. Two are double strands, knotted at intervals with beads spaced an inch or so apart . The third was denser, knots, 8’s and drop beads, continuously knotted. I liked the contrast of the more open strand with the denser strand. But all three – was too busy. Here is what I decided on in the end: 

 Tangled web - Athena and Arachne

The front: greys, blues and golds. A linen tassle dangling from the embedded loop. ( Note the top. The channel inset in the pendant was too narrow. Wrapped loops solved that problem!)

Tangled web - Athena and Arachne (back)

The back: Arachne’s web

So I was left with a knotted strand – just waiting for a pendant. Here is the bonus necklace I created with one of my ceramic fairy pendants. ( Fired to ^10 reduction for you clay people out there)

Bonus piece

 So – if I can muse philosophical for a sec, I am glad I did this. I don’t see waxed linen being my go-to material. I respect it, and designers/artists who work with it. I can see using it as an accent in mixed media pieces. I am happy with my pieces, and would love to hear your thoughts!

 

Thanks to Diana for organizing the challenge. Please visit her page for the links to all of us participating! There are sure to be diverse offerings, and many beautiful things! 

Thanks to Mary Hubbard for the sample bag of the waxed linen from her shop! I purchased it from her at Beadfest a year or two ago, and the plethora of pretty colors really inspired me to try my hand at linen and knotting! 

To my fellow participants – I am currently photographing flowering cacti in Austin, TX – and visiting family. I apologize for the delay, but I look forward to “hopping” as soon as I can! 

Inspired by Reading: “My Mother she killed me, my father….”

I am always “Inspired by Reading”. But this month the selection was so… diverse, enchanting, haunting, original, epic in scope… 

This month’s book was “My Mother she killed me, my father he ate me” forty new fairy tales, edited by Kate Bernheimer. Its an amazing selection of contemporary authors with a magical foreword by Gregory Maguire, author of “Wicked”. I will confess – I have not read them all. The book, to me, was like a box of chocolates. If I read them all at one time, I will over due it, and not appreciate the flavors and nuances. I think I have read 9 or so. And so many ideas sprang from those 9… 

Book group!

(Pictured here with “Hopeless, Maine” a graphic novel by Tom and Nimue Brown. A delightful dark, beautiful read.) 

 

The story I chose was “The Swan Brothers” by Shelley Jackson. The original tale from the Brothers Grimm is a familar one. Evil stepmother curses brothers to spend eternity as swans by day, men at night. Their only sister has to spin nettles to yearn and weave capes/sew shirts for them within 6 years to break curse. And she must not speak. Falls in love and marries prince, bears children. Accused and vilified by truly evil MiL, condemned to burn for murdering her children.  She completes all but one sleeve and transforms her brothers and saves herself in the nick of time.  This is already a potent tale for someone who works with archetypal images and icons full of symbolic meaning. Its a tale of transformation on many levels; not only the brothers, but the raw materials, the traditional woman’s work of spinning and weaving, a domestic alchemy, if you will. Its what artists do – transform raw materials into works of meaning, symbolism, beauty and power. 

This tale combined the transformative powers of the magic with the actual work of an artist – as the sister is a performance artist toiling away on said shirts for years in a storefront gallery! I loved the dark irony of that… The story is woven together with different threads of memory, dream, imagined events, and current happenings. It shuttles back and forth, weaving a mysterious whole from the disparate parts. What is truth? What is imagined? 

The themes are sacrifice, pain, and transformation. The artist/sister weaves nettles into shirts to replace feathers, and dreams all the while of flight. She climbs a glass mountain to retrieve her children, opening the lock with a finger bone. My sketchbook contains these words: spin/weave, yarn, nettles, feathers, wings, arms, bones, keys, locks… This is the feather shed by a swan wing, it is the wing of the last brother, its the wings denied the self sacrificing sister. The story has such a contrast, an interplay between opposing materials that I wanted to include the bones to ground the piece, to temper the prettiness of the feather. I intended to incorporate the resin wings, and found they were not suited to the polymer focal. 

Feathers and bones

Feathers and Bones – polymer feather cabochon, brass, polymer, acrylic paint, glass vial, bones, chain, sterling wire, & gems ( blue tiger eye, amethyst, sapphire jade, calcedony, crystal)

from the story: “…you find, pressed between two pages, a feather. It is white, it is black with an iridescent sheen, it is pigeon-grey…” page 85

Feather and Bones

Then the second necklace sprang to mind almost fully envisioned…  

Silver hands necklace

The Armless Maiden – antique clock key, vial of silver leaf, silver charm, porcelain doll hand, copper, cap, vintage minature pocketknife, vintage chain, garnets, silk. 

from the book – “Occassionally a woman with silver hands brings pears.” page 88. This single line – introducing the “Armless Maiden” as a friend to the protaganist, spoke volumes. The folktales tell of her life, hands cut off by her own father. Differing versions blame the devil, lust… Silver hands feature in the folk tales, and also bring to mind the Irish god Nuada, King of the Tuatha de Danaan.  This necklace is for her, a talisman of loss and transformation, blood and bone. 

 

But I still wanted to reference the wings and the swans that are integral to the story in all its incarnations. This piece will utilize the resin wings, and showcase  the swans in a more traditional fairy tale context. 

Swan's wings WIP

The Swan’s wings (in progress) – antique postcard, antiqued bronze setting. resin, antique book text, wire...

 This was a very fertile challenge for me – as I am drawn to fairy tale imagery and symbolism in my work. I can see other pieces arising from otehr tales as I savor the delights included in this book. Stay tuned… 

I look forward to hearing your feedback – whether you are familiar with Shelley Jackson‘s tale or the Brothers Grimm original.  The other artist bloggers participating this month will be listed and linked from Andrew’s blog. Please take a peak at the tales they have unraveled… I dont think they will disappoint! 

 

 

Inspired by… A Rumor of Gems

This month’s “Inspired by Reading…” book group selection was “A Rumor of Gems” by Ellen Steiber

A Rumor of Gems

I had a feeling I would like this book. Gemstones appearing, magic and mystery, myth and legend come to life. These are motifs that have fueled my work and inspired me since I was a child, with renewed interest in Art School, studying on England, doing my own research… I expected the inspiration for a piece to come easily, and actually it did not… 

The book is quite engaging, filled with rich characters that have depth, revealing their secrets over time. The locale is both here and now, a city you can imagine readily, and a fantasy landscape of the imagination. I was  drawn into the story, and thoroughly enjoyed it…  

When I finished the book – I had little time remaining with which to design and create a piece. Where to start? I was drawn to the moonstone as it’s one of my favorite stones and I have a lovely cabochon waiting for a setting. But that was to easy for me, too clear cut and evident.  I try to truly challenge myself when I am doing a blog hop, an event like this. It becomes my time to experiment, to play, and to be free of the constraints of shows, schedules, inventory. To make a piece for myself – whether it is a success or not… 

The scene I found to be the most evocative was Alasdair in the Womb of the Mothers. I was thrilled to read the names of so many goddesses, with respect and reverence. They were represented as many faces of the archetypal Maiden/Mother/Crone goddess. I work with the feminine divine frequently in my artwork, surely my inspiration would come from this scene? I have a stellar piece of lapis – as Alasdair gave his personal lapis life stone to the Cat Goddess. But my Muse was silent. 

So I went back to the beginning: 

“Alasdair left the apartment at midnight, well into Hekate’s hours. She was present tonight. He had felt her from the moment the sun sank beneath the horizon, had seen her in the waning crescent of the moon, had heard her owls calling from the hills… And it made sense that she’s be comfortable here. The city was , after all, a crossroads of sorts, and she is a goddess of crossroads.” (page 25)

This was the first goddess reference in the book, and it was exciting to me… It set the tone of myth and magic come alive, of scholarly fact interwoven into the fiction of the tale. This – Hekate – was my inspiration. 

 Hekate and Cerebus

Hekate & Cerberus, Apulian red-figure krater
C4th B.C.

Hekate

Hekate is the goddess of the night, the moon, the Underworld, and magic. She is the dark moon, and with Artemis (Maiden) and Selene (Mother) makes up the Triple Goddess. (She is partnered with Persephone and Demeter in the same way). This three fold nature continues in Hekate’s associations with crossroads where 3 roads meet, and with seeing the past, present, and future. Crossroads are liminal areas, areas of transition; Hekate governs life, birth and death. She welcomes souls to the Underworld, yet carries a torch to light the way to the future. One of her symbols is a key – to unlock inner mysteries. 

The key and her role as the goddess of the Dark moon, the crone, the wise woman… was where my inspiration lay. I chose to use a large black labradorite stone – as a stone was essential based on the book – and this stone evoked the dark moon. 

black labradorite 

Hekate pendant

I sculpted a polymer pendant – three cornered for Hekate’s crossroads. The stone is set with a wire staple and then an additional polymer bezel.  It bears the marks of stars for her mother – the Titan Asteria (Star). and is crowned with 2 crescents to represent the other aspects of the Triple Goddess. A key dangles from the bottom of the pendant. The polymer is hand painted, and finished with Gilders paste for a subtle sheen. 

I plan to finish this with a necklace of gems. Moonstone, labradorite, hematite, pearls, garnet perhaps – but there was no time… 

pendant with key

gems ideas

William Blake's Hekate

“The Night of Enitharmon’ Joy” (aka The triple Hekate) by William Blake. 1795. Pen and ink, watercolor on paper. 

This is one of the iconic Art History images I always associate with the goddess Hekate. 

 

Thank you for reading my ramblings! I am sorry I did not get the piece done – I am very happy with the results – this one is for me although I may make another similar version. Please check in on my colleagues and freinds who are also participating! It should be a very inspired and inspiring selection this month after such a good read! 

Mary K. McGraw http://mkaymac.blogspot.com/
Mary Harding http://maryhardingjewelrybeadblog.blogspot.com/
Jenny Davies Reazor http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog/
Judy Campbell http://www.macmillanmarie.blogspot.com/
Jeanne Billeci Steck
Andrew Thornton, Laurel Ross, Terri Greenawalt http://andrew-thornton.blogspot.com/ 

Participants will also be listed here. 

 

Resources: 

Theoi

A-muse-ing Grace Gallery ( The Art of Thalia Took)

Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

The Lady of Shalott

If it was the fall of 1981 – then I was 13. We were visiting Boston as a family; my older sister was looking at colleges. We – as good tourists do – went to Harvard Square, and to the Harvard Co-op. This image was on the front of a bin of posters, dorm room decor at its finest. I was stopped dead in my tracks. No one noticed but me – my family walked inside the store… It was that feeling that time was slowed, and all sound and motion around you has ceased to affect you. I was enchanted. I had no idea who William Holman Hunt was, neither had I ever heard of “The Lady of Shalott”. My parents bought me the poster. It hang above my fireplace, the same print, to this day with pinholes from all the dorm walls it has faithfully adorned. I peppered my mother with questions in the car – to find that the Lady of Shalott was a poem by Tennyson. That was all she knew, but it was enough.  I have included the poem below – it still sends chills down my spine. 

Hunt's Lady of Shalott

My love affair with the Pre-Raphaelites had begun. It was met with a wee bit of snide derision from a college art history professor – herself a Classicist/Rennaissance scholar. It influenced my painting studies as I strove to find my own way of expressing myth/narrative/folklore/history. Yesterday I saw this painting in person and I cried. I am not trying to be dramatic – I was moved to tears both by the painting and the long lived influence it has had on me from the formative years throughout my training and career as an artist. (The painting is owned by the Wadsworth Athaneum in Hartford CT. Not that far… but not that close… Their page on the painting is here.)

This painting as well as many other favorites of mine are on view at the National Gallery in Dc until mid May. Many are old friends I visited weekly after art history class, while studying in London. Some are old friends from the Delaware Art Museum, my local establishment; others were met for the first time. It is a glorious exhibit – if you are interested in the late Victorian, in poetry, myth, medievalism, Decorative arts, Arts and Crafts style…. please dont miss it. 

 

Links: 

National Gallery of Art

Pre-Raphaelites

William Holman Hunt

Delaware Art Museum

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

 

Part I

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And through the field the road runs by
            To many-towered Camelot; 
And up and down the people go, 
Gazing where the lilies blow 
Round an island there below,
            The island of Shalott.1

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Through the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
            Flowing down to Camelot. 
Four gray walls, and four gray towers, 
Overlook a space of flowers, 
And the silent isle imbowers
            The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow veiled
Slide the heavy barges trailed
By slow horses; and unhailed
The shallop flitteth silken-sailed
Skimming down to Camelot: 
            But who hath seen her wave her hand? 
Or at the casement seen her stand?             25
Or is she known in all the land,
            The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
            Down to towered Camelot: 
And by the moon the reaper weary, 
Piling sheaves in uplands airy, 
Listening, whispers “‘Tis the fairy
            Lady of Shalott.”

Part II

 

There she weaves by night and day 
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
            To look down to Camelot. 
She knows not what the curse may be, 
And so she weaveth steadily, 
And little other care hath she,
            The Lady of Shalott.

And moving through a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
            Winding down to Camelot:  50
There the river eddy whirls, 
And there the curly village-churls, 
And the red cloaks of market girls,
            Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-haired page in crimson clad,
            Goes by to towered Camelot; 
And sometimes through the mirror blue 
The knights come riding two and two: 
She hath no loyal knight and true,
            The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror’s magic sights,
For often through the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
            And music, went to Camelot: 
Or when the moon was overhead, 
Came two young lovers lately wed; 
“I am half sick of shadows,” said
            The Lady of Shalott.

Part III

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling through the leaves,  75
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
            Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneeled 
To a lady in his shield, 
That sparkled on the yellow field,
            Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glittered free, 
Like to some branch of stars we see 
Hung in the golden Galaxy. 
The bridle bells rang merrily
            As he rode down to Camelot: 
And from his blazoned baldric slung 
A mighty silver bugle hung, 
And as he rode his armour rung,
            Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather 
Thick-jewelled shone the saddle-leather, 
The helmet and the helmet-feather 
Burned like one burning flame together,
            As he rode down to Camelot. 
As often through the purple night, 
Below the starry clusters bright, 
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
            Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow’d;   100
On burnished hooves his war-horse trode; 
From underneath his helmet flowed 
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
            As he rode down to Camelot. 
From the bank and from the river 
He flashed into the crystal mirror, 
“Tirra lira,” by the river
            Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom, 
She made three paces through the room, 
She saw the water-lily bloom, 
She saw the helmet and the plume,
            She looked down to Camelot. 
Out flew the web and floated wide; 
The mirror cracked from side to side; 
“The curse is come upon me,” cried
            The Lady of Shalott.

Part IV

In the stormy east-wind straining, 
The pale yellow woods were waning, 
The broad stream in his banks complaining, 
Heavily the low sky raining
            Over towered Camelot; 
Down she came and found a boat 
Beneath a willow left afloat, 
And round about the prow she wrote  125
            The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river’s dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance — 
With a glassy countenance
            Did she look to Camelot. 
And at the closing of the day 
She loosed the chain, and down she lay; 
The broad stream bore her far away,
            The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right — 
The leaves upon her falling light — 
Through the noises of the night
            She floated down to Camelot: 
And as the boat-head wound along 
The willowy hills and fields among, 
They heard her singing her last song,
            The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darkened wholly,
            Turned to towered Camelot. 
For ere she reached upon the tide  150
The first house by the water-side, 
Singing in her song she died,
            The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
            Silent into Camelot. 
Out upon the wharfs they came, 
Knight and burgher, lord and dame, 
And round the prow they read her name,
            The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they crossed themselves for fear,
            All the knights at Camelot: 
But Lancelot mused a little space; 
He said, “She has a lovely face; 
God in his mercy lend her grace,
            The Lady of Shalott.”

 

Postscript: There are many glorious paintings of the PRB era inspired by this poem. John William Waterhouse painted numerous version himself, which I adore. If the poem speaks to you, don’t miss the song of the same name by Loreena McKennitt. 

 

 

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: 

Fresh start…

Resolutions. To do or not to do… Merriam Webster gives this: 

: the act or process of resolving: as a : the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones b : the act of answering : solving c : the act of determining 

as well as the more traditional New Years application: 
a : something that is resolved <made a resolution to mend my ways> b : firmness of resolve
Making a resolution on New Years simply because it is New Years – well, that has no strength behind it, no intention. Hate to break it to you, but that is one resolution that will fail. I like to get a fresh start. Evaluate the old year, and welcome in the new. Clean slate. Clean workspace.  Alyson Stanfield encourages her clients and readers to journal their accomplishments, taking time to reflect and appreciate the results of their labors. I scheduled coffee and journal time yesterday for exactly that!
New year, new sketchbook
Finished my refelections in the last sketchbook, and started the new, with images, quotes, all matter of inspiration. And goals. This fresh start of a year – planning, scheduling in major shows, exhibits… There is always some carry over of projects that have not yet come to be, transfered from the old journal to the new, moved up on the waiting list of creative endeavors. I find it very informative and interesting to look back on a year’s sketchbook entries, doodles, ideas, jagged scraps of thought that have yet to grow into a full piece of art. And there was coffee, and sleeping dogs, and sun streaming inthe window… Yes!
One of my goals for the year – is to catch up a bit on my reading. There are books from last Christmas, this Christmas, and all points in between. Can one ever have too many books? I think not – but they are to be read, and savored; not piled on shelves. I even make notes in margins – scandalous to some purists, I know, but it is MY book…
Berk and FroudFresh from under the tree: “The Runes of Elfland”by Ari Berk and Brian Froud; and the re-release anniversary edition of “Faeries” by Froud and Alan Lee. These are to be savored. My original copy of Faeries in paperback, very dog-eared is years old. I have had the good fortune to meet and chat with both these men, and they continue to be an inspiration to my life and work. 
Gaiman and BernheimerTwo anthologies: Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman and “My mother she killed me, my father he ate me” compiled by Kate Bernheimer. The latter – book club selection at Surlalune Fairy Tales. That will be an interesting discussion!
Fiction 2011
Fiction offerings: 
A.S.Byatt – “The Children’s Book”
David Bajo – “The 351 Books of Irma Acuri”
Paolo Coehlo – “Witch of Portobello”
Bill Willingham – “Peter and Max”
David Mitchell – “Cloud Atlas”

Celtic 2011
The Celtic resource books… ( Note the coffee splatter on the top book. Thanks Zoey!)
Mythy books
And the last pile of mythic/folklore/essays, etc. There may be a series of ceramic tree tiles awaiting me in the pages of that one book…
Where do I begin? Started “Peter and Max” last night. It is a “Fables” book, set in the contemporary fantasy universe I have grown to love in the graphic novels. Excellent so far. Perhaps the Norse mythology. There are some goddesses I want to read up on – inspiration for new collage works for a show in March. 


Beautiful day in the neighborhood…

RenCon was a great time – I have new favorite bands on continual loops in my head; new inspiration percolating for wonderful new tile designs; new fans and collectors of my work (Thank you all!) – but the people! The VIPs’ were open and accessible. The fellow vendors were interesting, interested, enthusiastic, sharing. The attendees were excited and appreciative. Whew!

I had great neighbors on my hallway, and I thank them for such a wonderful time!Let me introduce you:

Gypsy Nomads:  I think I need to listen to Track 3 every morning. No better way to start the day! I dont describe music well – but go listen to things on their website. They are infectious! And they are both visual artists as well, which thrills me, a bonus. These two were my across the hall neighbors providing a soundtrack for the weekend and performing both nights. And I look forward to seeing them live at FaerieCon! (Although I think they will be at Spoutwood Farms May Day Faerie Festival!)

Dancing Hands, FGM: Emma Dancing Hands (Fairy Goddess Mother, that is…) Here shown doing Fhairy strands in E’s hair. Everyone knows her, everyone loves her, she is a joy to be around. Its that simple! Not only will she be attending Spoutwood – there is a Charles Vess drawing of her for this years advertisement!  Banner

Kathryn Elizabeth Noska: Kathryn is a painter, poet, and self described ‘stonesayer’ and when you see her work you will understand. The stones speak to her, and she to them. Her paintings are exquisitely detailed painted from life, and she captures the characters in the stones themselves, showing them to us on canvas. I did not try to capture the painting’s detail on film (Just go take a look for yourself!)… and Kathyrn herself proves an elusive subject! From her booth: Noska book Kathryn’s amazing hand bound book of her drawing and poems. Noska stonesAnd her oracle stones. So lovely!

 

Goblin Bazaar: …” eclectic array of things from the realm of Fae captured and created by Kimberley Coffman as is inspired by the strange and wonderful world around us.” So true! Kim’s work is magical. Her fae are original, exquisitely painted one of a kind sculptures. I was enchanted!

kin faeClearly she takes good care of them, since not a one looked unhappy in their traveling containments. And her skills with a woodburning tool – really? Kim pendants

Kim and SarahKim, (onthe right) with Sarah of ToadstoolNtreestump.

Thank you one and all for making the weekend so magical! See you in November!

 

Euphoria…

Main Entry: eu·pho·ria
Function: noun
Etymology: New Latin, from Greek, from euphoros healthy, from eu- + pherein to bear — more at bear
Date: circa 1751
: a feeling of well-being or elation
A simple word, a complex potpouri of sensation, emotion, experience, feeling… A patchwork of sights, and sounds; drumbeats and squeaks; costumes, artwork, faces… friends. RenCon.
It was its first year. Would it satisfy? Would it be successful? Would it draw the crowds of its sister show FaerieCon? Yes, and yes, and no…
The crowds were less crowded, true. There were fewer vendors, fewer lectures, true. The business end of the weekend came away even. But for me personally – Euphoria.
I started the magic with Fhairy strands. Gossamer metallic threads entwined with my hair, bestowed by Dancing Hands, my Faerie Goddess-Mother. Fhairy strands
The weekend was a whirlwind of music – Gypsy Nomads, Estampie and Qntal from Germany; artwork – wonderful neighbors in Kathyrn Noska and Kimberly of Goblin Bazaar; Mark Lewis and his amazing tales, (and jokes!); and being able to meet and chat with people who I admire and respect – Caitlin Matthews and Brian Froud!
Sarah Mark me Caitlin and me
But the true euphoria comes from the feeling of community, of having found my tribe – where creativity is admired, recognized, revered. Where people express themselves in costume and revelry; and unite in a shared experience. It is hard to put into words, but it is a magical feeling that resonated long after the artwork and instruments are packed away.
The euphorical feeling, the shared wonder and excitement is a creative tonic. The new ideas that are swirling in my mind, ready to be put on paper, and into clay… will carry me forward, the last traces of the magic of the weekend…
Green Man

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!