Last week I dreamt of standing at my grandmother’s dining table, discovering that I had a white baby cobra snake in a paper bag. Apparently their care was my responsibility, though I hadn’t realized until now. Looking into each other’s eyes, many thoughts passed by... guilt at my unconscious neglect... surely they weren’t poisonous, the pet store wouldn’t sell poisonous snakes, would they?... how do I even care for a cobra?...
This dream visitation has been close ever since. And at the same time I keep seeing images of bulls and bees, from old dreams and much older stories.
From all that, here is something for this Taurus new moon time, while I’m home from work with a slight, but niggling cough.
Something from this full moon tide... working some big feels these days. It’s been quite a while since I’ve put pen to paper, but here you are.
A quick drawing for our holiday card this year, inspired by a blog post by Gather Victoria about the Reindeer Mother who carries the sun back to warm the land. You can read more here.
This project started a bit more than two years ago. I had been developing a set of early Norse woman kit (Viking age) and had sewn dresses and a coat, woven trim, made shoes and a bag... but there was one glaring omission... the large turtle brooches that affix to the apron straps, and a trefoil brooch to hold the coat closed. I strive to make all the things I wear to events myself, and really wanted to design and make my own brooches based on period examples, but there were some aspects of the project that I couldn't wrap my head around. Though I had done metal casting before, this would require a more complicated two part mold than I was familiar with, and I wasn't clear about how the back of the brooches and the pin assembly was fashioned.
So I started with what I knew, and sculpted models of the brooches in clay (polymer for the trefoil and earthen clay for the turtle brooch). I was inspired by the finds from Birka, as well as a very simple turtle brooch that now seems to be referenced only on Pinterest, unfortunately.
Last year my partner helped me cast a mold for the front of the brooches with Mold Max 60 high temperature resistant silicon.
Then the project sat. I thought about how I could do the backs, and kept looking at pictures of extant finds and modern reproductions. When I could see how it might work, I used additional clay to model the backs of the brooches with tabs that would be drilled to hold the pin assembly, and other tabs that would be bent to hold the tip of the pin in place.
The casting process went quite smoothly, even though my small pewter ladle required several scoops to fill the large brooch. As a result, some of the metal's impurities were incorporated into the pieces. But for a first try, the pours went very smoothly.
Drilling the holes in the tabs to hold the pin felt like the hardest part of the entire process. But with some patience, I was able to complete the pin assembly. I'm so looking forward to wearing them this weekend to the SCA event: A Market Day at Birka!
[gallery ids="614,613" type="rectangular"]
At some point I would love to make a set of these in bronze, possibly using precious metal clay. But for now I am more than satisfied.
I'm so pleased to share that "Sending Seeds: Milkweed III" will be headed to the Atlantic Gallery in New York City next month for the International Encaustic Artists' show "Hopeful Darkness", November 28th through December 16th, 2017. Opening reception to be held: Thursday, November 30th, from 5:30-8:30 PM.
"Hopeful Darkness reflects the coming darker months, a time when each day gets shorter and winter approaches. It is this time of year when we seek the light as the darkness becomes more pervasive. Historically, ancient cultures respected and revered nature, and were awed and unsettled by the fading light. It was at this time of year people relied on certain rites, guaranteeing the light would return.
The fading light can also be seen as a metaphor for the current state of our moment in time. We live in a contentious, and not always light-filled world, which is ever-changing and uncertain; it can feel as if the darkness is encroaching on so many levels. As artists, we must transcend this feeling and allow the light, the hopeful energy, to shine through. We must resist the shadow the net of darkness can cast, and have faith in the future and the possibility it can bring.
Two states of being, with such opposite meanings, fit so beautifully together and can create a powerful statement.
Hopeful = believing something good will happen; auspicious; bright; encouraging; optimistic; promising. Darkness = devoid of light; dismal; gloomy; secret; possessing depth and richness. "
Practicing mother, weedwife, animist, human, who's very thankful to live on the coastal plain of Southern Maine, in Wabanaki terretory, near a place called Owascoag.