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...
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,
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.
So I mentioned that I was recovering from surgery. Here are some images of my convalescence and some fantastic care packages I received...
Burton was my constant companion the first few days when I lived on the couch!
Christmas and bonus from Cooky in San Diego! Books, treasures, and home made cookies! Divine!
Snow quintuplets - from San Diego of all places - to stitch and embellish.
Nina's Treasures - this was a treat to myself. Nina Bagley - the soulful, poetic, mixed media and jewelry artist was doing a bit of a de-stash late last year. I purchased a small box of mysterious treasures - that I managed to NOT open until after surgery. I havent created anything yet, but the wheels are turning. Its a fantastic assortment of treasure.
Who doesnt love flowers?
My triple spiral pouch - I felted a thrift store sweater for the first time and stitched up a few pouches from the sleeves. It was great fun to do a little freehand embroidery. My mother taught us when we were little girls. Some skills never get lost! I prefer to have my hands busy if I am watching TV or a movie, and I am not so handy with knitting needles... What do you occupy yourself with as you bask in the glow of the magical electronic picture box?
Gong Xi Fa Ca! Wishing you prosperity! ( In Mandarin Chinese)
Yes, technically Chinese New Year was celebrated on Monday the 23rd. But it does spread over a 15 day period ringing in the new year - so I feel I am still in a timely manner. For the beginning of January I was home recovering from surgery, so this really marks my new year as I get back to work and look forward to what 2012 will bring.
According to Chinese astrology, people born on the year of the dragon are said to be strong, self-assured, eccentric, intellectual, and passionate, among other things.
I have been hibernating. I decided when my surgery was scheduled that I would take the month of January off. By necessity - to heal. And as that process progressed - to hibernate. I will admit - it was a major surgery,a necessary one and a smashing success, yet a tough road, one that I am glad is behind me. The timing has been perfect - to hole up in the house, warm under a blanket, sipping tea - and reading. I have been reading like it was my job... And as January comes to a close, I am ready to get back to work. I have shows to plan, applications to mail, designs to sketch, artwork to create. Healthy and rested - 2012 I am ready for you now!
I did devote a good bit of time to 2 projects over the last two weeks. I had the pleasure of collaborating with my friend Betsy Molina Motenson for a show at the Center of Creative Arts in Yorklyn, DE... and I am participating in the 2012 Sketchbook Project sponsored by the Art House Co-op. Look for details and images on those in the coming days...
For now, I wish you long life, and prosperity...(As I hear Spock in my head...) I eagerly await the adventures and experiences that this new year will bring. Hope you will follow along with me.
OK - Good morning! Sorry I wasnt "here" sooner. This is the first Saturday in over 2 months that I haven't rushed off early to teach Ceramics classes at the studio. But I can't think of a better morning than coffee and a blog hop/swap!
I met Sally Russick at ArtBliss in DC. Can I just pause here to rave about that retreat! Close to home! Fantastic national teachers? Great hospitality! Fantastic hosts - Cindy Wimmer and Jeannette Blix! Ok - back to the blog post... Sally posted about an ornament swap - a million years ago - it seems. Of course I was interested! Make a pretty and recieve a pretty? Yes! Meet new friends? Yes! Keep in touch with old freinds? Yes!
When it came time to make, and mail said ornament, I realized time had crept up on me. What was a generous time frame, well - I procrastinated a bit. I usually work in clay. Earthenware and stoneware. Now with drying time, firing time. glazing... it wasnt going to work. So, I turned to polymer. I like it. I want to experiment with it more. I respect it after taking a class with Christi Friesen. The most frustrating thing is weeding out the old and crumbly in my stash that frustrates me every time I try to work. Fresh polymer is quite nice!
I wanted to do a winter theme. My preference in decorations are seasonal, and having email-chatted with my partner Christine Altimiller and perusing her blog - I thought this would be a good fit. ( Enough chatter - pictures please!)
I went with the shrine shape as that is a style I work with often. A reporoduction of an antique postcard shows a winter angel decorating a tree. She is framed in polymer and stamped copper.
For the dangles I knew I had to include river rock, a fav of Christine's and an artist's bead - one of my stamped ceramic eucalyptus charms. The pod print recalled snowflake shapes in my mind.
The ornament I recieved, you ask? It was as if Christine had been in my house! So perfect! She must have super mind reading powers...
Driftwood, ethereal beautiful seed beaded snowflakes in icy blues and lavendars! Delicate and gorgeous!
I was completely stunned. I am so appreciative of the delicate seed bead work done here! The time and patience it takes! Mad skills! Thank you to my ever talented and creative partner for sharing this sliver of winter magic with me!
So - refill your coffee and please head over to Christine's blog - One Kiss Creations! And definitely check out the other ornaments. I am feeling festive already!
If you know me, you know I love coffee. If you have met me, even if you havent met me, you probably know that about me. While we were in NYC last weekend, we literally stumbled upon this great installation. No, really. We came up on the Flatiron Building from its less iconic side...
This is what I saw first. What is this pile of markers and cups? What is going on here?
Oh heavens! I love it! Each one an individual work of art, suspnded, slowly turning...
I wish I had been able to see the artist working; interacting with, or ignoring passers-by. Would regular New Yorkers stop, and notice?
There were designs, landscapes, portraits, street scenes. I could have remained captivated for hours, coffee in hand...
The artist's name is Gwyneth Leech. She works in the space Tues. - Sat from 11-2 pm. The exhibit/installation, titled "Hypergraphia: The Cup Drawings" began in September, and runs through the end of this month. I haven't had a chance to check out the website yet, but I fully intend to. So glad I chanced upon it. It was refreshing, and entertaining, and visually pleasing to be sure!
Sorry I didnt bring you part 2 of the trio yesterday. I got a little waylaid wrapping holiday gifts!
So to rejoin or intrepid travelers...after reveling in the Frouds' mastery and magic - we headed uptown. Now we love New York, and had no desire to see it crawl past from the confines of a cab. So GPS ap in hand, we walked: ( I couldn't get the map ebbedded. Will consult with computer guru/husband later. Suffice to say - we walked from Madison Square Garden in Midtown - to Soho and back! Sure we were tired, but it was an amazing day...)
Holiday tree at Purl Soho.
Dazzling display: Purl Soho.
Pub lunch at Puck's Fair: Soho
Marbelized paper demo at Dick Blick NYC: NoHo
Macy's! Winter wonderland, Steampunk style, Magic!
Literary lions, as twilight falls...
Yup. That is one humongous tree! : Rockefeller Center.
Happy to end the day here on December 11th. Think I will pass on a trip in for December 31st!
Stay tuned for the final installment: an amazing instillation at the Flatiron building...Until then...
OK - so technically I didnt wake up in NYC. We took the train up for the day. This was a belated trip for my birthday. Happily - the belated time frame meant we could see the Frouds' exhibit at Animazing Gallery, and perhaps a festive holiday window or two?
"Faerie Tale" and "After the Party" - polymer and mixed media by Wendy Froud.
polymer and mixed media sculpture by Toby Froud
Concept sketches for "Labyrinth" by Brian Froud.
This detailed sketch of Ludo was incredible. so detailed in the face, yet so loose and fluid in the figure.
The exhibit is a must see if you are a fan of the Frouds' work. (It runs into February.) I was excited to go - naturally. I have my original copy of "Faeries" by Brian Froud and Alan Lee - dog-eared, tattered, and well loved. I cannot think of another artist who influenced me more during my adolescence and early teen years. To know that there were working artists, creating fantasy artwork, seriously and successfully was huge to the fledgling artist in me. I feel fortunate to have met Brain and Wendy at FaerieCon, as I have discussed previously. But this exhibit was simply outstanding. Original paintings, in luminous color, that reproductions sadly do not capture perfectly. Sketches - the doodles, thinking out loud, as it were - the look of "Labyrinth" at its inception. Sculptures in the round, textures, fabrics, leathers right there in space in front of me. Images that I know well from the Heart of Faeries Oracle, seen framed on the gallery walls.
Recently I borrowed and watched Wendy's Faerie Figure DVD (available at Gnomon Workshop. Thanks to Sarah!) I dont sculpt figures very often, but I do create 3D work. It is a phenomenal video, and her hands work magic right in front of you! But to have seen the process, and heard her tricks and techniques, which she gladly shares - and then to see the originals! Simply breathtaking. I am humbled and amazed.
"Story Teller and listeners" Wendy Froud
And always humor mixed in with the magic and the mystery:
(He was a tiny wee fellow. The reflection of buildings, the angle, the cropping - do give him a sense of grandeur, do they not?)
Please stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of the NYC adventure. Wait until you see the Macy's windows...and the Flatiron art installation. Come back tomorrow.
And finally we come to this. The final FaerieCon post, long overdue. The event ended two weeks ago, and we all try to maintian a little of the FaerieCon magic in our mundane lives. For me, back to the ceramics studio in my standard uniform - jeans, Dansko clogs, a tee shirt.
I don't dress up very often. Even when I go out, I wear comfortable, stylish clothes - nothing extreme, just plenty of jewelry. FaerieCon give a person a chance to go for it - to exceed the normal. There are Steampunk explorers and chrononauts, faeries of every shape and size, djinn, trolls, ogres, elves... The clothing is creative to the extreme. And there is Good Faeries Ball and Bad Faeries Ball, remember. You have opportunities to showcase your ego, your alter ego.... Items are purchased over the course of the year with costumes in mind. Full ensembles, components, mix and match...with such spectacular results!
Gnome wee one hitches a ride...
Gorgeous djinn allows a photo.
Pirate in training with his lovely wench/mother!
Myself - in Threads of Time bodice - with Megan and Mmy.
The Wizard from Dover...
Squee! Posie and Teasel stop by for a visit!
Melissa in all her finery!
It is with sadness that I confess I do not have a picture on my Moresca outfit. Next time. I have wanted a Moresca outfit since i was a teenager and saw their gorgeous clothes at the Maryland Rennaissance Festival. And now I have a reason and a place to wear them!
I mentioned Reyen Designs in my "G is for good neighbors" post. Isnt she ravishing?! And yes - she IS wearing satyr furry pants, complete with hooves and tail.
And so - my FaerieCon posts are coming to a close. Back to the realm of artwork, teaching, and tending to a pair of crazy canines. Please stay tuned. To my Fae friends - please stay in touch. It is nice to know you are out there. Until next year...what will you wear?
Robert Frost said "Good fences make good neighbors" That sprang to mind when I sat down to gather my thoughts for this post. Good neighbors make for a good festival. Good neighbors also make good friends - and vice versa. This FaerieCon I was in my regular space, my home away from home. I have vended the event three years running in the upstairs hall. Yes, its hard to select and filter what to bring for a 6' table display when I am accustomed to a booth. But to be surrounded by friends, old and new; to listen to fantastic music during the Masquerades; take a look:
Let me introduce you to some of my gypsy fae family.
Sarah and I have been friends for years - she was one of my first friends when I moved to Delaware. One summer she and her teenage kids ( my students) gave me a wee soft sculpted artist doll mermaid. A few years later, she and I are set up side by side at FaerieCon. She was the person who introduced me to FaerieCon and planted the seed that we should each vend! And she is one helluva a baker, too...
You can find her on Etsy at ToadstoolsNTreestump!
Sarah and I met Kimberly of Goblin Bazaar at the first Baltimore FaerieCon. If her shop is closed - she is either out geocaching of catching fae critters... She runs an adoption agency of sorts, coaxing the critters in from the wild and finding them homes with open minded magically aware humans. Some need love, others understanding, but they find the right match in the end.
And there are goblins. Nose Goblins, Oak goblins... goblins wearing exquisite leather masks - they might let you wear one as well with just the right bribery. Of course I am talking about Goblin Road! Robert represents this husband and wife business/team at FaerieCon, and he is a welcoming presence, a wealth of information, freely shared. He has a certain "je ne sais quoi".
We adopted Dru` the oak goblin a year ago (?) and he is a welcome addition to our family. (Dru` is Gaelic for oak, naturally.)
One additional friend, although not on our hallway - Noelle! She is a multi-faceted actress, performer, artist who never ceases to amaze me. I am so glad that FaerieCon and Frenchy and the Punk brought us together! Wouldn't quite be the same if you werent there, darling! (Scott and Samantha you were missed! Hope you can return to the Realm next year!)
And this hallway was the place to be! New people to meet! Much fun to be had! (And the lights bounced! Inside joke...)
Meredith Dillman - I was familiar with her work from the Interwebs - great to meet her. A picture, you ask? Sorry, no. How about her work? I love "Kitsune"!
There are many faeries and lovely and mysterious ladies on her site as well. But I can never resist a fox fae!
I was thrilled to see Reyen Design Studios on the map across from me! I am familiar with their wool and silk felted creations from previous FaerieCons and Spoutwood. Hand dyed, merino wool felted onto silk - they defy words. A must to see, feel, wear. And such good neighbors! ( This picture is a rough phone shot, but I had to do it...) Serenading Satyrs!
Last but not least - Danielle from Earthly Leather Designs. We were Etsy acquaintances, and I am thrilled her first FaerieCon was a smashing success! Here's to many more! (And hoping we get to chat a bit next time!)
Thank you for being the best neighbors a girl, and her dryad, could wish for. Have a wonderful year, til next we meet!