Tag Archives: connecting with the past

The Sacred Life of Trees – artist’s book – Illahe Gallery in Ashland

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The Sacred Life of Trees – artist’s book – Illahe Gallery in Ashland

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9×10 inches.  140 # watercolor paper with muslin glued to surface of pages.  Watercolor, acrylic, oil pastel, graphite, collage.

The Sacred Life of Trees an artist’s book I created from an idea I had about how much I love trees, and how much everyone values and loves trees.  It seems, from my research, that trees have been a source of mystery from the beginning of time.  I wanted to do a more in depth study, but was unable to complete the whole thing in time for the Illahe Gallery Invitational Artist’s Book Exhibit in Ashland, Oregon!  So I concentrated on the most loved concepts of sacred trees.

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Double page spread.

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The Tree of Life with a guarding snake, and golden fruit!

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The Apple Tree – worshipped by ancient celtic cultures for the bounty of her fruit.  Some think it was an apple tree that instigated the downfall of man in the Garden of Eden!  Maybe, maybe not.  But she is lovely!

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The quiet little Hazel Tree – also bearing life sustaining nuts.   The hazel was considered by the ancient celts to be a magical tree.  Her wood is used for making dowsing rods to find water.  A hazel wand is very strong – be sure to thank her if you take her branches!

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The Ogham is an ancient celtic alphabet – often referred to as the Celtic Tree Alphabet.  The marks were made vertically on standing stones, many of which, are still standing in Scotland, Ireland, England.  They are read vertically from the bottom up.  I have written the Ogham name for each tree on the right hand bottom side of the drawing.

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The beautiful Willow Tree – known as the Lady of the Moon.

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The Birch Tree – Lady of the Wood.

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The Oak Tree – royalty of all trees.  Very strong, long lived, the king of trees, in this case the queen!

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The sacred Hawthorn Tree – the wand made from a hawthorn twig is truly magical.  The ancient celts believed the tree to have healing qualities, as well.  If a hawthorn self seeded next to a natural spring it was believed that dipping a scrap from a piece of clothing in the water and tying it to the tree would bring good health, and good luck.  Many of these are still honored in this way in the celtic countries and are laden with odd scraps of cloth.  They are known in Scotland as a ‘Clootie Tree’.  A clootie is a scrap of cloth.

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Final page with a verse from Loreena McKennitt.

I apologize for the lack of quality in these photographs.  The finished product really does look better than this.

 

 

 

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A Summer Garden, a Birthday, Something Old, and Rust!

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I haven’t been working on art this month – mostly just playing in the “garden” and organizing things.  The “garden” has bloomed beautifully with summer coming so early to Portland this year.  I’m using quotes around the word “garden because I have only a deck and a lot of pots for my garden!

July 2013 004Here’s one of Mary of the Roses – she’s gotten a little faded this year and now both of her hands have broken, so she stands behind the roses, serene and beautiful.

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This girl had a birthday on the 3rd, my dancer daughter, Cait.

1002443_10201406342105175_627311788_nShe and her husband celebrated her birthday in Hawaii this year.  When Cait was born my mother found her so beautiful and perfect, she said, “Oh I wish I could have another baby.”  Which made us all laugh, but set me to thinking about her statement!

The following year remembering  what she had said I decided to make my mother a doll for her Christmas gift.  A life- sized baby doll, just like Cait.  I came across these old Instamatic photos recently and thought I would share them for a laugh!

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I had no idea what I was doing.  I just went out and bought some stuff called “Sculpy,” a new product that you could sculpt and bake in the oven or air dry and paint.  I don’t think it was meant for large projects, but more as a way to make small figurines, or jewelry parts. I had bigger ideas! I made the head and even though it wasn’t exactly solid, it weighed a ton.  I thought it might grow less heavy as it dried – but not so much.

scan0002The arms and legs were fairly easy, and I hollowed them out pretty well.  I was very disappointed as I recall, because I couldn’t achieve a porcelain looking finish with the acrylics I used to paint it with.  Also I couldn’t get the surface smooth enough – I didn’t know I could sand the stuff.  (no internet to research the answers back then)

scan0003Painting the face is when I really began to despair.  It really didn’t look too bad before I painted it.

scan0004Don’t laugh!!!  They say its the thought that counts, right? – and that’s what I kept telling myself, determined to finish the thing now.  I made it a stuffed body so it would feel cuddly (ha).  I can’t imagine what it would have weighed if I’d sculpted the whole thing! Of course my mother thought it was wonderful and carried the thing around all evening.  It weighed as much as a real baby, and the head was very floppy because it weighed so much and I couldn’t figure out a way to attach it so it didn’t flop!  But it was fun, and now a memory I always recall on Cait’s birthday.

Rust 003This is my new batch of rusty things I just got them yesterday from Etsy.  Yes.  I am rust deprived and have to resort to purchasing my rust!  I have two more packages coming – I can hardly wait!  The hammer to the left of the photo is the cutest little thing. Its a claw head hammer about 8 or 9 inches long.  The handle is wooden, and the head is metal, rusty, of course!

November Afternoon

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“November Moon”

Oil pastel, watercolor, gouache, graphite on vintage book page 4 x 6 inches

November – already more than half gone, my sweetest month.  I’ve always loved this month of coming winter, of winter holidays, the beginning of endings, and starting over in a new year.  I even got married in November once, in a small beach town where winter was no more than a passing thought around the 1st of January.

When I was a school girl, I loved walking home from school in November, carrying my home-work, or a construction paper frippery, probably leaves and squirrels, acorns, and possibly a colorful turkey with dried paste leaving smudgy fingerprints on the brown background.  The Los Angeles sun casting those long afternoon shadows, and a little wind sometimes arriving from nowhere to lift the hem of my dress; even if it wasn’t a cold wintery-feeling wind, it still felt like coming winter to me because of that hazy early evening light, and the long shadows creating mysterious little pockets in curbside gardens and shrubs.  A few trees might change color and lose their leaves, dancing in that dress lifting wind, but mostly it was palm trees and arborvitaes, and pink or white oleanders parading beside the sidewalks.

I had a brown plaid dress and a yellow cardigan I wore a lot during 3rd or 4th grade.  I can see myself walking along, looking at the blue transparent moon still high in the sky, barely visible in the afternoon light, my hair in long braids with ribbons flagging the ends, brown sensible (and hated) oxfords on my feet with white socks turned carefully over to form a neat cuff; a quiet child, given to daydreams and seeing the world from her own artist angle, talking to fairies or the moon on a November afternoon.

“Moon-y”

Oil pastel, watercolor, gouache, graphite on vintage book page 4 x 6 inches

“Moon-y II”

Oil pastel, watercolor, gouache, graphite on vintage book page 4 x 6 inches

Button, Button …Buttons on Tuesday

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I have just recently discovered the amount of stuff available on ebay, new to this phenomenon, at first I was overwhelmed, but I am an old hand now.  This prolific amount of stuff is an amazement to me – all I have to do is say, gee I wish I had “some,”  insert whatever desire comes to mind, and I am immediately rewarded with hundreds, or even thousands of choices!  A few days ago while I was stitching on my Tattered Gatsby(s) I wished for buttons and voila!  A big bag of buttons arrived today.  But these are no ordinary buttons! 

Very old mother-of-pearl, still attached to bits of cloth, as if someone just cut the buttons off with a hunk of the garment still attached!  Which, of course, that is just what they did!  I love it when I find buttons with thread still in them, but with a scrap of fabric, oh my, its wonderful!  These do not require “aging,”  they are already quite aged, and actually dirty, which makes them even better to me.

Strung together for safe keeping.  All of these are mother of pearl except the very large white ones.  I love to imagine who strung them together, what garment were they taken from, and how many times were they used since their original removal?

 

Very large (1.5 inch) still attached to their original cards.  These probably aren’t so old, but they are really big and heavy mother of pearl.

They said it was about 500 buttons, but they didn’t say how old and neat they were – and  its way more than 500! Sometimes I am surprised that no one else wants what I want – no one else saw anything special in these!  No rhinestones, no fancy shapes, and it wasn’t mentioned that so many of them were the sought after mop!  A new term I have recently learned in the button world.

The yellowish ones are very old underwear buttons, either bone or “vegetable ivory,” another new term to me, and the little black and white one is a painted china – looks like a zebra, another new term in the button world!  The black faceted ones are glass.  The little greyish two holed one feels like its made out of rubber?

I will be able to fill up my glass bottle-shaped like a hand with tiny pearl buttons now.   Its taken me a long time to collect enough small buttons that will drop through the bottle top, but this found treasure  is filled with tiny pearl buttons!