This summer has been too long, too hot,too humid and too draining. In Australia the current season has been very fierce with weeks of hot and humid days as well as many fierce fires and storms.No doubt many others, like me, are wishing for an Autumn that might bring cooler days and gentle,refreshing rain and fear that climate change has greatly impacted Natures ability to heal and recover.
Pondering about this much desired change of season, reminded me of these little sprites that were made last year ; tiny beings who indicate that each season has its specific character and tasks necessary for nature to create and replenish.
This is the beginning of an adventure, a new project commission. It has proved to be a wonderful challenge to the imagination as well as figuring out how to construct it.
Perhaps another peak inside the lump. No it is not a tea cosy, but I think the stonework might be a good clue.
Have you guessed yet? This picture below might help too: note the essential cup of coffee to kick start the process.
Now the mystery is revealed. This lump is going to be a tunnel for a train set.
So far the tunnel is nearly done, it is under a mountain range. Perspective had to change from the tunnel sides, which go off to distant peaks, and the tunnel entrance that presents a different scale of view. This was rather tricky and is not perfect. I would rather re-scale the bricks on the arches but time is of the essence now and I have to learn not to be too finicky.
So here it is almost done and my first time using needle felt to create a “painting”, loving this technique a lot.
Lately my thoughts have been much focused on the environment and our duty of care. This has caused great distress because of the blatant disregard that is being shown to the health and well being of the planet and all it sustains. There is such an immense rush to extract minerals from the earth and with this activity there appears to be an inability to recognise that the planet is not an infinite resource to be plundered and abused. Likewise our food is much compromised through broad acre farming, feedlots, chemical additives and genetic modification. No wonder then that this figure emerged, a powerful reminder that the planet has long been regarded as a living entity that nourishes us but in turn needs to be respected and cared for in order to sustain all life. Mother Earth, Gaia, Demeter, the Ancient Mother. She has many names and many aspects. On this occasion She revealed Herself as a wise and loving, older woman holding her arms open in embrace to offer protection, support and unconditional love. Appliqued motifs portray some of the symbols that have been associated with Her over many thousands of years. The one that seems to draw attention first is the apple. The apple has been depicted in many cultures in various ways but to me it represents knowledge, creativity and life everlasting. When the apple is cut in half it reveals a five pointed star, another ancient symbol. Within, the apple holds the seeds of new life and growth. The colour red holds significance, too, being the colour of blood and life. Around this Lady is a tree, the Tree of Life growing from deep below the earth, reaching upwards linking Heaven and Earth, as well as being a symbol of the Divine Feminine and Her powers of creating and caring for life. On the front of the figure, resting in leaves near Her shoulder, is a bee which is not only an important pollinator but also another name for the Great Mother; who is the Queen Bee. Bees were believed to be divine messengers, as is the bird. A small blue bird is perched in the branches behind Her. Blue being the colour of the sky is also used to signify communication and connection to the feminine form of deity. I’d like to think the bird sings to us to remind us of the beauty of nature and the joy that gives. By her side is is a rabbit, long connected with the Earth Mother as an indication of abundance and fertility. It is also a much used symbol to express the essence of Spring abundance. Another symbol that appears is the butterfly which is a powerful reminder of transformation, immortality and the soul. Just to see a butterfly is such a soul, uplifting experience. Yet they, like the bees, are much under threat from “civilisation”, and as a species fast disappearing because of pollution, chemicals, modern agricultural practices and land clearing. Leaves are the feature that represent growth and renewal, life, death and immortality. There is one cluster of three ( new, mature and old) acting both as a Triad and as a Trinity. These leaves point to the significant cycles of birth, life and death as well as the stages in life of maiden, mother and crone. Embroidered underneath the figure is a spiral, one of the most ancient symbols of all. Used here it also represents a coiled serpent; both are powerful expressions of the creative life force and long associated with the Great Mother. So much can be attributed to symbols. They act as a shorthand expression to communicate powerful messages throughout time. I feel this project was motivated when a python crawled into our roof. Incorporating the symbols was an unconscious act and only after completion came understanding and insight. A singing bird