Odd Little Flock

Woopee doo! I thought you might like to see my new little fairies and angels. These little oddities came out of the work I made for Glastonbury Abbey. I love how one thing leads to another when you are making things. Working with plastic bones led me to the barbie doll fairies. I also find it quite strange how the times have changed from when I was going to festivals in the 1980’s. I used to wear quite hippyish sort of clothes that consisted of faded old ripped jeans (not the silly sort you get today that are already faded and ripped when you buy them, but ones I had lived in for the past few years every day) , a flowery top, an Indian shawl (usually nicked from a friend) that I wore like a scarf, a black waistcoat, and either a donkey jacket , leather biker jacket or a much loved hand-me -down patchwork velvet jacket.  Not much make-up, maybe a bit of black kohl eye liner. And I would take a tent (that I also took home with me) a sleeping bag, some cider, and a toothbrush. Maybe a bit of money to cover the “small” entrance fee and buy a pasty. (Many of the festivals in those days were free… imagine that!) I would smell quite bad after a few days and relish the warm bath I would get into on my return home.

Compare with the girls going to festivals today. … expensive fashionable flowery “festival” clothes, pristine make-up and long sparkly hair, flowery “festival” wellie boots. I imagine they use  showers that are  provided these days, and take their hair-dryers.  How can you plug a hair-dryer into a field? Don’t tell me they have electricity too!!!

Here are the girls…

click the pics to buy…

Rainbow Cloud goes to Glastonbury

 

Saffron Sky goes to Glastonbury

 

Sugar Rose goes to Glastonbury

The Spirit Angels

I also made some angels. I wanted them to wear boots too, but hob-nail boots, not Glasto festival wellies.  I made the heads using self hardening clay. I really tried to make them pretty but they didn’t want to come out like that. They reminded me of medieval faces. So I used medieval names for them, added a little grandeur pop culture (the Marvellous, the Glorious, the Incredible and the Golden)  and looked up the meaning of the names.

Here are the angels, click the pics to see what they represent and to buy…

Angel Millicent the Marvellous wears hob nail boots

 

Geraldine the Glorious wears hob-nail boots

 

Ulric the Incredible wears hob-nail boots

 

Godfrey the Golden hides his boots

Odd Little Flock is the name of my re-branded Etsy shop where you will see mosaic and mixed media creations of birds, angels and mythical creatures to enthral and inspire you!

😉

Like my work? You can become a patron to help me to make art and write about it. Click the donate button at the top of my blog. Any amount gratefully accepted. Thank you!

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Bones of Saints

Yes, Yes, I know it is one of the songs on Robert Plant’s new album “Carry Fire” ! However, this time it was synchronicity, I had already made these by the time I heard of his new song! If you don’t understand this connection I have with Robert Plant then check out my last post!

These are some of the other exhibits I have at the exhibition Traces Revealed at Glastonbury Abbey.

Bones of Saints

One of the bones is gilded, and edges are gilded and they are all painted with glow in the dark paint. In the dark they come alive as you see here!

Kilner jars seemed like a perfect modern reliquary container! They are gilded and decorated with jewels, string and liquid leaf.

Here are some more of my exhibits from the exhibition…

It had to be done … not that I’m a Saint or anything!

Artist’s Reliquary box

 

Oh yes he wuz!

🙂

 Traces Revealed continues until January 28th 2018.

 

Like my work? You can become a patron to help me to make more and write about it. Click the donate button at the top of my blog. Any amount gratefully accepted. Thank you!

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The Robert Plant Guardian Bird of Relics

And so to the final one of the six birds! It’s Robert Plant, our wonderful living rock legend!

I thought it would be nice to have someone who is still alive as inspiration for a guardian bird. I chose Mr. Plant because of his connections with Glastonbury and the Abbey itself. In 2014 for the first time after many years of worshipping him as front man of Led Zeppelin I got to see him play live at Glastonbury Abbey with his new band the ‘Sensational Space Shifters’. I went with my partner and our two youngest (teenagers) . It was a fantastic concert, I love the mix of old and new songs, blending world music musicians and sounds  into the old Led Zepp rock songs such as ‘Whole Lotta Love’

But his most iconic song that seemed to fit the ‘religious theme’ was of course the much played and over played Stairway to Heaven. Coming from a family of rock music lovers, I found my younger teenage years progressed into punk (or was that regressed?) and then back to rock. (I won’t tell you about my crush on David Essex when I was 10, luckily Sting came along at just the right time to save me from embarrassment with my friends! Shh! Did I really just tell you that?)

The Four Symbols or Led Zeppelin 1V as it’s more commonly known (the album with the song Stairway to Heaven) was played frequently in my house and various tracks were played in the pub where I would spend my evenings after college. But the first time I really sat down and listened to the whole album was when I was 18.  It was a night after the pub with a friend of a friend who offered to put me up on his sofa to save me from a very long walk home in the dark. I had a tendency to listen to music but not the words in those days, so as we listened he handed me a bit of paper which had the words to the song written down. That piece of paper was a magical script , it was as if each word was made of gold and silver, I had treasure in my pocket and  I could also sing along!

The Robert Plant Guardian bird (cement structure, stained glass, hand gilded metal leaf glass, shell rounds, glass beads, hand painted eyes, wire)

The feather on the heart of the bird is Robert Plant’s symbol on the Four Symbols album. Each member of the band had a symbol, the feather was designed by Mr. Plant being based on the feather of Ma’at, the Egyptian goddess of justice and fairness that came from the mythical lost Continent of Mu.

 

Stairway to Heaven song relic snow globe

I made the stairway with marble cubes and gilded them in gold and metal leaf.

Here’s the bird in the exhibition…

I think I just made you a Saint, oh Mr. Robert Plant!

😉

 Traces Revealed continues until January 28th 2018.

 

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St.Brigid Guardian Bird of Relics

It is said that the Irish Saint Brigid (of Kildare) visited Beckery chapel just outside Glastonbury in the 5th Century AD. Although the chapel is no longer there I went to find the hill (Brides mound) where it once was. I wish I had been in on the recent excavations where they re-found seven skeletons for carbon dating. (Excavations during the 1960’s uncovered a cemetery of at least 50 skeletons believed to be monks who used the chapel) It might have been easier to find if I had gone with the archaeologists!

Me and my partner spent several hours trying to find the hill, it didn’t seem to be where google maps said it was. We had to resort to books in the library and finally after a good walk along the river we found it!

The hill was quite unremarkable and there was no evidence of recent excavations, they did a good job of covering it all up again.

But it has a good view of one of the old tannery buildings and the Tor in the distance!

 

Offerings on the mound.

Saint Brigid is venerated in Glastonbury as the original Celtic goddess who holds the eternal flame as midwife and earth mother. In the town there is the Saint Brigid healing centre and just under the Tor there is a shrine at the White Spring .

On the walls of St. Patrick’s Chapel at the Abbey, murals painted by Fleur Kelly depict the saints in a style appropriate to early 16th Century. This is Saint Brigid depicted with a cow. She is patron saint of many things including milk maids!

Saint Brigid by Fleur Kelly

To return to the story, when Saint Brigid left Beckery Chapel legend has it that she left some of her belongings behind; a bell, some jewellery and her bag. (I don’t know why she would leave her bag behind, perhaps she in a hurry or maybe she never returned to Kildare and died at Beckery)

I chose to make her bag for the Guardian bird’s relic. I used cement and mesh and gilded it in silver leaf, then stained it with tea and rust to make it look old. I hung plastic cows on the bottom as a nod to her patronage whilst referring to the modern plastic collectible world our kids live in. The cows were black and white Friesians but I painted them badly in white with red horns, the colours associated with her cow.

Saint Brigid’s bag with kitsch overtones

Saint Brigid Guardian bird (stained glass, hand-gilded glass, hand painted eyes, metal buttons, shell rounds)

The heart bears the Saint Brigid cross which was a Celtic symbol associated with Brigid. It was originally made of straw, symbolised the sun and was hung above people’s doors to warn off evil.

This is the fourth Guardian bird in the series, please refer to the last posts to read about the others!

You can see this one plus the guardian birds of relics of 2 other saints, King Arthur and Queen Guinevere birds and a living rock legend guardian bird, plus other pieces of work at Glastonbury Abbey’s exhibition Traces Revealed which continues until January 28th 2018.

🙂

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St. Joseph of Arimathea Guardian Bird of Relics

Legend has it that Saint Joseph of Arimathea came to Glastonbury to spread the Christian faith with the two cruets full of Christ’s blood and sweat. When he arrived he walked up Wearyall (now Wirral) hill and on reaching the top he stopped and exclaimed something like “Since we be weary all here we will rest” (hence the name Wearyall hill). There he thrust his staff into the ground and it took root forming a hawthorn tree. The tree flowered twice a year, once in Spring and once at Christmas. It then suffered hundreds of years of people cutting off branches and carving names into the trunk but it still flowered every year. Later in the 17th century during the Civil war it was considered a superstitious relic and burnt by the Roundheads. However many cuttings were taken and another tree was planted in 1951.

The 1951 tree still stands but was vandalised in 2010, and as you see in true Glastonbury form, spiritual ideas live on by the continual ritual of tying prayer ribbons to it. Whether they are to worship Joseph, or the tree as a relic, or to find peace and a spiritual awakening remains to be seen.  People have different reasons. The ritual is associated with Celtic, Shaman and Tibetan Buddhist deities. In Glastonbury people explore and practice all of these religions, there many ways to find enlightenment!  I find it interesting how pre-Christian religions and paganism unite with Christianity so often, each borrowing stories from each other for their own beliefs.

Here’s another Glastonbury thorn at the Abbey in front of Saint Patrick’s chapel.

St. Joseph of Arimathea  is often symbolised with the two cruets of Christ’s blood and sweat that he collected when he hung from the cross. It is possible Joseph brought the cruets with him to Glastonbury as well as the holy grail, if the cruets weren’t themselves the original grail that is! (More about the holy grail later 😉 )

The Guardian Bird of Saint Joseph of Arimathea

Saint Joseph of Arimathea Guardian Bird of Relics (cement structure, stained glass, hand gilded metal leaf glass, glass cabochons, millefiori, shell rounds, hand painted eyes, wire, liquid leaf)

The heart bears a hawthorn leaf to represent Saint Joseph of Arimathea.

cruets (espresso cups, acrylic gems, resin, plastic, paint) Comparing the veneration of the sacred cruets with the glorification of the coffee culture.

This is the third guardian bird in my series of six. You can read about the King Arthur bird and the Queen Guinevere bird here

You can see this one plus the guardian birds of relics of 2 other saints, King Arthur and Queen Guinevere birds and a living legend rock star bird, and other pieces of work at Glastonbury Abbey’s exhibition Traces Revealed which continues until January 28th 2018.

🙂

 

 

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New Designs – It’s not what it seems!

I have various different projects on the go at the moment…a large commission, bird baths for the Bishops Palace garden festival in June and some new work for an exhibition at Glastonbury Abbey in September. All exciting stuff that is keeping my left and right brain buzzing and pinging.

During the in-between times I like to  experiment with various other mediums such as animation and digital photo manipulation. Some of you will remember my designs that I made into scarves a few years ago. This time I’ve made some more designs from photos of my mosaics and uploaded them to Redbubble where they are printed onto clothes, wall art, iphone cases, stationary and home-ware. I’ve picked out some favourites to show you but please visit the shop to see more of the products that are available with these designs.

The Golden Leaves this time is the only one without photo manipulation although the scarf is tiled with the photo on the Redbubble software. Please click the pictures to see more or purchase.

 

Golden Leaves Scarf

 

Starlings in the Wind Dress

 

Sunset Swirls chiffon top

 

Darkness is Gathering in a Swirl cushion

 

Leaf Swirl notebook

 

Fish Waves acrylic block

 

Spinning Moon Moths metal print

 

 

Wake of the Chorus drawstring bag

 

Whirl in a Whirlwind iphone case

Now I MUST get into my work-shed and fondle some glass!

😉

 

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An Egg for The Egg

I was asked by my sponsors of my Zillion lion (Zenith International) made in 2010,  if I would decorate an egg for the Bath Egg Hunt. It is to celebrate The Egg Theatre’s 10th Anniversary. This isn’t paid work but it is small (about 12 inches high) and gives me a chance to experiment and perhaps do something I wouldn’t normally do! Also I am getting the opportunity to exhibit my egg in Bath Abbey!

I had several ideas but came up with this one eventually.

egg design 3

I just wanted to do feathers, (get close to the bird!)

A curtain of feathers.

I had to have the number 10 incorporated so I thought it a pretty perfect design really, it had everything I wanted and everything they wanted.

Ta Da…here it is…

Curtain Call front view

Curtain Call back view

It is also important that it is just feathers on the other side as it will be auctioned in a few weeks and some people might just like the feathers and not the number! Unless you are celebrating your 10th birthday or your 10th wedding anniversary or were a member of Parliament or something why would you want a number 10?

If you remember the commission I completed recently “Flight From the Waves of Solway” you will have read about how I made the birds iridescent white by mixing pale tones of white smalti glass, so I attempted this in the feathers using vitreous glass tile, however this time I think the tones were a little too strong to be completely successful.

I imagined the feathers were those of a swan,  the coppers and browns underneath a suggestion of a nest , and a line of turquoise and blue and copper fleck at the base to suggest water.

Bath Egg Hunt – Question and Answer Game

The egg hunt in Bath continues until 11th April. There is a question and answer game around the city for the children as they find 25 eggs  in hidden places. The question for the name of my egg is “What happens after a great performance?”

If you know the answer and can name my egg, leave a comment below (you can’t play this if you receive my newsletter as you will already know the answer! )

HAPPY EASTER 😉