Friday, November 29, 2013


I believe one of the many things we tend to leave behind as adults from our childhoods is the many forms of a Protector that we create in our imaginations and in our creativity at those young ages.

For me the role of protector came in many forms. From improvised sing-songs and night time routines that kept me safe from scary movie creatures and dark shadows to the devotional candles my grandmother kept burning round the clock in our home to the many little internal bets I made about how long I could do a certain task, with the inevitable success granting me safe passage or dreams.

There also were dream images themselves. And voices. . . which, as it turned out, DID save my life on two occasions but that is all for another time.

My draw to the pantheon of ancient Egypt dates back to when I was 6 or 7 and the treasures of Tutankhamen were touring the US for the first time.  The images of Tut's burial treasures were on the cover of every major magazine and many books were released about the discovery and the history of the tomb.

It was in grade school that I first was shown one of those books by my teacher. That was followed by a trip to the library and a venture through our family encyclopedia. (Anyone remember those? )

I was completely enchanted by the anthropomorphic Gods and Goddesses and the amazing array of symbols and meanings attributed to them all.

I fashioned many of the objects I saw out of whatever materials I could find. The  tin foil roll was a favorite target of mine, much to the dismay of my mother, and I made countless small little statuettes of the figures out of it.  This led to my first bit of sculpting clay but i was not good with it at all. I was much better at drawing and so, in short order, the walls of my bedroom closet became a tomb with hieroglyphs drawn on all three walls.

This also did not go over well with mom. :) 

I can tell you that I felt protected by the strange and wonderful figures. I memorized their names and forms. . . Horus, Isis, Anubis and Hathor were my favorites to render and, by age 10, I had taken to drawing them on the tops of my feet in felt tip pen, also with the understanding that they would protect me. Though I never felt I needed protection against anything in particular.

So when took up polymer clay work a few years ago, it seemed natural to want to create something from my childhood. Perhaps something I never could then. And while it did not leap off the page into my head to make Egyptian statues, it was not far behind the first thoughts.

One thing that had NOT changed was my lack of ability with clay. Art, in almost every form, comes somewhat naturally to me. But clay, even polymer clay, just felt so foreign at first.

Once I began trying to create votive statues of the ancient Egyptian pantheon, it all fell into place and I suddenly had the incentive and the motivation to stick with the clay. It has, to say the least, paid off.

I never knew there were so many forms and deities spread throughout the history of ancient Egypt. I'll never master them all but I do so love the time spent researching and learning just as I did as a child. It is as important as the art that comes from it.

 One of the forms I never knew of in my youth but who I am so drawn to now, is Bes, a multifaceted and infinitely interesting Deity of many faces and forms. Celebrated as the full-service protector god who served as the champion of everything good and the protector against anything bad, Bes had a long and impressive list of deity duties, including:

Protector of Women
Protector and Entertainer of Children
Guardian against Nightmares and Dangerous Animals of the Night.
Patron of Warriors, Hunters and Travelers
Patron of Music and Dancing
Guardian of Families and Keeper of Domestic Happiness
God of Good Fortune, Luck and Probability
God of Commerce
Guardian of the Vineyards
Guardian Against All Manner of Misfortune

I almost never make the exact same form of Bes twice! This is my latest.

Now, the world is filled with guardian spirits, angels, entities and deities. Bes is just one of many form cultures of every corner of the globe.

But what is often missing in the adult versions we hold to is the child's ability to take the image, the idol, the entity and expand it in our own universe.

Essentially, to reinvent and create it. And then, in doing so, to believe in it fully.

And while many people I know tend to believe this is because we "know" too much about the world around us and it's inherent dangers, I think it is quite the opposite.

We have forgotten far more than we have learned since childhood. For some, that is not a choice. Bad things. . . terrible things, definitely do happen to us. Sometimes placing us beyond the point of return.

For me, each statue and amulet. . .  or each fairy world or gargoyle . . .  or each elf or miniature house I create is a protector. Everything I create in fact could be seen as such. I find that the mystery is everywhere around us. . . and, unfortunately, there are still a few monsters out there too.

The deal we make with these created protectors is a simple one to strike.

I believe fully in it as I create it and, in doing so, it opens the door for another to believe in it as they decide to bring it into their own world. In whatever form, when it arrives, it is an acceptance of something that binds from the earliest days of our creativity.

 It is a desire to make sense of the world around us in the very same way the ancient Egyptians belief in their pantheon came to be.  It changes, it grows, it adapts and it reinvents itself over and over and over. . .

As we should too.

Every piece I create is a step into that reinvention.  It's a claiming of something that was inherently mine all those years ago and, for whatever time I have left in this world, I want it back as completely as I can manage.

And, along that road each day, I leave these little markers. These Descansos. All of them protective icons and imagery that allows me to step forward without fear again tomorrow.

Into the unknown and the well known.
All at once.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Fairy Tales

It occurred to me very recently that perhaps the main reason I drift in and out of blogging is because I feel that so much of what I want to say and convey about the creative path I am on and the origins of it in my life are not spoken but, rather, find a way into my work each and every day. Often, at then end of the day with a number of visual images, gargoyles, fairy houses and Egyptian Gods and Goddesses all coexisting on my studio table, I realize my entire day has been filled with unspoken dialogues and enough words to fill a three volume set. :)

It also seems to make sense to me that I can choose the pieces to display here in blog form, not for publicity sake but for an opportunity to reveal what is behind them. Bit by bit to find the core ofmy place of origin and to, in a sense, add to the map of my life.

The other day I completed this piece as the first of a set that will be featured next year in Bewilder and Pine,

Miniature N Scale  - Hansel and Gretel Discover the Witches Cottage
This piece speaks to many of my origins. The worlds I would create within my childhood. Often invested in them alone and keeping them close to my heart as I just felt that any outside input or exposure would change them. Alter them and, in fact, weaken their power and place within my own mythology.

Second, as a pre-teen, my love for model railroading and building entire scenes of a new layout every year remain one of the most treasured ways that I spent time in that older-youth era. Of course, this was a pursuit embraced by my family as well so I could work on it in the open but, I am positive, no one ever really saw INTO that world I created each year. Every figure and every part of the overall scene had a backstory. A dialogue and a plot that often changed over the two months it was up and running. I'd add to it and rearrange it each year with a fresh view of it. In reality, the train was the least of my concerns. It was about taking these little pieces, people and structures and making something new from them that fit wit my own paracosm.

And fairy tales. . . I simply adore them. The dark, the light, the rambling and the brief. They remind me, simply put, of the worlds I create as well as the possibility of anything becoming our reality in this world.

Once, when I first moved to the Oregon Coast, I considered renting a piece of property/that had been started as a retreat space with a beautiful A-Frame house. The price was truly way out of my price range but I debated and schemed how I could manage it all  because the original owner had built, in the middle of the woods, a large, free standing mushroom room. Seriously. it stood 8 to 9 feet tall at the peak of it's red spotted mushroom cap roof and was about 7 feet in diameter on the inside with stained glass windows, electrical outlets and a hardwood floor.  I mean, it felt like a portal had opened and this mushroom had somehow slipped to our side from a fairy tale side of existence. What magic!

So, my point is that I truly believe that every person must create from what they know inherently. Or it comes off seeming false somehow. That doesn't mean it should or will be easy as often the most difficult roads are the ones that lead us back to ourselves.

And if we are lucky we find that trail of crumbs that the little Hansels and Gretels in us left behind. . .
we find or way thru the dark woods and past the scary creatures of this world. We survive to create new and personal tales. . . .and we all do this no matter what the path we take.

So, you'll likely see me around more often and I hope you won't mind the display of my work in the posts. It is how I get to what is inside and to what I truly want to say. . . . and quite often, it is all I have to say. :)

Thank you, as always, for reading. :)