Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Lost swans and tiny twigglings

I got a bit bored last week, so I made a little book.  And a hat for a very small, new person, which is in the post as we speak...snail mail post, that is.

I've had maps on the brain for quite a while now, and as ideas lead to other ideas which often tend to send me down obscure little side tracks that really aren't going in the direction I thought I was heading in, I got thinking about the maps that exiles and wanderers might keep in their heads, of places they love but cannot return to, and who might these exiles be?  Well, perhaps we are all exiles in one respect, don't we all carry mud-maps in our heads with oh-so-familiar landmarks...of places that we cannot return to?  Like childhood.  The house we grew up in, our grandmother's backyard, the streets or patches of bush we haunted that either no longer exist, or we cannot go to.  And then I got to thinking about the exiles of myth and legend.  Like Suibhne the mad king.  Or the Children of Lir.

The Children of Lir is a story I've been fascinated by since I was a teenager.  I'm not sure what it is about it, but I think it has a lot to do with the deep longing and yearning that I felt in the story, the desire to go home.  Perhaps it just struck a chord with a teenager who felt she wasn't in the right skin, or the right place, or the right country, or century, or something just not quite definable, and longed to go 'home' even though she didn't know what this 'home' she longed for was.

So I wrote a little poem.  And then I looked up collectives nouns (because I was sure there'd be something as interesting as 'a murder of crows,' for swans), and discovered that a flock of swans is known as a 'lamentation'.  How absolutely perfect.  So then the poem became a little book because I wanted to experiment with a bit of 'bookmaking' in different ways, in preparation for the map book.  AND because I wanted to just do something that was for me and not for a deadline (as much as the deadline was imposed by myself).

Tea bags, calligraphy, pencil lettering, a little feather in ink on canvas, a real feather (though not a swan's), and then I got a bit lazy because I wanted to finish it, and I redrew an old drawing of mine that appeared in this little book.  So now it's done, and I'd better get back to the real business in hand...maps...and songs for my music course.  Hmm, maybe this will become a little song too.

Oh, and not forgetting the hat for a tiny twiggling!


Ms. said...

Nice to see you--It's been a while. Love the book and the thought behind it. Identify with that teenager...a universal teenager I think...nothing quite 'fits'...also identify with the loss of what was, the lamentation of loss....my Grandmas house was gone long ago, and that cabin in the Catskill mountains, lost but never forgotten...memory maps are all we have, and the fact of being. The blessed fact of that.

Charming hat.....That twigling is one lucky elf :-)

sarah said...

These are so beautiful and each seems wise to magic. I have always loved your art, but this book especially inspires me.

Nomi McLeod said...

I love this! What a completely beautiful book...I hope you will be making more. You've inspired me, as usual!

Mo Crow said...

ah Christina beautiful dreamer

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