Monday, June 10, 2013

Final ABC Round Robin Swap

Welcome everyone,
For the final round robin swap I received Maureen's book of Mermaids.  This altered book was created  from a children's board book and so has a few limitations with the types of art that can be created inside. Maureen had hinted that I could finish the book if I wanted. I agreed to try but what to that was different from the other awesome collage work that had been created by the other ABC artists. After my visit to Sam's Castle in Pacifica I came up with the idea of creating a mermaid Reliquary inside the book.  Unfortunately the book was too thin to carve a niche inside.  But I found that I had the perfect replacement-a real seashell box that I picked up at a garage sale.  So what to do inside the actual board book?  I started to look up all the info I could find on mermaids.  From one of my own books I found some interesting information.  Did you know that the mirror the mermaid carried began as a symbol for the Greek idea "Know Thyself".  In other words a wise person knows their own strengths and limitations and being humble in the sight of the Gods.  By knowing oneself you could hope to avoid Hubris or pride.  To the ancient Greeks Pride was the ultimate sin and was always the cause of man's downfall.  If you look at any of the Greek myths-all the hero's ultimately end badly because they became arrogant and full of pride.  Christian theology later adopts pride as one of the deadly sins and you can still hear the echos of the idea of Greek Hubris in Christian phrases such as "Pride goeth before the fall." Adam of course had this fault in spades. The mermaid was often used in early Christian sermons as an example of the false attractions of sin. Unfortunately her mirror became the symbol of vanity instead of a symbol of wisdom.
Today the idea of "know thyself" is still an important one.  For it is only when we truly understand our strengths and limitations can we reach our full artistic potential.

The  full spread with text.

Here is a picture of part of the reliquary from Sam's castle that was the inspiration for my mermaid Reliquary.  Note the wire bullion or crinkle wire as it is know today.

Here is the shell box-a garage sale find.

First I made a mold of a tiny antique doll(front and back).  I used paperclay in the mold and then attached the two halves of the mold while still wet to make a little doll out of paperclay that will eventually be turned into a mermaid.
Paperclay mermaid next to original antique doll.

Painted base of paperclay inside the shell box.  The mirror is inset in the paperclay and the mermaid rests in the indentations made for it earlier.

almost finished reliquary with bullion wire, seashells and vintage  beads and pearls included.

close ups of the inside of the reliquary minus the ribbon around the mermaids body that reads "know thyself".

This was another really fun project.  I was proud of the way the reliquary came out as well as the collage spread in the book.  The good thing is that I have another shell box and tiny mermaid to create another reliquary!

Remember all artists out there:" Know thyself"

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