A necklace featuring a hand-carved and painted leather wing pendant, moonstone, labradorite, freshwater pearls, and magic :) You can read more about it here.
It's been a while since I've stopped by here. Things have been stressful and I've been dividing my time so much lately it's hard to get to everything. A have a very special piece of art in the works that is close to being finished so hopefully I can share that in the next few weeks.
Anyways, I just wanted to write about my newish blogs over at Blogspot. I've decided to transition most of my blogging to Blogspot since I prefer the format and features. My previous Livejournal blogs will still be there, but chances are they won't be updated as much (not that I've been doing well with blog updates in general). Below are the new addresses for my blogs:
Art & Writings:
Jewelry & Crafts:
Drop by for a visit if you like :) Have a wonderful autumn!
I just realized that I did not mention my brand new website on this blog. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be so negligent!
Anyways, I now have a new portfolio website/official gallery where you can find my favorite pieces of artwork along with some writings, links, bibliography etc. It is located at: www.DesireeIsphording.com.
I also have a few new items in my Etsy shop including some hand-carved leather keychains and some spiderweb jewelry!
Happy Samhain/Halloween/Dia de los Muertos!
I believe it has been about a year since I last created a Faery Mask
necklace. Thankfully my life is beginning to reorient itself around my
own art- and jewelry-making again and I'm starting to settle into a new
pattern which allows more time for creation.
I've had quite a number of people e-mail and comment about the Autumn Firefox necklace, and while this new piece is not a fox, it is another in the wild canine family. This mask was not originally intended to be a coyote, but it asserted itself in that way nonetheless. If I would have set out to make a coyote Faery Mask, I probably would have wanted his expression to show a bit more levity. That's just not the way it turned out though:
Today has been a good day. I had my harp lesson, then brought a bunch of stuff over to my new apartment and reveled in the idea of my own space. The sun is shining and it is warmer than I was expecting it to be.
When I came home, I had an e-mail awaiting me from WildSide Press with notification that a book featuring my cover art had been published and a shipment of the books would be headed my way shortly. I was not expecting the book to be printed until the summer of this year. Out of curiosity, I searched Amazon for the title, and lo and behold, it is there with my art emblazoned on the cover: Harp, Pipe, and Symphony by Paul DiFillipo. This is my first real book cover, and I feel really accomplished! I feel the graphic designer incorporated my piece very well with the type and overall color scheme. It's especially appropriate that the novel is about Thomas the Rhymer, who has had a profound influence on my own path. I cannot wait to see and read it for myself.
Often we focus on the technical aspects of learning to draw: rendering, shading, perspective, proportion, etc. but if you're hoping to make art that addresses the Faery realm there is also a whole other world to take into consideration beyond the simply technical aspects. This is not to deride technique and matters of craftsmanship as those are the important vocabulary in the language of artistic expression. Someone once wisely asked if you cannot draw what you see with your physical eyes, how can you draw what you see through you inner vision? :) I think that someone can learn to skillfully render the human figure and wings and be able to incorporate them together, but that in itself will not a faery artist make.
The following are some books which I feel would be really helpful to a beginning (or seasoned) artist which will take you beyond the technical aspects of art.
Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orlando
This book is not specifically related to Faery art, but it has a lot to say about the process of making art in general and about the challenges that can often prevent us from making art that is important to us. It is full of really great insights, but isn't a dry read by any means.
Drawing Closer to Nature: Making Art in Dialogue with the Natural World by Peter London
Faeries are intimately tied with the sensual, natural world all around us. This book is a really interesting look at how art can serve as a form of communication between humanity and nature.
The Inner Reaches of Outer Space: Metaphor as Myth and as Relgion by Joseph Campbell
Written by one of the most prominant mythologists of our time, this book contains an espcially relevant essay on the role of the artist as a mystic and shaman.
The Mission of Art by Alex Grey
This book aims to bring art away from its purely intellectual aspects and back towards a spiritual practice.
DeviantART recently added a new feature where you can create collections of various artworks based upon whatever perameters strike you at the time. I've actually been wanting to create some sort of compendium of mythic faery art for some time, and this new feature really suits that purpose nicely. The only issue is, of course, that you can only include art that has been uploaded to deviantART.
Without further adieu, may I present:
Don't get me wrong, glitter and wings can be fun. I think just about everyone, including myself, likes to indulge in them every once and a while, and for those of us who need to earn a living based upon our art, glitter and wings do tend to dominate the fairy art market right now. However, there are so many other collections of faery art (not just on DA) in which the glitter and wings are the overwhelming majority, I think it's good to show that alternatives exist.
Well, I finally bit the bullet and joined Etsy. There are so many
beautiful, hand crafted things there that I simply couldn't resist any
longer. I listed all of my currently available jewelry items there as
well as three ACEOs, and if sales there are promising, I may sell all of
my future jewelry and craft items there too. We'll see.
Please drop by for a visit!
Hope you enjoy!
As an artist, I'm interested in how humans interact with and depict faeries in the present day. But as someone who is enamored with mythology, legend, etc. and also is academically inclined, I believe that artists can gain valuable touchstones to Faery through tradition and folklore which can deepen their work. I don't believe that modern people should be chained to the lore of the past or that Faery is immutable, but I do think that there is tremendous value in seeking the knowledge and experience of people whose daily lives were much more closely entwined with Faery and Nature than ours are. (Not to mention that the faeries of folklore are much more interesting and complex than their fantastical counterparts!)
Peter M. Rojcewicz, in his essay entitled Between One Eye Blink and the Next: Fairies, UFOs, and Problems of Knowledge highlights the importance of folklore to humanity:
Folklore, because of its generally unschooled, informal, and conservative nature, more clearly presents the outlines of the mind's organization than does the more self-conscious and stylistically variable popular and elite arts. Having a more intimate relationship with their own archetypal roots, traditional societies have lived closer to the quintessential spirit of nature, which employs the human mind as the context of its own 'individuation.' Nature individualizes it spirit in all forms of cognition, human or otherwise.[...]Anomalous folklore [...], would not, rightly speaking, point to a 'supernatural' realm but toward a natural order that embraces all life. Folklore, from this perspective, does not bring us further from reality, but brings us through our 'imaginal' archetypal roots to the nature's 'truth.' Folklore is never literally true, but it may always be fundamentally true.In other words, folklore represents a collection of metaphorical truths. Unlike literature authored by one specific person, folklore was originally transmitted orally through numerous people, and through this process its most potent elements are preserved and distilled. Folklore then is a series of powerful guides to humanity's relationship with the landscape, life, death, and other beings (human and non-human) which has been stripped of its nonessential and extraneous tidbits.
Much of the "knowledge" we currently take for granted regarding Faery is actually derived from more contemporary literature than from folklore, including the extremely tiny stature of the elfin people, their delicate insect wings, and their rather benevolent nature towards humanity - traits that a great number of people mistakenly believe to be the defining characteristics of faeries. To say that all literature regarding faeries (including work from such luminaries as Shakespeare whose writings have had a profound influence on the modern view of faeries) is false is not entirely accurate, of course, because to do so would be to deny that Faery does genuinely inspire individuals. However, to take the views presented by literature as the only truths and to ignore the lessons of folklore regarding Faery is a grave mistake.
On to some recommended reading :)
Katherine Briggs is one of the greatest resources in the study of fairylore. She has written many books on the subject; The Fairies in Tradition and Literature (Routledge Classics), The Vanishing People and Encyclopedia
of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, & Other Supernatural
Creatures (Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library)
are simply the ones I've already added to my collection. The former is
a great overall introduction to the fairylore of the British Isles but
it also touches upon the perception and development of faeries within
literature. The latter two are collections of more in-depth entries
relating to various faery types, themes, and tales.
If you enjoy the encylopedic format, I would also suggest Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia. Although entries on faeries share a volume with entries on angels, demons, etc. its truly international content makes it a pleasant companion to Brigg's "An Encyclopedia of Fairies." Another text that falls within the same format would be Illustrated Encylopedia of Fairies.
As a concise introduction to traditional views of Faery, Fairy Lore is a great starting point. Originally published as "The Fairy Mythology," The World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves & Other Little People is a collection of faery stories from many lands. The updated title is a bit misleading since the book is almost entirely Eurocentric in focus, but it is still a treasure-trove of tales. The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries: The Classic Study of Leprechauns, Pixies, and Other Fairy Spirits is a classic work which is particularly valuable in that Evans-Wentz not only collects the fairylore itself but also the beliefs of the people regarding faeries. The Secret Commonwealth: Of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies (New York Review Books Classics) is a short essay on Faery by a 17th century Scottish clergyman by the name of Robert Kirk. It is believed that because he revealed too much of Faery's nature with this work he was "taken" captive into the hollow hills himself. Elves, Wights, and Trolls: Studies Towards the Practice of Germanic Heathenry: Vol. I (Studies Towards the Practice of Germanic Heathenry) is a survey of fey within Germanic and Scandinavian culture. While the first portion is largely academic in nature, the second portion includes suggested rites for honoring Them firsthand.
Meeting the Other Crowd is a recently-collected volume of fairylore from Ireland. Although the purpose of compiling folklore can be academic, this book reads like a collection of short stories, drawing you in with every page, and it may well alter your view of Irish faeries forever. Another work which examines some of the less-pleasant aspects of traditional fairylore is At the Bottom of the Garden: A Dark History of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Nymphs, and Other Troublesome Things, however it also is concerned with the changing view of Faery in literature, culture, and media. An anthology of works by various folklorists, The Good People: New Fairylore Essays features writings about fairylore in Canada, Scotland, Ireland, Norway etc. as well as essays about the development of the American Tooth Fairy and the etymology of the word fairy. Some of the essays are drier reading than others, but it's interesting to find more contemporary pieces. A Fairy Tale Reader: A Collection of Story, Lore and Vision is another beautiful anthology of traditional tales of Faery as well as poetry, excerpts from more contemporary literature, and more personal reflections on Elfhame.
The Victorian conception of Faery has had a profound impact on shaping our modern stereotype of fairies as tiny, delicate, playful creatures with insect wings and pointed ears. This image is rarely supported in genuine world folklore and myth, but it is definitely worth investigating how this stereotype came about.Strange and Secret Peoples: Fairies and Victorian Consciousness, Victorian Fairy Painting, and Fairy Art: Artists & Inspirations provide a great deal of background as to how the Victorians viewed and represented Faery.
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