Thursday, August 21, 2008

Current Projects: The Armless Maiden

These panels are a huge departure for me - the imagery, the medium and even the design process - which has been a difficult birth. They were fomenting in my mind all last year, after hearing Midori Snyder and Terri Windling's panel discussion on Baba Yaga and the Armless Maiden at WisCon. They finally came out this winter (which was a difficult and emotionally painful one)
I was definitely influenced by a series of abstract panel illustrations of the "Way of the Cross" by Jean Tudor in Vol. 19, No. 4, October 2000 of "Glass On Metal"
So here are my preliminary sketches. There are a couple of projected ones that I don't have a sketch for yet: the final one especially will be a challenge. I plan to do them as 3" x 3" cloisonné panels which will then be mounted somehow. I have not decided what to do with the text (which I have reduced to a bare minimum) I tried several way of incorporating it in the drawing, but was not happy with the results. I am now thinking of incorporating it in the frame - but I might leave it out altogether ...

IN HIS ANGER HE CUTS OFF BOTH HER ARMS:



The enamel panel is just the first two layers - I plan to add about ten more incorporating a leafy texture in shades of green. Enamel is ground up glass that is applied wet with a small spoon, or dry with a sifter depending on the effect that you want to create. I am using both silver and gold wire of differing thickness.

THE DEW HEALS HER WOUNDS AND THE FOREST ANIMALS FEED HER:


This one only has one layer and will be shades of brown/green. This colour is deceiving as it looks dark when fired at low temperatures. Cloisonne layers must always be fired very low until all the layers are built up. This gives you more control over the colour reflections and keeps the enamel from climbing the wires and loosing the shading. In the final high firing this colour will be a light golden amber that will shine through the subsequent layers that I build up (hopefully!)

SHE COMES UPON THE KING'S GARDEN:

THE PRINCE PITIES HER WOUNDS AND LOVES HER BEAUTY. HE MARRIES HER:


In the above panel I plan to use lace to create the background patterns. I can use the lace as a sort of stencil and sift the enamel over it.

Here will be a panel (which I haven't quite got a satisfactory drawing for yet) called 'HE GOES AWAY TO WAR LEAVING HER WITH CHILD'

THEY BIND HER BABY TO HER BACK AND DRIVE HER FROM HER HOME:

AS SHE DIVES INTO THE WATER TO SAVE HER CHILD HER ARMS ARE MAGICALLY REGENERATED

SHE LIVES ALONE IN THE FOREST NURTURING HER CHILD


I wanted this panel to reflect the second panel but to have a glowing heart, so the forest will be dark, but the window of her home will shine brightly

I am still working on the final panel when the prince comes courting again called "THE PRINCE FINDS HER AND LOVES HER NOW AS AN EQUAL"

The Endicott Studio's Journal of Mythic Arts has an insightful article on "The Armless Maiden and the Hero's Journey" by Midori Snider
Terri Windling has also edited a book called "The Armless Maiden and Other Tales for Childhood's Survivors"

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