Tag Archives: symbolism

Magic In Your Pocket

I turn my head and you may go where you want.
I turn it again, you will stay till you rot.
I have no face, but I live or die by my crooked teeth
Who am I?*

 

I admit, sometimes I look too deeply into the symbolism in things and it can ruin an on the surface enjoyable experience. (Eg- The Christian symbolism in the Narnia books, or the attitude towards women in so many Disney movies…) Perhaps it’s in my blood from one too many literature or art history classes.

Other times I feel like I don’t look deeply enough, or question why things have become symbols. A few months ago on Extribulum Sam wrote a short articles about symbols in writer’s tool kit and the power of things like mirrors, coins and keys and looked at the whys.

I enjoyed it in part because such a kit is not exclusive to writers, it creeps in everywhere. Besides interesting textures and colors, symbols pop up in crafts all the time. Coins bring to mind values, perhaps of different places and times. I’ve used keys in charm collages, as a symbol they are shorthand for thoughts about freedom and escape, or of feeling trapped. As Sam pointed out, a key found out of context is a mystery.  

So I read his entry and went along my way. Then thought of it again last night, sort of laughing at myself. Before things went pear shaped at Brimfield last week I’d purchased a handful of old foreign coins to wrap-little vestiges of times past with portraits of rulers long dead.

I’ve also been making wire work keys recently. Not for any great reason, saw something that made me think that when you see Alice in Wonderland things the keys never match the description of small, golden and ornate from the book and I decided to make one. Didn’t get just the right key for Wonderland yet, but I’ve been enjoying making them. I didn’t give much thought to why they strike me, or anyone, as an appropriate focal point for a piece of jewelry. (Perhaps as a symbol it’s so ingrained that we don’t conciously think about it anymore?)

I’ve seen wire wrap keys around (well, around the internet, never in person) and many were gorgeous, but so intricate it felt like they were losing the outline of a key, which was sort of the essence. So I went in the opposite direction to make something simple, like the sketch of a key with an outline that might still fit in, if you found the right lock.

We discussed that a little on dA, guessing where the keys might lead if you found the right lock…

*does anyone know where this comes from? It’s one of those I remembered it but tried to look online and found it plenty of places, but never with a provenance.

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Filed under Crafts, Uncategorized

Brecciated Backgrounds

A bit of a bookend for Chatoyant Skies and its ode to Blue Pietersite and El Greco…

The more sharply delineated golden pietersite with its iron oxide shimmers sometimes reminds me of the backgrounds in Gustav Klimt’s paintings.

Klimt was an Austrian symbolist painter. The son of a jeweler, he was born and studied near Vienna and became a successful muralist. In the early 1890s his father and brother both died and Klimt became the head of both families. This newfound responsibility is believed to be part of what caused the significant change in his personal style.

One piece I saw and really liked (and didn’t realize it was his right away) is Two Girls with Oleander. It isn’t as planar, or hammering death and the erotic as his usual work. (Though it is two pretty girls admiring a poisonous plant…) It’s an almost gentle piece. The painting is dated to 1892, so I wonder if it’s before his new style fully took over.

After the turn of the century he entered his Golden phase, where he incorporated gold leaf into the increasingly flat plane of his paintings. (It was these that pietersite sometimes brings to mind.)

His most famous piece, The Kiss, is from this period. It is probably on as many totes, mouse pads, umbrellas, dorm room posters and ‘what-have-you’s as Monet’s water lilies.

Klimt is generally not my style. I can appreciate the work and the impact, but unlike in Egyptian art, for some reason the flatness doesn’t really appeal to me. Or perhaps it’s the way the figures have to fight the background to escape.

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Filed under Art, Gems