Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Green Man - A Verdant Post III

Tonight I am honored to share with you a portion of the personal Green Man collection owned by Shane Odom. Shane is the person I automatically associate with the Green Man, and I hope he won't mind my saying that he is a true inspiration to me as far as living a mythic life.

So we'll let Shane introduce his collection!

This is my collection of green men on the wall in our pocket garden at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, this picture was taken in 2010. Known as the "Green Man's Garden", it is carved out of a narrow space between our and the neighbor's booth. We use it for breaks, visiting with friends, and as an extra workspace from the main shop next door. The collection has been assembled over many years and is constantly growing. It spends much of the season hanging on the outside walls of our home in Western Maryland, but once a year, it gets carefully packed and displayed in the garden for several weeks. There are various artists and resources represented in the collection. From familiar foliate faces out of garden catalogs, to historical molds taken from ancient churches. I enjoy showing them to guests, and a historical tour of the image and it's artistic evolution through time is often in order.

A view inside the secret door of the garden. From the outside, to the patrons at the festival, it is a full length mirror. The fountain and laughing fellow atop the pedestal were both gifts from friends, and I believe it came from garden centers. Cast in molded plastic, they exemplify that for the Green Man collector, there are numerous affordable options available.

I am particularly fond of the work of Paul Borda. Paul's evocative imagery is hand carved in wood and then cast in resin. This amused fellow, (pictured from before the yellow painting in the garden) is an iconic figure and beautifully done. Also in my collection, and not individually pictured, is the amazing sculpture of Edan Kent. His skill at capturing the powerful face of the Green Man is remarkable and I collected his work a number of years ago at a Celtic event. I lost track of Edan, you can imagine my surprise and delight at his attendance at the 2011 FaerieCon in Baltimore. It was a pleasure to introduce him to the Mythic Arts community I had told him so much about, so many years ago.

Of particular and important historical note in my collection, is this casting of the "Bamberg" Green Man. This green man is taken from a sculpture located in the Cathedral of Bamberg, Germany. The image was carved sometime between 1225-1237 AD and considered by many fans of the Foliate image to be one of the most imaginative and stirring examples of the style in the Medieval Period. Certainly his deep leafy folds and piercing eyes bring about the mystery of the ancient forest that the green man is so famously associated with.

I am not only a collector of Green Man images, but a creator of them as well. The two above photos are examples of my wife, Leah, and I's work. On the left is a small one-of-a-kind polymer clay sculpture mounted on a wooden plaque. On the right is an example of our main art form, sculpted leather masks. This is a full size wearable mask sculpture. The image of the green man is one of some importance to me, and I am rather surprised to find myself something of a scholar on the subject. I write, lecture, and seek any opportunity I can to talk about this wonderful mythic image, and perhaps, the message it has to offer us from the past and into the future.

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