Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Crows and Ravens

Well I was hoping to have more time to write up information about another creature found in ballad and folklore and commonly seen as a motif for Halloween, but Sandy had other ideas.  So I'll share with you what I was able to collect before I was distracted by wind and rain!

Crows and Ravens.  

A beautiful tray featuring a rather dapper fellow.

A gorgeous yet simple image of a crow.

By artist Jeremy Hush.

 There is a pose in yoga known as The Crow.  This image shows both the real creature, and the yoga  position.  (From Tumblr, original source unknown)

 Queen Ravenna, in the recent release Snow White and the Huntsman, lives up to her name by wearing a gown strewn with raven skulls and a transformation cloak made of black feathers.

 Gorgeous image of blackbirds and cherries by Danielle Barlow.

So...this is a quilt.  Beaded.  Gorgeous.  I love how the branches extend off the edge of the frame at top.

 Four and twenty black-birds.  I always felt bad for the poor creatures in this nursery rhyme.

And of course, no discussion of crows and blackbirds on a mythic blog would be complete without a shout-out to Charles de Lint's memorable Crow Girls, here rendered by Aaron Pocock.

The Three Ravens is an old ballad that includes a group of blackbirds discussing where they should find their meal.  They discuss a fallen knight who has died and been left by his hawk, his hound and his beloved.  Sad, but catchy, when sung in a slightly different version by Steeleye Span as "Twa Corbies"

 Note the body of the knight in the field?  Gorgeous but (shudder) macabre.

A beautiful embroidered garland of corvids from Etsy.

A sweet classic nursery rhyme image from Etsy.

I adore this embroidered pillow from Etsy.  And guess what?  The seller has one of a bat as well.

A whimsical print.
 And another, set against the eponymous poem by Poe.

Pie birds.  My mom gave me one upon request for a recent birthday.  No doubt at least part of their origin is owed to the nursery rhyme of the poor things baked in a pie, but they just add such cheerful whimsy...not to mention they are practical.

The Plague Doctor was a physician who would dress in what now appears to us to be a ridiculous ensemble to visit plague victims.  The "beak" of his mask was filled with aromatic herbs to fend off the stench of illness, the lenses in his mask were tinted red to ward off evil.  And he dressed all in black with a black wide-brimmed hat that identified him as a physician.

 Artist Toby Froud played the Plague Doctor on stilts at Faeriecon three years ago. 

And my friend Lindsey and I, also dressed in vaguely Plague Doctor-y masks, had to get a shot:

 The Grimm fairy tale of the Seven Ravens is a beautiful one, here incredibly rendered in silhouette by a new favorite artist of mine, Steering for North.

Jim Henson also filmed a version of the tale on his incredible Storyteller tv show.  It's my personal favorite episode of Storyteller, with Miranda Richardson playing an incredible evil role, and Vanessa Redgrave's daughter Joely Richardson (well for crying out loud...I never even knew it was her until I just looked it up to write it here) playing the heroine role.

 From Pinterest: "Illustration of a Japanese fairy tale wherein a girl befriends a crow demon in order to save the soul of her sister."  Anyone know more about this story?

And finally, I have to put this question out there to the interwebs.  About twelve years ago I worked at a new-age bookstore.  We would enjoy talking with and exchanging stories with the people who came in there.  Once I told one of the customers that I always tended to see a spiderweb or a crow before something magical or supernatural was going to happen, or I had to pay attention in the moment.  He told me that there was a superstition or piece of lore that when you were traveling, if you saw a crow overhead flying in the same direction as you, it meant you were on the right path, both physically and spiritually.  If, however, a crow flew across your path, it was a sign to change directions.

Has anyone heard of this before?  I would love to know the origin!

So there you have it.  On the eve of Halloween, let's celebrate these beautiful, highly-intelligent, and extremely magical creatures!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tree Lamps

The stained glass table lamp I have on my bedside table from my Grandma's house is getting a little bent out of shape.  It might be time to get a new one soon.  So I did a random search tonight for tree-themed lamps.  I haven't found the right one yet, but hey...I thought it was a nice opportunity to share what I found in a post!










Forms in Nature

Terri Windling has won the award for finding the most lust-worthy "I want that!!" item I've seen anywhere around in ages.

It's "Forms in Nature", a light sculpture by HildenDiaz, and true to my breaking heart, it doesn't appear to be a sale item.  But this incredible fixture creates its own Windling Trees on your walls, shadowing the entire space from floor to center-ceiling with a forest. 

It seems to me that this sculpture would be impossible to recreate exactly using natural forms...see how the patterns duplicate themselves to form a symmetrical pattern of tree shapes?  But if you didn't mind having more assymetry in your design, it's possible you could create something similar using real branches perhaps?  But then there's the fire hazard....hmmm.....

Monday, October 22, 2012

Calling All Windling Trees!

So I've been asked to reproduce and elaborate on my Windling Trees blog post for a magazine article.  I would greatly like to include images of Windling Trees that have been created on walls since the original blog post was written.

So send me your images (the higher res the better) of your Windling Trees!  Either post them to our Facebook group, or send them to me at the email address feysidhe @ gmail . com

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Masterpiece Miniature Bag End

I just love it when I stumble across something amazing totally by accident.  A friend is making a recreation of Bag End in his garage for Beggar's Night this year (he's known for doing the holiday up big every year in his neighborhood) and asked me to do recreations of the portraits above the fireplace.

Searching the internet tonight for information on the portraits, I came across this website, and as I scrolled down through it, my jaw dropped lower and lower.

I love the way she extrapolated how the rest of Bag End might look based on the rooms we see in the film.  She even made a Hobbit bathroom and pantry.  Incredible stuff!!!  Many more photos are available at the link.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Going Batty!!

Bats!  I love them.  They are one of my absolute favorite creatures, and something about them makes them seem very akin to Faerie.  Of course modern society likes to relegate bats to Halloween decorations or Goth home decor, but it was by no means always this way.

My favorite exhibit at the Columbus Zoo, by leaps and bounds, is their Flying Fox Bats.  In December every year, the zoo has a "Wild Lights" Christmas light show, and they keep the zoo open after dark for people to enjoy the holiday glow.  The first year I went, I made my way straight to the bats after dark, and was rewarded by seeing them stretch and fly and grow active in the twilight. 

Me visiting my beloved Flying Foxes

I even wrote a short story for my new niece for Christmas last year involving a Flying Fox Bat doctor who saved the life of a little swanling.

This year's story involves Doctor Bat and the story of how he got his magical faerie stone.

The Victorians seemed to embrace fully the idea of bats contrasting and yet somehow belonging-with the pastel loveliness of faeries.


Indeed, Shakespeare's sprite from The Tempest, Ariel, says:

Where the bee sucks, there suck I.
In a cowslip’s bell I lie.
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat’s back I do fly
After summer merrily.
Merrily, merrily shall I live now
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.

The Victorians embraced the batty.  How badly do I want to make one of these costumes below??

Especially this one.  Bad Faeries Ball at Faeriecon 2013 maybe??

From silent film, Les Vampires

Even the master of graceful ethereal glass, Tiffany, created a gorgeously gothic bat lamp.

I am in love.

 And the modern masterful company I've featured here before, Century Studios, created their own version.


19th century glass artist Galle was known for this exquisite style of bat lamp:

Link for above and below

And Lalique even went a little batty too.

Freiwald Art Pottery is known for making bat pottery vessels so exquisite, you wouldn't be faulted to think they were 19th century examples from a museum.

 And then there is this actual Nouveau antique:

 And this modern piece from Door Pottery.

And a beautiful bat faerie from a favorite modern doll sculptor, Nenufar Blanco.


Love this design for a bat faerie.  Definitely batty, but not evil.  The style reminds me a little of Tony DiTerlizzi.


Blind as a bat.  Get it?  Too cute.  A pillow from Plum.

 And an enchanting Faerie Door on Etsy.


And a screenprinted pillow and original art both available on the Etsy page for the incomparable artist, Kelly Louise Judd of Swan Bones Theater.

Link above & below

I found this image of a creative craft idea for combining whimsy and the mystery of bats.  Sadly it appears the original link is broken, but it looks pretty simple to create with a bat paper punch and different paper.

Finally I would be entirely remiss in doing a post on the magic of bats without mentioning Ari Berk's new phenomenal children's book, Nightsong.  I just read this book when it arrived for me at the library, and I had a hard time sending it back.  The gorgeously illustrated picture book tells the story of Chiro, a little bat who learns for the first time how to use his echolocation ability.  Berk describes this experience in absolutely enchanting magical language, describing the bat singing out into the world, and the world singing its song back to him.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who knows children who appreciate the wondrous, or any of we adults who respect the same.