– would definitely smell as sweet…but would a rosegarden sound as attractive if it was called a thorncob border?

I am preparing to promote a piece going on display [all the details will be shared as soon as I’m allowed!] and realising, though the name makes perfect sense, it lacks pulling power…it’s also out of synch with previous exhibitions, which in some way or another reminded people to pay attention.

the same but different

no such thing as empty space

nothing is ever wasted

flagships for the landlocked

So the working title of the piece was Gaia’s Gorgons, and relates to a dream I had where I could see Medusa/the human Gorgon (she has 2 immortal sisters) being slain by a warrior and hearing a braid of voices saying ” You killed my daughters, my guardians, who will protect me?”

This is not my normal style of dream at all, I assure you! Anyway, I jotted down a few things from the dream, lots of red and green, that there were 3 gorgons, daughters, and that the sword was the warrior’s hand. Then I went on some classical/ Greek Myth sites online, and discovered, yes, there are 3 gorgons and they are daughters of the nature and ocean goddesses, or if you read Hesiod:

“the Athenians believed Gaia birthed the Gorgons using the castration blood of Ouranus to protect her earth from the carelessness and cruelty of the failed Gods, the Titans.”

– so getting why that wasn’t the version in primary school!!!

After some more delving I found a (new to me) myth:

When Perseus laid the Gorgon’s head on a bed of seaweed at Lake Tritonis, the soft, dancing weed was changed to strange fronds, which out of the water became stiff and hard as rock as they died. The nymphs were so startled they took the head from plant to plant…

[you can find out more by reading Timeoroi Libyes C3 BCE; Diodorus Siculus and Ovid C1BCE, and Pausanius C2AD]

–  I knew the theory that the head of snakes was a (literal) whitewash of a head of dreadlocks, the European Greeks invading Africa and killing the Libyan warrior queen and rewriting history in the way of all victors, to make themselves heroes, but that the link with Libya was written about 5,000 years ago kind of blew me away 😉

STA44585

Now I started daydreaming dreads and braids, all in reds and greens and linked with seaweed and coral…I even chatted to a guy in the bank about it, he’d got a really fresh cornrow with snaky dreads and I got caught staring, so I explained it was for art and why, [probably won strangest customer of the day ;)] but he was mega impressed with the idea of making a piece about it, because by now I knew I was linking this to Gorgonian Corals, a family of corals which

“are now studied as important indicator species of environmental (including climate) change”

– read Heikoop, Risk, Shearer and Atudorei 2002/3

You can imagine, I was a bit startled where this dream had come round to!

My hands knew exactly what they wanted to do though, all those dreads, braids, the waving fronds, the coral like statues of seaweed:

STA44581

So, it all makes sense, but…that’s a lot of information for anyone to take in who isn’t already really into Greek myths.

And the thing is, like all my work, it’s a celebration of the small, the tiny inflections of colour, the hundreds of threads making a whole that is in turn part of a larger thing…it’s very tactile, it ranges from supersoft acrylic yarn to machine cords all twisty with tension, to rustling crepey taffeta, to bristly torn and machined organza to slippery nickel chain to pearl smooth shells…the dreams and the myths were all the inspiration that brought me to make the piece. It’s format is site specific and it will possibly be hung as tree jewellery, possibly extending from a seat… so in situ, it’s about surprise and delight and wonder at the sheer time it took to make….and the fact that it will be open to the elements (it’s fully washable) and what is it doing there?!

What will be evident is the extended repetition of simple techniques, using the huge variety of jackdawed leftovers and upcycled scraps, working slowly and making something new and pleasing 😉

Add to that the fact that I suffer from chronic fatigue and crochet makes my hands hurt now (I finished this before the great fall of last August) and I’m not sure I could make all this beauty again, that is fragile if treated with disrespect, it feels precious, just like the corals, there’s an edge, how do we value the irreplaceable?

What sort of name does all that convey/ what sort of name conveys all that? And attract the eye/ear to come and see the actual piece?

I am hoping I’ll dream the answer…

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