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Flowers of Death

7 May
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Spring Now!

24 Mar

The buffet is opened: Today came to visit the first bees! Still a bit slow and clumsy from the cold, but so nice to see them back in our garden!

Earlier this week, I went to my old childhood playground and gathered willow catkins. My mom dug out these old painted wooden Easter eggs and little beetles. In 2 weeks I will be moving. It is hard for me to imagine, but something in me is determined to discover and live in a new place.

Isa

2 Jan

With the new year came the first lasting snow and in my mail arrived five little cat’s eye cabochons… I have been asked to do a runic incense for Isa and began gathering corresponding ingredients:

The rune Isa is written with a single straight vertical line. Its meaning is “ice”. Its associated tree and herb is the black alder and henbane, color black and stone is the cats eye (cymophane). Cats eye cabochons break the light in such manner that a single bright line appears across the stone. One could say the rune Isa is literally marked on it. (The effect is stronger under a light bulb or other single light source.) In Asia it is considered a magical stone that shows the direction to hidden and forgotten treasures. The stone comes in colors ranging from honey yellow to green to a dirty blue or gray. A special form is the Alexandrite, which changes color from blueish green to a deep blood red. I like the blueish gray versions best in this context, as these are also the colors of ice and winter.

Isa seemingly represents stillstand. It marks a time when to formulate dreams and vision and choose a direction. It calls for patience and contemplation, but not laziness. Now have to be done preparations and laid down the foundation for a future harvest.

Fingers II

9 Apr

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This time it is not about a surreal dream and also not about the fennel. But it is about another plant’s “fingers”. In folklore the male fern’s “hand” is a lucky charm, meant to bestow fortunes and the power over the souls of the dead to it’s owner. In order to obtain it, the sorcerer must harvest the male fern’s root on the Eve of St. John. Then he must roast the root in the fire. The hand is made in such manner as to bind five strands of the fronds together: the root base of the stem is left attached and the rest of the frond’s foliage is removed. The result resembles a “hand”, with tendons (hairy stems) and fingers (stipe bases). Frankly, I never made such “hand” in this manner. But I’ve gathered plenty of male fern roots and had the most magical experiences granted through working with these roots in various ways, always discovering new aspects to this wondrous plant. Above is another version of this “lucky hand”, formed by the stipe bases and a single frond.

Btw., the stipe bases of the male fern’s fronds are green and spongy towards the center, whereas as the outer (old) parts turn black and rot. So if you were to use the root, make sure you actually use the parts that still have juices in them. Below is a close-up of how that should look:

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Male Fern stipe base, light green in color and of a spongy texture

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Male fern root: in the bowl are the vital parts, to the left are the rotten parts

More about the male fern

Male fern inspired art:

Dead Man's Eve, 2010

“Dead Man’s Eve”, pencil drawing, 2010

Wurmfarn Siegel

Male Fern plant sigil, 2010

 

Death Posture (Mortificatio)

29 May

Death posture II

Death Posture

Found a dead hornet on the floor. It looked as if some invisible hand had placed it there. No signs of violence, except for some white excretion around the stinger. A few days earlier I had seen a huge hornet in our apple tree. The presence of such animal, dead or alive, naturally evokes feelings of unease and discomfort. Yet it was fascinating to get closer. I call the photo “death posture”, not necessarily in reference to something esoteric or spiritual. I rather found the position interesting, which the animal takes upon death with legs crossed to a triple “X”. It’s deader than dead, but there is still a cold stare.

Harvest Circles and other Compositions

30 Dec
Fungi collection, 2013

Fungi collection, 2013

Find updated the site’s Art section, to which has been added amongst others a new page for “assemblage” works, which includes old and new pieces.

Assemblage is an artistic process. In the visual arts, it consists of making three-dimensional or two-dimensional artistic compositions by putting together found objects.

Usually this refers to fixed creations constructed from various elements, which may or may not be movable. I am expanding the term as I also group temporarily assembled objects into that category. You find there for example my “Harvest Circle” series and various other loose compositions, which are put together only for the moment of the photo and later re-used for other purposes. E.g. the dried herbs, fungi and flowers may be utilized by Occvlta jewellery in the creation of unique pendants and artefacts. Yet these temporary works have a point and meaning of their own and may talk to the viewer in different ways. Technically these could be considered still lifes, however I feel the elements are literally assembled, and the process and style of the compositions are closer to assemblage than classical still life.

Central to the work are the dried (and dead) parts of plants, from seed to root, from flower to fruit and everything in between. Usually the material is derived from plants I have grown and harvested by myself. Hence another working title for these compositions is “Dead & Arranged”. Below are some more examples.

In the future I consider doing fixed assemblages in the manner pictured, however I am still researching techniques and materials.

Complementary

17 Sep

Belladonna placed between newspaper pages for drying