Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ancient-Future Artifacts #3: Sherry Bellamy's Beads

My original title for the post that started it all - "Explorations of An Ancient-Future" - was "In Search of...," and I might change it back, because the original title was probably more accurate. Certainly the ancient-future was not found by myself in the intellectual realm, but was, more or less, intimated by the artifacts I later found... Tom Beddard's Faberge Fractals, and then those awesome bismuth crystals. One statement in the post was certainly legitimate though: "Ultimately, the Ancient-Future - and/or the necessary bridge between the two - is forged In the creative imagination..."

And, so it goes; approaching the ancient-future directly is almost impossible, and discussing it as if were some physical conundrum is equally as futile.

Poetry, then, is the the only effective way to go. Presently, there are no mathematical equations. So, my mission remains to ferret out examples whenever and wherever they're found, and recently, I came upon another treasure trove. Love, sweet love... Sherry Bellamy's lampwork beads!

Although I've been unsuccessful in contacting the artist - her blog and website seem to have gone dormant earlier this year, and while her tutorials are featured in her Etsy Shop, I'm unsure about the availability of her work - I still felt compelled to feature some glowing examples of Bellamy's art glass. Click on the images and, with your mind's eye, follow the glints, globules and organic glass folds deep inside the globes... Wander accordingly. ;-)

And, as we stand upon the cusp of another year - a metaphor for the ancient-future - here's hoping the "future" part is at least as bright as a lampwork bead.

Happy trails to all of us in the coming year...!

Art glass - Sherry Bellamy, found here

For more luminous examples of Bellamy's work, try this page with a 2005 interview, this 2012 blog post, or her website, Orca Beads, where the piece directly above was found.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Sun Stands Still

Winter Solstice, 2013 - digital - 2013, DS 

Well, I'm a little late with this post; technically the sun "stood still" yesterday, the day of the winter solstice, but I spent the day working on the image above. This all came about when I rediscovered a little rock in the glove compartment of my car - one of my beach finds, probably picked up off a sandbar around the time of this year's summer solstice.

It's an enigmatic little rock... which looks as if its flat surface has lines carved into it. But, if that's actually the case, then it's only a small portion of something much larger. Who knows? But, in its own understated way, it kind of brings to mind the larger - and more celebrated - mysterious rocks that cover the globe, which are thought to be directly related to the winter solstice; Newgrange in Ireland, for instance.

Known to the druids as Alban Arthan, and the beginning of Yule, the winter solstice marks the time of the year when the sun returns, and the daylight hours slowly begin to grow longer... which is a good thing to know as we drag ourselves through the ice and snow!

Anyway, my little rock wanted to be a star... and so, I made it one... scanning it into this machine, and positioning it with an old scan of some ice I had on hand. (Yes, you can scan ice on a flatbed scanner... but, be quick about it!)

So, take heart... the winter has just begun, but, the "darkest hour" is already history!

(Additionally: 6 Ancient Tributes to the Winter Solstice.)

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Language of the Birds (& the Memory of Sound): Automatism

Wings of Light - oil on canvas - 1984, Roberto Matta

"Fulcanelli's main point, the key to unraveling the larger mystery of alchemy and the cathedrals, lies in an understanding of what he calls the "phonetic law" of the "spoken cabala," or the "Language of the Birds."

"What unsuspected marvels we should find, if we knew how to dissect words, to strip them of their barks and liberate the spirit, the divine light, which is within," Fulcanelli writes. He claims that in our day this is the natural language of the outsiders, the outlaws and heretics at the fringes of society.

It was also the "green language" of the Freemasons ("All the Initiates expressed themselves in cant," Fulcanelli reminds us) who built the art gothique of the cathedrals. Ultimately the "art cot," or the "art of light," is derived from the Language of the Birds, which seems to be a sort of Ur-language taught by both Jesus and the ancients. It is also mentioned in the Sufi text, entitled "The Conference of the Birds," by Attar the Chemist."

- excerpt from Reading the Green Language of Light  by Vincent Bridges

"Whilst some artists emphasised automatism’s role in discovering hidden aspects of the artist’s psyche, others, such as Roberto Matta, valued it as a means for uncovering hidden aspects of objects and for the exploration of what lies beyond the confines of the visible world. Its optical image is just one aspect of the existence of an object. Galaxies, crystals and living matter go through processes of creation, existence and destruction. They exist in time, change with the passage of time and can be observed from multiple perspectives. Conventionally, however, they are only depicted at a fixed point in their history, from a single point in space and, inevitably, with a palette limited to colours which reflect light of a visible wavelength.

To his attempts to use automatism to give form to those things which cannot be seen except as an inner vision, Matta gave the name ‘psychological morphology’, a phrase Colquhoun used to describe her paintings of the 1940s.  For the painters involved in this theorising – primarily Matta, Esteban Frances and Gordon Onslow-Ford – the possibilities were, literally, endless; ‘It is a Hell-Paradise where all is possible’ wrote Onslow-Ford. He continued; ‘The details of the farthest star can be as apparent as those of your hand.  Objects can be extended in time so that the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly can be observed at a glance."

- excerpt from Richard Shillitoe's excellent online article: Occult Surrealist: Ithell Colquhoun and automatism

"We are still living under the rule of logic, that, of course, is what I am driving at. But in our day, logical procedures are only applicable in solving problems of secondary interest. The absolute rationalism still in fashion only allows us to consider facts directly related to our own experience. The aims of logic, in contrast, escape us. Pointless to add that our very experience finds itself limited. It paces about in a cage from which it is more and more difficult to free it. It leans, it too, on immediate utility, and is guarded by common sense. Under the flag of civilisation, accompanied by the pretext of progress, we have managed to banish from the spirit everything that might rightly or wrongly be termed superstition, fancy, forbidding any kind of research into the truth which does not conform to accepted practice. It was by pure chance, it seems, that a part of our mental world, and to my mind the most important, with which we pretended to be no longer concerned, was recently brought back to light."


M'onde - oil on canvas - 1989, Roberto Matta

(Continuing where I left off), have you ever come across a particular scene (via a movie or some other form of entertainment)... which goes something like this: a man is walking down a city street shouting oaths to an invisible entity, and the passersby think he's mad... deranged,* but, in reality, the invisible entity actually exists - the man really is communicating with someone or something - and the passersby are merely missing the overall picture (?). If it isn't already, it ought to be the standard metaphor for all creatures "paranormal". Ghosts, aliens, fairies, Yeti, whatever. Some of us see them, some of us don't. The ones who do are immediately labeled delusional... while the ones who don't - for the most part - file their nails and sit complacently on their sofas, in the safety of a bedroom or living room or media room, watching bogus "reality" shows on whatever pixelated screens they possess. But, meanwhile, there's an elephant in that room. Or, maybe a bird. A wild bird which has flown into the room and has begun plummeting against the walls in panic and desperation. And, because no one knows quite what to do - and the program is over anyway - they wander into another room and close the door.

End of metaphor.

Artists, on the other hand, stay in that room... with the elephant... with the bird... with no pixelated screens to distract them. That is, unless they're a certain breed of digital artist, but, at this point, the screen is blank, apart from maybe a shadow of a large ear, or dim trails from a flapping wing, or the bright glints of light on a splintered beak. Images from the unconscious are hard to pin down. They're anomalies in a different language... poetry in unspoken words. You might say, (re: quote above) an unspoken cabala, the true language of the birds... and, invisible birds, at that.