February winds have made for a blustery bay this week, but that hasn’t stopped visitors from coming to our fair little coastal town. I’ve been busy conjuring up some “sea-themed” items to offer through artsyletters, especially at my kiosk over in Fordham Market. I wrote a wee bit about this in my author blog post for Poetry Friday last week.
In that post I showed the elements in progress, but above is one of the finished pieces. These are miniatures, made from cradled wood boards into small shadow boxes. I painted them black and covered them with acrylic gloss, then antiqued a self-leveling hanger and attached it to the back.
The featured text came directly from
Gems of Literature, Art, and Music
Choice Selections from the Writings and Musical Productions of the Most Celebrated Authors, From the Earliest Times
compiled by Henry Davenport Northrop, D. D., and published in 1888.
It’s actually a refrain to a song, “The Tar for all Weathers,” by Charles Dibdin (1745-1814). Lucky for me, the refrain appeared a few times, so I made three of these. (I was able to find the author’s name in three spots in the book as well.) I’ve put two of these at Fordham and listed the third in my Etsy shop.
Here are the words:
But sailors were born for all weathers,
Great guns let it blow high or low,
Our duty keeps us to our tethers,
And where the gale drives we must go.
(That line, “Great guns let it blow high or low” has been rattling around in my head since I read it!)
The text is placed atop an original mini-woodcut. I hadn’t done any printmaking in the months since my neck/nerves injury in the fall, and it felt wonderful last week to carve a block or two and roll out the ink (love that smell) and print some images! The ship’s wheel hanging above the text is hand cast from blackened pewter, from a wonderful Etsy shop specializing in antiqued brass.
Here’s another 4″ by 4″ piece with text from a different poem, “At Sea” by John Townsend Trowerbridge:
The text reads:
A heavenly trust my spirit calms,
my soul is filled with light:
The Ocean sings his solemn psalms,
The wild winds chant: I cross my palms
Happy as if to-night
Under the cottage roof again
I heard the soothing summer rain.
This little piece features tiny vintage watch parts – a watch hand and a wheel, as well as a lovely vintage brass decorative element. It was described as a flying mermaid; I’m not sure, but it is some kind of fantastical winged human creature! Fortunately I was able to purchase a few of these, so they will appear in other work, too.
Finally, here is a 6″ by 6″ shadow box/mixed media piece. Again, I made the background by creating a wave-themed woodcut, printing the black image over a block print of mottled blue and green inks. It’s from the same book, CROWN JEWELS, and features a poem by Thomas Lovell Beddoes, “To Sea.” (I’m including a close-up below so you can read the entire poem.) More vintage watch parts on this one – an ornate golden watch hand from France and a tiny wheel which perfectly shows off the decorative illuminated initial “T.” The seahorse is a vintage pin, found by an Etsy dealer in eastern Europe!
Thanks for taking a look. Wishing you smooth sailing the rest of the week and right out of winter into spring…!