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m o r n i n g
L i g h t w o r k s

    sunflower

    I still think of myself as an illustrator, in the Latin sense of the word ~ ‘lustare, illuminate’. Back in the nineties, though, I tried my hand as an illustrator in the more literal sense of the word (under my birth name, Ita Plattner), adorning book covers & magazine articles, but mainly CD covers.

    ‘Sunflower’ was the only one I did for a friend, though; Richard Walker, AKA Richard Amp.

    (Many years later, in May 2016, he created the soundtrack for Animus's first exhibition, Cherish the Extraordinary Crystallising Summer).


    His vision for it was for each sunflower-imaged CD to be wrapped in illustrated paper leaves:




    Painting on glass, I created sunflower images. This one, used in its inverted colours, was used for the enclosed CD:



    The first illustration shows another version. First painted in glass paint, the glass was then etched.



    It's double-framed with a wide, black laquer inner box frame and a narrower outer one painted with earth-friendly yellow ochre wood stain.

    (In the pic below it's come out red, but is actually yellow!)



    The painting is 11cm square, the outer frame's 20cm square...



    ...and it comes with a 175cm-long sari-silk 'train'.

    This covers the flex for whatever lighting is put behind it ~ which, in this photo, is warm-white fairy lights



    Here it is unlit:


    ...and from the side:




    It's £130 including UK p&p and you can buy it here.

    even after...


    This is a playful little sketch illustrating what I thought was a poem by the mystical Persian poet known as Hafez, or Hāfiz, from the 1300s:

    Even
    After
    All this time
    The Sun never says to the Earth,

    "You owe me."

    Look
    What happens
    With a love like that,
    It lights the whole sky.


    As can sometimes happen when doing a quick check online, something surprising emerges...namely that this poem is now known to not be by Hāfiz, but by contemporary poet Daniel Ladinsky ~ from a Hāfiz-inspired dream.

    Given that, it's a little ironic that I unintentionally mis-quoted it with "The Sun never says to the Moon..."

    For me, it remains a poem that speaks of the transcendent and transformative power of unconditional love.

    You can buy it as a framed or unframed print here :)


    golden stupa


    Growing up in the 1970’s, I spent a lot of time in Eskdalemuir in Dumfries & Galloway, and was particularly drawn to the clarity of the pebbled waters of the White Esk which runs through the valley ~ so different from the muddy ponds and rivers I’d paddled in down South.


    One day I found a treasure in the water opposite Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist Centre: a little stupa. I took it back there and was told I could keep it; that when they made statues and sacred objects there, the unwanted ones were thrown in the river.
    I’ve had it ever since, and wanted to make a piece of art around it. So last year I cast another little antique stupa in glass and on New Year’s day set both into a jewelled box shrine.

    Close up of the river stupa sitting in the box frame.



    Backlit at night...



    ...and sunlit in the day.


    A bird's eye view...



    The stupa which was used to make the mold which the glass panel was cast from.




    Golden stupa is 17.5cm high, 16.5cm wide & 7.5cm deep.


    You can buy it here :)


    A bit about stupas:

    Burial mounds in pre-Buddhist India, stupas now represent the seated Buddha at his moment of enlightenment ~ every aspect of them rich in psychological and cosmic meaning.

    The Sanskrit root of the word ‘stupa’ is thought to be ‘stu’, meaning to worship or praise. They are treasuries of votive offerings ~ sacred texts, jewels, and precious objects charged with ceremonial prayer and positive wishes, and can also be reliquaries housing the remains and possessions of the Buddha or revered disciples.

    A consecrated stupa is seen as an enlightened, animate presence; Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche said about them:

    “Within the stupa, the blessings of the teacher remain unchanging. The Buddha said whoever sees a stupa will be liberated by the sight of it, feels the breeze near it will be liberated by its touch, and hears the tinkling of the small bells around it, will be liberated by the sound. Having seen a stupa, by reflecting on one’s experience of it, one is liberated by recollection. May these stupas become a supreme object of offering, liberating whoever sees them, touches them, hears of them, or remembers them.”

    Though the little river-found stupa wasn’t consecrated, the one used to create the cast glass panel was.

    May this tiny stupa shrine embody this essence of peace and liberation.

    yarrow spirit


    This morning's Lightwork is a plant inclusion of yarrow in fused glass.


    'Yarrow spirit' inverted.
    This is a particularly alchemical process, whereby freshly collected plants can be put between two sheets of glass.
    If all goes well in the firing process, the plant materia burns away cleanly, leaving an ethereal white ash in its original shape.

    'Yarrow spirit' set into a hardwood base. Fused glass is 15cm x 5.5 cm; in the base it stands 20cm high.

    If the plant spirit doesn't feel like having a ghostly spirit of itself forever held for the delight of others, though, there are two main things which can go wrong. Either the hot air can gets in too quickly, burning away the inclusion altogether ~ or just leaving the faintest of impressions ~ or it doesn't burn cleanly away, leaving an air bubble in which the trapped plant has carbonised, like this piece with orchid inclusions, on the 'waiting to be re-fired' pile:



    Finished pieces can then become transparencies for fine art, photo-graphic (=light drawing) pieces; as with my other work, all images are available as prints too.


    You can buy yarrow spirit here :)

    golden rosy cross


    This Sunday morning's matins Lightwork is a large rosy cross (12 x 16cm) made from Murano glass and millefiori from Venice and covered with 24 carat gold leaf.



    Here's a close-up of a some gold from the base of the cross: this is a material I love working with, both for its alchemical power and its beauty.




    The rosy cross is set into a Yew burl: it fits snugly but is easy to remove if you want to.




    Yew trees have a rich tapestry of myth and lineage around them...as do rosy crosses.

    I was going to summarise that here, but need to take a little more time over it. When I do, I'll link it in here :)

    Here's the rosy cross in negative, to give a sense of its soulful presence...



    You can buy golden rosy cross here :)

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    © shenpen chökyi 2013