I finished sculpting now ready for some paint. As I worked I was not feeling the Thunderbird vibe. This creature seemed like she was trying to escape something, not create a storm. I came across the Alkonost and this felt right. According to Russian mythology and folklore, the Alkonost was a creature with the body of a bird and the head of a beautiful woman. The Alkonost was said to sing so beautifully that those that hear her will forget everything and want nothing more ever.
My Alkonost’s narrative is that she was a prisoner because of her beautiful song. She escapes after many years. While in captivity she develops loathing for the song that caged her, so she never sang again. Instead she grew, transformed by her experience, into something else.
I decided to make another bird creature because I wanted to challenge myself to get the work to be closer to my sketch. Just for some interest I reversed the sketch. I did this so when I hang this with From Ashes, it will be going in a different direction. I am working a bit smaller this time, still using a wire armature with artificial floral branches. At this point, I am thinking Thunderbird, but that may change as it progresses.
Anytime I work on something, I like to research it. I am a nerd that way, and now I want to share a little nerdiness with you.
Comparative mythology has different variations of the Phoenix from different cultures. The basic story is that the phoenix, knowing it is going to die, ignites itself turning to fire,and is later reborn from its own ashes.
I was first turned on to the Phoenix in early 80’s by the tv show about an ancient alien accidentally awakened before his time that has super powers, goes around helping people, and preaches about the importance of saving the planet. So many themes from this show have stuck with me, despite its 80s cheesy special effects. It was the first time the idea of interconnectedness of people and nature entered my mind. It also had the ancient astronaut theory woven into the plot, and I continue to be interested in that cultural myth. At the time, it seemed like a really cool show and after rewatching it, I can see where my interest in Comparative Mythology originated. If you want to take a look at The Phoenix, its all its 80s glory, I am sure there are episodes circulating somewhere on YouTube.
I got a little off from my sketch, but since I rarely use sketches, I guess that is ok. The core of this armature is clothesline wire, with the branches wired to them.
The branches may look real but are artificial branches used for floral arrangements. Floral branches are much more flexible and durable than real branches. I purchased these from Michaels, but am working to make my own flexible branches.
Over the past month, I have had extremely vivid dreams. Some of them disturbing, some surreal, some both disturbing and surreal. I believe these dreams are my brain filing away my concerns, anxiety and fears. Early this week I had detailed intense dream of a hybrid creature that was part bird, part plant and part human and on fire. This creature was the least human of the dreams so far and it brought to mind the Phoenix.
This dream gave me a feeling of relief because it gave me hope that, like the Phoenix, there is a possibility to rise from the ashes. I read articles and think a lot about the effects humans have on the environment, leading me to wonder if we will destroy our earth. There are many smart people that believe that humans may come close to destroying this planet, but it is more likely that we will destroy ourselves first. Like the dream, this give me hope that the beauty of our planet will continue even after we are gone. Like the Phoenix, our Earth will rise from the ashes.
Along with these dreams has come a sudden heart pounding waking up before dawn. This is the sketch I did at 3am on Monday night. I could not go back to sleep until I got this out.