Monday, October 22, 2012

October is like falling in love...

I have been wanting to do a longer post, on Autumn, and October, and the particular light of the days, and the colors of flame and glory on the mountains, and the beauty of the time. However, my days are vastly too busy to give it the thought it deserves.

Then, a friend quoted this blog, and now, I have some words to share about it, that say it much better than I can, and a new place to read wisdom:

"In autumn, there is always one special morning of singular light and meaningful wind. Many magicians have tried to name it, usually with indirect reference -- calling it "this" wind or "that" light -- but no single name suffices. Even if you were born in another season, you feel it, but if you were born in autumn, you feel it acutely: it is the very core of your physical existence. It is raw life. This morning, after the Orionid meteor shower cleansed the heavens with star rain; this morning, as the Ch'ang Ho bells ring beneath west wind -- the wind of gates shut upon effulgent sunlight -- this morning, my October birthday morning, autumn's special life came to me again. 

What is it like? 

It is like falling in love."

From the wonderful:  Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar

Yes, I think that says it rather well.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

RESCU Foundation: A life line in troubled waters

RESCU stands for Renaissance Entertainers, Services, & Crafters United.

The RESCU Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization established to promote and maintain the health and medical well-being of the participants of Renaissance Faires, historical performances and other artistic events through financial assistance, advocacy, education and preventative programs. They have worked diligently over the years to offset medical and emergency expenses for the folks who work Renaissance Festivals and other themed events, including Faerie Festivals and their like, and are often not the last resort of the wonderful gypsy community that work these,...they are the ONLY one!

They are hosting their first Rally for Support in Maryland, in collaboration with the community of the Maryland Renaissance Festival, located near Annapolis, MD to raise funds and awareness this Saturday, October 13th, at the American Legion Hall, just down the road from the Festival site. 1905 Crownsville Rd, Annapolis, Maryland. There will be a silent auction featuring crafts from the festivals and other items, as well as a raffle of donations. Tickets are $10 at the door, and doors open at 7 PM. Comedy, music, variety entertainment,  and more. Additionally, there will be a featured live auction of items. This will include a private parking spot for the 2013 MD Renfest season, located at the front gate, with the winners name on sign!

We at Mythical Designs by Miscellaneous Oddiments LLC are delighted to announce that we are offering our Mermaid Wall Sculpture, "Queen of the Sea #2" as a featured Auction piece. She is made from sculpted leather, measuring approx. 30"x20". She incorporates real sea shells, sea weed forms, and one real pearl in her ear. Also, the mask comes free from the sculpture for wearing separately. She retails at $500 and will be on reserve for $275. We thought long about donating her, and think that the Spirit of the Oceans and Waves will be a wonderful addition to the RESCU effort and is an apt symbol for the Annapolis area, with it's deep ties to the waters.

She was originally created for the Maryland Faerie Festival 2011 show, which was themed on Mermaids. The Mythic Arts community often tends to reach into common mythical pools of inspiration at the same time. That year, the depths of the sea were open, and writers, artist, crafts people and entertainers were finding their inner merfolk and flicking their metaphorical tails. It was delightful and were honored to be the featured artist at that event, along with well known Mermaid and writer, Carolyn Turgeon.

The sea is a nurturing place for life, and it's inspiration is as deep as it's glimmering pools. The fascination with mermaids and sea creatures has been with humankind for many thousands of years. I believe this is partly due to their perceived freedom. What is more free roaming than a dolphin or mermaid? I think this is an apt metaphor for the life of the wonderful gypsy crafts people and folks who work Renfests and other similar events. We are a source of mystery and mirth to those who see us. A wonder that can't quite be pinned down, and if you go too far in, you may be changed forever. We inspire you to imagine and imagine for you an experience that can't be had anywhere else.  Like the Green Wood of Folklore, it is a dangerous place sometimes. A dark place, where only shamans, mad fools, artists, and wizards dare to venture. We bring you back tales and dreams. However, sometimes, we need a thread to guide us home. Ariadne's spool of twine to give us way forth from the maze and guide us out of misfortune.

RESCU does just that. They are a life line in troubled waters, and hope in the darkest of storms.

Please consider donating, and if you live in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area, visit the Maryland Renaissance Festival this Saturday, enjoy our Revels in our Grove, and then, come to the Rally, so that we may continue this adventure of entertainment.

Learn more about RESCU and their efforts and donate directly at:

Queen of the Sea #2

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The whole world is church of stained glass and filled with music...

Continuing to move some of my favorite entries over from my old LiveJournal, and with the Autumn colors here, this is an important one to me. It is a difficult time of year for an artist. We tend to be dangerous. Walking into posts while looking at leaves on the ground, or suddenly stopping, caught up in the light on the mountain side. This post, on beauty, and light, and color, and a little movie, sums that up for me. Although it was in a summer evening, the rapture is all the same.

Originally posted June 24, 2008


Last night the Wildwose Clan had decided to settle in to watch August Rush, the 2007 movie with Robin Williams and Freddie Highmore.

In the midst of the movie, a huge storm front came crashing over our mountain, thundering and shaking the house, until I glanced out the window to see that particular kind of light that I knew would be just right for a rainbow...

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As for the movie, well, it was just wonderful. Funny how it actually didn't get very good reviews generally. Comments like "transparent plot", and "wildly unrealistic"...well duh! 

Early in the movie the lead character says, 

"I believe in music the way some people believe in fairy tales"

A fairy tale is an escape from the ordinary. A time out of time. A portal or path into another world or way of thinking. This is what music is. Especially to musicians. I know this, although I'm not a "musician". That is, I don't play any instrument very well, and tend to get a little lost in melodies. I tend to believe that music, like most art, is a choice that you don't really make. Sure, most folks could be taught. But musicians, they are born. The prolific and talented writer Stephen King once said, "People come up to me at parties and say they have always wanted to write, and I reply that I never had a choice!"

My personal experience of art is like that. Rapture is a daily occurrence for me. I will freeze up at the experience of light on a flower, or say, the colors of a rainbow. As a matter of fact, I have a personal rule about rainbows. Unless you live near a huge waterfall, or far up the Rocky Mountains, or on vast ocean front with storms, you will only experience a small number of rainbows in your life. So I believe that there should be a cultural agreement about them. Whatever we are doing, wherever we are, all work should stop when one makes an appearance. Families should go out and watch the light change, drivers should pull to the side of the road. A moment of pure celebration in the absolute beauty of the natural world. So that is exactly what we did.

Here is a panoramic shot digitally stitched together, of the rainbow arcing over our home. I have included Leah holding Ellawyn for a bit of scale. I wish I had taken the rest of our yard in that exquisite light.

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Light and music are both intrinsically intertwined in my mind. Vibrations and waves. Sound and Color. It's funny actually, although I am not a "musician", movies like August Rush and the experience the young hero has, are intensely familiar to me. That all sound is a tune is something I know in my bones. Years ago, before I met Leah, I lived with a young lady who was a opera singer and musician. She taught me so much about listening. How to pick out and hear violins amongst an orchestra. That in big movie theater, just before the film starts, the crowd is a hum that can be felt. And perhaps the best of all, I would get to place my hands on her's, while she was practicing conducting, and feel the rhythms that she, a trained musician, could know in a way I never could. I will always remember that.

The movie manages to really convey this. August stands in a field, sweeping the sound around him through the tall grain. He walks rapturously down a New York street to the beat of the city life. And taps out a wild and joyful tune the first time he handles a guitar. That guitar music is actually performed by the talented Kaki King. Her well known skills at Slapping & Tapping are beautifully presented in the movie where she even "plays" the hands of Freddie Highmore for scenes. Here is the scene of August discovering the guitar.

We watched that rainbow for quite a while. It split, spreading it spectrum across two bands, then broke, only to come back with brighter colors. Towards the end the storm pushed the moisture front, the great wall of water vapor forming the lens of refraction, out until the bow stretched over most of the horizon. Wisps of clouds, ragged from winds, flew in under the edge of the front to pass across the surface of the rainbow. Here is one image of that. I may paint this one day.

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This was all surprising late at night. Although it could hardly be called night time with the brightness. At our elevation, facing southeast as we do, twilight doesn't begin until 9:30 PM or later. With the high winds and ridge behind us, we get these dramatic storms regularly, but never quite like this. The trailing edge of the front was crisp. A line of demarcation between rolling clouds full of moisture and a sky so blue and washed clean that our eyes and skin reflected it. Here's a picture of that back edge, although, this in no way accurately conveys the color of blue. I have never quite seen that before.

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Once the light started to fade, my family dragged me and my camera, reluctantly, back inside. We finished the movie, which as fairy tales often do, was improbably and unrealistic and had a nice happy ending.

But one thing came of it. Today, I am looking seeing more clearly, being deeply. Drinking up the cool air and soaking in the crisp green of the trees. As if the whole world were a church made of stained glass and filled with organ music...