Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hero & Shadow Panels

My Hero & Shadow panels are finally complete! They are mainly created from polymer clay, with a few other little elements added-- a few beads, wire, embroidery floss and leather cord. Even ground nutmeg. And some sticks from my back yard for good measure.

Any tarot readers out there will recognize these were highly influenced by the tarot. This was my first thought when I heard about Mother Henna's project and it made complete sense to me-- the Hero and the Shadow are common archetypes and the tarot is *all* about archetypes. Plus, I love the tarot and its imagery. So for my panels I blended together some tarot concepts that symbolized Hero & Shadow to me, personally.

My Hero panel is mainly influenced by the Fool (0) card, with a little bit of the Hermit (9) and the Magician (1) thrown in. The Fool is all about the beginning of a journey and I think heroes are always in the process of journeys and adventures, so I used The Fool as the basis for my Hero panel. Instead of a dog, I gave her a cat to journey with-- a little personalization there since I love cats-- and we all need our faithful companions as we go through life.

In one hand she's holding a wand, topped with the Hermit's lantern. I think heroes meet many people along their way, but their journey is ultimately a solitary one in the end. Especially if it is an internal journey. However, the Hermit always has a light to guide his way, and so too does my Hero. We all need our guiding lights, whether they happen to be our spiritual faith, hopes, dreams, inspirations or other people we meet during our journeys.

The stance of my Hero is a nod to the Magician card, although he is holding a wand aloft instead of a sword. I wanted my Hero to hold a sword, symbol of clear thinking, inspiration, drawing boundaries and protection. These are all tools we need on our heroic journeys.

The main influence for my Shadow panel was the Tower (16) card. The Tower is all about chaos-- the unexpected happening, shaking up your life. I think the Shadow is all about chaos, whether its internal or external. Our shadow side is the part of us that always feels in turmoil.

The 10 of Wands also influenced this panel. The negative aspects of the 10 of Wands relate to carrying a heavy burden, oppression, overexertion, taking on too much. The Shadow is always overwhelmed by life circumstances. And instead of seeing the respite of home in the background, which is common on 10 of Wands cards, my Shadow has only the chaos of the Tower.

The idea of the masks came from the Devil (15) card from Amy Zerner's Enchanted Tarot. Usually the Devil depicts a devil with a man and woman chained to his throne, but in the Enchanted Tarot the Devil is represented by a mask. I think the Shadow wears lots of masks to hide who s/he is and how s/he really feels. We never see the Shadow's true face, it is always hidden from us.

I based my masks on the Comedy/Tragedy masks of theatre, to represent polar opposite emotions, and on the painting The Scream, to represent the mental chaos and instability the Shadow feels. Notice that although the Shadow figure is carrying a big burden, the mask that is worn is the Comedy mask, to hide the Shadow's true feelings about her load.

This project really stretched my skills and imagination, but I enjoyed every minute of the challenge. There are so many more ideas I would have like to have incorporated into my panels but couldn't for lack of space. But overall, I'm very pleased with the end result and I'm glad I participated in the project!


sukigirl said...

Wow...I love the images that you chose for your panels. I love how you explained your journey in creating them and the stories behind them.... wonderful!

coltpixy said...

They are wonderful! You did a fabulous job of expressing them visually in clay.

Sorrow said...

These are cool!
I like the idea of the tarot being combined like that!
Your narration give it a whole different depth.
are you going to frame them?
They deserve to be show cased!

intothedawn said...

SUKIGIRL~ Thanks so much! I'm glad you enjoyed reading about the thought process behind the finished pieces, too. (I was afraid I was just blathering!) LOL

COLTPIXY~ Thank you! It was a real challenge at times, especially since I couldn't use my beloved stamps (had to be all my own work), but I learned a lot about designing with PC from this. Had to find new ways to create texture and detail.

SORROW~ Thanks so much! Once I thought about combining tarot card imagery, everything seemed to just fall into place. I'm not sure what I'll do with them now that they are done, but I *have* thought about framing them if I can afford it.

Genie Sea said...

I love these panels! They are beyond panels, they look like theater! Your explanation of them is fascinating! Very very cool! :)

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness those are so amazing! So clever and creative! You just keep getting more amazing!

intothedawn said...

GENIE SEA~ Thank you! I was hoping to create a look of little "vignettes"; glad the explanation made sense, too.

LOLAIR~ Thank you so much! I think the challenge of the project really helped me "up my game" and work on improving my techniques.

Cynthia said...

These are fabulous!! Absolutely the most inventive, cool pieces of polymer artwork I've seen!!! I love, love, love them!

Of course I love tarot and though not well versed in polymer, I have worked in it and know the challenges it presents. I can't get over how amazing these two pieces are.

I so enjoyed the connection to tarot and your explanation/description.

Your skill and imagination are unparalleled, I swear!

I've missed you-- :)

intothedawn said...

CYNTHIA~ WOW! Thanks so much! I tell you, when I first joined in the project and sat down to work on 'em, I was afraid I'd bitten off more than I could chew; I learned a lot making these panels.

Anonymous said...

These are incredibly clever. Love the new green necklace and your whiskered lovely boy is so pretty!

intothedawn said...

BEWEAVER~ Thanks so much! Had to show off my Moose-man, he was looking exceptionally handsome that day.