Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chaucer's Purse

The Complaint of Chaucer to his Purse

To yow, my purse, and to noon other wight
Complayne I, for ye be my lady dere!
I am so sory, now that ye been lyght;
For certes, but ye make me hevy chere,
Me were as leef be layd upon my bere;
For which unto your mercy thus I crye:
Beth hevy ageyn, or elles mot I dye!

Now voucheth sauf this day, or yt be nyght,
That I of yow the blisful soun may here,
Or see your colour lyk the sonne bryght,
That of yelownesse hadde never pere.
Ye be my lyf, ye be myn hertes stere,
Quene of comfort and of good companye:
Beth hevy ageyn, or elles moote I dye!

Now purse, that ben to me my lyves lyght
And saveour, as doun in this world here,
Out of this toune helpe me thurgh your myght,
Syn that ye wole nat ben my tresorere;
For I am shave as nye as any frere.
But yet I pray unto your curtesye:
Beth hevy agen, or elles moote I dye!

Lenvoy de Chaucer
O conquerour of Brutes Albyon,
Which that by lyne and free eleccion
Been verray kyng, this song to yow I sende;
And ye, that mowen alle oure harmes amende,
Have mynde upon my supplicacion!

A marvelous antique coin purse battered for generations, despite supplications that it be full, suspended on an old spliced wooden rosary chain and a brass chain from Latvia (Alchemyshop, again), fastens with a vintage lanyard hook, a collection of Victorian buttons (always more of them than cash) and one evil eye bead to discourage thieves, with a pendant watch fob, most likely Victorian, but indeed quite as battered as the purse. A sweet embroidered basket of posies relieves the dark patina with green details to attract something green to go in there.

The real wonder of it all -- how did I remember Chaucer wrote a poem to his purse, when I often forget where I put my reading glasses?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Cat Who Walks Alone

HEAR and attend and listen; for this befell and behappened and became and was, O my Best Beloved, when the Tame animals were wild. The Dog was wild, and the Horse was wild, and the Cow was wild, and the Sheep was wild, and the Pig was wild -- as wild as wild could be -- and they walked in the Wet Wild Woods by their wild lones. But the wildest of all the wild animals was the Cat. He walked by himself, and all places were alike to him.

Rudyard Kipling, Just So Stories, 1902.  A wonderful story in its full length.

A marvelous (even if I do say so myself) bit of repoussage and chasing in hefty copper) creates a portrait of the Cat Who Walks Alone. A plaque of fine dimensional handwork has been riveted to a deep cuff. This piece is from my earlier work, made in 1982.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Daily Lessons

I have boxes of ephemera and a box of scraps left from using the ephemera.  So yesterday I began a personal challenge -- a collage a day.  What popped up?  Scraps from a very old grammar, with labeled lessons.  It's funny how the lessons pop up from odd scraps of things, and you are able to put the simplest things you learned very young into a higher context.  For instance, "don't cry over spilt milk" seems to be a teaching from Lord Buddha.

My friend Jenny Fillius of Lady Bug Circus gave me the beautiful hand-made paper cards, three-and a half by two, which add so much to this exercise.  There's a link to her wonderful website over on the right column here.

I recommend this daily effort to anyone out there who feels caught in a creative block.  Grab what comes to hand, clip it, shove it around, and a Lesson may come your way.  Enjoy floating.