Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I thought one of the ways I could introduce myself would be to introduce you to some of my past pieces. This is Moby - he was worked over several months in Delica size 11 seed beads. Mostly peyote stitch, with a little bead embroidery and some flailing thrown in for good measure. I made a "stuffie" out of muslin for the base; he's about 12 inches long, with a stand made from a stump I pulled out of the Connecticut River. I have entered him in the Beaded Book contest Interweave Press is sponsoring. I have no illusions about his chances of winning, but he was a genuine pleasure to make. Most surprising: my view of the book has changed as a result of working him. I've read Moby Dick several times, including with my book discussion group at the local library, so was familiar with the material; but as I worked on this figure, I had to reassess what I thought not just about the Beast, but also Ahab, Ishmael, and even Melville. I've always like Good versus Evil themes; the fun bit is, neither is clearly defined in this tale.
Scars from a longago battle with a giant squid:
His teeth are wooden Tuga beads that I had to saw in half. Did you know most male sperm whales have teeth in their upper jaws that never erupt? While researching this (what fun! Hooray for Marvel Classics!) I realized that 99% of Moby illustrations are just plain wrong!
I made the harpoons out of a birch branch; I whittled them, stained them with husks from my black walnut tree fruit, and had hubby drill a teensy hole in each for the eyepin harpoon. His blowhole is an off-center "S" shape as described, but I just couldn't bear to tear a hole in his fluke; I had come to like him too much by the time it was appropriate to tear him up!
If you'd told me 25 years ago I would actually like Melville's work I would have looked scornfully at you from behind my kohl-smeared eyes, blown smoke in your face, put a defiant hand on hip, and told you to bug off. Now he's ... not a hero exactly, but certainly someone whose mind I have come to respect. And the Whale has become one of my favorite literary characters.