In March my husband Allister Timms has a short story being published in a science fiction anthology by DAW publishers. The collection is called Timeshares and is edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg. It contains 16 stories about time traveling. His story takes place in the trenches of WWI and includes the poet William Blake. The cover reminds us of an episode from Dr Who.
~The imagination is not a State: it is the Human existence itself. ~William Blake.
My husband, Allister Timms, has written the first book in a Young Adult Fantasy trilogy: The Golden Grip. The novel is a mythopoetic adventure-quest written with an alchemical-science and art appeal. Its inspirations are: Alchemy, William Blake’s cosmology, and the 19th century artists the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The book’s mythology, philosophy, and cosmology is not too heady for young adults; he’s made it very accessible for ages 12 and up. It’s a crossover novel, so adults will enjoy it too.
I wanted to post some images here and reflect on how they inspired Allister to create the world of The Golden Grip.
The alchemical emblem ouroboros inspired the story’s Black Beast.
The ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon swallowing its own tail and forming a circle. Because the ouroboros represents infinity and in some ancient texts the milky way – a serpent of light residing in the heavens, he was inspired to create the Black Beast. The Black Beast is the abyss, the sentient fabric of space and time. The beast keeps Primordial light locked in its heart and it swallows up stars with its Black Hole of a mouth.
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood:
John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and William Holman Hunt.
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of English painters, poets, and critics, founded in 1848 by John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and William Holman Hunt.
~For The Golden Grip, Allister appropriated the Pre-Raphaelite names Rossetti, Millais, Ruskin, Hunt, Madox, and Grimshaw and created a group of alchemist wolves called the Brotherhood. The germ for making the alchemists wolves was that like the Pre-Raphaelite artists, the wolves want to “artistically sublimate their wild nature.” Thus they are walking, talking wolves who long ago achieved turning base metals into gold. Now their burning obsession is to immortalize themselves and the king of Brim Umbra in order to usurp the Sun god and ascend to the sun realm to carry out a higher, exalted alchemy.
He wanted the group of alchemists to have aristocratic style and a taste for the avant-garde. So he dressed their characters, both in attire and behaviors, as dandies. Like the historical 18th and 19th century British fop or gallant, his wolf alchemists strut about on their hind legs using silver canes; they sport frock coats with frilly cravats and lacy cuffs, and they look down their noses through pince-nez spectacles.
Image: Sporty Parisian dandies of the 1830s
The Child Enthroned by Thomas Cooper Gotch (1854-1931)
Thomas Cooper Gotch was a late Pre-Raphaelite artist. His painting The Child Enthroned was the springboard that catapulted Allister into writing the novel. We both laid eyes on the young girl in the portrait and instantly the heroine Nessa Icon was born. Wow, love at first sight creates children! In The Golden Grip, the Brotherhood of Alchemists has enchanted this painting, and there’s a secret more ancient than the sun embedded in the girl’s golden halo!
“The Ancient of Days” 1794, a watercolor etching by William Blake, depicts Urizen, Creator of the Material World. In Blake’s mythology/cosmology Urizen is one of the four Zoas – a division of the primordial man, Albion. (Zoa in Greek means “living one” and the primal zoas represent the “human form divine”.)
~The extraordinary “The Ancient of Days” brings to my mind a god of the Sun bestowing upon mortal man the rays of godly perfection and insight… this imagined mythology became the inspiration for the novel’s Sun god, and Primordial Light as his gift of consciousness and evolution. And Urizen became the character Dylan’s father’s name.
I’m digging making Artist Trading Cards. ATCs are fun and expressive art miniatures created on cardstock size: 2.5” x 3.5”. They are original, small editions (often collaged) that are self-produced and which pass hand-to-hand. Anybody can create ATCs!
For more info: http://www.artist-trading-cards.ch
A few cards I have recently made:
Monsters in the Deep. A friend gave me a handful of vintage vocabulary flash cards, and it’s been great taking a word and creating a collage around it. This card’s word is brackish, so I gave it a slippery-green watery-world and a tentacled monster eye. The other text reads: within an eye of glass and deep monster’s jaw, clipped from a handwritten Shelley poem.
A Predilection for Shakespeare. Another card using a flash vocab word. I had just seen a local production of The Taming of the Shrew and came home and made this Shakespeare themed ATC. I used some glorious Basic Grey paper backgrounds here.
Coming into Being. In this women’s themed ATC I was musing about how it is possible to reinvent yourself, rise above those aspects of the world that get you down and connect with personal strength and wisdom. It’s hard to see in this photo but the fruit tree overlay was a magazine clipping that I had turned into a photogram and printed in the darkroom on shiny transparent photo paper. It was fun to re-cycle that photo. (It is possible to print digital images onto transparent paper in the ink jet printer and get the same affect.)
Walk in the Visions of Poesy/Poetry. It was National Poetry month when I created this Percy Shelley themed card at the library ATC workshop. I try to keep Shelley’s world alive — he’s a poet dear to my heart.
This ATC was inspired by Russian animator Yuri Norstein’s Hedgehog in the Fog, anyone who hasn’t seen this animated short, check it out on YouTube. Too cute for words — you’ll be enchanted, maybe even mystified! (My husband did the owl and hedgehog drawings for our daughter and I stole them to make this ATC!)
I Wanted to Speak Through Trees. I’ve decided to recycle my old art school stuff, drawings, prints, photographs, digital collage (both my undergrad work and Master’s art miscellany). Here I’ve taken a letterpress poem I wrote and hand-printed on vellum, and two etchings I made, and created I Wanted to Speak Through Trees. My interpretation of this ATC is my constant desire to connect with nature and inspiration in a poetic, higher, deeply-felt way.
Presenting “My Fair Poppet” my latest fabric softies pursuit. This little lady is wearing a “babushka”: a headscarf tied under the chin, typical of those worn by Polish and Russian women. She gets her inspiration from Matryoshka dolls – Russian stacking dolls, and she is wearing her headscarf or “hoodie” of blue, teal and brown flowers. Her dress is a kaleidoscopic pattern of blue and teal leaves.
She’s for sale in my Etsy shop (see the “House of Rowan” link in my side bar), and I’ll be making more Poppet Hoodies, so please return often to see what’s new!
–He too Saw the Image in the Water
One of Kay Nielsen’s gorgeous illustrations from East of the Sun and West of the Moon. The story is the Norwegian version of an old Scandinavian fairy tale.
Oh the snowy climes of the north!
These next illustrations by Nielsen: She Held Tight to the White Bear, make me curious as to if Philip Pullman either read East of the Sun and West of the Moon, or perhaps saw Nielsen’s illustrations of it since in The Golden Compass (Northern Lights) the first book in Pullman’s incredble trilogy His Dark Materials, young Lyra befriends the great white bear Iorek Byrnison who belongs to the race of sentient, armored bears also known as Panserbjorne. If East of the Sun and West of the Moon did inspire Pullman to create Lyra and the bear and their adventures in the North, that’s excellent — I love this tale, and Nielsen’s illustrations are enchanting.
Care to see more of Nielsen’s illustrations from this tale?: www.artsycraftsy.com/nielsen_prints.html