Friday, November 12, 2010

Pine Blanket Chest with Raincrows and Honeysuckle ~

Jake Shackleford made this pine blanket chest & I painted the raincrows and honeysuckle on it. It's a container linking the content of two songs - "Raincrows" from The Faun, and "Keep the Wild Honeysuckle" from You'll Always Come Back.

Jake adapted his pattern from Pennsylvania-Dutch blanket chests made in the mid-1800s. The raincrows converge Pennsylvania-Dutch "fraktur" designs with a bit of Audubonesque bird-torquing. I couldn't help singing a song I learned from Jean Ritchie while I was painting:

"The cuckoo, she's a pretty bird -
she sings as she flies.
She brings us glad tidings,
and she tells us no lies.
She sucks all pretty flowers
to make her voice clear
and she never sings cuckoo
till the spring of the year."

The pigments are all made of clays and minerals - green earth, naples yellow, yellow ochre, ivory black, zinc white, and a tiny bit of cobalt, in honor of the Kobold, spirit of the mines.

You can listen to "Raincrows" here:

Raincrow is the dandyland name for the bird more commonly known as the yellow-billed cuckoo. Their croaking calls presage summer showers.

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