Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Decorative relief carved Celtic deer ceramic tile

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19"x19", seventeen piece relief carved Celtic deer and dragon ceramic tile set.
The graceful hind, a female red deer, was especially sacred to the Celts and Druids. In Scottish tradition they were milked in the mountains by fairies and known as "fairy cattle" Some say they are fairy women taken the form of a deer and it is said that in a fit of jealous rage a fairy queen once turned one hundred sidh girls into hinds. There were at least three great hag goddesses that were connected with and cared for these fairy cattle. Cailleach-mor-nam-fiadh who lived in the mountains on Jura, The great Hag of Clibric protected them from hunters and the Cailleach Beinn-a-bhrie hearded and milked them in the forests of the hills. Like the Great Hags of Scotland, Flidhais the Irish goddess of wild things cared for the deer like cattle and was also known as the deer goddess. In both Irish and Scottish tradition, the mother of Ossian was turned into a hind by enchantment before she gave birth to the hero-poet. The hind was probably the most common wild and hunted creature in ancient Britain and was highly respected not only as an important source of food and clothing, but as a magical shape shifting animal, capable of affecting the lives and ways of men. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Decorative relief carved gnome tiles

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4x4 relief carved, hand pained, ceramic gnome tiles
Gnomes are diminutive humanoid spirit creatures, referred to as earth elementals, reluctant to interact with humans and able to move effortlessly through solid earth. They are known by many names in numerous ancient and modern mythologies, often tending to nature or guarding mines and precious underground treasures.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Decorative relief carved ceramic morning glory tile

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4x10 relief carved ceramic morning glory tile.
Hand painted in underglaze with a clear gloss glaze finish.
Humans have always had a love/hate relationship with the beautiful and bad morning glory, often called the courtesan of the plant world. Both wild and cultivated varieties grow profusely with very attractive funnel shaped flowers on strong twining, trailing hairy stems. Some members of the family, particularly the bind weeds, are often found in the company of poison ivy and wrap their tendrils with equal enthusiasm around any other plants, fences and hydro poles. Several folk names for the morning glory express the exasperation this plant aroused among rural people who called them devils night cap, devils guts, devils garters and hell weed. One blue flowered species native to tropical America has seeds which contain an acid similar to LSD. These seeds were consumed ceremonialy by indigenous people to induce 'visions' and healing. Over 3,000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia morning glory juice and a substance from the castilla elastica tree was combined to make bouncing rubber balls.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Handmade relief carved ceramic bullrush tile set

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12 x 12 relief carved bulrush ceramic tile set done in charcoal and mocha cream.
All over the world wherever conditions are right the Typha (bulrush) can be found. It reproduces through seed and root, both of which are able to survive periods of drought and flood. It is amongst the most efficient water filtering plants, helping to clear toxins (including arsenic) from the areas it grows. Besides being low maintenance, environmentally cleansing and uniquely ornate, typha has a variety of uses and is quite edible. There is evidence of it having been commonly eaten by people in Europe during the late paleolithic era, some 30,000 years ago. For thousands of years the native inhabitants of the places it grows used the bulrush for many things. It is a year round crop, in winter the rhizomes can be harvested to make a very nutritious high calorie flour. The rootstock when mashed to a paste is effective for treating rashes, boils, wounds and burns, or boiled and used as a diuretic. In spring the base of the leaves are tender, eaten raw or cooked. Come early summer green flower heads can be boiled and eaten in much the same fashion as corn on the cob. The pollen can be collected in mid summer for a flour supplement or thickener. Bulrush heads dipped in wax or fat can be used as candles with the stem as the wick. After it has gone to seed, the down produced by the typha is good for tinder, stuffing for clothes and bedding as well as liner for diapers, acting as a natural baby powder. And the starch of the plants can be used instead of cereals as an efficient way to make ethanol. So Cheers to the bulrush!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Decorative relief carved ceramic heron tile

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5x12 relief carved heron ceramic tile
The heron, sacred bird of the Druids is a symbol and embodiment of patience, learning, longevity, magic and secret knowledge. Native to nearly all parts of the world, the heron has always been a wonder of nature, beheld by ancient peoples long before known history. Herons are strongly connected to to the older more primal aspects of Celtic lore. They are special to the sea god Manannan MacLir (son of the sea) as well as to the triple goddess formed by the union of  the goddesses Badb, Macha and Morrigan. The heron is particularly associated to Morrigan, the phantom queen believed to have been a manifestation of Cailleach the veiled hag. Cailleach is mother to the gods, creator of mountains, very old and connected to all life forms. She is also known as the 'White moon goddess' and the heron, one of her many sacred animals is known as the 'Moon bird'