Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Decorative hand made relief carved ceramic green man tile


6x6 handmade relief carved green man ceramic tile/plaque
A lovely May day eve here with the wonderful signs of fertility everywhere!
The last day of April is the eve of the ancient fertility festival of Beltane, also known as May Day.
Traditionally associated with the Celtic god of fire, light and sun, Bel or Balor and green man, one of the most powerful fertility symbols in western culture. Rituals revolving around fire played an important role in Beltane celebrations, which like most all spring festivals around the world were enacted to ensure the communities health and fertility for the coming year. It was also a traditional time for 'hand fasting' a vow of partnership which pre dates modern wedding customs but has essentially the same meaning. 
During the 16th & 17th centuries in the UK May Day was celebrated with garlands of flowers and leaves. These garlands became increasingly elaborate to the extent that they would cover an entire man. This became known as Jack in the green, associated with the green man. By the turn of the 19th century, the Victorian disapproval of bawdy, anarchic behaviour replaced the somewhat lewd lord & lady of the May and their practical jokes with a pretty, demure May queen. The noisy, drunken Jack in the green vanished altogether from the May day parades. The Jack in the green custom finally enjoyed a revival in the 1970's and continues in some places today.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Decorative hand made relief carved ceramic tile


~Happy Earth Day~
May the sun bring you new energy by day.
May the moon softly restore you by night.
May the rain wash away your worries.
May the breeze blow new strength into your being.
May you walk gently through the world and know it's beauty all the days of your life.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Decorative hand made relief carved Frog and fern ceramic tile


6x12 relief carved and hand painted ceramic frog and fern tile/plaque
with a notch in the back for hanging.
The unexpected and tranquil beauty of one's first encounter with wild ferns on a foray into the woods is very memorable to many; crosiers beginning to uncoil from their cinnamon colored woolly casings and the surprise scent of new mown hay.Scientists were mystified by their unusual propagation process until the mid 19th century when the interest in ferns in Britain was reaching mania proportions. While indigenous ferns were available in England , the exotic ferns were more sought after and very expensive due to the cost of transporting them from the tropics. Around this time a physician named John Lindsay found a way to propagate ferns even though niether he nor anyone else at the time understood the process. British  greenhouses were soon able to offer vast numbers of  less expensive tropical ferns. Unfortunately out of the greenhouse these ferns could not survive the noxious fumes of the day being spewed out by city factories. The craze for ferns would most likely have died off at this point if not for Nathaniell Ward, who in a round about way discovered that when the ferns were encased in a glass box they stayed healthy. Ward pursued this idea and invented what he called fern cases, now called Wardian cases which in time led to terrariums. The fern case was just what pollution oppressed Londoners seeking a durable bit of greenery to brighten their lives needed. The boom began in earnest, everyone had to have one. Modest little cases for the poor, elaborate cases that knew no limits, such as miniature Taj Mahals and the like for the rich. At the height of the mania ferns were cherished in every way, besides live ferns, homes were decorated with baskets of cut ferns and there was a thriving trade in pressed ferns, suitably framed to hang on busy Victorian walls. All number of fabrics, rugs, wall coverings and even flatware were adorned in the pattern of fern fronds. About the only place where ferns were not to be found were in the fields and forests which had largely been stripped clean of them to indulge the mania, the mania which in my theory was ended by the emerging popularity of the polka dot.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Decorative relief carved ceramic Celtic tree tile


Tile installation featuring our 6x6 relief carved Celtic tree tile and 3x3 Celtic heart tiles.
And now for some more tree lore... The Ogham, often called the 'Celtic tree alphabet' consists of twenty five simple strokes centered on or branching off a central line. It is different in origin, but similar in purpose to Nordic Runes. Like Runes the characters were generally either written on staves of wood or inscribed on stones. Most likely pre-Celtic in origin it is considered a powerful language of symbolism, carrying with it some of the very earliest Druid wisdom. The alphabet itself is based on a high Medieval 'Briatharogam' tradition (A two word combination which explains the meanings of the letters of the Ogham alphabet) where each letter of the alphabet bears the name of a tree. It has also been suggested that the ancient Celts used a Lunar calendar of thirteen, twenty-eight day months, each month having the name of a tree and representing one of the consonants of the tree alphabet.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Decorative relief carved ceramic Art Deco tree tile set


8x8 relief carved Art Deco ceramic tree top tile framed with a 2x8 branch border and 2x2 corner.
The image of the tree of life is a favorite in much mythology, folklore, culture and fiction.
Buddhism has one such story that tells of Sakyamuni's birth and a flash of light that travelled around the world sparking the growth of the tree of perfection- a sacred four-hundred foot high fig tree with glowing fruit and flowers. It is said that Buddha was born, received his enlightenment, preached his first sermon and died beneath the Bodhi tree which protected him for the six years he sat under it attaining enlightenment.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Decorative hand painted ceramic tile floor set

33"x 57" Colorful custom hand painted ceramic tile floor set by Earth Song Tiles.
Color is the one area in daily life where symbolism is most apparent. It has an immediate impact on our emotions, with the power to arouse, sooth, gladden or depress. It makes sense that the effect colors have on the mind is derived from associations with the natural world, though more esoteric explanations have also been suggested as well. The seven colors of the spectrum being linked to the magical number seven and with the number of notes on the musical scale. In brief, red symbolizes the life force, fire, energy and arousal. Blue is the hue of peace and contemplation, symbolizing the sky, infinity, coolness and water. Green, an ambivalent color is associated with sensations, growth, decay and healing. Violet is the most mystical, combining the power of red with the wisdom of blue, used as a focus for meditation to raise the consciousness to higher levels. Yellow, the color of sun, warmth, memory and also humility. At a deeper level color symbolizes an essential quality within life itself, with death most often perceived as either black or white, both having the absence of observable color.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Decorative relief carved ceramic Celtic Eagle tile border


3x11.5 relief carved ceramic Celtic Eagle border tile.
In the middle of the summer, in the middle of the night, in the middle of the mid-northern sky the summer triangle lies across the milky way. In the South seas it's known as the navigators triangle. It's points are the brightest stars of three constellations. At the shortest points of the triangle are Deneb of  the constellation Cygnus (Swan) and Vega of Lyra (lyre). At the long point is Attiar, the brightest star of Aquila (Eagle). In Greek mythology Aquila was the eagle who retrieved the thunderbolts thrown by Zeus. On the eagles neck rest the three bright stars known as Shahin-i-Tarazu, the balance. To the ancients this constellation represented strength, courage, continuity, wisdom and love. Like the Majestic Eagle from which it was named, Aquila became connected to natural justice or Karma and was not only a source of guidance as a compass across land and sea, but also as a symbol through life. It serves to reaffirm our connectedness to the universe, a reminder of the wisdom that may be received by looking with courage, a loving heart and the intent to see.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Decorative ceramic Celtic harp tile

6x6 relief carved ceramic Celtic Harp tile with a notch in the back for hanging.
The harp has a place in the oldest of Irish traditions. Owned by the Dagda, a leader among the divine race of the Tuatha de Danaan, the harps melodies were bound in silence until his call summoned them forth. With it's two secret magical names it was the purveyor of sorrow, gladness and repose.
The harp was not only the principal musical instrument of ancient Ireland, it was their unique instrument which they concentrated virtually all musical ability on. Musical scholars say that due to the exclusive devotion to both playing and composing for the harp, Irish music was prevented from developing and widening. At one time Irish harpists, the best harpists known, were sought after, well payed and highly respected at court. But in the late 17th and early 18th century their prestige declined among the leading families partially due to new trends in music that the traditional Irish harpers were unable and un-inclined to keep up with. In 1792 Dr.Michael Mac Donnell along with Edward Bunting assembled the last Harpists in Belfast, which turned out to be a very small group of impoverished vagrants, to record and thus preserve some of the most distinctive Irish melodies and the last remains of a noble accomplishment.
~The Harp that once through Tara's halls~
The harp that once through Tara's halls,
the soul of music shed,
now hangs as mute on Tara's walls,
as if that soul were fled.
So sleeps the pride of former days.
So glory's thrill is o'er.
And hearts that once beat high for praise,
now feel that pulse no more.
No more Chiefs and ladies bright,
the harp of Tara swells.
The chord alone that breaks the night,
a tale of ruin tells.
This freedom now so seldom wakes,
the only throb she gives,
is when some heart indignant breaks,
to show that she still lives.