Wednesday, 9 July 2008

The ABC's of Patterns....... DEF

...from a little book I made...

D for Dragon... a fabulous creature representing spring to the Chinese and Evil to the Christians



The symbolic meaning of the dragon is sharply divided in Western and Eastern cultures. In the Orient, where it is the fifth sign of the Chinese Zodiac... the dragon is seen as a positive symbol... with connotations of joy, health and fertility... protecting man from evil spirits...

In Western tradition, however, the Dragon shares the negative, satanic symbolism of the snake, representing destructive power, the defiler of innocence and the guardian of hidden treasure.
.......Sometimes winged, with a scaly body, lion's claws and lungs of fire... the Dragon's hybrid form symbolizes a primal unifying force...





E for Eagle... this is an ancient Mexican version representing power and victory...




With its majestic appearance, soaring flight and acute vision, the Eagle is a universal symbol and represents the all seeing sky-god. It also represents courage, height, thunder and storms...

As king of the birds, the Eagle is an emblem of royalty... an association developed by its status as the most popular heraldic symbol...

To the ancient Greeks and Romans, it represented the victorious Roman Empire on the banners of the foreign legion..

In Native North American cultures, the Eagle's feathers symbolize the suns rays...

Many states have adopted the Eagle as a symbol of nationhood and sovereignty, including the United States... where the Bald Eagle is the national symbol.





F for Fleur-De-Lys.... a stylized lily ... an emblem of the Virgin Mary...

...as it depicts a triple lily, it also represents mankind's body, mind and soul...




Also spelled Fleur-de-lis... meaning "flower of the lily" in French... a much used floral heraldic symbol signifying perfection, light and life... and traditionally represents the kings of France...

Its resemblance to a spearhead also links the Fleur-de-lys to masculine martial power...


Here in Canada, the Fleur-de-lis is the symbol for Quebec and they have 4 of them on their provincial flag... showing their connection to France...

It is also the symbol of Florence, Italy, known as the "City of Lilies"...

International Scouting uses the Fleur-de-lis as their main element in their logo...representing outdoors and the wilderness, which is the major theme of Scouting....




Each one of these designs have numerous meanings and symbols... I listed just a few...

...from my "ABC's of Patterns" book ... Click for the introduction of the first ABC designs....... approx. 6" x 7" x 1"... ...handbound...

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26 comments:

Hillary said...

I like the way you have designed the letters and pictures, there is something quite tactile too, want to run my fingers over the cut outs. Thanks for continuing to share.

Anet said...

Wonderful! I'm with the Eastern belief on the dragon. I think they are fascinating. I learned so much visiting today Gwen. Thank you, not only do you delight us with your art, we always learn a thing or two!

Sharon said...

Beautiful! Did you teach yourself how to make/bind books?

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Hillary .. I'm glad you can get a feel for the structure of the designs.. I like when I can see in and out of shapes

*******

Thanks Anet, It was fun .. I love finding out details of how things came to be...

********

Hey Sharon, I try to gleen ideas and how-tos where-ever I go.. I wouldn't mind learning more about it though..

Sharon said...

Learn more? Looks like you did it just perfectly!

Ruth said...

Your book and post illustrate (ha!) beautifully how symbols conjure feelings and responses based on cultural learning. Something in me squirms when I see our American eagle with arrows in its talons. Yet it is a beautiful bird of power that doesn't have to represent national aggression.

I wonder if you have ever suffered pain in your wrists (carpal tunnel syndrome, or tendonitis) from your many crafts?

Sandy said...

These are fantastic and I enjoyed reading about them.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Ruth, I have never suffered carpel Tunnel... but I did have a bad rotator cuff injury from repetitive hammering that began to affect muscles in my upper & lower arm and then wrist..
I thought it must be carpel tunnel but they traced it back to a injury from pushing a piano and then irritating it by hammering ... that happened when we were in the major building of the house..
John did most of the hammering on the house but I was doing all the hammering on the anvil and steel blocks for the jewelry..

The doctor recommended an operation but I declined... Took a lot of physio-therapy, rest and learning to be ambidextrous. But I am all better now!! Good thing cause I could not even lift my hand over my head for a while and forget about trying to do up the zipper of a dress...
John does most of the heavy hammering of the jewelry now... If I had his muscles it never would have bothered me in the first place but alas...

Did i hear you say back a while ago, that you may be affected by Carpel tunnel... Do you think you will have an operation? Does it hamper doing certain things... or does it pain... or do you need to wear a wrist cast?...

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thanks Sandy , hope you are keeping safe from the fires!!

Robyn said...

It's a real treat looking through your pattern book and reading the explanations. Love the dragon!

Jazz said...

I love these pages. They're gorgeous.

And I prefer the eastern symbolism for dragons myself.

The Fleur-de-lis is also the symbol for Quebec, we have 4 of them on our flag - I guess they were going for overkill

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thanks Robyn.. So many more ideas come after the initial idea is completed... I'm sure you know what I mean... you were writing about that not long ago.. you called it "Breeder ideas"... So right!!

So many ideas and so little time... it is hard to be selective, sometimes

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hey Jazz,
thanks for the reminder..I added it to the post with a link to you... how did I overlook that... Quebec being our neighbor and all... thanks again..

Janice Thomson said...

Gosh you are truly a creative person Gwen. These little books are delightful, simple and elegant at the same time. Thank you for sharing your beautiful mind with us.
I also browsed through your husbands artwork - love his paintings! I have not used oils yet - watercolor is the preferred medium at the moment - in particular Chinese watercolors.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Janice, thanks so much for your thoughtful comments.

Exploring the various mediums is so pleasurable. They behave so differently from each other... so unique to themselves..

John is biting at the bit to get back to painting again, but we are working steady on our jewelry at the present ...I'll tell him you viewed his work.. I know he'll like that!! Thanks!

Robyn said...

Hey Gwen, there's an award for you back at my blog.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thank-you Robyn.. that is very generous of you...

Bill Evertson said...

Love the book. I just finished a three week course on typography and bookmaking and am for the first time able to appreciate the incredible attention to detail. So many choices and techniques to master takes book art to a very high level. Masterful - did you make more than one?

Ruth said...

Oh, I'm glad the shoulder pain is gone! Don had surgery on his rotator cuff last November, because he tore it and that will not heal, it might actually snap completely. He is doing well recovering and actually got a batting cage the other day to work it. :)

It's great you don't have carpal tunnel. Yes, you remember right. I had it so bad the pain was a flame, I couldn't even function. I tried a chiropractor for a long time, which helped minimally. I did get surgery, on my right wrist, which was the worst. It improved for a time, but now I still have pain, though nothing like what it was. I do exercises, and they help. My department at work also paid for me to have my work station assessed, and I got a special adjustable height desk, as well as a $150 ergonommic keyboard! So it's very managable.

One of the things my therapist taught me was to take rests, something like a musician does when a rest appears on their musical score. When I remember, I do that throughout my day at the computer.

Gwen Buchanan said...

I do believe that is one of the answers, Ruth, frequent changes in position... counteractive exercises... taking breaks.. getting up and moving around... I sure hope the pain in your wrists subside... or is bearable...

I also had to find myself some pliers with padded handles...That really helped .. and a very adjustable chair... and task specific lighting...

Wow. I never knew there were adjustable desks... now they would be the cat's meow!! and ergonomic keyboard would be the way to go.. I need a proper working one as my shift key only shifts when it wants to....

Hope Don gets the stiffness worked out of his shoulder... tell him to be gentle with himself!!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Bill, I only made two complete books .. problem is when I start playing with books I have a hard job to leave them.. much like everything creative, new and absorbing... I have to direct myself to the things I absolutely need to finish first and then Hopefully I'll have time to play... I am looking forward to your experimenting and discovery...

Anonymous said...

Hi Gwen!
I just found your June 8th post, the one with the great little book you made with the carved alphabets! I am, as always, blown away by your immense talent! You really are an amazing lady and I just love what you've done with paper and a sharp blade.
Hope your summer is going well...
k.

--
Kathy McCreedy

Please visit my blog:
http://kathymccreedy.typepad.com
Please visit my website:
http://kathymccreedy.com

laura said...

These cut-paper designs are simply beautiful, and beautifully executed!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Oh Laura and Kathy, they were so fun to create... the shapes are quite simple but I like to take things down to as simple a form as possible sometimes.. It would be wonderful to have the time to dedicate myself to another project such as this again.

Chris' Greetings from the Shady Grove said...

I loved "G" is for Geometrical, but "D" is for dragon was a great surprise. A wonderful depiction of my favorite mythical (?)creature. I'm convinced dragons were surviving dinosaurs. Where have they all gone?

Gwen Buchanan said...

Dragons certainly do capture our imaginations.. young or old equally!

I think my son has them all captured in his room... They slip our of his dreams at night and tear his room apart.. how else could it look like that!! haha...