Are your premises safe against haints, furies and other such ornery spirits? Have you painted your front door blue? Has the neighborhood seen a sudden upsurge of bottles dangling upside down in the trees?
She knew that there could be a spell put in trees, and she was familiar from the time she was born with the way bottle trees kept evil spirits from coming into the house — by luring them inside the colored bottles, where they cannot get out again. — Livvie, by Eudora Welty
Glass ‘bottle trees’ originated in ninth century Kongo during a period when superstitious Central African people believed that a genii or imp could be captured in a bottle. Legend had it that empty glass bottles placed outside, but near, the home could capture roving (usually evil) spirits at night, and the spirit would be destroyed the next day in the sunshine. One could then cork the bottles and throw them into the river to wash away the evil spirits.
Furthermore, the Kongo tree altar is a tradition of honoring deceased relatives with graveside memorials. The family will surround the grave with plates attached to sticks or trees. The plates are thought to resemble mushrooms, calling on a Kongo pun: matondo/tondo [the Kongo word for mushroom is similar to their word to love].
And so, trees and bottles eventually came together. Read more about the history of bottle trees here:
My brother, a welder by trade, surprised me with my very own ‘bottle tree’.
Oh, happy day!
Yesterday was bright and sunny (albeit cold). I decided to ‘play’ with Shibori, a Japanese term for a method of dyeing cloth by binding, stitching, folding, twisting, and compressing. (Here’s a link with a little DIY-Shibori how-to.)
Katie likes purple. I used inexpensive flea market (100 % cotton) shop towels and Rit dye. I thought I’d get a feel for the technique of wrapping, before I used bed linens and indigo!
There’s definitely a learning curve!
No where near perfection, but, oh what fun!!
I have been cleaning/re-organizing my ‘new’ work space for weeks now! I needed to C R E A T E something with a piece of scrap canvas that I had purchased (quite a while ago) at a tag sale for a whopping $3.
THIS wooly sheep blanket provided inspiration for my canvas wall art.
My husband made a DIY frame from scrap lumber to which we stapled the canvas.
I applied several coats of Gesso/primer. I then re-created (sketched) multiples of my ‘logo’ sheep onto the canvas.
Because I wanted to create a ewe-nique texture (and reproducible pattern) for each individual sheep, I used an assortment of plain old rubber stamps that I had in my collection.
I used black acrylic paint for the head and legs and hand-applied/inked the stamp (also with acrylic paint) and worked within the outline of my sheep to create a ‘wooly fleece’. Each sheep’s fleece is ewe-nique… can you see??
The finished canvas measures about 43-inches by 31-inches and will grace my wall in my work space… as soon as I attach some hanging hardware [wink]. TA DA… my “Sheep on the Go” wall art masterpiece.
I even added a black sheep. Every family/flock has one…??!
I could live here… COLORFUL vintage finds fill a modern farmhouse!! Take a peek and enjoy the tour!