Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Down to the bone

"That inner voice has both gentleness and clarity. So to get to authenticity, you really keep going down to the bone, to the honesty, and the inevitability of something." -Meredith Monk

So I saw Magaly's post for her April blog party thing (button link in my sidebar as well) and the quote she used by Thoreau - “Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.” - as well as some lines from Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, started running through my head over and over. Don't ask me which lines from Women Who Run with the Wolves, because I don't know where my copy is and I don't have them memorized, but it had to do with the old stories of the Bone Woman and learning how to rebuild oneself from the bones up... 

And Magaly mentioned how she searches for inspiration for her AlmaMia novel, how she will "jump on my cyber broom and search for bone fiction, bone poetry, bone magic, bone crafts, bones… " as she put it. So of course I had to turn my nose to the wind and try to catch the scent she was hunting. 

Anyways! So I followed her into the wind with a yip and howl, with my nose and tail up. I hopped onto my search engines and started playing with her words, as above. (by the way, Bing's results sucked. So I switched back to Google for the duration.) I work with bones as part of my Art. They are in fact one of my favorite mediums/materials. And yes, they are both medium and material; if you've never worked with bone as an artist, I don't know if I can explain. Woodworkers and metalworkers will understand, I think, because both wood and metal often work the same way as medium and material - I know, I've used those as well. I make jewelry with bone and antler; I paint runes and an ancient language called Ogham on them, I've done Celtic knotwork. I use India Ink and a fine tip brush, and a lot of patience. Sometimes I have to scrape the bones clean and start over. (there's a metaphor for ya...) Sometimes I just wrap a little wire around the bone and hang it from a pretty piece of something else. One of these days I'll show you a picture of my staff, with its bones and stones, feathers and leathers... *ahem* I so did not mean to make that rhyme. 

Where was I going with this? Oh yes - search engines. I found an Etsy shop with some very simple bone and wire jewelry. I found an article on African bone divination. I'm browsing Pinterest at the moment, and weirdly enough when I put "bone" in the search frame, most of what's popped up so far is referenced more by the color Bone than the actual bone. Although, if you visit my Pinterest, you'll see several new bone-themed pins on my various boards. I discovered a pretty comprehensive basic article here: Dem Bones  that I'm sure I'll use for future reference

So what is is about bones? It's all about visceral metaphor, digging deep and finding treasure...

And then I remember that gemstones are the bones of the earth, and that's a whole 'nother post....  


  1. "gemstones are the bones of the earth..."

    I can see her twisting, smiling, and cooing as she gives her children beautiful shiny bits of her own bones. Thanks so much for this perfect image of love and art to start my morning with ;-)

    And I've bookmarked "Dem Bones"!

    1. I feel like a bit of an idiot - I hadn't figured out how to enable REPLIES of all the blasted things on this stupid blog. So I'm only now getting to actually set my replies to you as threaded commentary instead of separate ones. *headdesk*

      If I hadn't been up all night, I'm sure there'd be more forthcoming. As it is, I'll get back to you later. For now, I must go collapse on my face next to the dragonette and hope I don't wake her before I get a few hours snooze time. Thank gods for the rain... I'll sleep better for it...


    2. I had a moment upon reading your comment, that I suddenly realized, and felt so deeply, the scarring influence of pit mining on the world. Something of a somber thought amidst all this joyous archaeology, but I'd never quite thought of it this way before. I think about the way I'd pick up stones from the stream as a child and then I think about the way some gems are torn from beneath Her skin... and I wonder if She would release them if we would only ask...