Friday, 19 August 2011

A Curiosity Jar for Shells

Earlier this month I wrote about my visit to Lewes Beach. This past week I finally put some of the shells into the glass jar I bought specifically for the purpose! Soon I will make a paper label for it and tie it onto the jar with some string. The jar is actually a spice jar I bought from Crate & Barrel. I plan to buy another to put the rest of the small shells I have in there (and it will be so much easier to dust the shelf).

Jar of Shells collected at Lewes, DE
I have always had an interest in Cabinets of Curiosities, and my tendencies to collect objects from around the world, and the natural world, would probably lend to some interesting collections.

Here are some collections from history...


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Meet Ittan-momen!

Ittan Momen light version  (131/365)
© Kelly Weihs

Ittan-momen, which is a long piece of ghostly cloth which flies through the night air looking for victims to smother! I have started a new project, Yokai Craft Project, in which I am planning to create several yokai (they primarily will be made out of felt). It just so happens that ittan-momen is the easiest yokai to create (though I did decide to make his arms separate and stitched in a way that I can pose him in photos), a good starting point. People who know me know that another project focusing on these creatures is no big surprise.  Thank you Japan, for having great folklore!

This summer I purchased Mythical Beasts of Japan: From Evil Creatures to Sacred Beings, which is really fun to look through. (I have not spotted any ittan-momen yet.) I took a few photos to show some of what is in the book, as I could not see anywhere online that had correct images/product info! (The amazon images for this book aren't even right...)
The description:
A collection of glorious imaginary beings from Japanese mythology. The newest volume in the Traditional Patterns series, this book is a visual introduction to a variety of Japanese mythical beasts. Japanese imaginary creatures, such as Byakko (White Tiger), Suzaku (Vermilion Bird), Genbu (Black Tortoise), and Ryu (Japanese Dragon), were handed down from ancient Chinese mythology. Prayers were often offered to these beings since they are believed to cause mischief among ordinary mortals. Most of the featured works, mainly from the 12th century to the 19th century, feature motifs of sacred animals painted by artists such as Kawanabe Kyosai, Ito Jakuchu, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, and more. Moreover, all kinds of the evil creatures, such as devils and goblins, and the deities from Japanese folklore are depicted in all their splendid glory in paintings, carved wood, decorative art pieces such as mirrors, incense burners, and much more.

Friday, 5 August 2011

The First State

It has been awhile since I have had time (or anything of interest) to post! I have been suffering from terrible skin allergies for weeks now and that has really put a damper on sketching/sewing/photographing.
Anyway, last weekend I visited the historic shipbuilding town Milton, Delaware and nearby Lewes, "The First Town in the First State". It was great to see my good friend and at the same time explore new towns.

Many historic homes and things to see in both places!
And where there is old places there are wonderful and strange antiques...
old medical objects, this looks like it was manufactured in Indiana.  
My friend and I happened upon a fascinating working blacksmith forage and museum. We spoke to the blacksmith, he was an interesting person. (Actually, the entire time I was in Delaware, I do not think I met an uninteresting person!)

We visited the Zwaanendael Museum, which had some artifacts from the old settlements, coloured glassware and a lot of nautical things. Upstairs they had a lot of things that were found washed up on Lewes beach–shipwreck stuff. I wished to find some shipwrecked items (and seaglass) when we walked the beach but there was mainly pebbles. If you want to get some pebbles, Lewes Beach is the place to go.

But they had this ridiculous creature on display. The Fiji Merman!  I have seen such curiosities before but none displayed in this manner.  On a (rare) postcard which featured the Zwaanendael Musuem on the front, I drew a little image from memory on the back. I wonder if some lucky postman will enjoy viewing this work of art!

Fiji Mermen are a type of folk/sailor's art from the mid-19th century. They are made of all sorts of things, and sort of mashed into one 'creature'.

Shell Souvenir c. 1915, Cape Henlopen Light House
 Lewes, DE – good for finding pebbles and other useless sea-items,
bad for finding postcards and scrimshaw items!