Ceramic Sculpture

Vase  Large tall-necked vessel with dcorative roundels in the form of Celtic knots Raku fired ceramic 18 x 16 inches $250.00 Peacock Vase  Decorative Vase with bird motif Raku fired ceramic 14 x 12 inches $350.00 Torc  Sculpture based on the form of the Celtic Torc with central Tree of Life decoration and four protecting serpents. Raku fired ceramic 15 x 9 x 8 inches $750.00 Vortigern's Folly  One of a number of sculptures based on the Welsh Legend of Dinas Emrys. According to Arthurian lore, when Vortigern fled into Wales to escape the Anglo-Saxon invaders, he chose this lofty hillfort as the site for his royal retreat. Every day his men would work hard erecting the first of several proposed towers; but the next morning they would return to find the masonry collapsed in a heap. This continued for many weeks until Vortigern was advised to seek the help of a young boy born of a virgin mother. The King sent his soldiers out across the land to find such a lad. The boy they found was called Myrddin Emrys (Merlin Ambrosius). Vortigern, following the advice of his councillors, was planning to kill the boy in order to appease supernatural powers that prevented him from building a fortress here. Merlin scorned this advice, and instead explained that the hill fort could not stand due to a hidden pool containing two vermes (dragons). He explained how the White Dragon of the Saxons though winning the battle at present, would soon be defeated by the Welsh Red Dragon. After Vortigern's downfall, the fort was given to alias Emrys Wledig (Ambrosius Aurelianus), hence its name. Raku fired ceramic 24 x 12 x 12 inches $1500.00
Merlin's Castle  Another piece based on the Arthurian legend surrounding the Welsh hill fort of Dinas Emrys.  When the archaeologist Dr H. N. Savory excavated the site between 1954 and 1956, he was surprised to find that not only were the fortifications of about the right time frame for either Vortigern or Ambrosius (Merlin), but that there was a platform above the pool as described in the Historia Britonum. However, he found the platform to date much later than the accepted dates of either Vortigern or Merlin.   Savory described the fortifications as consisting of stone walls between 2.5 and 3 metres thick, which "exploited every irregularity in the rocky hill-top", enclosing an irregular area of about a 10,000 m2 in size. The original means of access was by a steep path on the western side of the hill fort. The present entrance from the north-east is a later addition. "The walls had been "poorly built of stone two or three times ", possibly inspiring the legend's reference to the building collapsing several times during construction. Raku fired ceramic 21 x 12 x 12 inches     $950.00 The Gate of Cernunnos  Raku fired ceramic 16.5 x 21 x 6 inches $1500.00 Gate #3  Raku fired ceramic $650.00 Homage to Nemglan  Nemglan is revered as the King of Birds and father of Conaire Mor, a high king of Ireland who achieved a measure of peace among the warring Celts. He appeared to Mess Buachalla in the form of a handsome Danaan youth and seduced her. Their son, Conary Mor, was raised by her husband, Eterskel, as his own son. When the flight of birds that Conary was following turned into soldiers, the leader, Nemglan, protected Conary from the others and told him his destiny as king and the obligations he must fulfil to become high-king.  Archetypically birds represent a transition from the human realm to the Otherworld. Raku fired wall hanging 28 x 18 inches $690
Cetic Cross  The Celtic Cross is known throughout the world as the emblem of Celtic Christianity, and in many ways it can be considered the symbol of Celticness itself. From Cornwall to the Isle of Man, from Wales to the Hebrides and throughout Ireland many magnificent examples of free-standing Celtic crosses can be found, some of which are at least 1200 years old. Contemporary carved crosses almost invariably denote a burial place, yet the early free-standing crosses were not erected for this purpose. The majority were positioned as meeting places, often within a monastic settlement and were carved for the sheer enjoyment of creating beauty, or ‘ tothe glory of God’ as well as biblical scenes. Many have knotwork patterns, spirals, mythical beasts and raised bosses, the latter said by some to symbolise the sun, worshipped by the early Celts. The cross has been around for a long time and has come to have many different meanings ascribed to it. Some say it is a representation of the male and female aspects of life. The symbol that we call the Celtic cross was known to the Hindus as Kiakra, a sign of sexual union: the cross within the circle. Another idea states that the horizontal arms represent the physical world, while the vertical arms depict the spiritual. When they meet in the centre a balance is achieved creating a sense of wholeness. Hence the circle, which is a symbol for oneness or of being ‘complete’.Yet another idea states that the four arms of the cross represent the four directions and the circle signifies the astral plane. Some say there is a much simpler explanation which comes from early man looking skyward at solar and lunar haloes, whose sharply delineated shafts of light appear as a cross emanating from the centre of a circle. Probably the most persuasive and attractive of interpretations is that the ring is a symbol of cyclical time or unity. the four points where the cross meets with the circle represent significant points in time on a repeated time cycle such as: [a] sunrise, noon, sunset and midnight, [b] the seasonal equinoxes and solstices; and/or [c] the four traditional Celtic seasonal festivals of Beltaine [May 1], Lugndasadh [August 1], Samhain [November 1], and Imbolc [February 1]. This interpretation is attractive because of the prominence of time cycles and solar symbols in Celtic mythology. Furthermore , the Celtic cross and its associated parts seem to relate to the sun or to solar symbols. Whatever the origins of the Celtic cross nothing can change the fact that a ringed cross silhouetted against the sky possesses a power and a dignity that has come to characterize Ireland and the Celts. Raku fired ceramic 9 x 13 x 6 inches $1250 Dog and Bird  The dog animal symbol also maintains a pure root meaning throughout time and culture. That meaning is loyalty, of course. Man (and woman's) best friend, the dog symbolizes the strong bond of companionship felt between human and animal. The dog was considered to be good luck in the village, and as such, the symbol of the dog was commonly found in Celtic decoration, clothing, etc. There are reports that the dog symbol is a harbinger of good health.  Further, a Celt was rarely found hunting without a hound nearby. Dogs were necessities in life, and therefore highly regarded. In Celtic animal symbols birds represented freedom and transcendence, having the power to soar up above the earth into the heavens, and return to bring messages from the gods. They were thus regarded as spiritual messengers and mediators between earth-bound mortals and the heavenly world. The symbolism of Celtic birds also varies according to the  characteristics of the type of bird. Ravens and crows represented death; peacocks symbolised purity; the eagle was a symbol of nobitity, and the heron, one of the few animals that mates for life, represented loyalty and lifelong love. The Morrighan  The goddess of battle and procreation. She is a triple goddess, one of the myriad of triad dieties that clutter Celtic and other pagan cultures. Her individual aspects were Nemain,which means ‘Frenzy, Babdh which means ‘Crow’ or ‘Raven’ and Macha which means ‘Battle’.The Morrighan combines the energies of life and death, sexuality and conflict all in one powerful and terrifying diety. As separate entities, Nemain, Babdh and Macha each had their individual powers. Little is known of Nemain except that she is a crone goddess of battle and strife. Babdh is well recorded, in common with her sisters she could shape-change at will, sometimes appearing as a foul hag, sometimes as an alluring maiden but most often as a bird. She was often to be seen on the battlefield in the guise of a wolf, near those she had selected to die, or she could be seen flying above the fray in the form of a crow. Prior to battle she would usually be encountered beside a stream in which she was washing the armour and weapons of those who were about to die. The Babdh could alter the course and outcome of battles by use of powerful magic, a trait she shared with her sisters. Other shared traits were an affinity with water, an ability to change her shape at will and an insatiable lust for both men and gods. Macha was a daughter of Midhir, an Irish fertility goddess and a formidable warrior, who built the fortress named after her Emain Macha. It was the stronghold of the Red Branch Warriors and also the ancient capital city of Ulster, a prehistoric and probably ritual site, which is today known as Navan Fort. She is also associated with the city of Armargh, or Ard Macha, which became the centre of Celtic Christianity during the reign of England’s James the first. At this site she had an eternal flame dedicated to her which was attended by temple maidens. This task was later taken over by nuns who created a shrine to a local saint at her holy site. The combination of these three spirits created a potent force worthy of the name Morrighan, which means ‘Phantom Queen’. Raku fired ceramic 16 x 14 x 14 inches $3,300.00 Cadair, Neu Car Morgan Mwynfawr  In Welsh legend Morgan Mwynfawr was the owner of a magical form of transport, described as either a chair or car, which could carry a person seated in it wherever they wanted to go. This magical item was numbered amongst the Thirteen Treasures of Britain - treasures or curiosities which Myrddin (Merlin) was said to have procured and then sailed away with in his glass boat, never to be seen again. Some commentators have incorrectly sought to identify the ownership of this enchanted mode of travel with Morgan Le Fay. I have chosen to use the chair as an artistic canvass to carry images of symbolic Celtic significance. The main theme of my design is avian in nature. Two birds inhabit the back of the chair,the arms are formed by the wings of the two hawks used as hand rests and their feet provide the design for the front chair legs. Apart from the obvious association with unencumbered flight, birds were of great significance to the Celts. The eagle was seen as the scavenger of Europe, then, as now, the owl was regarded as the bird of mystery and wisdom, but the most powerful symbolic significance was reserved for both the crow and raven. They would fly over the Celtic battlefields as the diety incarnate collecting the souls of the dead and delivering them to the Tree of Life, where the souls would be deposited and absorbed through the branches, trunk and roots to end up in a giant cauldron protected by serpents to be regenerated and reborn as the tree formed its buds in the spring. Other birds would then take and spread the life-forces throughout the Celtic world, thus displaying their belief in the cyclical nature of being. A Tree of Life image appears on the chair back. Other symbolic images I have used also serve to show the Celtic belief in humankind’s eternal spiritual growth. Knotwork designs, or interlacing, show a pathway through life, each crossover representing a problem solved and symbolizing a continual process of learning and growth in an attempt to achieve the goal of perfection. Raku fired ceramic 24 x 12 x 12 inches $3000.00
Recovery  This Tree of Life image is based on a cerebral angiogram I underwent after suffering a brain aneurysm in April of 2002. After weeks of treatment and months of recuperation, I finally felt healthy enough to address my illness through my art. The very shape of the X-ray image and the implied symbolism of the Tree of Life legend ( continuation, hope for the future ) led me to create this personally meaningful image. I have used the intertwining of the celtic knot work as a metaphor for life’s journey.  The knot work encloses golden rosettes which are in the form of spirals, symbolizing both the continuation of the journey and eternal energy.  The golden colour of the rosettes represents the enduring optimism of the next sunrise and the continuing odyssey, where one never ceases striving to conquer the plains and mountains of life’s endeavours.  Life’s journey is forever heading towards the next sunrise, never knowing what the future may bring.  Birds are representative of freedom from the physical restrictions of earthbound life, and the ascent of the soul to the gods, either through mystical experience or death.  Because they come from the skies they also assume the role of messengers from higher powers, whether for good or ill. One dark - and one light -coloured bird as seen here denote the dual nature of reality (darkness and light, life and death, etc.). Raku fired ceramic $350 Journey of the Ages  A simplified verion of my drawing The Earth Mother, Journey of the Ages shows a heavily pregnant figure surrounded by Celti symbols of birth, death, procreation and reincarnation. Illustrating she is both creation and creator, the genesis of the earth's bounty. Raku fired ceramic 5 x 13 inches $950.00 Chronology  As the title suggests, this piece of sculpture is about time and the various ideas and images which, over generations, have combined to produce what we have now come to see as one of the most abiding images of Christianity, the Celtic Cross. The timeline runs from approximately 2000 B.C. to 1400 A.D.  The first image is of standing stones bearing a lintel, it is intended to remind the viewer of the many pagan stones and circles to be found all over Europe, but more particularly in the British Isles. These stones marked holy places and/or sites marking the centre of the world, or, by association, the centre of a country or area of hallowed ground. They have their roots in ancient Egypt and have become known by their Greek name omphalos.  The second image is of a standing stone carved with my interpretation of Bronze Age images of sunwheels from Norway and Sweden. It is generally accepted that these carved images have their roots in a striking natural phenomenon. Under certain weather conditions, sun or moonlight shining through airborne ice crystals produces halo phenomena. These are common in northern latitudes, and there are many recorded patterns of both solar and lunar haloes in the form of arcs, circles and crosses which have been exhaustively investigated by contemporary meteorologists. In ancient times they were seen as direct manifestations of the power of solar and lunar deities with their direct control over every aspect of life, day/night, the seasons, the tides, etc.. Other images on the stone are ideas suggested by carvings to be seen in Sinniness, Scotland; Cambridge, England and Kilmakedar, Ireland.  The third image is of a Pictish slab or pillow stone, which are normally to be found lying on the ground but which I have chosen to stand upright, the better to fit the tenor of the piece. The Picts were a Scottish race famed for the tattoos they wore. Isadore of Seville writes of the Picts that they were so called because their bodies were covered with pictures pricked into their skin using needles and coloured with herbs. The designs I use to decorate this part of the piece were developed from pictish tattoo design which used animals as tribal emblems and also to symbolize their multivalent deities.  The Cornish wayside cross, which the fourth image represents, served two purposes in the early Christian church. Firstly, as the Dark Ages were dangerous times to be roaming the land alone, which was how the missionary priests and monks had to travel to fulfill their calling,the crosses marked the safest routes between monasteries for the holy men to follow. Also, they marked preaching stations at stopping-places on track ways, in markets, or other locations where people passed by or gathered together. These holy stopping places were marked by a cross, which could be either of temporary or permanent construction. When the missionary died his followers would bury him at one of these places thus creating further layers of sanctity upon already hallowed ground.  The final piece is an amalgam of all you see before you, plus a great deal more, far too much to illustrate here. The images I have chosen to decorate the cross are all of Pagan origin, knot work to symbolize one’s journey through life both physical and,more importantly, spiritual. The tree of life motif represents spiritual rebirth and continuing growth of inner strength and peace, in an attempt to rid one’s soul of impurities and achieve the goal of perfection. I have used the triskele, a device used throughout the Celtic world, to represent the triad (both Pagan and Christian), and as a symbol of growth and learning as the arms reach out and gather knowledge to bring back to the centre of the device. Raku fired ceramic mounted on a travertine base. 23 x 16 x 10 inches $5,000.00 The Space Inside  The Celts were in drawn to mysterious places they did not truly understand. Wells and springs were considered holy, as were places where the landscape changed sea and lake shores edges of woods or forests, etc. "The Space Inside" suggests a mystery the door will not open but is left ajar indicating that something is inside but as we can neither see nor enter we are left with the uncertainty of an enigma. Raku fired ceramic 14 x 6 inches $575.00