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{to await from the stars}
19 December 2005 @ 07:39 pm
12/15/05

looking carefully
snow flurries can be discerned
against dark colors
 
 
countenance: tiredtired
ambience: "Fast Car" Tracy Chapman
 
 
{to await from the stars}
14 December 2005 @ 01:51 pm
© Desiree IsphordingHere is another one of the idiom illustrations. In this case, the idiom being illustrated is "playing on my heart strings" or "tugging at my heart strings."

This piece is also for sale! Please let me know if you're interested!

Size: 10.5" X 4.5"
Media: Prismacolor pencils and ink
 
 
countenance: hopefulhopeful
 
 
{to await from the stars}
14 December 2005 @ 01:24 pm
© Desiree Isphording 2005


© Desiree Isphording 2005This is another illustration from the past semester. The assignment was to choose an idiom, defined in my dictionary as "an expression whose meaning cannot be derived from its constituent elements, as kick the bucket in the sense of 'to die'." This image illustrates the idiom a death wish.

This piece is for sale! Please let me know if you're interested!

Size: 7.25" X 5.25"
Media: Prismacolor pencils and ink
 
 
countenance: hopefulhopeful
 
 
{to await from the stars}
12 December 2005 @ 11:58 pm
© Desiree Isphording 2005


This piece was created for an assignment in my Senior Illustration class during the Fall 2005 semester. The assignment was to illustrate a celebrity accompanied by an animal that represents him or her in some way. I chose a rather obscure celebrity to depict, the lead singer of the band Rasputina Melora Creager.

Rasputina has had numerous incarnations, but Melora is its creator and constant member. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this band is that their primary instrument of choice is the cello, which they feature in both its traditional as well as electrified form. Rasputina is also distinguished by its corseted female musicians and its oftentimes bizarre, morbid, and comical lyrics. I tried to draw all of these elements into this illustration.

I chose this hapless fawn to associate with Melora for a number of reasons. For one, the figure of the deer occurs within her lyrics, notably in "Hunter's Kiss," and in addition appears on the cover of The Lost and Found album, and I also just enjoy drawing deer. Since the nature of Rasputina's songs are often dark and distressing, I felt that Melora's little pet required such a twist as well, hence the target lovingly tied to its flank with a bow. This piece also deliberately plays with a homophone - the previously mentioned blue ribbon affixing the target to the fawn is tied with a bow, there is the implication of a bow to accompany the quiver and collection of arrows, and Melora cradles a cello bow in the crook of her arm. Although I cannot assure you that the fawn is free from danger, you may be relieved to know that the arrows are malformed and crooked, and I'm not sure if a cello bow could produce enough tension to adequately shoot an arrow in the first place.

Original size: 12" X 12"
Media: Prismacolor pencils and ink wash on toned paper
 
 
countenance: sillydevious and creative
ambience: "Hunter's Kiss" Rasputina
 
 
{to await from the stars}
10 November 2005 @ 09:45 pm
I've been occupying myself these past few months by making jewelry. With Andrew's help, I've also been able to have some of my pieces photographed. I've started a new LJ completely devoted to this new adventure of mine: phee_adornments. I hope to be adding more pieces soon since I have some completed pieces which still need to be photographed. Check it out and let me know what you think!
 
 
countenance: excitedexcited
ambience: Speak for Yourself Imogen Heap
 
 
 
{to await from the stars}
26 October 2005 @ 03:22 pm
This is the first time I've actually posted my results to an online quiz to my journal, and truthfully, it will probably be a strange and rare occurrence if I post the results of any other quizzes. But, in this instance, this quiz and my results serve as an interesting jumping-off point for further discussion.



You scored as
Ecclectic Pagan. A veritable blend of all the
pantheons and perhaps a dash of a few other religions
as well, you're the versitile Ecclectic Pagan. You
have no problem wearing an ankh while setting an
offering to Herne on your alter just below your image
of Hera. You don't believe in coloring within the
lines, and are a bright free-thinker. While you
respect the views of your fellow pagans, as far as
you're concerned, religion is the sky, and there's no
one about to clip your wings with lines and
limitations.

the rest of my resultsCollapse )

Ignoring for the moment that the author of this quiz cannot properly spell "eclectic," (why do people always want to throw an extra 'c' into this word? are they confusing it with "eccentric"?) among other words, I was not surprised by my results. I have already admitted to being unabashedly eclectic with regards to my beliefs, practices, and inspirations. My eclecticism even thoroughly bleeds through to express itself in my artwork, style of interior decorating, and diverse taste in music and clothing. However, I've come to feel that my own perspective on eclecticism is different from that of others, and after some contemplation, I'm wondering if "eclecticism" is even the best word for my approach, but as of yet I have been unable to find a more suitable adjective. The actual dictionary definition of eclecticism seems largely appropriate, but the negative baggage in the form of connotation and tacit assumptions that this term carries within the Pagan community does not.

Like virtually anything else, an eclectic practice can be composed with varying degrees of skill, sensitivity, and success. The finished product (or perhaps I should say in progress piece since, in my mind, religion is not a static construction) can be as delightful and harmonious as a well-crafted collage or quilt; even though it is comprised of elements from various sources, those elements have been selected and arranged with consideration so that they compliment each other, creating a dynamic composition that becomes much more than the sum of its parts. On the other hand, it could simply result in a garish and, in some cases, monstrous thing; a dissonant, incoherent mish-mash of disparate elements which have been unceremoniously grafted, welded, glued together with little to no thought or aesthetic consideration as to how, or even if, those elements will function as a whole.

A lot of Pagans are only too happy to point out examples of the latter, and it seems as if the examples of the former are not often acknowledged. Although I think that, in part, this is simply due to the personal prejudice of some Pagans and the phenomenon of it becoming cool in certain circles to deride the totality of eclecticism (in some cases, eclectic-bashing seems to have evolved into a "less fluffy than thou" sport), I also believe that it is due to the fact that the more successful eclecticisms do not readily stand out as eclectic. For instance, Eclectic Wicca and British Traditional Wicca are often contrasted and examined on the basis that while one is a coherent system, the other can often be disjointed and scattered. Yet, if we truly examine British Traditional Wicca, we find that it is a highly eclectic construction synthesized from elements of ceremionial magic, Crowley's O.T.O., Co-Masonry, bits of British folklore and superstition, literary works including Leland's Aradia and Graves' The White Goddess, archaeology, the pseudo-scholarly works of Margaret Murray, nudism, Celtic names and dates for Sabbats, Asian religious concepts, etc. Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone go so far as to comment in Progressive Witchcraft that "A look at its history shows there is nothing more eclectic than Traditional Wicca, with its blend of Italio-Etruscan, Ceremonial Magic, Masonic, and possibly even Sufi origins!"(10). People are frequently blind to this reality because in well-formed eclecticisms, its composite parts are not easily distinguishable, they form a nearly seamless continuum.

For me, eclecticism is not a process of appropriating wholesale the ideas and customs of other cultures and religions, instead it is an outward recognition which reflects someting I already possessed inwardly. It's not about snatching the alien, the exotic, and the novel simply for their own sake to display like a new conquest to one's friends, then allowing it to gather dust, forgotten in a back drawer once it has lost its luster.
(this is a work in progress)

Some Thoughtful Articles on Eclecticism in Neo-Paganism
Eclecticism and Wicca: this is actually an e-mail written by elfwreck which was posted to the Amber and Jet Yahoo! Group in February of 2003, it is the same letter which I have quoted above. Unfortunately, in order to view this letter you have to have a Yahoo! account and you may even have to be a member of the Amber and Jet Group.

Defending Eclectic Neopaganism: this is an article by Ben Gruagach of The Witches' Grotto.

Approaching the Folk Process in Modern Paganism: this website features numerous writings relating to eclecticism, syncretism, among other topics.
 
 
countenance: contemplativecontemplative
ambience: Haunted POE
 
 
{to await from the stars}
I've been in the process of creating some recommended reading guides over at Amazon. Apparently, I've added too many words to my So You'd Like to Become an Intelligent Neo-Pagan Witch Guide (the maximum is 1,500 words). That means I'm going to have to edit the Amazon version, but I wanted to preserve all of the original material I would have liked to present in that guide, so I'm posting that information here for the time being.

books, books, and more booksCollapse )
 
 
{to await from the stars}
15 October 2005 @ 01:05 pm

At least one of my two submitted pieces was chosen for Epilogue's New Masters of Fantasy - Volume 3 Collection! Yay! Squeakers of joy!
 
 
countenance: ecstaticelated
ambience: Fiona Apple Extraordinary Machine
 
 
{to await from the stars}
05 October 2005 @ 10:09 pm

My boyfriend Andrew just sent me this set of three sketches he did today on post-it notes in what appears to be ballpoint pen (one of my favorite mediums). They're so spiffy that I wanted to share them :-D

copyright Andrew Romano 2005

I feel like they should have some sort of story accompanying them though. They seem like three sisters each with some interesting personality quirks.The one to the far left seems to me to be the kind of lady who never marries nor has children but instead amasses a large collection of cats which end up nearly pressing her out of her own home. The center sister almost seems like a 20s flapper girl to me, while the leftmost woman is the eldest and most matronly of all three.
Tags:
 
 
countenance: pleasedpleased
ambience: "EngineDriver" The Decemberists
 
 
{to await from the stars}
02 October 2005 @ 01:11 pm
I don't really feel like updating my official online gallery at the moment, so I thought I would just share this recently completed piece here.
copyright Desiree Isphording 2005


This illustration is based on Procol Harum's classic song "A Whiter Shade of Pale." According to one website dedicated to collecting various versions of the song by various artists, there have been at least 200 renditions of it. Although I have heard the original song numerous times, the version I'm most familiar with was performed by Annie Lennox on her album Medusa, and I'm also somewhat familiar with a really crappy version sung by Sarah Brightman on La Luna. My visual interpretation plays mostly off of the song title and certain lines in the chorus: "that her face, at first just ghostly, / turned a whiter shade of pale". I was mainly concerned with the question of how something could be a whiter shade of pale, and I tried to resolve that question by showing that the white dove perched on her hand and the white snow gathering on her garments are not nearly as pale as her skin. Her pink irises and pupils indicate that she might even be an albino.

This image does include references to other lyrics as well, for instance, there are a total of fifteen portraits of other women on the wall behind her, implying that the main subject is "one of sixteen vestal virgins." Her high-necked, Victorian-inspired dress and veil also indicate a preoccupation with modesty. There is also a line which states that "the ceiling flew away," and so our subject is in a room lacking a ceiling which allows tree limbs and falling snow to enter unimpeded.

Although there are definitely some things I would change about this piece in retrospect (e.g. I would have had her perfectly centered horizontally on the page and I would have made sure that her features were a little more symmetrical), I'm still fairly pleased with how it turned out. I thought I would try something slightly different stylistically and this image is essentially an experimentation.

Regarding my Online Gallery
I'm actually in the process of learning Flash MX 2004 in school, and I've decided to make an online portfolio as my main project for the class. So hopefully by around Yule, I'll have a brand new Flash gallery website up and running.
 
 
countenance: thoughtfulthoughtful
 
 
 
{to await from the stars}
22 September 2005 @ 07:29 pm
I thought I had exhausted the length of Hilltown Pike and its vicinity searching for old cemeteries (I've already documented two other graveyards that lie along or near it: St. Peter's Union Cemetery and Line Lexington Mennonite Cemetery), but apparently I was wrong. Last weekend as Andrew and I were taking it towards Montgomeryville, I was looking out the window and happened to catch sight of headstones through a filter of leaves. The next day we returned to visit. Update 10/11/05: photos added!

© Desiree Isphording 2005Hilltown Baptist Cemetery
This cemetery is actually located along Chalfont Road/Sellersville Road in Fricks, Bucks County. Chalfont Road meets Hilltown Pike, and the cemetery can be found approximately a half mile from the intersection of those two roads. Turning into the cemetery, you are first met with the massive, aged oak tree which stands as a sentinel by the road. The graveyard itself seemingly shys away from the road, nestled on the opposite side of a slight hill, while the oak tree vigilantly guards it from casual viewers, carefully maintaining an expanse of lawn as a buffer between the it and the traffic. This existence of this buffer zone is explained by the first memorial one encounters when venturing from the road, a stone which states that it marks the original site of the Hilltown Baptist Church Lower built in 1737. That particular building remained for 44 years, until it was demolished in 1771 to make way for a larger stone structure, which was subsequently dismantled in 1858. As the congregation of the church grew a separate building had to be created to accommodate the additional members. Hilltown Baptist Church Upper was built in 1750, and that location is the present home of that congregation.
necropolis: verses and an additional photoCollapse )
 
 
countenance: sleepysleepy
 
 
{to await from the stars}
21 September 2005 @ 10:16 am
I turned 22 at 5:40am today, although I certainly don't feel 22.
Tags:
 
 
countenance: cheerfulcheerful
 
 
{to await from the stars}
16 September 2005 @ 12:39 pm

9/15/05

two fine silhouettes
soaring before a backdrop
of cumulus clouds

the arrival of
shipments of chrysanthemums
surely signals fall

lone orange-leaved tree
sticks out like a sore thumb in
an expanse of green

I wrote these three at work yesterday while business was slow. I placed the slip of paper on which I wrote them in my pocket, but apparently I lost the piece of paper somewhere along the way, forcing me to recall them from memory alone.

I was searching for a book with commentary by Alan Watts in the school library the other day when I stumbled upon a series of books on tombstone art. Most of these books featured images from cemeteries in New England which dated from the late 1600s and early 1700s, and I can honestly say that the artwork on those tombstones utterly kicks the ass of any example of tombstone art I've seen around here! I must visit New England....
 
 
countenance: calmcalm
 
 
{to await from the stars}
08 September 2005 @ 09:55 pm
Update 10/11/05: Two more photos have been added! I've explored a few more local cemeteries, taking more photos, jotting down more verses to add to my collection.

five necropolises: verses & photographsCollapse )

As an aside, although one probably wouldn't anticipate finding intentional morbid humor expressed on headstones or gravemarkers, apparently it does exist! Scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page and view the photograph of a plaque marking the resting place of a man who served in the U.S. Army. :-D
 
 
{to await from the stars}
23 August 2005 @ 08:26 pm

This is my last free week to myself before my fall semester begins next Monday. Although I think I may enjoy some of my upcoming classes, I'm still not looking foreword to going back. The other day my father and I tried to discover some alternate routes down to Tyler, and one of them seems quite promising, so hopefully I can avoid the turmoil that is 309. The new route may even by more scenic! We'll see. So far my final week of summer vacation has been largely comprised of visiting local cemeteries and photographing them, which seems a fitting way to mourn the imminent death of my free time ;-) I've also started to collect the verses that are inscribed on many of the older stones, some of which will be included in this entry. I intend to add corresponding photographs for each of the cemeteries once I am able to get all five rolls of film developed.
Update 9/27/05 I've added two more photographs to this entry!

three necropolises: photographs and versesCollapse )

I also went to get my driver's license renewed...what a lovely trip that was. I forgot how much I dislike the DMV; waiting in that place just brings back so many memories about how much of a nervous wreck I was when I had to take the driver's test. At least I didn't have to be there long. I think the new photograph they took of me sucks >:-P My mom said they took four pictures of her and gave her the option of which one she preferred to actually have on her license. They didn't give me that option.
 
 
countenance: calmcalm
 
 
 
{to await from the stars}
18 August 2005 @ 08:39 pm

8/18/05

a little cricket
somewhere among the flowers
noisy, but unseen

shadows cast by ferns
from their hanging pots above
are dark explosions
 
 
countenance: tiredtired
 
 
{to await from the stars}
15 August 2005 @ 09:40 pm
This cemetery occupies sections on along both sides of Hilltown Pike, a road which winds its way from Bucks County into Montgomery County in Pennsylvania, with rows of headstones both flanking the side and across the street from St.Peter's Reformed Church in Hilltown, Bucks County . I shot a few rolls of film there, but unfortunately most of the images came out very contrast-y. It was interesting to find that many of the grave markers bear inscriptions which are completely in German, carved in a really elegant black-letteresque calligraphic typeface. While Andrew and I were wandering through the grid of headstones we even discovered the graves of those who were identified as veterans of the Revolutionary War. Here are some of the better photographs:

Cemetery at St.Peter's I
This headstone also had the following inscription, "Remember me as you pass by / As you are now so once was I / Prepare for Death and follow me."

Cemetery at St.Peter's II

two more cemetery photosCollapse )


Unfortunately, my photos from Columcille were disappointing as well.

Etcetera
In other news, avoid PA route 309 south of Montgomeryville if at all possible, you'll save yourself a lot of trouble. I ventured down to Tyler a few weeks ago to pay my tuition bill and pick up a new parking pass and the road was horrendous. It's down to one lane virtually the entire length of the expressway and at one point PennDOT completely diverted it onto what was once an on-ramp (not to mention that after the construction crews tear up the road, they don't really repair it or completely erase the former dividing lines between lanes, and if you're claustrophobic the cement barriers on either side are sure to make you uneasy). I wish I knew a better way to get to school because if I get caught on 309 even remotely near rush hour traffic it's going to be a living hell...I don't want to go back to school :-(

I also discovered a little while ago that as of October 22nd, I will no longer have health insurance. Temple University does offer student insurance, but at this point it's too much for me to afford, and although my work has insurance for part-time employees, after they take the money out of my paycheck for that there will be barely any money left. I guess I'd better try my best not to get sick or seriously injured. I rarely go to the doctor's anyway, but I do have a prescription which I'm sure will cost considerably more without insurance.

Arghhhh.....

I just saw A Series of Unfortunate Events the other day. The costume and set design are darkly gorgeous, but the animations for the opening and closing credits are my favorite. It was a fairly enjoyable movie otherwise as well, although the plot was rather simple and predictable (it was primarily a children's movie though, based on children's books).
 
 
countenance: frustratedfrustrated
ambience: Carry On Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
 
 
{to await from the stars}
05 August 2005 @ 12:00 am

This piece represents a personal impression of a genius loci or 'spirit of place'. I've sensed this particular faery many times while walking along the shore of the lake near my home. She tends to be elusive, somewhat sullen, but always watchful of her territory. Like many other mermaids (and lakemaids, for that matter) in world myth, she possesses a dangerous side, and her murky waters have been known to lure men to their death.

Even though the lake itself is man-made, I do not believe that she is a new inhabitant of the area; she very likely resided in the immediate vicinity when only the stream, which was dammed to create the lake, ran through the valley. I think it is very possible though that her haunt expanded as a result of the building of the lake. The larger body of water allows her a greater vantage point from which to guard and observe. As a creature of the dark, weed-choked waters of the lake, it seemed entirely befitting that she revealed herself as a CatfishWoman in this image. Specifically, her form and coloring are based on the Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), a species which actually does live in the lake. Sleek and scaleless, she is adept at slipping below the surface without leaving a solitary ring in her wake. Interestingly, another common name for this fish is "lady cat."

additional faery musingsCollapse )

Crossposted to mythicfaery and spookyfaeries
 
 
countenance: contemplativecontemplative
 
 
{to await from the stars}
18 July 2005 @ 10:52 pm
Hope you like the layout and color scheme change, I was getting rather disenchanted with the previous version.

5/18/05

a big blue button
slightly deeper shade of sky -
the water tower

similar contours
these pale clouds and this bright green
canopy of leaves

6/26/05

8 o'clock and the
sky is already hazy -
a dog day ahead

elegantly draped
electrical cables seem
like spiderweb strands

7/14/05

little finch darts in
and out of the chain link fence
as it would a shrub


Columcille
A few weeks ago Andrew and I had the pleasure of visiting Columcille Megalith Park in Bangor, PA. An acquiaintance, who was surprised that I had not been aware of its existence earlier, just recently told me about this place (even Andrew and his family who live less than a half an hour's drive from the park were unaware if it!) and out of curiousity we decided to investigate. Our curiousity definitely paid off and other than the biting flies it was quite enjoyable.

It's difficult to adequately describe what Columcille is....I suppose "Megalith Park" suffices since it refers to the most notable physical characteristics of the preserve, but more than that it is a prime location where people have sought to co-create art with the sentient landscape around them. The most obvious examples are the large standing stones, the stone circle, and stone chapels that dot the property, but if you hike the trails you will discover more subtle evidence of artistic interaction. While a passing glance might show a typical forest scene, a closer look will reveal miniature circles of rocks and pebbles, small stone cones and spires, and tiny dolmens. Small, delicate architecture is balanced between tree roots and laced along the walking trails. Stone certainly seems to be the preferred medium for this expression though despite scale considerations. Although some of the deep forest masonry was planned beforehand and completed over a few years, I believe many of the smaller contributions are simply those people felt the desire (or need) to spontaneously create, like offerings. Although these tiny earthworks are much more humble than some of his creations, I think Andy Goldsworthy would feel quite at home at Columcille :-) I took some photographs as well, but I have yet to have the film developed.
 
 
countenance: contemplativecontemplative
ambience: "The Only Living Boy in New York" Simon & Garfunkel
 
 
{to await from the stars}
13 July 2005 @ 03:04 pm
I discovered this lovely comic strip at Per Set today. If you're familiar with Egyptian mythology, I'm sure you'd enjoy it too:
House of Netjer Revisited (be sure to read the alt messages before the images load)


:-/ The artist doesn't seem to know much about raptors though: hawks, falcons, kites, etc. don't eat birdseed, but it's funny nonetheless.
 
 
countenance: amusedamused
ambience: "Thimble Island" Rasputina