Thursday, January 31, 2013
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Yes, I read a book about dirt...and I would do it again. This book was fascinating and magical. Links and references are made to salt, sugar, scent, touch, birth, death, the human body, astrology and even architecture. A few excerpts:
"A few inches down, it is pure black acrid matter having a texture like a cross between cotton candy and damp sawdust. This is the stuff from which all life on the land is born."
"The wealth of America is based on the black soils of its prairies, whose broad, flat expanses are often compared to the sea."
"The hand is the symbol of the whole body. It is the only part of us that is made both to give and receive, both to repel and to grasp."
Cathedrals - "...by their very weight intruded on the earth, insisting on bringing it into relations with the heavens." Often built with an underground crypt to store relics.
"There are only two things in the universe that require liquid water for their existence: organic life and clay."
"But without the ability to contain, as well as produce, no culture can be created. To the inhabitants of the first cities, a warehouse was a miracle. The first discover of settled life was that it was possible to save. To preserve and to transport what had been preserved, it was necessary to have containers. A cave had to be found; a house could be built. A niche stayed where it was, but a pot could travel."
The last excerpt probably the most significant for me as it fuels my interest in objects. Why we make them, why we give them away, why we have to touch and look at them.
Below is a piece I made in response to dirt. The earth was cut in a perfect square; the soil was a deep, rich black, the blackness absorbed so much light, I thought, that is sparkled. The scent was overpowering, fresh and invigorating. I was searching for this experience, I just happened to come upon it. The piece measures approx. 4 feet wide and 5 feet from top to farthest bottom. It is made entirely out of yarn and is installed on the wall.
"Homer calls it a divine substance, Plato describes it as especially dear to the Gods, and we shall presently note the importance attached to it in religious ceremonies, covenants, and magical charms. That this should have been so in all parts of the world and in all times shows that we are dealing with a general human tendency and not with any local custom, circumstance or notion."
"In every age, people are certain that only the things they have deemed valuable have true value."
"The history of the Americas is one of constant warfare over salt. Whoever controlled salt was in power. This was true before Europeans arrived, and it continued to the reality until after the American Civil War."
"...various grades of salt were produced, from the whitest for the rich to a black, unpleasant-tasting salt for the poor."
"To the British admiralty, the solution to a lack of sea salt was to acquire through war or diplomacy places that could produce it."
Link here to my Pinterest board where I collect imagery and information for salt.
AN IMPORTANT SET OF EIGHT GEORGE IV SILVER-GILT SALT CELLARS Mark of Paul Storr, London, 1822 Each on shaped oval wave-capped base, supporting a triton pulling a nautilus shell, each marked on shell, triton and base 5¼in. (13cm.) long; 145oz. 10dwt. (4530gr.) (8). Source is Christies. Link here.