Thursday, June 12, 2014

Aussies 'n' Fairy Tales Week: Spike Deane, Mythic Glass Artist

New Stories From The Old Wood
UPDATED 1:18am on Friday, June 13th, 2014: Spike Deane's Into the Woods stop motion animation video added!

First up on the Awesome Aussies working in fairy tales list is the truly amazing Spike Deane. (All images shown throughout this post are of Spike's beautiful work.)

She also has a lovely way of introducing people to her art. Here's the introduction sheet from the AFTS (Australian Fairy Tale Society) Conference:
The AFTS (Australian Fairy Tale Society) presented an exhibition of her work in slide form during the Inaugural Conference on June 9th this week, and though Spike was overseas at the time and couldn't be there, she presented the AFTS with a very special and lovely key ahead of time, which was on display on the donor acknowledgement table:
AFTS key presentation
I have been meaning to highlight her work for some time and it is a disservice to you all that I haven't (my sincere apologies for that), because Spike's work is beautiful, mythic and uses a very special medium: glass. She also uses other mixed media, sometimes as part of her glass work as well, including (be still, my heart), stop motion animation! I am in serious AWE.

Check this out:

From the description:
Spike's main exhibits to date reflecting her fairy tale inspiration are:
  • The Forbidden Chamber (based on Bluebeard and Fitcher's Bird)
  • The Wolf I Knew Would Lead Me... (inspired by the transformational woods of folk and fairy tales)
  • The Woodcutters Daughter (representing the many stories that begin with "Once upon a time there was a poor woodcutter..." - see her website for pics)
  • New Stories From the Old Wood (representing transformation and metamorphosis in stories, using the age old fairy tale favorite symbol of the tree and the many-antlered deer)
  • Fairytale Landscapes (small scenes in glass with a silhouetted fairy tale figures
And she's currently working on a wonderful and completely delightful Selkie project. I heartily suggest checking out her blog where she's been kind enough to share the process of design and casting - it's like magic, where you can see all the hard work and are still wowed.
Casting and experiments in selkie heads
Spike was kind enough to give me some insight into her inspiration and how researching fairy tales and folklore are part of her process. She sent me a wonderful letter that I will share most of, since I can see it reflected in her work so well:
My work draws on narratives found in folk and fairy tales to explore themes of individual transformation and metamorphosis. These tales evoke archetypes, myths, legends and fundamental truths from our lived experiences as social beings in an ever changing world. Each generation re-imagines the core stories of folk traditions and it is this process of reinvention and renewal that underpins my work.
Breath of the Wolf In My Ear

 
The retelling of folk, fairytale and myth in literary fiction is the mainstay of my inspiration and research. My house is stuffed with books, many of which are fantasy novels, and these new stories I believe stem from the archetypes and themes found in folk and fairytale. I love reading and the process of sifting and dreaming through someone else's (or lots of someones) words and ideas is an integral part of my artistic practice. Lucky me. 
(Ms. Deane's Artist Statement is continued below The Forbidden Chamber presentation...)
The Forbidden Chamber

*******************************************************
"The Forbidden Chamber" by Spike Deane


Human beings are story tellers.
My work draws on narratives found in folk and fairy tales to explore themes of individual transformation and metamorphosis. These tales evoke archetypes, myths, legends and fundamental truths from our lived experiences as social beings in an ever changing world. Each generation re-imagines the core stories of folk traditions and it is this process of reinvention and renewal that underpins my work. With this piece I examine tales like those of Bluebeard and Fitcher's bird where a terrible secret lies behind a forbidden door.

In folklore and fairy tales the key can denote liberation, knowledge, the unravelling of mysteries or a difficult task to accomplish. In these stories I see the key assisting us on a path of revelation, unlocking secrets that reveal truths that enable personal growth and transformation. 
*******************************************************
(Spike Deane Artist Statement cont...) 
Currently I am making towards a body of work based on the legends and stories of the Selkie. The melancholy stories express so many of the tensions that exist in close relationships while using the seal skin as the focal element of transformation. My Selkie works will fit into the broader theme of 'Depths & Shallows' with 2 other glass artists and the show opens at M16 Artspace in Canberra on the 31st of July. 
I would have to say for fairytale analysis I am most definitely in camp Zipes. I have many of his books, bristling with markers. His idea of the 'hopeful journey' really strikes a chord with my sensibilities.
Fairytale Landscapes


Into the Woods
Look at the shadows! 
Most recently I have completed 2 pieces based around the mythical archetypes of the stag in the woods. 'Midnight grove' a lighted work is on show at Kirra Galleries in Melbourne until the 30 June.
Talia Lamp
I owe a great debt to Heidi Anne Heiner of Surlalune whose fantastic website has been a great help to me over the years and also to Ink Gypsy who keeps me up to date with the current fairytale world. Thank you.
Fairytale Landscapes - Aschenputtel

You're so welcome Spike! I'm thrilled to be of help; it truly is an honor. And it's now my aim to see some of your pieces in person. And we cannot wait to see the Selkie! Thank you for sharing your vision and talent with us all.
Fairytale Landscapes - Red
Fairytale Landscapes - Talia
Isn't she just amazing? As wonderful as these little images are on the web, I can only imagine how much more impact they have in person.
The Wolf I Knew Would Lead Me...
For my regular readers, I'm adding the Depths & Shallows show to the new Fairy Tale News Calendar, which is at the top of the page in the tab menu, in case there's a chance any of you are able to go.

There are many more pictures of Spike's work on her website, as well as a wealth of beautiful "in progress" photos on her blog (it's fascinating to see the creation of these pieces!).


Spike Deane's website is HERE, her blog is HERE, and her Twitter is HERE.

4 comments:

  1. Gorgeous!!! The ring of keys is so chilling!

    ReplyDelete
  2. these are so beautiful & intriguing!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for sharing this artist!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This reminds me a lot of Anna and Elsa. They should have shadows of these Frozen characters in these ice-like structures.

    ReplyDelete