Let me introduce you to my latest print, The Green Man.
Who is the Green Man? My favorite description comes from the Myth*ing Links website:
“The Green Man is that spirit, energy, presence, inherent in every cell of the vegetative realm, and transmitted to the animal/human realms through the foods we eat, the flowers we smell, the trees we hug.”
The Green Man is nature, yes, but the uncontrolled wild side, full of energy with a hint of danger; the primeval forest deep and dark, that you take lightly at your own peril.
Wikipedia has a somewhat milder description:
“Found in many cultures around the world, the Green Man is often related to natural vegetative deities springing up in different cultures throughout the ages. Primarily it is interpreted as a symbol of rebirth, or “renaissance,” representing the cycle of growth each spring.”
Green Men appear as carvings in many European cathedrals, an interesting example of the overlap between pagan and Christian iconography. Here is a door knocker from a monastery in Santiago de Compostela, in Spain.
This print is actually the first woodcut I’ve ever done. I carved it way back in June, when I was a vendor at the Scottish Renaissance Festival. They encouraged vendors to demonstrate their craft, and so rather than work on a linoleum block, my usual block print style, I opted for the more era-appropriate wood block. I had a block from somewhere, that I picked up at some time –who knows where or when– so I gave it a go. I’m quite pleased with the results. Wild thing, I think I love you.
You can see this print, and a whole lot more, if you visit during the Santa Cruz County Cultural Council’s 2010 Open Studios. (That’s a mouthful!) The studios of over 300 local artists will be open the first three weekends of October. My studio, specifically, will be open October 9 & 10 and October 16 & 17, from 10am to 5pm each day. Come on down! It’s an excellent excuse to cross the mountains to Santa Cruz.