Sunday, August 25, 2013

Creation Story

There are many stories surrounding the creation of the world.  One in particular that struck me years ago is a Native American story about the world being created upon the back of a sea turtle.  I have no remembrance of where I first encountered that story and I've tried recently to find the exact story, but there seem to be many variations and each one I have found since are a little different from what I remember of the original myth.


I've been interested in Native American culture and stories since my college days.  I created my entire senior advanced drawing portfolio based on Native American art.  I think what initially drew me to reading the stories was an awareness and respect for the connection which Native tribes have to the earth.  So about 3 years ago when I was having dinner with 2 of my dad's sisters, imagine my surprise and delight to learn, for the first time, that one of my ancestors was Native American.  My aunts couldn't tell me much more than the fact that my dad's great grandmother was a full blooded Native American.  Considering the part of the country where my roots are planted, my great great grandmother's tribe must have been Lenni Lenape.


When my polymer clay guild, the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy (PCAGOE), decided to do a challenge theme inspired by a story or book, the turtle land creation story that I encountered many years ago was what I decided to depict.  Since I couldn't find the exact story, for those who would like to read something similar, here is a link to another version with the same basic premise.  I also found a similar Lenni Lenape version which was much more simplified... it goes:  Kishelemukong, the Creator, brought a turtle up from the ocean. 
It grew into an island (North America).  The first men and women sprouted from a tree on the tutle's back.




The piece of art you've seen in this post was created with this story in mind, as my entry for the September 2013 PCAGOE challenge.  I also had the idea to try to mimic quilled paper artwork.  The look I achieved is not quite what I had in mind, because it became much more complex than I had originally intended. The piece is meant as a wall hanging.  It was created by first stretching a piece of canvas over an wooden embroidery hoop.  I then sketched the design onto the canvas.  After painting the entire canvas with liquid polymer clay, which was then cured, I painted the canvas with inks.  The next step was to mix my polymer colors and extrude them all in long strips.  The strips were adhered to the canvas with a polymer bonding material and heat fused into place.  This was a painstaking process, taking much more time than I had originally anticipated.  The final step was to cover the wooden frame with more extruded strips of varying sizes.  I was quite pleased with the final outcome.  What do you think?





Voting will open on September 1st.  I'll be sure to blog about it to remind you to go vote for your favorite entries and to show you the entries from the other participating members!

22 comments:

  1. I love it, Beth!! You do amazing work. :)

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    1. Thanks so much Jackie! I was so glad to see your switch plate in the entries! Glad you've begun to get back to your clay! :)

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  2. Awesome piece Beth. I love the story too.

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  3. Great interpretation of a great story! I really love seeing the process and all of the angled views.

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  4. This makes me happy every time I look at it!

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  5. What a beautiful piece! Nice balance and amazing colors. It just touches my heart.

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    1. Thank you, Eugena, for your kind comments!

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  6. Hello, i absolutely love the story about grandmother turtle. I was wondering if you were at all going to sell this wonderful piece?

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    1. Thank you Moriah! This piece is not for sale, my hubby "called dibs" on it when it was only 1/2 way completed; however, I have already been commissioned to make another one for an old friend. If you're interested in commissioning one too, please send me a private email at: createmyworld@windstream.net

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  7. Amazing & beautiful! I love the motion in the "quilling"

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    1. Thank you Becky for your kind comments!

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  8. Your work is amazing. I have quilled for years and now that I am working in polymer, I am going to try my ideas in clay. thank you.

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    1. Thanks so much Carolyn, for the kind comments! I hope you give the polymer quilling a try! If you do, feel free to link back here a blog post or anywhere I can see your creation! :)

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  9. Absolutely Delightful! I remember hearing that story in years past but did not know the source of it. You've brought it beautifully to life.

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    1. Hi Penni Jo! Thanks for stopping by my blog and for the lovely comment!! :)

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  10. Terry Pratchett would have loved this piece Beth! His stories about Ringworld all revolve around the world being carried on the back of a huge turtle.

    Your story is just as lovely as that.

    Incredible piece! Absolutely stunning!

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    1. Hi aims! Thanks for stopping in and leaving a comment! I've never read Terry Pratchett... sounds like something I need to check out! Thanks for your kind words! :)

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