First off, I have to say the show Friday was an overwhelming success. The place was packed, art was selling SO FAST, and between the art on the walls and the additional prints and pins and donations we raised $3,100 just on the opening night! I know a larger piece sold the next day as well and there's still a lot of great stuff and printed multiples left so we stand to raise a good amount of money when this is all over. I feel like all the artists involved REALLY put a lot of effort into their work and it definitely showed. The employees at Grindcore House also did an amazing job keeping up with the frantic pitch of the sales. The event received a good amount of event press so there seemed to be a lot of people beyond the usual Philly art crowd in attendance and I got to chat with a few people who found out about it through Bat Conservation International, or who picked up flyers we left out when we went to the lecture about White Nose Syndrome at the Wagner (I have a big half written post about that lecture to post soon). I also have to give a shout out to friends who pitched in all kinds of help like Nikki who helped fold all those origami bats, my mother who baked and decorated 200 vegan bat cookies for the opening, Carol who brought a flat of vegan brownies with little bat picks in them, my friend Greg who came from Pittsburgh with the awesome bat house he built for the show and Dilek who came down from NY to sell etchings of her piece.
I struggle to adequately express it but I'm just really excited to be working with other artists and people who have the enthusiasm and generosity to get behind something like this. Thank you so much, guys! I'll make sure to share some of the press I know is in the works about the show as soon as it gets posted. I'll also have some more photos.
I decided early on that I wanted to do something a bit outside of the normal, somewhat negative, associations with bats in folklore. I've been reading this excellent book about Grimoires lately and have particularly been thinking about the early blending of science, medicine and magical thought particularly astral magic which includes the idea that everything in the natural world was imbued with powers from the stars and planets which could be harnessed for medical and magical purposes.
A lot of this centers around the idea of like producing like, meaning that animals and plants with certain associations for humans (or in the case of the doctrine of signatures the appearance of a natural object) could be used to treat and influence a similar problem. In the case of bats their association with night led to their use in medicine and magic that dealt with sleep. This is why I also chose poppies (my favorite flower) for the piece.
"Ualueria" is the word for bat in the Lingua Ignota ("unknown language"), a language invented by "Saint" (her sainthood is unofficial) Hildegard of Bingen "the Sibyl of the Rhine" a medieval mystic, abbess and writer of medical and herbal texts, and musical composer. It's believed that she invented her language, which included 1,011 words and its own alphabet, in order to encourage comradery among the nuns in her order. Many of the words are for plants, animals and medical terms because she used them in her writing interspersed with Latin. There are some really amazing illuminations of the visions she had that I recommend googling:
And there's a really extensive website about her here.
I don't have a good picture of the piece framed yet, but I built the glass-less frame myself and glued one of the resin "rock crystal" pieces to it. Happy to say it sold! A full post and image of my second piece tomorrow!