It probably only takes a short time knowing me to realize how much I deeply appreciate symbolism of all types and in all places. So it won’t surprise you that everything about Two is For Mirth is steeped in symbolic imagery from ancient times into today.
Two is for Mirth comes from an old poem about ravens, creatures which have played a part across many cultural traditions and mythologies, enjoying something of a dramatic status even in American cultural beliefs. The shield imagery was created by my dear friend K.Cornell for my wedding that took place in Crow Hollow, Wisconsin, with mirth being one of the many beloved aspects of our marriage.
In Norse mythology, Huginn and Muninn- translated as Thought and Memory- are Odin’s ravens who bring him news of the world.
Similarly, one way that we build memories for posterity is through tapestries, sharing tales woven together from many threads (ideas, people, etc) to tell a story of that people. Spinning, weaving, looms, and the like have always appealed to me, having a common thread (ha!) across numerous mythologies and cultures, like ravens.
The Norns are the weavers of fate, three of them particularly well known as turning the wheel of fortune: Urdr, Verandi and Skuld, who care for the World Tree Yggdrasil. But there were other fate weavers, other norns, in the stories. Some visited children at their birth. And in Njal’s Saga, the Valkyries are depicted as norns, weaving the fate of the battle, and then flying to see it enacted. Once dead, a person would be chosen for either the Halls of Valhalla, with Odin– to feast and rest before they must fight the end of the world, Ragnarok — or for the Great Meadows of Folkvangr, ruled over by Frejya. (Yeah, we often only hear of Valhalla; I’ll let you guess as to why that is.)
The wire weaving I do is of Norse tradition, traced back to 9th century CE (some have called it trichinopoly, Viking wire weaving, but neither of those terms are precise.) I make an effort to use similar handwork, tools, methods and materials that would have been available at that time, though plenty modern influences remain, including advanced metals of my tools, self lighting torches, ease of access of metals and stone beads, not to mention electricity so that I can work on all of this at night after work.
Finally, the Vikings (skirmishers and raiders of the Nordic peoples – it’s a job, not a culture) traveled to many areas, reaching into Slavic lands and all over Europe, as well as parts of Northern Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean, bringing back pieces of those foreign cultures and arts back home. My bloodline is connected to all of these traditions, and I want to learn more about that history, both its beauty and its scars.
Returning to the traditions of my ancestors is a thread in the tapestry, a return to a hue and weft of a different time to bring it forth in the pattern again, in thought, memory and mirth.
I would be remiss to not mention that the Earth’s metals are often mined off ancestral lands of native peoples who have been systematically oppressed and murdered for the resources thereon. I have always lived near the Great Lakes of the United States which is rich with copper – a metal I use extensively. Copper is used in many sacred objects worn by the Anishinaabe, whose myths include the powerful Great Lynx (or Underwater Panther) who guards the massive deposits found in Lake Superior.
Similarly, sustainability is a practice close to my heart and I hope to incorporate recycled work in my future projects.