Myth-ing Pieces

This is so weird. It’s January. In Boise. And I’ve been out running errands without even bothering to grab my coat. This can’t possibly last (and for the farmers’, plants’ and planet’s sake, I hope it doesn’t!), but still…This freakishly warm weather we’ve enjoyed the past few days has been awfully sweet. And it’s got me thinking about Spring…
Always a geeky kid, I got very into Greek mythology in junior high (this carried over into a somewhat embarrassing fondness for the cheesy Hercules TV show as a grown up). One of my favorite stories concerned the myth of how the four seasons came to be (the actual seasons, not the Frankie Valli group). You remember this one: Persephone, the beloved daughter of the earth goddess Demeter, was a little hottie who caught the eye of Hades, the bad boy god of the underworld. He swept her away in his chariot (the ancient Greek version of a cherried-out TransAm) and held her captive in his lair. Demeter was so distraught and p.o.-ed that she neglected her job as Mother Nature entirely, and the crops all died. Eventually, through some Olympian wheeling and dealing, Persephone was returned to her mother, and the rebirth we call “spring” occurred. However, there was some weird loophole in the agreement concerning food consumed in the underworld, and since Persephone had downed a few pomegranate seeds given to her by the the ever-sneaky Hades, she had to return to him each year for a few months. During that time, of course, Demeter moped, and winter set in.
By now, you’re thinking, “Good grief, Linda, what the heck does this have to do with an art blog?” Why, it became an art project, that’s what!
I made this little shrine to Persephone a few years ago, after a particularly long winter. The box itself is one of those cheap plywood cabinets you can pick up for a few dollars at a hobby store. I gave it a thick coat of gesso all over, then painted it with purple and silver Lumiere paints. The decorations are a combo of inkjet-printed clipart and images stamped onto tissue paper that I decoupaged on with Diamond Glaze (which is why it looks so blindingly shiny).

Inside the shrine, I used more Diamond Glaze to attach tiny mica chips and pebbles all over the walls and floor. The little table, flower pot and candle holders are just wooden dollhouse findings painted with acrylics and glued into place. The image of Persephone (“Proserpine” by Rosetti) was printed on glossy inkjet paper and mounted inside a little hobby store frame. And of course, I had to add some tacky red rhinestones to represent those pomegranate seeds.

I remember this being a really fun project, and now I’m wondering why I haven’t made more shrines over the years. I mean, there’s room on my shelf for a Springsteen shrine, and a Tim Holtz shrine, too. Not to mention a shrine to chocolate…