Vegi Patch is a compost of thoughts on graphic design, life and knitting from an american graphic design teacher in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I've enabled comments for everyone or you can Email me kate at kcarlyle dot com.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Semester is over. Grades are in. Dance seemed like a great theme. Tossed in a chicken (parrot? chicken/parrot?) she seemed SO serious.

I also included a second pic, I liked the gesture...

Working on a "best of" from my illustration class.

best, kate.

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Portrait - Cliodna

Cliodna is a revisit to the idea of self-portrait as an alter ego. I used to associate myself with Persephone of Greek Mythology. The fact the Persephone’s life was completely controlled by her mother and her jerk of a husband dawned on me one day and I decided it was time to do another self portrait.

I finished this for the faculty show in December. I started it while teaching at my last school during the summer session - so I guess I worked on it for just under two years. I chose to interpret “Fair Hair” as “Beautiful Hair”. Cliodna’s song birds are described in fantasy colors in many of the fairy tales, I choose a more traditional approach and used Irish birds as reference.

The spiral is based on a very basic and traditional celtic spiral that represent Earth, Fire, Water, Air, Man and Woman. The centre hub is the spirit which joins all 6 parts into a peaceful unity and signifies the miracle of creation. I worked the three birds in as my personal mark. I used the Cliffs of Moher for my backdrop, located near Burren, which is a large 100 sq. mile (260 sq. Km) plateau of limestone which in summer is full of rare, fragile and beautifully colored wild flowers. The plateau is full of traces of ancient civilizations, with dolmens, round towers, ancient churches and holy sites. Seemed like a fitting setting. My family is from County Cork so Cliodna seemed a good choice.

Names: Cliodna, Cleena, Cliodhna, Cliodna of the Fair Hair.
Location: Ireland, Scotland.

Cliodna is the Beansí of the O’Keeffe clan and is a faery Queen in Southwest Ireland. She is worshipped at Carraig Cliodhna, Cork.

Rules Over: Spirit contact, appreciation, beauty, water magick.

Many folk-tales exist concerning her, nearly all of them contradictory in nature. In post Christian tales she is a banshee, who seduces young men, and takes the form of a wren.

Cliona is a Tuatha De Danann Sea and Otherworld Goddess who usually took the form of a sea bird and therefore symbolized the Celtic afterlife. A fairy queen of Munster, she is said to be the daughter of Gebann, the last druid in Ireland. A Goddess of beauty in her own right and often called “Cliona of The Fair Hair”, she has three colorful birds which eat from magic apples and heal the sick with their sweet songs. The birds accompany her, and lull the ill to sleep or to the Otherworld. She is also associated with water or the sea.

She commanded the winds of all four corners. The south wind was her voice and she used it to sing of magic and desires. The west wind was her vehicle, and upon it she rode through the universe. The warm eastern wind was her nourishment, and the cold northern wind her weapon.

Cliodhna fell in love with a mortal man named Caoimhín of the Curling Locks, for whom she left the Land of Promise, Tir Tairngire. Caoimhín had been thrown out of the Fianna for immorality, but Cliodhna did not bother about that and they ran off together. She took to living in the rocks near the sea, where she was lulled to sleep by the music of the Son of the Sea, Manannan Mac Lir, who then sent a wave to pull her back into the Land of Promise. Where she drowned is Tonn Cliodna: Wave of Cliodna at Glandore Bay in County Cork. As the ruler of the waves, she is believed to be embodied in every ninth one which breaks on shore. This wave is believed to break higher and stronger than the others.

Cliodna's Wave

In the 15th century she was called on by Cormac Mac Carthy the builder of Blarney Castle, for help in a lawsuit. Cliodhna told him to kiss the first stone he saw in the morning. Cormac did so and argued his case with such dazzling rhetoric that he won the suit. Concerned that the powers of the stone would turn Ireland into a nation of glib liars, Cormac hid it away in a wall of his castle where it is regularly kissed to this day mainly by American visitors to Ireland.

"O Lady of the Fair Hair,
Sing to me of the fair ancient land.

Yours divine voice

Whispers the poetry of magic

that flow through the wind,

Like sweet-tasting water of the Boyne.

"Girls, forever young and beautiful,

Dancing around the broken dun,

Where long forgotten heroes

sang of victory

And drank ales

to old memories.

"Sing to me one last time,

Goddess of the Fair Hair,

Before my old ear fail me.

Let me see you dance,

Before your beauty fade away

from my failing sight."

— Song to the Lady of the Fair Hair,
from the Book of Heroes.

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