Thursday, April 24, 2008

April BJP Page

The Crystal Cave
by Mary Stewart

This book is very dear to my heart for many reasons. When it was first published in 1970, I eagerly added it to my fledgling collection of King Arthur legend writings. As each subsequent book in the trilogy was published, I greedily snatched them up and reread them many times. Our oldest son discovered the joy of reading about King Arthur in the early 1980's and read these books so many times they fell apart! Now, I ask you -- can anyone not love a book that turns a young man onto reading in such a manner?

The Crystal Cave tells the story of Merlin as a young boy and his journey to discovering who he is and ends with the begetting of King Arthur. I have chosen to illustrate the moment when Merlin, at the age of seven, discovers the Crystal Cave. While trespassing in a large cave, the boy tries to avoid discovery by hiding in a small space in the rock wall as the cave's owner comes home.

I heard the quick hiss and chime of flint and iron, and then the flare of light, intense in the darkness, as the tinder caught hold. Then the steady, waxing glow as he lit the candle.

Or rather, it should have been the slow-growing beam of a candle flame that I saw, but instead there was a flash, a sparkle, a conflagration as if a whole pitch-soaked beacon was roaring up in flames. Light poured and flashed, crimson, golden, white, red, intolerable into my cave. I winced back from it, frightened now, heedless of pain and cut flesh as I shrank against the sharp walls. The whole globe where I lay seemed to be full of flame.

It was indeed a globe, a round chamber floored, roofed, lined with crystals. They were as fine as glass, and smooth as glass, but clearer than any glass I had ever seen, brilliant as diamonds. This, in fact, to my childish mind, was what they first seemed to be. I was in a globe lined with diamonds, a million burning diamonds, each face of each gem wincing with the light, shooting it to and fro, diamond to diamond and back again, with rainbows and rivers and bursting stars and a shape like a crimson dragon clawing up the wall, while below it a girl's face swam faintly with closed eyes, and the light drove right into my body as if it would break me open.

This page is heavily encrusted with beading, black jet, and polished stones and rocks from my personal rock collection. Vintage red, gold, and clear rivolis are surrounded by silver beads and various sizes of AB crystals and flat crystal rondelles -- April's birthstone is the diamond, after all.


abeadlady said...

OMG!I hadn't read that for a hundred years and you portrayed it so well. Totally awesome.


freebird said...

Very nice. The "diamonds" really look like they are glowing.

I guess the Harry Potter books have turned today's kids onto reading like you describe. When I grew up my dad bought the Reader's Digest Condensed books and all summer we had books to read that had accumulated through the school year.

Hélène H said...

I am amazed at the way you infuse magic and dreams into your piece. I look at them, and each time I find myself going into a "reverie".

It feels like Christmas, as I've wanted to see your pieces for such a long time.

And well, Merlin, I just love him so.... I love this piece.

coral-seas said...

Stunning representation of the passage you quoted. The light pours and flashes from the wonderful beads you selected.



beadbabe49 said...

Gorgeous piece and wonderful interpretation of the text!

Sandy said...

It's beautiful. Thanks for visiting my blog too.

flyingbeader said...

I haven't thought about Crystal Cave in years! I too loved that book when it first came out & still have that paperback. Love the piece you've done to commemorate that wonderful book

ACey said...

It's great seeing these new pieces displayed on your blog. I agree with what Helene said - she expresses my response as well as her own!

Robin said...

Your work makes me want to try this idea of beading inspired by poems and literature. I've always done it the other way around... written poems and such inspired by my beading. But I like your work so well, that I've just got to try it! Thanks!

vivage said...

Yum, this one jumped out at me and grabbed me. It so works for the book. I loved almost all the Mary Stewart books about Arthur.

Zara Penney said...

Funny how a stanza from something can lead us to a creative idea:

Such as this one from the Lady of the Lake:

A sainted hermit from his cell
To drop a bead with every knell
And bugle, lute and bell, and all
Should each bewildered stranger call
To friendly feast and lighted hall.

Hugs my love.

girl_gone_thread_wild said...

Kathy you are an exceptional visionary artist! Your pages are extraordinary... a real treat for the eyes and soul. xo, Monica

Bejeweled said...

Great theme! You've really captured the look of the crystal cave glowing. Beautiful interpretation of the text!

Zara Penney said...

It's about time the artful muse got to update her blog.

Even Phoebe - the tiny jewel in the crown gets a mention.

Karen said...

I am completely mesmerized!!! :)

Sacredartist said...

I love your page. I know a boy who might like this book so I ordered it.
I love collecting rocks....I'm a real rock hound.

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