Jul 18, 2013

100 Heads in 100 Days #52 - On Faerie Part 1

UPDATE: There are still 2 free prints of my Troll Witch piece looking for a home. Check out the details here.

I had thought to continue talking about the materials I use today, but I came to the conclusion that that would be rather dull. So, instead, I'm going to go on a rant about my thoughts of what 'Faerie' is. That sounds better, doesn't it?

On Faerie - Part 1
In this first installment, let's establish what I mean when I use the word 'Faerie.'
I follow the traditional usage of the word as opposed to the modern way. Faerie has long been considered a place, not a thing or being. Faerie, as I use it, refers to that realm that lies apart from our own. Many have spoken of pathways between the two, through Faerie doors, lakes, fungi rings and a host of other methods.

Somewhere along the way, the word 'faerie' began to be used in reference to a denizen of the place called Faerie. This, in many ways, has contributed to the modern, dainty view of Faerie. In the old days, Faerie was seen as a place you wouldn't necessarily actually want to visit. It was dangerous and dark, a place where mortals were susceptible to the whims of its inhabitants, and they delighted in punishing mortals or using them to their own ends.

But now, a faerie is not a place, it is a being, usually a winged female of diminutive size. This lead to the altered spelling of the word. It went from Faerie to Fairy. Ask an average person what they think of when you mention the word 'Faerie,' and I'd bet Faerie gold that they describe something like Tinkerbell.

These conflicting views of Faerie have become pretty polarised. The dainty Fairy stuff is never very far away, like a rat! It is a watered down, Disney version of the traditional view. The term 'airy-fairy' is actually pretty succinct. This view of Faerie is pretty and nice, flowery and insubstantial, I think.

The old view, on the other hand, is gritty, dangerous, multi-faceted and a kajillion times more fascinating. This Faerie, the place, is populated by such a diversity of beings that the mind doth boggle. It is the home of Trolls, Elves, Dwarves, Dragons, Bogles, Leprechauns, Piskies, the Sidhe, the Unseelie Court, Ogres, Gnomes, Giants and seemingly countless other species.

Faerie as to Fairy is what a book to a magazine is, what a forest is to a carpark. It's all about the substance. Fairy has little, Faerie has an abundance.

I'll continue this Faerie rant on the morrow, with a further look at the world of Faerie.

100 Heads in 100 Days #52
This is a quick rendition of the Irish hero, Cuchalainn, who Slaine is somewhat based on. If you're wondering how to pronounce his name, it's coo-CULL-en. Before I came to Ireland, I'd read about him in the Tain, but the version I had didn't provide a pronunciation guide, so I thought it was kuck-u-LANE. My wife and her friend Ruth laughed pretty hard when they heard me say that in my Australian accent.

Me Fact #52
When my mother was pregnant with me, she had a fall down an embankment or some such thing. Perhaps due to this, my ribcage is a little off. My left side is fine, but the right side is concave around the bottom rib. Not in a weird way, I'm not a hideous monstrosity. We'll, not in that respect anyway.

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