Guardian Ash (2013)
Relief by Kate Rattray


  • Relief, Panel / Board / MDF
  • One of a kind artwork
  • Size: 15.35 × 18.5 × 0.71 in
  • Signed on the back

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Kate Rattray

United Kingdom

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Artist's description:

“Lif and Leifthrasir will hide themselves in Hoddmimir’s Holt. The morning dew they have for food, from them springs mankind.” (from the Eddic poem – The Lay of Vafthrudnir. 45)

This piece led on from a sculpture I made called "The Last Tree" which was made to highlight the plight of the ash tree (the disease-ash dieback) It illustrated Norse myths associated with the ash tree or "Yggdrasill".
I am fascinated with apocalypse and Creation myths and wanted to illustrate the last part of the Norse Myth - Ragnarok – the destruction of the old world that led to the creation of a new world.
The two survivors Lif and Leifthrasir shelter inside the ash tree.
There was the burnt out lightening torn ash down the road that continued to inspire me throughout the ash tree project. The perfect hollow ash to protect Lif and Leifthrasir who sheltered there to survive the destruction, bringing life into a new world.
I used irregular smalti, marble and stones, matt ceramic tile and gold leaf glass and worked directly to allow the mosaic to have texture. I felt that this would describe the turmoil of the apocalypse better than a flat surface.
Lif and Leifthrasir are crouching inside the ash. I painted the grout chrome to highlight their outline, but also to suggest that they are lit up by the flashes of light from the tumultuous skies.
The mosaic is made for an indoor space, it is not suitable for outdoors.

Materials used:

Smalti, marble, Venetian silver leaf mosaic, ceramic tile on cement board

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