In a new set of work following on from Gillies's 'Japanese Circle Sets' comes the Nature Circle where the artist has transferred his use of dried autumn leaves from his Stained Glass work, over to his artistic practice.
This is the second circle Gillies has produced using Wych Elm seeds.
The seed pods of Wych Elm are floating with a sunken pool of clear resin, an artist drawn circle ring shape with irregular edges coated in a rich creamy white.
The cream white background warms the seed pods making this a very curious piece.
It is interesting to note that the elm's mythology is intimately bound up with death and the transition into the Underworld and used to such deadly effect in medieval warfare. Elm's connection with death does not end there, as its wood is traditionally used to make coffins, though the wood's durability underground may also play a part in this choice. Perhaps people who knew elms well were reminded of their own mortality when remembering the elm's reputation for dropping large boughs without warning on otherwise still, warm days; "Elm hateth man, and waiteth" as the old saying goes.
In Scotland, wych elm is the more common species of elm. In Gaelic, it is known as 'leven', as in Loch Leven in Kinross, and was valued for its roles in the dying of wool. Intermittent colors in woolen yarns (by which a weaver could more easily create a pattern in the weave) could be introduced by way of an early form of tie-dyeing. Twine made from the inner bark of the elm tied tightly at regular intervals, to form 'hanks' of the yarn, was used to stop a dye from reaching the wool. A yellow dye could also be derived from the elm, and the leaves were fed to livestock when other fodder was scarce.
Notwithstanding elm's legendary associations with death and the Underworld, people also looked to elm for medicinal cures. The inner bark was especially efficacious when chewed or boiled into a liquor to treat colds and sore throats, while the boiled bark was also used to treat burns.
"When the elmen leaf is as big as a mouse's ear, Then sow barley never fear"
Framed here in a handpainted wooden frame, shown in white but also suits black. If you prefer non-white, or an alternative colour just contact the artist upon sale.
Spray Paint / Wych Elm Seeds / Resin