Wolves In The Throne Room played an amazing set as part of the All Tomorrow's Parties festival at Minehead last week (curated by Godspeed You Black Emperor!). A sense of profound respect, awe and humility for nature is a concept that seems to lie at the heart of Wolves In The Throne Room. This sense of "mother nature" in her most primal (and dangerous) form is personified in many respects by the goddess Hecate, lunar goddess of the crossroads; torchbearer at the threshold between the worlds of the living and the dead.
Whilst the earliest depictions of Hecate are of a singular form, it is her later development into a "triple goddess" that is predominant today, most notably in the neo-pagan religion of Wicca - though a quick perusal of the works of William Blake, Shakespeare and many others show this archetype to be constantly lurking within the shadows of popular culture. She wears many guises, appropriating the appearance and charateristics of a multitude of deities...Diana, Artemis, Ashtoreth, Medusa...
Sketch in progress. I later revised the dead tree brances to thicker, simpler shapes as I realised I wasn't leaving enough space in the composition for it to read easily, and chose instead to create the "wild" density I was after by concentrating on the foreground roots and flora detail.
"Diadem of 12 Stars"
I used a highly reflective, rich gold metallic ink for the main tree / foliage colour.
A last minute impulse decision saw me printing a 2nd black layer in the final print to create more background texture.
"Now the absence of the soul in sleep has its dangers, for if from any cause the soul should be permanently detained away from the body, the person thus deprived of the vital principle must die. There is a German belief that the soul escapes from a sleeper’s mouth in the form of a white mouse or a little bird, and that to prevent the return of the bird or animal would be fatal to the sleeper. Hence in Transylvania they say that you should not let a child sleep with its mouth open, or its soul will slip out in the shape of a mouse, and the child will never wake. Many causes may detain the sleeper’s soul." - Chapter XVIII 'The Perils Of The Soul", p.182 - The Golden Bough by Sir James Frazer.
I felt that this threefold depiction would allow me a more fluid and dynamic composition in contrast to my last WITTR poster which was an intentionally static and stylised interpretation of a tarot card (The 5 of Wands - "Strife"). In this instance, I wanted to evoke a feeling reminiscent of late 19th / early 20th century illustration. Whilst the composition contains many static elements, I was keen to introduce a more fluid central focus in the form of the "maiden" aspect of Hecate. However, both myself and the band felt that an overtly sexual depiction would not be in keeping with the desired aesthetic - in the end the scroll wrapped around her body was a useful device in preserving modesty, introducing more movement and displaying type inobtrusively. All other elements such as animals and foliage are depictions of flora and fauna sacred to Hecate (and related goddesses) - once again I found an excuse to put a serpent into the design!
Hecate is a constantly evolving force, eluding strict definition and hovering just beyond the bounds of rationality. No one depiction will ever be true and the more you research her, the more myriad her form and origin become.
5 colour print. Edition of 110. (Signed & numbered).
18x24". 270gsm "Vellum" paper.
1 colour print. Edition of 10. (Signed & numbered).
18x24". 270gsm "Vellum" paper.
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