Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday is NonCraft Inspiration

Last week we talked about places of worship this week I would like to discuss graveyards. Not the ones that have only been around for a few decades but the ones that have been around for a century or more.

I am lucky to have one of those near by which has graves going back to the late 1800's. My artist date this week is to take myself there and photograph some of the more famous ones.

Why am I going?

Gravestones, like other markers of life's major passages, have a language all their own. These symbols and their meanings, many of them timeless, can be applied to other creative pursuits, used as a source of inspiration, or just admired for their beauty and craft. Here are some commonly accepted meanings associated with gravestone markers:
SymbolPossible Meaning
HourglassInevitable passing of time
Winged HourglassTime flies, swift passage
Hourglass on it's sideTime has stopped
TreeLife
Broken treeLife cut short
Sprouting treeLife everlasting
Willow TreeLife, Mourning
Broken flowerLife cut short
Flying AngelRebirth
Weeping AngelGrief

Here are a few links with longer lists of gravestone symbology:
Graven Images
Gravestone Symbolism- this one has photos of the various symbols as well as descriptions
Cemetery Studies- Its through about.com which is a favorite resource for teachers so it has some background information as well as a much more extensive list than the others. It also has a neat little lesson plan that I'll introduce you to in a moment.

As the title suggests Cemetery Studies is just that, the study of cemeteries. If you wander in an old graveyard you can learn all kinds of historical information like how the age of death has increased over the decades. They are a source of art and spiritual stimulation as well.

The general information page of this site has an interesting set of questions that you might want to keep in mind as you wander in yours. During my visit I intend to answer as many as I can then come back and use them to inspire a page or two in my art journal.

Symbols replace words with images or icons that often stand the test of time and sometimes become universal. Think about your own work, and consider what symbols, icons or motifs you're drawn to over and over. What are the possible interpretations of those symbols? What is your interpretation of them?

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