This is a mixed medium (or media – I never know which is right) miniature mosaic shrine ( 3.5 x 3.5 inches) The blank clay shrine pieces are from a dear friend and great art maker, Ann. She was having a clean up of her studio one day, a while back and gave me these one of a kinds. Lucky me! I discovered the little ceramic owl face at a garage sale along with a sunflower, cat and cocker spaniel- so glad I didn’t let go of these pieces of flotsam – see, you just never know!
The shrine and tree on the front is painted with mica pigment mixed with GAC medium. The mosaic is made with tiny slices of wood, iridescent gold stained glass, gold glass bugle beads (my cousin Wendy brought them back from Egypt for me, many moons ago), old brass, ball chain and a tiny piece of polished picture jasper. The little beads on the ties are carved wood.
In myth and lore the owl is a messenger of secrets and omens, represents the ability to see clearly into hidden truths and is a guide to and from the Underworld.
In a well worn book, that I bought in 1983 and have referred to ever since, called “The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets”, Barbara Walker explains that the reason the owl is considered so wise is because “it used to embody the wisdom of the Goddess” especially Greek Athena, along with many other versions of the Triple Goddess of the moon like Lilith, Mari and Anath.
Stelae, figurines and amulets of Goddesses with staring owl like eyes can be found from the Middle East to Great Britain and are known collectively as Eye-Goddesses.
The Celts believed the owl to be a sacred creature of the Welsh Moon Goddess, Blodewedd and the Goddess Cailleach, which means owl. In Wales today, the sound of an owl hooting around the house means that the unmarried girl within is no longer a virgin! I wonder if many Welsh folk really care anymore?
One of the medieval names for the owl was “night Hag” and was said to be a witch in bird form, hence all the Halloween associations we have with owls.