Birdscreens

Submitted by Catherine Eaton Skinner

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Client: Private

Location: Seattle, WA, United States

Completion date: 2020

Project Team

artist

Catherine Eaton Skinner

assistant

Julie Penezic

Overview

The collector lives and travel in places of the corvids, crows and ravens. The most intelligent and curious of birds, their mythologies are intriguing and multi-faceted. Portentous to shamans in many populations, they are speakers from the underworld. Carriers of light to the new peoples, they guard souls on journeys to other worlds. Corvids search for knowledge to inform us. Their perspective of height and the capacity of breadth allow them to see “the essential pattern from whence all things proceed.”

Trees stand solemnly, reminding us to connect to the earth, to cherish the clean water that ensures our survival, and to look with our souls upwards to the sky and light. Standing beneath a tree, it is the cosmic pillar connecting energy between the earth and sky, the axis mundi. The tree becomes the meeting point of all directions, functioning as the omphalos (navel), the world’s point of beginning.

Our cultural memory lies within the physicality of place as we continue to find ways to understand and bond not only to our environment, but most importantly, to each other. Each work becomes my pilgrimage to further these connections.

Goals

The goal of the Birdscreen is to share the Tibetan word for: Flock of Birds. They are at a private residence and will travel to the Wildling Museum, Solvang, CA for exhibition, and then back to the residence. The significance lies in the statement and poem (both included).

Process

These pieces of Encaustiflex paper, ink, beeswax, oil stick, red thread, and bamboo are sewn by hand, and there are 11 panels total, (hanging from three bamboo poles), 4 panels in front, 3 in the middle, 4 in back: 9ft x 6ft x 2.5ft (108 x 72 x 30 in.) Tibetan word for: Flock of Birds.

Additional Information

My poem for this project: I, raven sit high in the grayness of the pine the sighs of the wind and waters softly intersect the canyon The moon rests gently on the eastern hill and I hear as if a part of me the life of the dark The dogs speak of the day’s news until interrupted by the coyotes urgency of a day’s meal unfound The bear still lies deep high above and the lion waits upon the stone for passing prey The night subsides into morn I breathe the whole of it between the hills Catherine Eaton Skinner