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- part of a hollowed out wooden log, Montana;
- painted plaster cast of my face;
- green tree lichen and gray tree moss, Hyalite Canyon, Montana;
- deer skull, Montana;
- mongoose skull, Hawaii;
- sacred sage, Chippewa Cree Rocky Boy Native American reservation, Northern Montana;
- “devil’s horn” or “devil’s claw” dried seedpod, southwest USA;
- seed halves, Kukui nut, Hawaii;
- “curly root” from cottonwood tree roots, found on Montana rivershores
In Greek mythology, Medusa was a monster-Gorgon, generally described as a winged human female with living venomous snakes in place of hair. Gazers on her frightening face would turn to stone. That winged, powerful demon is NOT my Mask Artistry “Medusa” piece, although I have borrowed the name itself.
This “Medusa” piece is a lovely one, not frightening at all, and has become one of my most loved creations. Yes, the face with cottonwood curly roots that frame her face like hair are primarily what prompted me to name this “Medusa.” Yes, she seems goddess-like… powerful and mighty in a purely positive manner, as well as hauntingly mysterious and forceful in her demeanor. This Mask Artistry piece is complicated and its design and variety of materials used.
The hollowed out wooden log serves as the base for a myriad of natural items. Around the mask face are snake-like cottonwood curly roots, which become gnarled and curled underground as the root grows around stones and rocks. It's these roots that provide the hair for my “Medusa.” On the left side of the upside down L shape of the base wood, there are, partially hidden, two skulls I have found. One, ancient, is deer from Montana; the other, more recent, is mongoose from the Big Island in Hawaii. To the skulls I have added sacred sage from the Chippewa Cree Rocky Boy Native American Reservation, near Havre, Montana. My partner is a Sundancer and we have spent several Sundance ceremonies together there on the reservation. We usually gather sacred sage to be placed under a buffalo skull for the altar in the Sundance lodge, and then bring the sage back home with us. The sage I have used for “Medusa” is some of the actual sage that sat four days under an honored buffalo skull, and therefore is very personal and valuable to me.
Tree moss and lichen, as well as halved Kukui nuts from Hawaii add to the variety of materials used. Kukui Tree, also known as the Candle Wood Tree, produces seedlike nuts which have been used in Hawaiian ceremonies for eons and were the first prayer beads in Hawaii. Lastly, I added a special and quite rare dried seedpod from the southwestern desert of the USA; a friend gifted the fragile “Devil’s Horn” or “Devil’s Claw” to me---and it seemed the perfect adornment to this “Medusa” Mask Artistry image---bringing to visual fulfillment the completion of this wild and natural spirit visage of nature.