Sunday, February 11, 2018

St Dwynwen

I generally don't go looking for saints to do prints of, but sometimes they find me.  This morning I was watching television, eating some breakfast, when suddenly I was exposed to a saint I wasn't familiar with, but one who had a story I could easily turn into a print in my Everyman series.  It sounded like the name was St Gwendolyn, but I could find no saint with that name in my Butler's set. It was also mentioned that the feast day was January 25th, which gave me another clue to investigate.  Meanwhile, the story mentioned that this saint was the Welsh patron saint of love, and the custom in that country was not to give your valentine chocolates, or flowers, but rather a hand carved wooden spoon.  They showed an artist using hand tools (mallet style, which I've never worked with, but my suppliers do sell them) to carve in the round spoons from natural wood.  He described different symbolic objects depicted in his sculptures (these were full three dimensional things, built around wooden spoons).  There was a lot I could work with.  And I've even depicted a wooden spoon in a print before, as in this example from over 20 years ago:

If I could just get some official information, this could be my next print.  But that's where it got complicated.

Like I said, no St Gwendolyn in the book's index, and nothing like the story when I read through all the January 25th saints.  Next step, use the internet searches.  Before I could even finish typing in all my keywords, it gave an option of "welsh patron saint of love" so I went with that, which led me to stories about St Dwynwen.  Those stories included 4 or 5 variations on the saint's name, and an alternate feast day.  (looked up all of those in my book- no luck)  Learned some history of the saint, including that a church that had been dedicated to her (at the site of one of her miracles) had been abandoned centuries ago and left to decay.  And the kicker, one of those stories mentioned that neither the Catholic Church or the Anglican Church officially considered this 5th century woman to be a saint.  No wonder she's not in the book.

Based on my policy regarding the saint series, there is just not enough proof to justify making her part of Everyman.  However, I might consider using the saint and story for a print outside the official saint series.  Put some notes in a sketchbook.  Don't be surprised if this turns into something eventually.


Post a Comment

<< Home