Sunday, April 11, 2010
SKY CABINET INTERIOR
"Whoever thinks of going to bed before twelve o'clock is a scoundrel."
The inside of the SKY cabinet's doors also have drawings - which will seldom be seen. I forget they are there and am usually surprised when I open the doors. The cabinet will function as a bookshelf like the piece of furniture it has replaced. I am starting a collection of things for the cabinet should there come a time when it no longer needs to hold books.
There is a small drawer which has begun to collect objects that relate to the night sky -
a small box of antique buttons that have images of the moon, a beautiful star ornament from India, a copper star-shaped cookie cutter and a rock with a natural image of a star.
Presently I am producing an artist's book that will reproduce images from the doors of the cabinet paired with poems and prose by writers I know.
The drawing in the top door is a combination of the Milky Way and a group of "migrating" birds. All the birds are from the collection of the Cranbrook Science Museum.
Several years ago while on a quest with my brother John to see the Tecumseh slab, a war stick in the museum collection, I had the pleasure of meeting Kevin Kelly who is in charge of the collections. In a bold moment I asked if I might be allowed to draw from specimens in the drawers of birds. Not only have I been allowed to draw but I have been allowed to check out birds the way one would check out books from a library. It is a unique opportunity for me to draw birds under the conditions that best suit me....at my own desk, with good light, an excellent pencil sharpener at my elbow and, most important, at the times that are good for me. My studio doesn't close and is often in operation until 1:30 am.
Migration is a fascinating concept and one I hope to learn more about. The few facts that I have learned are amazing. For instance, a bird can continue to fly while half of its brain is asleep. When that half wakes up the alternate side rests.
The bottom door of the cabinet features the Eastern Screech Owl, Strigidae Megascops asio.
The specimen I drew from is in the collection of the Cranbrook Science Museum.
This small owl is very common even in urban areas. One would, however, never see so many stars in the sky over the Detroit area where I live. I have been witness to that kind of display only when camping out west. Sleeping under the stars is one of the greatest pleasures I have experienced.
The comet is in honor of Caroline Herschel, a remarkable woman who assisted her more famous brother Sir William Herschel. On her own she discovered nine comets.