"Poe and the Hollow Crown"
Kristie Atwood 2014
Altered book (Edger Allan Poe: Complete Tales and Poems - Fall River Press) ink paintings, drawings, and hand cuttings from book.
16 sculpted polycrylic ravens - wood, cut book text, rusted metal, thorns.
Holding box - stained pine and plywood, branches, cut book text.
Complete size of work: 19 3/4" long x 14 3/4" deep x 3 1/2" high with out corner bird, 5 1/2" with corner bird.
All pieces are separate and can be moved in or out of holding box.
Also included: Three hand made boxes for holding birds and branches
Materials: Book board, hand colored w/ink on arches text wove.
This work came about as a challenge to make art aboout chess, while I was working on an altered book from Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. So "Poe and the Hollow Crown" became some of both. It’s made of 16 blackbirds - birds and their distress being the subject of Carson's book, the number of birds, pieces a single side on the chess board holds. My intention is to suggest the nature of chess rather than to create an actual chess set. The white set carries feathers created from cut pieces of Carson's book, forever marked by her words concerning pesticides and the environment. The board is made from a copy of Edgar Allen Poe's Complete Works - a natural choice for the birds. Yet they didn’t choose "The Raven" to be directly beneath them, instead it's the "Pit and the Pendulum" - which seemed correct for a battle that no one can really win considering these birds carry a "Silent Spring" with them. Thorny branches became the marked squares on which they play and real thorns their weapons.
As for "The Hollow Crown," it refers to Shakespear's history plays all of which are about wars of England. The tower of London actually keeps a group of ravens on sight as it has for hundreds of years. As long as they are there all is well with crown and with England.