LORD OF THE RINGS
an intellectual and philosophical design analysis of a sculptured piece.

From probably the most quoted and famous of J R R Tolkein's lines came the inspiration for this work, and those words are:

"Three rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie."

It was perhaps unfortunate that I was seized by the desire to do something with these lines so early into the first book of a series of three, for I felt that my assumptions and decisions may have been grounded on false feeling - but being an avid reader of fantasy from a long way back, I had already determined that Tolkien's saga carried the classical 'white hat/black hat cowboy' elements: power struggles waged by the pitting of good against evil - and on this premise I based my work.

Two pieces of paper were used for the work, identical in size, and each formed one 'side of the same coin', being glued together through the diamond-shaped square falling in the middle of what we have come to call the 'junk mail fold'. The first, in deep and soft greens, and yellow, represents the powers of good - green for growth, healthy living things, sustenance and plenty; yellow for the symbolic color of the sun, and for some, life and TRUTH - not to mention the designation of honor and loyalty in heraldry.

The second, in browns, rusts and yellows, represents the powers of evil - dark, brown things that live in holes in the ground, green things turned dead - but more importantly than the brown, the linking color of the dichotomous yellow - the color of treason, jealousy; the symbol of cowardice, prejudice and persecution.

The script for 'good' is one that I use often - a quasi copperplate/Italic/personal style executed with the pointed pen - the first four lines of the verse were penned onto the green/yellow ground, with flourishes, loops and thrown strokes - happy, dancing, abandoned, gay. Precisely the same style was used for 'evil', but here the style was heavily contrived: no loops, no flourishes, terminals daggered and barbed - as a bit of whimsy, I have entitled this script 'Barbed Wire'. Yet the same - again, two sides of the same coin.

The 'good' paper is Arches Aquarelle cold-pressed, 300gsm, decorated with Ziller polymer acrylic ink and patterned with plastic wrap. The 'evil' paper is the same, but smooth, and 185gsm, also patterned similarly. Why the difference? Evil first. Slick, smooth, but inherently weak, whereas good has rough spots, is never an easy road to hoe, but despite this, inherently strong when, dare I say it, good and pure.

Another point to note - 300gsm Arches Aquarelle does not stand the heavy scoring, folding and compressing that this particular piece requires, and this is all to the good for the philosophical purposes of the exercise. The green, or 'good' ground, is cracked - and remember, it is joined back to back to 'evil', which is, in my opinion, as inevitable as the sun rising in the morning. Along the cracks in this heavy paper I carefully painted, with a very fine brush, yellow Ziller - with a purpose. Good, when held firm, flat, and united, stands fast - when it starts to fold (as indeed the piece does), when cracks appear in solidarity and resolve, evil in the form of 'treason, jealousy; the symbol of cowardice, prejudice and persecution' start to insidiously seep in.

On each side of the folded work four rings appear: for those not familiar with the work of Tolkien (and indeed, I am not very familiar with it yet!), there are four rings that seem to form the core of importance, in terms of power. The 'One Ring', solid gold, displaying Elvish script when thrown into a hot fire: owned by the Dark Lord, but at this point in my story being carried by one of goodness - for the 'One Ring' has the power of both good and evil. If you look closely at one of the rings on the 'good' side of the sculpture, which are all covered with 23.5 carat gold incidentally, you will find some "Elvish" script inside one of the rings - this is the 'One Ring'.

The other three are the pure Elvish rings - untouched and untainted. But are they? For I have not finished the saga yet, and I have no knowledge of how these three 'pure' rings will be used - and, because of this, I have extrapolated......

.....and, on the other side, you will also find four rings, same size, same shape - but they are decorated with schlag, tarnished and impure - and there is no Elvish writing on a tarnished ring. Not at least, in my story.

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