George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was an Irish dramatist who transformed the Victorian theater by rejecting melodrama for social consciousness that express his radical views and philosophies in the theater. His play Pygmalion (1913) was adapted into a musical called My Fair Lady in 1956.


Drawing of Pygmalion the Parrot by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

The Wizard was wise – but he knew nothing.

The Wizard was kind – but he cared nothing.

The Wizard did good – but he did nothing.

He was just himself.

And the Parrot, apparently, was only a dirty, stupid, squawking She-parrot; but the Wizard took her, and taught her, and turned her squawk into the most beautiful voice, and turned her into a most beautiful… but I mustn’t tell you that until the end of my story.

(This image was inspired by the designs of Phyllis A. Trery and the introductory words from a retelling of George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” in Tales from Bernard Shaw told in the Jungle by Gwladys Evan Morris and illustrated by Phyllis A. Trery, London: George G. Harrap & Co., 1929.)

Armadillo symbolism…

May 25, 2017

As to boundaries

The armadillo’s shell acts as its physical and spiritual boundary protecting the safety of its entire being. Armadillo design with words from Tecumseh: “As to Boundaries, the Great Spirit knows no boundaries,” by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Tecumseh was a Shawnee chief who with his brother, “The Prophet,” united Native Americans in the West to resist white expansion. Tecumseh asserted, “These lands are ours: no one has the right to remove us, because we were the first owners; the Great Spirit above has appointed this place for us, on which to light our fires, and here we will remain. As to Boundaries, the Great Spirit knows no boundaries, nor will his red people acknowledge any.”


The Sun Never Says…

May 22, 2017


“Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, ‘You owe me.’ Look what happens with a love like that, it lights the whole sky.” Words, “The Sun Never Says,” by Hafiz, design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.



We all do it… Quote

May 19, 2017


“By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote.” Words by Ralph Waldo Emerson, design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Crow and the pitcher

A lesson from Aesop: “In a pinch, good use of our wits may help us out.” Design featuring pitcher with an Etruscan cat motif by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

A crow with an unquenchable thirst happened upon a pitcher that once had been full of water. The crow tucked her beak into the pitcher only to discover that much of the water had evaporated and the pitcher was nearly empty. She could not reach down far enough to get at the water. She tried and tried until she stopped in despair.

Then a thought came to her… she took a pebble and dropped it into the pitcher, then another, then another, and another, and another, until the water slowly rose close to the rim. After casting a few more pebbles in, she learned that little by little does the trick, and she was able to quench her thirst at last.

Aesop Crow and the Pitcher Notecard


A sleeping lion was awakened by a little mouse that was running back and forth on him. With his big paw the lion lifted the little mouse by the tail and opened his big jaws to swallow him.

“Forgive me!” The mouse cried, “And I will never forget it.” He continued, “I may even be able to do you a good turn one of these days.”

The lion was so tickled at the idea that a little mouse might be able to help him that he lowered the mouse to the ground and let him go.


Aesop: Kindness is never wasted. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Some time later, the lion was captured in a trap set by hunters who were intent on keeping him alive in captivity. As the hunters left to go in search of a cart to carry him, the little mouse happened by and saw the plight of the lion. Soon the little mouse gnawed away the netting that bound the lion, and then smiled up at the King of Beasts: “Was I not right.

Aesop Mouse and the Lion Notecard


Fox design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

A fox observed a Crow swoop down and pick of a choice piece of cheese then take safety on a tree branch. He said to himself: “That’s for me.”

Mr. Fox sauntered to the foot of the tree and address the Crow: Madam Crow, how well you look today: how glossy your feathers are, and how sparkling your eyes are. I am sure your voice surpasses that of all other birds, just as your figure does. Please let me hear just one song from you that I may greet you as the Queen of the Birds!

Crow cheese

The Crow lifted her head to perform her best “Caw! Caw!” But the moment she opened her beaks, the piece of cheese fell to the ground to be snapped up by Mr. Fox. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

“That will do,” he smirked. “All I wanted was your cheese.”

Then he went on his way leaving Madam Crow pondering how this Flatterer robbed her by stealth of both wit and wealth.


A Celtic ant design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

An Ant will carry a leaf hundreds of miles to bring it to the anthill or the “group mind.” An Ant work for the good of the entire community. This ant (pictured above) was just rescued from a raging river by a dove that dropped a feather that he climb upon. The feather carried him to shore were he sits and contemplates the world.


Bees buzzing design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Bees. We cannot say enough about bees, that bring the sweet honey of life… and sting only with provoked. Bees spread pollen from flower to flower and mix things up to keep things growing.


Little brown mouse design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

A Mouse must touch everything with his or her whiskers to know it, yet he or she can chew every little thing or idea to pieces. And oh, the Mouse must watch out for predators like birds, cats, and snakes. Life is not easy when you must watch closely, little brown mouse, for that piece of cheese may be sitting on trigger that will spring a deadly trap.

We take these small creatures for granted in our daily walks, but they will figure large in some of the coming stories on this page.

For my May10Boys.

Watch out

“Watch out w’en youer gittin’ all you want. Fattenin’ hogs ain’t in luck.” Quote by Joel Chandler Harris, design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908) was an American writer and folklorist best known for his collection of “Uncle Remus” stories “Br’er Rabbit” stories written in dialect. Harris worked as an apprentice on a plantation during his teenage years where he gathered stories from the African-American oral tradition.

Pointillism is a painting technique that emerged during the late-1880s in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image. The term “Pointillism,” as an offshoot of Impressionism, was coined by art critics in order to ridicule the works of these artists. Pointillism today does not have negative connotations; it relies upon the ability of the eye and mind of the viewer to blend the color spots into a fuller range of tones. My application of Pointillism in creating motifs inspired by trade wind beads does not attempt to blend pigments on a palette, but to create textures within texture. Pointillism is an appropriate pen technique reminiscent of African trade beads that are spotlighted motifs in this blog.


“Notch the Rabbit,” design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Br’er (or Brother) Rabbit stories have their origins in African trickster storytelling traditions. Slaves brought Br’er Rabbit to America, and he is a folk hero that uses his wits to overcome adversity and adversaries. Br’er Rabbit is multidimensional and brings nuanced messages: he can be a hero or a lovable villain. Notch was a real rabbit companion from my youth who earned his ear notch on an adventure.