“Siegfried” condensed…

February 27, 2018


Conceived out of the year of failed revolutions – 1848 – Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen (1876) is a fusion of drama and epic narratives forged in a cultural hearth of shifting ideologies. Wotan disguised like an old man, becomes the Wanderer. Mime twists plots to obtain the ring of power created by his brother. Siegfried returns from his wanderings in the forest with a wild bear in tow, and immediately breaks the new sword. Mime has raised Siegfried as a foster child. Similar to The Fool, Siegfried complains to Mime that he has never learned the meaning of fear. Siegfried arrives, and the Wanderer questions the youth. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


Mime despairs as he imagines the ferocity of the dragon, Fafner. The Wanderer also arrives at the entrance to Fafner’s cave, where Mime’s brother Alberich keeps vigil. A forest bird sings to Siegfried of a woman sleeping on a rock surrounded by magic fire. Siegfried, unaware that intimacy brings vulnerability, wonders if he will learn to comprehend fear from this woman, and follows the bird to the rock. Siegfried, confronted by the Wanderer, does not recognize him as his grandfather, and insolently responds before continuing on the path towards Brünnhilde’s rock. The Wanderer blocks Siegfried, but the youth only mocks him, laughing at his floppy hat and his missing eye. Siegfried breaks the Wanderer’s spear, the symbol of Wotan’s authority, with a blow from his magical blade, Nothung. Wotan calmly gathers up the pieces and vanishes. Siegfried passes through the ring of fire, emerging on Brünnhilde’s rock. At first, he perceives the sleeping armored figure to be a man. However, as he removes the armor, he discovers a woman beneath. She is the first woman he has ever seen, and at last Siegfried understands the power of fear. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Old Man Rhine

The Rhine River as an old man knows what starts in the River, is fated to return to the River. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Another grassroots production of the transient Trade Wind Opera Company, where even the Wanderer looses his hat.


There was an old country house that was infested with rats and nothing could be secured from their depredations. The vermin scaled the walls to reach the farmer’s bacon hanging from the ceiling and hanging shelves offered no protection for the cheese and pastries. The preserves and sweetmeats were no safer in the pantry, the rats gnawed through cupboard doors, undermined floors, and ran races behind the wainscots.

The cats could not reach them, the vermin were too clever and too well fed to bother with poisoned bait, and traps only caught a few heedless stragglers. However, the farmer caught one of these stragglers and fitted him with a small bell and then let him loose.

Mouse and bell

Moral: He who is raised so much above his fellow creatures as to be the object of their terror, but suffer for it in loosing all the comforts of society. He is a solitary being in the midst of crowds. He keeps them at a distance and they equally shun him. Dread and affection cannot subsist together. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Overjoyed by his freedom, the rat ran into the nearest whole and searched for his companions. They heard the tinkle, tinkle at a distance and assumed it was an enemy in their midst and scattered in every-which way. The bell-bearer pursued, and soon guessing the cause of their flight, he was greatly amused. He chased his friends from hole to hole, and room to room, laughing all the while at their fears, even as he increased it by all means in his power. Soon he had the whole house to himself. He thought, “That’s right, the fewer, the better.” So he rioted alone and stuffed himself with goodies until he could hardly walk.

For two or three days, life was good. He ate and ate, until he grew tired of his lonely condition and longed for his old family and friends. The difficulty now was how to get rid of the bell. He pulled and tugged with his fore-feet until he nearly wore all of the fur from his neck, but all in vain. The bell was now his plague and torment, so the rat wandered from room to room searching for a companion, but they all stayed out of his reach At last, as he moped about in despair, he fill into a puss’s clutches and was devoured in an instant.

Source: John Aikin (1747-1822) and Anna Lætitia Barbauld (1743-1825), Evenings at home, or, The juvenile budget opened (New-York: Harper & Brothers, 82 Cliff-Street, 1839.) Barbauld was unable to publish because of her political stances, and collaborated with her brother to get this book published.



3 ravens

Nevermore and two companions followed me to work, asking, Where shall we our breakfast take? I thought about it for a moment and recommended the fried rice at our neighborhood take-away in honor of Chinese new year… they agreed and took flight. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Happy Chinese New Year!

February 16, 2018


brown dog

Welcome Earth Dog! Earth Dog humans are communicative, serious, and responsible in the workplace. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Earth Dog 2018 Card


moth heart

Some California Indian tribes consider moths to be sacred and powerful creatures that are spirit guides into mystery, darkness/light, and transformation. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Heart Moth Card

Lax what do

“what-do-?-love” words by Robert Lax (1915-2000) from “In the Beginning was Love: Contemplative Words of Robert Lax,” edited with an introduction by S. T. Georgiou (2015), design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


Maple leafs floating in a stream design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

What-do-?-love card

Sumi-e, the dominant style of painting during the Kamakura Era (1185-1333) blended samurai aesthetics of simplicity with Zen, utilizing black inks of varied shades from grey to black… these designs infill the black with a colored pattern so that there is no black. Sumi-e, noted for its purity and simplicity, reflects the eternal nature of the subjects with minimalism that is relevant for the Lax word-picture and the internal pattern evokes the energy of a favorite trade with bead motif.


Paisley Chain

Border featuring overlapping paisley designs by Meredith Eliassen, January 2015.

blue paisley

Cool blue paisley design by Meredith Eliassen, January 2018.

green paisley

Okay, the sun has come out green paisley design by Meredith Eliassen, February 2018.