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.”


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.

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.

Pink elephant sighting

January 26, 2017


“Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant the only harmless great thing, the giant of beasts.” Words from John Donne, design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Paisley Elephant Notecard and Survivors’ Hub Postcard


Happy Halloween!!!

October 31, 2016


“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.” Words by Thomas Merton (1915-1968), design by Meredith Eliassen, 2016.

Over the next few days this site will explore the Mexican Day of the Dead that emerged from the ancient pre-Columbian traditions.


The Ancients and Media Ecology

September 12, 2016

Child culture has to some extent always been an adult societal construct since children are dependent upon adults as this stage. Lydia Maria Child, 1802-1880 wrote in the preface of her The Mother’s Book (1832): “We are told that when Antipater demanded of the Lacedemonians fifty of their children as hostages, they replied that they would rather surrender fifty of the most eminent men in the state, whose principles were already formed, than children to whom the want of early instruction would be a loss altogether irreparable (vii).”

Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) asserted that three inventions were vectors for successive social transformation: the written phonetic alphabet carried humans from tribal to literate society; the printing press carried humans from literate to print society; and the telegraph carried humans from print to today’s increasingly electronic society by progressively arousing different brain patterns over generations that are distinctive to each particular form of dominant communication.


Plato… on writing, in “Phaedrus”: ‘If men learn this, it will implant forgetfulness in their souls… they will cease to exercise memory because they will rely on that which is written, calling things to remembrance no longer from within themselves, but by means of external marks.’ Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2016.

In the medieval world, there was no separate sphere for children; adults and the young had access to all common conversations that were part of the culture; a seven year old boy only differed from his father in his capacity to engage in love and war. The translation of sounds into letters and new visible symbolic objects radically altered the human consciousness: words could be read repeatedly and when individuals became literate, they could build upon recorded knowledge and advance thinking. When Aldus Manutius (1449-1515) began to mass-produce pocket-sized texts featuring italic type in 1502, this technology allowed humans to easily transport and share ideas. Media ecologists concur that with the print age, a consciousness of childhood as a distinct period of human development first emerged with a moral chiaroscuro of print media where the semantics of childhood was delineated by adult societal constructs of parenthood.


Aldus Manutius (1449-1515) established his printing house in Venice in about 1490. The Aldine Press was a corporate entity; the entrance placard conveyed the proprietor’s eithic: “Talk of nothing but business; and dispatch that business quickly.” Pietro Aretino (1492 -1556) was an Italian author, playwright, poet, satirist and blackmailer who wielded immense influence on contemporary art and politics and developed early pornographic literature. He wrote “We are the buffoons of our children.” Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2016.

Giovanni Francesco Straparola, approximately 1460-1557 (roughly translates to “The Babbler”) is credited with having introduced the genre of fairy tale, including “The Puss in Boots,” into contemporary European literature. He published a collection of popular stories incorporating practical jokes, romances, and fables in the style of the Decameron in Venice in 1550. It passed through sixteen editions in twenty years and was translated into French and German. The frame story is that Francesca Gonzaga, daughter of Ottaviano Sforza, Duke of Milan, escapes the commotions in that city and retires to the island of Murano, near Venice, where surrounded by a number of distinguished ladies and gentlemen, she passes the time in listening to stories related by the company. Thirteen nights are spent in this way, and seventy-four stories are told, when the approach of Lent cuts short the diversion. These stories are of the most varied form and origin and many are borrowed without acknowledgment from other writers including Morlini, Boccaccio, and others. Twenty-nine of the tales are from Straparola; they had never appeared before in European literature, but they were in no sense original to Straparola. His work had no influence on contemporary Italian literature (and was actually banned in areas), and was soon forgotten.

Learn more about media ecologists from the Media Ecologist Association.



“Education is man’s most amazing tool… amazing toy, or effective tool, or it can be… man’s most effective weapon. Education” Maya Angelou “Blacks, Blues, Black!,” 1968. Design by Meredith Eliassen

“Blacks, Blues, Black!” (Episode 6: Education)

Conversely, Native Americans in California used baskets as if they are extensions of the human body; infants were immersed in water-holding baskets as they get immersed in culture. Basket makers are engineers who create amplified baskets from spiritualized raw natural materials; as children learned gendered tasks related to basket and net making, they learned cultural values. Here we perceive the concept of ecology as the study of environment and how its structure and content impact human beings. When the United States government attempted to eradicate the tribes in southern Oregon, they destroyed functional Native American baskets as a war tactic. In southern Oregon, during the Rogue River Indian War (1855-1856), vigilantes and army troops attacked Tututni villages employing a military tactic to undermine tribal stability by destroying all baskets and their contents that were use in every aspect of life, because without baskets, the tribes were unable to survive (See note).

In medieval European England, Biblical translator and reformer John Wycliffe (1338-1384) came to regard the scriptures as the only reliable guide to the Truth that came from God. Wycliffe maintained that all Christians should rely on the Bible rather than on the teachings of popes and clerics. He said that there was no scriptural justification for the papacy. In keeping with Wycliffe’s belief that scripture was the only authoritative reliable guide to living a good life, he became involved in efforts to translate the Bible into English as a means of empowering the common folk. Wycliffe asserted that not having English-language Bibles meant that it was not accessible to laypeople, therefore the common people were being deprived of God’s Word because it was written in the language of a foreign people.

Note: Stephen Dow Beckham, Requiem for a People: The Rogue Indians and the Frontiersmen (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1971), 27.


“O Tiger’s heart wrapp’d in a woman’s body.” King Henry IV, Part III: York’s monologue: words by William Shakespeare, design by Meredith Eliassen, 2016.

More from Dante…

August 4, 2016


Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) “Puro e disposta a salire alle stella=Pure and disposed to mount unto the stars.” Purgatorio, canto 33, 1, 145. Creature of Celtic design, by Meredith Eliassen, 2016.