It’s never wise to compare yourself to others.

Fish

Fish design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Earlier in the day, a fisherman was drawing up a net from the sea that was full of all sorts of fish. While the big fish were all caught and hauled into the ship, a little fish escaped through the net mesh and swam back into the deep. As he crossed paths with more big fish, the little fish was grateful that his seeming insignificance was actually his safety net.

The Whole Inhabited World

February 28, 2017

ecumentical

Ecumenism is commonly portrayed symbolically as a boat afloat on the sea of the world with the mast in the form of a cross. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Ecumenism reflects efforts towards the visible and holistic unity among different Christian faiths. The term ecumenical is derived from the Greek word οἰκουμένη (or oikoumene) meaning “the whole inhabited world.” The ecumenical movement involves the search for the visible unity of the Church (Ephesians 4:3) as well as envisioning the “whole inhabited earth” (Matthew 24:14) as the concern for all Christians.

chinese-ecumenical

The recognition of the importance of a spirit of unity is universal and conveyed by many symbols. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Poor Butterfly
For she loved him so…

madam-butterfly

Young Ciocio-san awaits Pinkerton’s return from her past as her fathers hara-kiri knife looms before her. Inspired by Madama Butterfly (1904) composed by Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924), this design is by Meredith Eliassen, 1917.

 

Another rain wave…

January 9, 2017

shell

Detail of a shell from “Seaside Sampler” original design by Magie Hollingworth for Erhman Tapestry and stitched with adaptations by Meredith Eliassen.

A shell winks at me from the sand.

I stoop and pick it up.

I put it to my ear and hear echoes from the sea.

My heart is light.

I continue down the beach enjoying my newfound treasure.

I stop.

 

I put the shell to my ear again and hear echoes from the sea.

I am comforted by its rhythm.

Some shellfish change their shells like we change houses

 

I toss the shell back into the sea… surrendering my newfound treasure.

The waves swallow it.

I let go…

My encounter with Daisy

January 6, 2017

gulls

Detail from “Seaside Sampler” original design by Magie Hollingworth for Erhman Tapestry and stitched with adaptations by Meredith Eliassen.

How much time do we have before the tide comes in?

I head for the dunes.

I see a shoreline trotter.

She has a sunny friendly face…

And she answers to the name Daisy.

daisy

Detail of shoreline trotter named Daisy.

Time passes, and I begin to sing a song as I slow my pace.

A song comes to me.

The wind carried the words away.

Crabby today…

January 5, 2017

The beach empties except for a few seagulls.

A crab flirts with the idea of testing the sand.

He changes his mind.

The surf gently carries him away.

img_0288

Detail of crab from “Seaside Sampler” original design by Magie Hollingworth for Erhman Tapestry and stitched with adaptations by Meredith Eliassen.

A breeze touches my bare feet, reminding me that I am here in search of treasure.

Which way do I go?

Towards the rocks or to the little lighthouse on the other side of the dunes?

I see a boy who is gazing into the sky.

He lifts a finger to determine the wind’s direction…

He takes off and soon his kite drifts aloft.

The wind is steady… let’s go fly a kite! He says.

kite

Detail of kite from “Seaside Sampler.”

A Stormy Winter Morning…

January 4, 2017

As a child, I collected memories like sea shells that have become part of my psyche… piling into a car with my family, we traveled windy roads to the shoreline.

The tide ebbs slowly.

The seas calm like a child after many tears.

A climb down to the beach…

Seagulls beckon…

Letting go of my mother’s hand to explore…

I carefully edge over the grassy ledge to the soft sand below.

The cloud passes…

The sun is still there.

gull

Detail from “Seaside Sampler” original design by Magie Hollingworth for Erhman Tapestry and stitched with adaptations by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

In the distance, other families, and many children engaged in adventures of their own… I climbed to the highest rock and stand. I see a lighthouse in the distance.

img_0250

Detail of lighthouse with seagulls in the foreground.

Where to the seagulls hide when storms come?

life_truth_love

LIFE * TRUTH * LOVE designed by Meredith Eliassen, 2016.

A New Day

May 7, 2016

Nordicfish

“Nordic Fish,” inspired by a circular fish motif from a medieval manuscript, was designed by Meredith Eliassen, 2016. TO PURCHASE NOTECARD

Last night I attended a wonderful concert by New York Polyphony held on the San Francisco State University campus as part of the Morrison Artist Series. In short, it was fantastic, like listening to a natural and unpretentious conversation on a street corner of a gem-strew city. I was reminded of the timeless healing energy of the human voice with this convergence of four male voices singing in chant where every voice was valued and relevant. The compositions spanned centuries and with one song composed for the group, I felt for the first time the beauty and magic of what a composer of vocal works creates when he creates music for voices specific to living human instruments.

My sister has had composer work with her words, and now I have a better sense of the underlying power of this collaboration. The sacred music that New York Polyphony performed is sometime performed in a stilted way, they claim to infuse it with sensuality of today, but in its original context with out the noise of today, it think that the passion would not have been much different if sung by singers who were engaged and living their faith.

New York Polyphony (established in 2006) is a male classical vocal quartet based in New York. If you are able to catch New York Polyphony live in concert you will also feel their movement on stage as they shift and interact with the audience, but the sheer beauty of their voices can be heard in their recordings. http://www.newyorkpolyphony.com/

Alas, I don’t normally write about things related to my work at San Francisco State, but one of the best aspects of my “day job” is working with our fantastic energetic students. Today I want to celebrate the establishment of a press that will highlight student works from Pino Trogu’s letterpress class. Today is the birthday of Stanza 153 Press at San Francisco State University. If you get a chance to support this effort to nurture young artists, please do.

Stanza 153 Press Features work by the typographers, compositors and printers of DAI 226 Modern Letterpress Printing, Design and Industry Department, San Francisco State University. https://stanza153press.com/

 

Sonnevi

“And Feel the scent of water above the scent of earth a faint wind makes me look up see the water.” English translation of words by Swedish poet Göran Sonnevi, design by Meredith Eliassen, 2016.

And another seascape drawn with a Sharpie pen last year…

Waves

Stylized drawing of waves by Meredith Eliassen.

Waves notecard