Miss Clara Solemane – vampire hunter, Mr. Felix Messori, and the Morrigan…All Sold!
Mr. Felix Messori…a one of a kind art doll / mixed-media sculpture, individually crafted and entirely made by hand…SOLD
Ever since Mr. Messori, or Felix to his friends, discovered that black was the colour into which all others are absorbed and dissolved, it became his clothing colour of choice for most occasions. He likes to wear it as a symbol of his own all-embracing, comprehensive nature … and it makes his blue eyes really zing. To Mr. Messori everybody else is equal. Regardless of the time or station of their life, he favours no one; whether they are rich or poor, weak or powerful, wise or foolish, he makes a point of dealing with everyone in just the same way – obviously, with the odd tweak to his modus operandi in order to achieve the same requisite results with each individual – or at least he endeavours to – some people are just more…complicated.
Endings, the last of things, final moments, attract and intrigue him, especially if they come with the knowledge of this finality. He has learnt through observation and experiment that the addition of this one simple factor seems to intensify all accompanying emotions. No one appreciates the sweetness and crunch of a chocolate biscuit more than the person who knows it is the last one. No one wants to live more than someone who knows they only have mere moments left of life. So, assuming most individuals are armed with the knowledge of their own mortality, he often ponders why more people are not fully present in each and every moment – any of which could well be their last. The very idea of death should, he believes, give people the zeal to know the truth about life itself and make it taste all the more delicious.
With this in mind, whenever he can and with varying methods, Mr. Messori tries to warn people of their imminent end, and finds a certain amount of pleasure and satisfaction in the knowledge that at the same time as offering people the opportunity to fully appreciate life in their final moments – no matter how briefly – he is also equalising them by making them all part of the same process of corporeal extinction and soul transition. Unfortunately, regardless of these considerations and peculiar passions, or perhaps because of them, Mr. Messori is not always greeted in a gentlemanly fashion. He has even had to endure vast amounts of name calling and bad press, including assertions that he actually causes people to die.
Mr. Messori would like to take this opportunity to state, for the record, that he is not a serial killer – serial killers choose who and when to kill, Mr. Messori does neither – so there really is no point trying to bribe, trick or outwit him in order to retain suddenly precious life. He sees himself more as a counterpart to Life and not in any way evil, merely a much misunderstood fellow trying to do a job. Which in this case does involve escorting the eternal soul/psyche from this existence to the next, but without any control over the facts of who and when. A mere psychopomp … from the Greek ‘pompos’ – conductor or guide, and ‘psyche’ – breath, life, soul or mind. However, he would rather not have to introduce himself with the words ‘Hi there, I am your personal psychopomp, did you know you have about five more seconds left of this life…’ He suspects that this may provoke misinterpretations from the undertones… crazed fop, or -again- a serial killer but with a penchant for waving perfumed handkerchiefs, of which, he insists, he has none. Personally, he prefers the names ‘Soul Rescuer’, ‘Death Walker’, ‘Soul Conductor’ or ‘Walker Between Worlds’, as they all infer a certain amount of skill and finesse, a mastering of his profession, perhaps even compassion, which in turn installs a confidence in his aptness as a guide to souls through this profound transition – but still does not quite capture his lighter side…
Mr. Messori refutes the idea that he is of one disposition. Like most people he has two sides: a darker, serious side to suit the serious nature of his job, and another much lighter side, but he is not in any way gloomy, glum, or other morose words beginning with the letter ‘g’! He adamantly claims to own a sense of humour … admittedly a wicked one, and he does accept that he may also possibly be a bit of a trickster, but he feels that he must do whatever is necessary to achieve his desired results, including shape shifting to match the setting, time and belief of an individual, even if it means donning the skeleton with a scythe or many-eyed, revolving head persona.
Is doing his job a grim task? Sometimes, especially in those places where he is seen as a big taboo or someone to be avoided at all costs, but there is nothing grim about Mr. Felix Messori, he positively loves his work, particularly when welcomed as an old friend or honoured guest…so much more civilized…and after meeting Mr. Heath Ledger personally and becoming a huge fan (he has watched the Dark Knight 145,000 times – it still upsets him that he didn’t think of that name first!) he created his own little motto for those heavier days…‘Why so grim Reaper?’
Felix come with his story in his own little book and a certificate of authenticity. He is signed on the base. He is now Sold!
The Morrigan – a one of a kind art doll / mixed-media sculpture, individually crafted and entirely made by hand…
Celtic Goddess of Death and Rebirth
Morrigu–Queen of nightmares, Mor Riagan/Mor-Rioghain–Great Queen, or Phantom Queen.
In the days before men came and settled the British Isles, it was supposedly the home of an ancient race of gods known as the Tuatha De Danann, the children of the goddess Danann. However, according to the stories told by the bards and the ancient druids, mankind arrived, and began to drive the gods away. Some of the gods went west, but others remained, hidden within their mounds in the midst of man. Among these old pagan gods, one of the strongest and most enduring was the Morrigan…
Archaeological evidence now tells us, that the Morrigan does indeed date back beyond the copper age, and that she was the dominant Goddess of Europe called the Great Goddess – a birth and death Goddess who moved the soul through the cycles of life-death-life; a transporter, neither good nor evil, often appearing before a death or to escort the deceased, a role that has endured for her throughout history. The Morrigan’s survival of time is part due to this continuous cycle of birth and death, but also to her ability to shape-shift, both physically and metaphysically. She moves with the times…connecting to the needs of each successive generation, becoming everything that represents the embodiment of feminine power. For the ancient Celts, in a world of strife and battle, the Morrigan became a warrior goddess…the shape-shifting Celtic Goddess of War, Fate and Death; the patroness of revenge, night, magic and prophecy. She was and is a psycho pomp, guiding the souls of the dead to the Otherworld, especially those who die in combat. But, as well as the darker aspects, like death and destruction, she also represented the strength of a woman, and the wisdom that the female gender could bring to both battle and home life, a goddess of birth and fertility, a healer, and a protector of the land, presiding over rivers, lakes and fresh water.
Her symbols appear on altars, sacrificial vessels, vases, pebbles, and pendants, inside her grand megalithic tomb-shrine in Ireland. There are three stone cells and three stone basins with engravings of triple snake spirals, and, on the vessels depicting her, there is the symbol for the number three. Sometimes, three lines are connected and represent a triple energy that flows from her body, the triple source of power needed to regenerate the cycles, to take one from life to death to life, or the moon’s three phases, new, waxing and old, or the maiden, nymph and crone. Even in these early Celtic representations she is understood to be a triple goddess, a shape-shifter, a three-part person, often depicted with a bird’s head (a crow / raven / or vulture) and the Morrigan continued to appear through history as both a single goddess and a triple goddess whose other aspects were manifested in the goddess Badb – vulture/ raven, Macha – crow / battle, and Nemain – frenzy. The form of a raven or crow was a symbol also used by the Norse God Odin, as these birds represented the knowledge of death and the battlefields, since as carrion feeders these black birds would have been plentiful during times of war. The Celts believed that, as they engaged in warfare, the Morrigan flew shrieking overhead in the form of a crow or raven, summoning a host of slain soldiers to a macabre spectral bane. When the battle ended, the warriors would leave the field until dawn in order that the Morrigan could claim the trophies of heads. No wonder she has also been associated with succubus and compared to Adam’s first wife Lilith.
It was said that the Morrigan could also predict the outcome of battles and she could be found before major battles by rivers and streams, a beautiful woman washing the bloodied clothes of the soldiers who would die, the Washer at the Ford. She has also been compared to the Valkyries, because their roles in cosmology are similar, both being weavers of fate, using magic to cast fetters on warriors when it was their time to die. It is also possible that she was the original of the death herald, the banshee or Bean Nighe – banshees too were shape-shifters, and, like the omen-of-death wail of the banshee, it was said that the warriors who heard the siren songs of the Morrigan were destined to die in battle. But, alternatively, the Morrigan could bless her chosen warriors, giving them power in battle through magic that was euphoric and energizing, similar to that of the Berserkers.
Additionally, the Morrigan was associated with the Wild Hunt, where gods or fae lords would ride down the souls of the damned, evil spirits or dozens of other variants during the times when the barriers between the worlds of the divine and mortal worlds had thinned.
Though all of this tends to depict an implacable goddess without mercy, a terrible entity to be feared even, the Morrigan does have a loving side to her nature. She could appear as a beautiful woman and liked to mate with both gods and human men. In one legend, she appears to the hero Cuchulainn (son of the god Lugh) and gave the Irish hero every chance to make love not war. When he fails to recognise her, and rejects her and her aid in battle, The Morrigan is deeply wounded and informs Cuchulainn that instead she will hinder him in battle…when he finally perishes, she settles on his shoulder in the form of a crow…he is now commemorated as a statue of a dying warrior with a crow on his shoulder.
The Morrigan continues to be placed in myth, legend and fiction… some say a derivative of her name belongs to Morgana leFay of Arthurian legends, showing that she is both the Morrigan and of the Fay / Fae, the Phantom Queen of the Fae. In more modern times she makes appearances in popular fiction such as ‘American Gods’ and in video games. Her legend endures, and though it has changed over the years, shape-shifting with each new generation, she remains, a deity for strong, independent individuals, and although the reaction she inspires with her presence is still fear because it is said that when she is near the doorway of death is visible…her message is one of transformation…that beyond the door other worlds or incarnations await…
The Morrigan also comes with her story in her own book and a certificate of authenticity. She is signed on the base.
Miss Clara Solemane (bright morning sun)… a one of a kind art doll / mixed-media sculpture, individually crafted and entirely made by hand… sold
Miss Clara Solemane, assistant curator at the British Museum and amateur entomologist, loves the night-time. This was not always the case.
Clara and her three sisters grew up in a vast, sprawling house with huge, seemingly measureless gardens, which facilitated the sisters’ childhood pursuits in natural history. Armed with magnifying lenses, home-made nets, various jars, drawing equipment and small parcels of food, they would disappear every weekend and holiday into the enormous gardens at dawn, specimen hunting, not returning until past dusk. At school Clara’s interest in wildlife increased. She developed a special curiosity for amphibians and reptiles in particular, and the Solemane household became used to finding rescued frogs in pockets, jars of tadpoles in linen drawers and grass snakes in vacant shoes. Fortunately, she had radical, free-minded parents, who actively encouraged the fascinations of all four of their daughters, believing that girls had as much right as boys to own enquiring minds and encouraging them all to learn, explore and question. Her father, who had accompanied Sir Hans Sloane on his explorations of Jamaica, Barbados and the surrounding islands, to gather geological samples, was the person who brought Clara her first large lizard. She kept it as a special pet, taking it wherever she went; it even sat on the table beside her at meal times. On her sixteenth birthday she acquired a small crocodile, which she took to school with her the next day, causing uproar amongst her fellow students and staff.
Unfortunately, it was during the summer of that very year that the sisters began to fall ill. It was a particularly hot, sweltering summer, and the girls, who shared one large bedroom, grew accustomed to leaving the windows open at night to encourage any passing breeze to enter their humid room. One by one, they were overcome by fevers, sleepwalking and nightmares or hallucinations, and their energy levels slowly depleted. Doctors were summoned, the sisters examined, and, apart from strange ruptures in the skin which were blamed on biting insects, they could find no other cause for the peculiar illness that had taken hold of them. Mosquito nets were purchased, and installed around their beds, and the reptiles and crocodile sent back to the wild. But their health continued to diminish as their hallucinations increased; each girl claiming that insects were not responsible for their bite marks, but monsters who visited them in the night.
Clara’s eldest sister, Clement, was the first fatality. The poor girl faded before the family’s eyes, becoming paler and more frail with each passing day, until, three weeks after the first bite mark appeared, Clement exhaled a last faint whisper of a breath and closed her eyes. Distraught, Clara’s parents and grandparents – who had scoured every medical journal and encyclopaedia they could get their hands on, including esoteric and magical tomes found in the library of the British Museum – formed a nocturnal sentinel that required at least two of them to remain alert, standing guard throughout the night, watching over the girls whilst they slept.
Clara does not remember much about this strange, awful summer that took away her sister. What she does remember is the face of her hallucinations, in particular, the cold empty darkness of its eyes made blacker by the paleness of the surrounding flesh, the heart wrenching pain of watching her sister’s life drain away, the smell of the garlic bulbs that her grandmother hung around their beds and the strange sentries who defended them through out the night armed with wooden chair legs, the ends of which – for some reason she did not understand then – had been whittled into sharp points. She remembers having to sleep with the light on due to a growing fear of the dark, and becoming enthralled by the insects that flew in through the window attracted by the lamp lights and the white nets surrounding her bed; and the book her mother gave her, full of exquisite sketches and descriptions of these same ugly nocturnal insects, encouraging her to compare and research which ones visited her, and which slowly turned their ugliness into a strange beauty and an new interest into a passion. She also recollects the anger she felt when, several days after the first night vigil began and her health slowly returned, she was informed that as well as losing her beautiful sister, her treasured reptiles were gone, and her grandmother had disappeared. All that they could find of the elderly lady was a crucifix, lying abandoned on the bedroom floor.
Gradually, the three remaining sisters recovered some of their health, and the hallucinations and sleepwalking stopped, but their earlier enthusiasms and energy levels never fully returned and the nightmares never left.
As well as taking away treasured things, that dreadful summer also bequeathed each sister something that profoundly affected the rest of their lives…Clara’s youngest sister, Claudine, suffered terrible pains and numbness in her extremities for the rest of her life that only morphine could nullify, leaving her with a ravenous addiction to the drug. Her middle sister, Cornelia, took to sleeping throughout the daytime and remaining awake at night, claiming the nightmares were lessened that way, leaving her with an inability to bear the harsh brightness of daylight, social problems and a craving for very rare steak; and Clara…well, she was left with a passion for the study of nocturnal creatures. She returned to school alone, wearing her grandmother’s crucifix, which she still wears today.
Her teachers claim she was a brilliant student, if not single-minded in her determination to find out all she could about creatures of the night, but bouts of ill-health due to overwork and lack of sleep frequently interrupted her education, and she had to abandon the idea of becoming one of the first women to go to Cambridge University. However, she continued her studies unperturbed, and could often be found scouring books in the women’s section of the BritishMuseum’s Reading Room, or studying the works in the display cabinets of the zoology department. It was here that she came to the attention of Mr. Attacus, renowned lepidopteran and the keeper of entomology at the museum, who encouraged her interest and invited her to work under his direction. Clara became his assistant, working at the museum in a voluntary capacity, with the backing of Mr. Sloane himself. Mentored by Mr. Attacus she was able to engage in academic zoology, even though she was female and had no university qualifications. At the age of nineteen she presented her first paper on variations of the Death’s-head Hawk moth, to the Zoological Society of London, and was elected as a Fellow of this Society a few months later.
When Mr. Attacus retires in three years, she will take solo charge of entomology and, perhaps, receive a small stipend for her work. She is an accomplished draughtswoman, and has made drawings for display cases at the museum. She has even combined her artistic flair with scientific accuracy in a series of drawings and paintings of moths that are to be reproduced in colour as postcards. Many of her mounted moths are also curated in glass covered boxes in the entomology department, beside the drawings made by her heroine, Maria Sibylla Merian.
It was at the same time as preparing one of these moths for display that a terrible memory from that awful summer of her childhood returned. Whilst impaling a Noctuidae, a White Witch Moth, on a specially made non-corrosive pin, a sudden image of her grandmother, clad head to toe in her customary black, impaling one of the nightmare monsters with a long silver hat pin, shouting ‘mortem in inmortuis’, flashed into her mind’s eye; followed by a series of images showing the creature exploding with a scream and a hiss, in a dramatic ‘magician-like’ cloud of ash, which drifted lazily to the floor, covering the old lady’s abandoned crucifix. Smiling at the thought that the tiny woman had taken out one of the monsters and with the words, ‘death to the undead’, Clara looked up and noticed a crow sitting on the edge of her window sill. The black clad bird watched her with a tilt of the head that again evoked memories of the old lady, until it spread its wings and disappeared. The crow became a regular caller, visiting Clara daily, and watching her formulate a plan inspired by the now obvious transferable skills of entomology.
The first rule of entomology is…the capture. The highest catches are on mild, cloudy, still nights with no moon. In the case of Vampyre, avoid full moons, as this is the night when their natural enemies the lycanthropes are plentiful, and the Vampyre tend to stay indoors. When working under darkness, make sure all equipment is in good order, arrive a good hour before dusk and walk around the intended survey area while still fully light, to check the best places for traps and any pitfalls or safety hazards. Positioning traps is very important…for moths the site should be shaded from the early morning sun, but in the case of Vampyre, a spot that will be directly in the glare of the bright morning sun is perfect.
Field techniques for capturing both species include: ‘tree-trunking’ and ‘torching’ – this is simply walking around woodland after dark with a strong torch looking at tree trunks for resting moths, or walking known Vampyre haunts during the daytime looking for the monsters while they sleep. A torch is useful in this instance too, as they prefer darkest corners, basements and other sunless places.
Regular ‘sugaring’ – using a mix of treacle, sugar and ale – of a fencepost or tree trunk can produce some good results. Both species will return to feed at the same energy source each night if it is an easy option…in the case of Vampyres, they often return to the same victims over and over, like Clara and her sisters. Clara finds that advertising her services induces sufferers or their families to contact her, enabling her to set traps for when the night creatures return!
‘Wine ropes’ are another old favourite with traditional lepidopterists. Natural fibre ropes are best, soaked in red wine and sugar / or in the case of Vampyre the obvious alternative. These are great at attracting the night creatures to traps. Neither can resist!
Another method is using a temporary captive female moth! Obviously, there are some moral issues here in the case of Vampyre, but Clara has found her sisters both willing assistants, particularly in the cases involving children. Like her, it helps their need for revenge.
Most entomologists use Moth traps to actually capture the moths. Usually these devices utilise a light source to attract the moths and can be as simple as a white sheet hanging on a wall beside a street gas-lamp, or more complicated boxes, like the ‘Robinson trap’, in which the moths can accumulate and be examined later. The moths fly towards a lamp set in the centre of a round lidded container, spiral down towards the source of light, and are deflected into the holding part of the box. Clara’s sister Cornelia has devised a similar trap, which she calls the Sole Mane trap, the ‘morning sun trap’, which is basically a mesh of silver coated chain, which, when triggered by a Vampyre – attracted by any one of the above methods – , falls, encasing and holding them until the morning sun can do its work. Non-messy, hands free, and able to be left over night in several chosen spots, it is an ideal trap. Clara has a whip made of the same silver-coated chain, which is also proving very affective at capturing or deflecting the monsters. Her hand-held crossbow was especially made for her by her sister Cornelia, who now has a workshop in the basement of their family home, in which she spends the daylight hours, constructing other effective devices for Clara to utilise, including all Clara’s hand-held wooden stakes, which have a silver core, and her silver or wood crossbow bolts.
After moths are captured, they are recorded then released; however, some may be kept for display purposes. To prepare them for this they are placed inside a killing jar. Cornelia is quite taken with this idea and she is about to start work on a larger version of the Sole Mane trap, as soon as she can get her gloved hands on enough silver. Their younger sister, Claudine, keeps Clara supplied with holy water, as she travels to holy shrines twice a year hoping for a cure for her pains and addictions, and brings the sacred waters back by the keg.
The usual method of storage and curation of captured moths is in a glass covered box – with the insects mounted on specially made non corrosive insect pins, stuck into paper covered cork at the bottom of the box. The date and place of capture is then written on a piece of card or paper transfixed by a pin. Obviously, the mounting and display of captured Vampyre – as well as being rather macabre, even for Clara– is impossible, as they tend to crumble to ash if impaled. She satisfies her need, as an entomologist, to record things by always capturing and mounting a moth with every Vampyre kill…she now has quite a collection. And the crow? She named her Inmortuis, in honour of her grandmother. It always accompanies her on her hunts.
Miss Clara Solemane, assistant curator at the British Museum, amateur entomologist, professional Vampyre Hunter, loves the night-time and bringing death to the undead.
The Making of The Three Little Psychopomps
they are now finished…and you can follow their making as you move down the page…they are all three now sold.
They each come with their own story in a little book, and a certificate of authenticity – as well as being signed on their base…
here they are from almost the beginning after I had made the faces etc…coming to life…they consist of a wire armature covered in clay, their heads are entirely made from clay with insert eyes ( not real eyes – don’t fret!)…
these ones will be fixed in position, so entirely made from clay rather than wire covered in fabric…
painting their faces…this is when their personalities really begin to shine out of them and they start telling me their stories…which dictates the direction I go with them…I often have to change my idea of who I thought they would be and give way to their will to be who they really are, which means going back to the faces and adding more details…
adding their hair…
beginning to work on their clothes…again this often changes and adapts from my original plans for them as they start to add their own ideas of what they want to wear…or don’t want to wear! As I worked on this one, she insisted on added leather protection around her neck …she will have a skirt….