Sunken Garden: Brewing the Birds
black ink on bristol 300 paper, 19 inches x 24 inches

The overall story involves two young ladies who become neighbors and a strange garden. Here, it’s a sunken garden, deep in the woods, revealed only at the full moon and in the direct path of the moon beams. Underneath the table are Hellebores. They are there for the sanity they bring (as defined by me, of course). The flowers and leaves of the Hellebore grow directly into the beakers at the base of the table, and through a system of tubes are brought to mix with the dew forming off the petal of a Canterbury Bell.

The formal name for Canterbury Bells is Campanula medium: note that the root of its name, Campana, is Latin for bell. In 'A Contemplation upon flowers: garden plants in myth and literature,' I found this story:




“The source of the common name is an English legend in which three wicked young men were turned into swans by a priest and were forced to fly endlessly for a thousand and one years. On one flight over Canterbury, they heard the nearby ringing of the Christian church bells. They were awed by the sound and the spell was broken [note here: awe breaks the spell of a curse...]. They fell to earth at Canterbury where St. Augustine found them lost and bewildered and led them into the church. As they went inside, little bell-shaped flowers...sprang up from the ground where they stepped. These flowers were dedicated to St. Augustine and later to St. Thomas a Becket, murdered in the cathedral at Canterbury in 1170.”

Some of the variations of the Bellflower give edible roots and salad leaves. Others are not so good for you.

In this drawing, the birds are miraculously formed (I find that to be a miracle, not a curse!) out of the mists created by the careful mixing and heating of Hellebore essence and the lunar dew formed on the petal of a Canterbury Bell, which has mysteriously grown onto a vine that stretches from the one lady to the other.

Because this is an internal transformation, an alteration of perception to “see” in a more expanded sense, beyond the limitations of the patterns we are raised with and socialized into--beyond those and into that which is so strange we can not even imagine it--she cooks herself in the cauldron, stirring in careful circles around the small pond. To aid her in such a feat, the pot comes equipped with a small mechanical paddling system, which she can turn on by pulling the small cord in her right hand.