Wednesday, May 20, 2009


After more than a week of being under the weather, I managed to spend an entire day in the studio without having to nap. That felt good especially since I was able to move forward with some ideas I’ve been thinking about for a series of sculptural forms.

Last weekend I went to a rock and gem show. And just by chance I came across a table of fossils, including ammonites. Umm, maybe Peter is the one to first have spied them. But for now I’m taking credit. I have always had a fascination with ammonites. I think it’s the spiral form of them that I’ve been so attracted to.

A few weeks ago, when I was wandering the internet, ostensibly doing research, I ran across this representation of ammonites in Wikipedia. I did not know that they are thought to be more closely related to octopi and squid. But it does fuel my imagination when I think of the vast prehistoric inland sea that lies beneath my current near desert home. The glaze palette I've used for some of the earlier tests and pieces I've done, is directly inspired by this painting. I love the idea of a hidden world under my feet. One that was once alive, breathing, flourishing.

It is interesting to me that the name ammonite comes from Pliny the Elder who called them ammonis cornua (horns of Ammon) because the Egyptian oracle god, Ammon, is often depicted with ram’s horns. Ammon was the lord of good counsel, and the spelling, by the way, is the Greek version.

The ammonite fossil is widespread both in time it occurred in the fossil record and distribution across the world. In medieval Europe ammonites were thought to be petrified snakes and were considered to be evidence of the actions of Saint Hilda and Saint Patrick. Some Hindu believe that the ammonite is a manifestation of Vishnu.

I could get quite lost in researching the place of the ammonite in history. I find it quite a fascinating but it is time to move on to using this form in my work. Maybe I’ll come back to it later, some rainy day when I’ve no inspiration.


Lilla Jizo said...

Wow! I can´t believe I just sent you an Etsy convo on your fossil beads... just to find this post right after! Hehe... I can get lost in these things too... I had a crush on trilobites not so long ago...

Your ammonites are stunning! I totally love them!

sharon said...

LeAnn, I've missed you!!

Your work on the table looks pretty fascinating to me and i'd really like to see the finished product! Your knowledge of your inspiration is fascinating also, and I really respect that, I think that comes through in your work!

I'm sending you an email.

stregata said...

Oh LeAnn,
what a wonderful post. I could just get lost reading your blog!!
Sorry to hear you have been under the weather and glad you are back!
I am so looking forward to seeing the ammonite pieces finished. Isn't it funny that I was thinking of exactly that combination in your work? I have an addiction to spiral forms, so I am really excited about what you are doing.

SueBeads said...

Great post, Le Ann - I love learning new things like this! I too love ammonites and am excited to see what you are doing up there at the top!!!

Fab Fibers said...

I have a cabachon that one day I'm gonna embroider around it. Love anything from the sea.
Glad you're feeling better, its a big waste of time being sick isn't it?

SummersStudio said...

Thanks all for your wellness wishes. This time of year is so hard on me with all of the pollen and dust out there!

I'm pretty excited about the ammonites. Just took some impressions from the little things I made yesterday and it is more than I hoped for. More later.

Anonymous said...

Those look wonderful! I too love to use little sea creatures for texture.

SharonP said...

Spirals are my favorite design in my work and in nature, representing the continuous flow of life, not to mention it's pleasing to the eye! I'm sure your sculptures will be stunning.

Silver Parrot said...

Love the ammonites - incredibly cool!