Heavenly Joy

Double Sirin from Lubok, Q. Cassetti, pen and ink, digitalFrom Wikipedia on Sirin:   Sirin is a mythological creature of Russian legends, with the head and chest of a beautiful woman and the body of a bird (usually an owl). According to myth, the Sirins lived “in Indian lands” near Eden or around theEuphrates River[1][2].

These half-women half-birds are directly based on the Greek myths and later folklore about sirens[3][2][4].They were usually portrayed wearing a crown or with a nimbus[5]. Sirins sang beautiful songs to the saints, foretelling future joys. For mortals, however, the birds were dangerous. Men who heard them would forget everything on earth, follow them, and ultimately die. People would attempt to save themselves from Sirins by shooting cannons, ringing bells and making other loud noises to scare the bird off[3]. Later (17-18th century), the image of Sirins changed and they started to symbolize world harmony (as they live near paradise). People in those times believed only really happy people could hear a Sirin, while only very few could see one because she is as fast and difficult to catch as human happiness. She symbolizes eternal joy and heavenly happiness [6].

The legend of Sirin might have been introduced to Kievan Rus by Persian merchants in the 8th-9th century. In the cities of Chersonesos and Kiev they are often found on pottery, golden pendants, even on the borders ofGospel books of tenth-twelfth centuries[5]Pomors often depicted Sirins on the illustrations in the Book of Genesis as birds sitting in paradise trees[1].

Sometimes Sirins are seen as a metaphor for God’s word going into the soul of a man. Sometimes they are seen as a metaphor of heretics tempting the weak. Sometimes Sirins were considered equivalent to the Polish Wila. In Russian folklore, Sirin was mixed with the revered religious writer Saint Ephrem the Syrian. Thus, peasant lyrists such as Nikolay Klyuev often used Sirins as a synonym for poet[1].


Eternal jou and heavenly happiness. Imagine. Love this idea. The wikipedia page shows fine examples of Russian Sirin(s) with fethers and crowns, perched on the ground or on heavenly bushes/trees.

I am so pleased that the work got into the Society of Illustrators Illustration 53. It’s funny, but I had a hunch with the nutcrackers as American Illustration (another tough show to get into) took a Krampus…to my delight and pleasure. It is so good to have this personal stuff which seems obsessive and strange—but happily infectious for me, pleased enough of the judges to get in.  Anelle mentioned that there was a field of over 4,000. entries…so to get in is no mean feat particularly given the talent that is out there.

I think the nutcrackers may be a saleable card for next holidays along with the lab card. I think this stuff can/could sell. Etsy keeps selling something every day or so. It will be interesting to see what pops up over the course of the season. I sent a valentine to Pioneer with a nice quote which we are going to foil stamp and put in a Kraft paper square envelope. I am going to run extras to sell online as well. They are pretty and yet pretty odd (not the typical heart and flowers)…more tattoo-ey.

Am up against it with a few reports for Cornell along with a calendar coming our way from the Museum of Glass. Speaking of the Museum, my graphics for East Meets West (a show opening today) look wonderful. The whole idea of creating a stripe makes a pretty bulletproof way to look at show graphics. Your thoughts? It was an interesting design problem as the show works around the idea of eastern style vessels/ decoration imitated by western glassmakers for a western audience was the hook. So, I did something with the east/west type orientation, using my favorite (ligatures) and when possible, an eastern and western man painting from the same vessel…. I will post after this for your review.

Alex has a synth these days and is wildly plugged in making music. He is adoring this European stuff very “fashion show”(what R and I call it) with a dance beat and good percussion. Its nice he is on fire about this. It should be interesting to see what comes out of this thing.

More later.