Thursday, 13 October 2011

The Bagpipe Society


"Pan is the son of Mercury; His head and body form the sign of mercury of the Philosophers, 
at once solar and lunar. The star on the right is the hieroglyph for harmoniac salt, 
the third component of the Art (which is often called the Art of Music). 
Anon., 14th century, Biblioteca Mediceo-Laurenziana, Florence. Ms Ashburn 1166, f.18."
~ from Alchemy - The Secret Art - Stanislas Klossowski de Rola, Thames & Hudson 1973.
IN THIS ALCHEMICAL DRAWING from an anonymous 14th century manuscript in Florence, Pan, god of the wilds and of rustic music, plays a set of bagpipes.
A strange and earthy, wild and raucous instrument, the bagpipes evoke such old yearnings in us. In the words of bagpiper Andy Letcher:

"The bagpipe is an extraordinary instrument - half plant, half animal, a swine to play 
but will sing like a bird - and it's this old, nearly forgotten, rumpled magic 
of the thing that I want to share with the world."

Andy (my friend of Telling the Bees fame) works as part of The Bagpipe Society to rekindle in people a hearty love for this wonderful instrument. As part of this process, The Bagpipe Society has had a lick of paint here and there, and I was responsible for the decorations.
The initial request was for me to design a logo for the society which showed someone playing the bagpipes and the words The Bagpipe Society. So that's what I did...


They were pleased with it apart from a small request to make him a little more cheerful! So here's the final logo complete with (very slightly) turned up corners of the mouth:


And here's the whole page of my very rough sketch-workings:


I found inspiration from books of old illustrations and engravings...

All above illustrations from The Encyclopaedia of Illustration - Studio Editions 1990
There were also a few pennies left in the pot for me to create something extra for the website, and so with inspiration spewing from the mouth of a marginal foliate head...
Title page designed by Daniel Hopfer, Augsburg 1515
~ from Alphabets & Ornaments by Ernst Lehner, Dover 1968

... I created this:

A quite unexpected and penetrating-gazed Green Man Bagpiper, now piping his green song from the pages of the website. You can buy him and the Bagpipe Society logo printed onto various Items Of Usefulness from their merchandise page, or as prints from my shop.

Next year, March the 10th is set to be International Bagpipe Day, where everyone is encouraged to get involved and organise local grassroots bagpiping events. The Bagpipe Society also publish a quarterly journal called Chanter, which you get if you become a member. Do have a good peruse of the site, there's videos of all sorts of different pipes being played, and information of the yearly bagpipe festival Blowout.

I leave you with a video of Andy playing his English Border Pipes with Cliff Stapleton on hurdy-gurdy. The tune is one of Andy's and is called Asclepius (the Greek god of healing and an obscure hermetic text....)


The Wedding Dance by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, 1566 - source: Bagpipe iconography

40 comments:

John Barleycorn Must Die said...

As ever I marvel at your dedication to research. A smashing symble. Bravo!

by Teresa said...

Oh.. I love your logo and the historic artwork. What a treat to listen to the piper and the hurdy-gurdy player! Sitting by the fire with my husband in Oregon, USA - we listened and were enthralled. I invite you to visit my blog, I have you as a favorite in my list.

Kind thoughts, Teresa

joanasoares said...

Both drawings are wonderful!
Thank you so much for sharing your work and research and the song...

joana, Bagpipe fan since ever

Charlotte said...

My Great Uncle John would have loved this, he was a player of the pipes. When he was still with us he was often called upon to bring his chanter and bag to get a the party going. What I really loved though was that my (extremely diminutive) great Aunt Bar was renowned in the local piping group for being able to blow the chanter properly.

Rima, the drawings are beautiful. I love how you have drawn on the rich history of etchings and plates and turned them into something uniquely your own.

We are still awaiting a visit from the Bee tellers, Wod or other combination here in the mucky East Midlands. Give them a nudge for us please, we would give them a warm welcome.

May much blessing be on you and yours, with peace and tranquility.
Charlotte

Mr David Poe said...

Your work is always incredible and this is no exception! Awesome amount of research.

Eva said...

How wonderful! I positively expect my cold to get better by listening to this piece of music a few more times. And your excellent drawings... It is a pleasure to read your blog, every time I come back.

Pseko said...

Rima the drawings are lovely and wise- and my music soul that was rather hungry has been well satiated by the pipes and hurdy gurdy.

signed -- another bagpipe fan from childhood

Heather said...

Beautiful drawings as ever, and what a lovely commission. The music is an extra treat.

Hita Hirons said...

Fantastic logo, Rima! He has such a real face and character. Just perfect balance. And a very wise looking Green Man too. I hope you do more work for the Bagpipe Society; your style is perfect for them. I loved the music clip also; very fluid and calming, and performed in such a straightforward and sincere way by two such talented musicians. Thank you for sharing all that!

Katie Jean said...

Rima,
Through a mutual friend, I stumbled upon your blog. Feels like you are a kindrid spirit—we should be good folksy friends and sip mugs of tea dedicated to those of the earth kingdom.

Love your art—fantastic logo and lettering as well! Will be following your blog!
~Katie
http://www.FaeryCupboard.org

steven said...

rima - i laughed when i saw the same world-filled eyes coupled with a slightly upturned mouth! ahhh yes, now you speak of the joys of music my manface!!

andy and cliff - their music stands at the entrance -way to a tent, a yurt, a space that passes so far beyond time that the only time you can hold is that contained inside the music itself. that time is a courtesy to ground earthly visitors in the flow of what comes from well outside of time and space.

thankyou all. steven

Anonymous said...

Dear Rima, as a Graphic designer I could tell you're wrong calling your work a "logo"... that's MARVELOUS PIECE OF ART!

Your illustrations are far from being a simple visual identity for a musical organization, they have grace, personality, they only need to breath to live and complete their perfection.

Don't call them designs, call them Masterpieces, because that's how they deserve to be called due to their exquisite shapes.

CONGRATULATIONS INDEED! and thank you very much for sharing your otherwordly art with us.

Andy Letcher said...

When first I saw the logo - I gasped. When first I saw the Green Man piper - I stumbled backwards across the room! Nice to be able to thank you here, publicly, Rima for the amazing work you've done for the BagSoc and for the pipes. Something leaps off the page whenever you draw - tis a magic thing that you do. Thank you.

And to all those pipe-lovers put there, yearning to play but not quite daring - it's never too late to start!

Shelley Noble said...

Spectacular marks, both. I love getting a glimpse of your art process as well. A penetrating gaze indeed!

Lynn said...

Glorious!
As always, your work astounds me.
The sound clip is mesmerizing.

Ronnie (RR) said...

Its such a joy to read your blog, the Bagpiper is brilliant, great work am sure they'll be very happy with the logo. I loved your green man too, and watching how your drawings come about.

Snippety Giblets said...

What a lovely surprise to wake up to :0) The logo is excellent but that green man - fantastical !! Love it. I really love pipes of all kinds & was lucky enough to see Davy Spillane live once. I am one of those longing to have a go, as Andy says, but never having had the time or the opportunity. Maybe I'll go seek some out :0)

gz said...

Beautiful work and thorough research.

I've just noticed the little musical mouse sitting on his eggcup- thankyou for a smile to start my day.
Bright Blessings
gz

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

Brueghel,alchemy,bagpipes,Jack-in-the-Green... and the hurdy gurdy! So much of this post of yours brings back memories of my own folk musician, whose gone now,to play all his instruments in some other dimension. Wonderful to see the depth you go to with your research. Thank you for the sharing.

Joel Stewart said...

:) twitpic.com/6xphqx

Pixie Dancer said...

Wonderful stuff...very fine. Your work is a big inspiration to me as a maker; your blog inhabits a land which can be filled with the things that I might make...

Laurel said...

Rima, I love the green man particularly! Thank you for sharing this work with us.

Also, does Andy sell recordings of his bagpipe music? I LOVED the music you put up here and would certainly be interesting in having more to listen to!

Purpletreebird said...

Before I scrolled down to read the part that says they wanted tyou to changhe it, I was looking at the face of the piper and thinking how much I love your faces!The 'corrected' face makes him look more of a character. (I wonder what's on his mind!) Andy's music on the pipes is so haunting. The title really does it justice doesn't it? :)
Jess xx

Purpletreebird said...

Oops, Sorry for my typos! I'm working in a toyshop today and keep getting distracted by customers!
Jess x

kerttu said...

oh my!
those are wonderful.

Trish said...

Wow, the video! The wedding dancers came alive as I listened to this wonderful piece of music.
Rima, your drawings are wonderful.
Shine on.

Rima said...

Thank you all so much :))
Cor - you do say nice things!
Trish - that was exactly the plan - to make Brueghel's dancers come to life ;) Glad you spotted it!
Laurel - probably best to ask Andy himself about pipe recordings... I'm sure there'll be delights in the pipeline.
Happy autumn-folding-in days to all!
Rima x

Velma said...

well, i think the hint of a smile makes this piper look a wee bit impish, which i love. i like your green man, too. these drawings are wonderful stories.

Lrc said...

Its wonderful to be able to see your blog again...some cluelessness on my part! I find the piece for the 'logo' ,which I agree is a masterpiece, very lovely and seems to suggest motion as well. Thanks for sharing them with us!

Nanita said...

Dear Rima, your logo is an amazing piece of work and Green Man Bagpiper with his compelling gaze is stunning, like his music will hipnotize anyone who's listening! I've noticed your love for Pieter Brueghel the Elder, I'm living in Brussels next to the church where he lies burried. I was thinking about you when I heard about an amazing exhibition called "Vorstelijk Verzameld" ("Imperial Treasures") with paintings of Brueghel, Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, Jheronimus Bosch and others. It is being held in the small medieval town of Bruges until the 15th of January, so if you ever planned to visit Belgium, this would be a great time! ;-) Thank you for sharing your art, wishing you beautiful autumnal days x

A mermaid in the attic said...

Beautiful, and (as an ex graphic designer) I agree with anonymous: that is not a logo, it is a work of art.

I love the bagpipes, any and all types. They make me weep, they make my heart ache (in a good way), and whenever I hear them off in the distance I'm gripped by an urge to find and follow them. All this probably because my mum played (and still plays today) the highland pipes from the time before I was born. So I was dancing to them in the womb!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Such an amazing dedicated artist! I love to draw myself but this is crazy awesome!!

Tammie said...

the bagpipe society logo is awesome! I loved seeing where you found some inspiration. and green man musician is mighty fine too.

Thank you for the music, it filled my wee cabin in a wonderful way.

Heidianne said...

Thank you for inspiring me, that greenman piper is awesome! My hubby is a piper, Great Highland, and he will be getting that image on a shirt if they sell them, I have to check out the links. Thanks for reminding me(by sharing your creative process) how lucky some of we artists are to be able to create for a living. I think you are more successful financially than I, but that just gives me hope, that one can live a creative, inspired life and be rewarded for it.:)

herhimnbryn said...

Gorgeous work Lady R. The Green Man's gaze will stay with me all day.

Moon and Hare said...

Marvelous designs, Rima! I especially like the green man playing bagpipes.

Andrew Finnie said...

Hey words almsot fail me. But if they did I wouldn't be writing this :) My father was a piper. The pipes bring a tear to my eye. Your illustrations are wonderous. thank you for sharing your skill and method

cheers from oz :)

Lavina said...

Hello, Miss Staines! My friend found you for me; she sees me in you because of my fascination with all things faerie, but I have to say, just glimpsing at your online home is enough to blow me away. Not only is your art style superb and wonderfully fantastical, your writing is exquisite as well, very fairytale-esque! I love the atmosphere you create; it's all so amazing. I can't wait to give your blog a thorough read, and to see more of your works :D Do take care!

Midori said...

I like the small request, and I like your response! But I disagree with the quote saying bagpipe sings like a bird! LOL The ones I heard didn't.

I like your works. I can feel stories behind each of your illustration.

thefrabjousversipel said...

Your bagpiper is so charming. Wonderful illustrations!