Imagine a world where mermaidens sink ships, scarecrows compete to see who is scariest, and the clouds dance in the red glow of October’s Blood Moon. Just such a world exists. Last weekend at the Dickens Christmas Festival in Franklin, Tennessee I was bored by the usual jewelry and pottery vendors and tempted by the fried pie booth (which, oddly enough, was right next door to a booth extolling the benefits of cosmetic surgery) when I was captured by an odd creature about two feet tall offering me a maggot on a serving tray. The creature–a candy troll – was warty and wrinkly and strangely endearing.
I had stumbled into the world of The Filigree.
The Filigree is actually a newspaper, brilliantly edited by Celena Cavala, that is published four times a year. Articles like Summer solstice in Sangamon Forest – Butterfield Sisters Host Fancy Dress Ball, and State of the Art Haunting – Old School Style at Vic’s Meatatorium, cover the exploits and tragedies of the imaginary population of the Filigree world. Cleverly illustrated advertisements tout the benefit of fantasy products like Never Die Life Elixir and Ligeria Formula stain remover. There are even classifieds, like this one from the Autumn 09 Issue:
“Gorgeous assorted colored glass bottles Empty but very large capacity. Maybe even bottomless as my sister fit a very small storm in one of the blue ones.”
This is no flimsy, gimmacky tabloid. The newspaper is substantial and well done. The writing is engagingly whimsical and original and the artwork (drawings and photos) is excellent. But the best thing about this newspaper is that it “covers” the exploits and tragedies of the imaginary population of the filigree world.
This is where Martin Obakke, Artistic Director of the Filigree, struts his stuff. Obakke brings to life these fascinating creatures, dubbed Filigreetures, with a variety of mediums including resin and polymer clay. Filagreetures are lifelike and etherial at the same time. I would not have been surprised if one of the Filigreetures at the festival drifted up with a gentle breeze and landed on my shoulder. The latent movement contained in these creatures is so powerful, you can’t help suspected they change position in the blink of an eye. Even the clothes in which they are dressed – whispy clouds of thin cotton – take on life, draping the creatures like a gown on a Greek statue.
The marriage of the art and the word enhances the power of each form. It creates a launch pad for the imagination. Subscriptions to the newspaper are only six dollars for one year. The Filigreetures aren’t cheap, but it would be worth it to have one of Obakke’s creations join your household. A selection of black and white photographic prints – filigraphy -are also available. Be sure to look through the Gallery on the Filigry website. ( http://www.thefiligree.com/?content=gallery) The mermaidens escaping from underwater after causing a shipwreck in The Sinking of the Concordia is heart-wrenchingly elegant. But, be warned! A tour through the Filigree’s gallery and newspaper will make you want to lay aside your grown-up things and BELIEVE.
- Cromora Nicholson once again claims Crown by the Filigree