Last week, in the run up to the Worthington Craft Guild’s fair, I worked to design 4 new wall plaques, adding a bit more variety to my selection of wares for the fair. One of the new plaque designs, Love is the Only Gold, was my “Project of the Week” last Friday. I actually designed the Gladdest Thing Wall Plaque last week, shortly after completing the Love is the Only Gold design. However, I’ve been enjoying it this week as well, as I took photos for the online listing, so I thought it would be appropriate for this week’s project.
I have always loved Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poetry. Ever since I happened across her “On Hearing a Symphony of Beethoven” as a junior in high school, I’ve been particularly fond of her work. She has a way of employing words that is both understated and expansive at the same time.
When looking for nature-related quotes for my wall plaques, I found her poem “Afternoon on a Hill.” I thought the first stanza would be perfect for an illustration in clay. As I do with many of my wall plaques, I ran through no less than 50 various design options before settling on the simple: a single large flower, surrounded by a scattering of leaves. I chose a rich purple background not only to contrast with the green of the leaves and the red veins in the flower petals, but also because I felt the purple added an air of excess that married nicely with the almost overwhelming joy expressed by the first stanza.
The Gladdest Thing Wall Plaque is one of my favorite plaque designs so far, and I have a feeling I’ll be making one for myself. I will hang in my studio and remind me that life isn’t all work and focus. It’s good to dance in the sun and revel in flowers every once in a while.
Afternoon on a Hill
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.
I will look at cliffs and clouds
With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
And the grass rise.
And when lights begin to show
Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
And then start down!