|Source: Gilcrease Museum|
© Public Domain. Courtesy of the Gilcrease Museum of Tulsa, OK.
Which left me with a big open centre. I thought of various things, a plant perhaps, but soon came to the coiled snake, from another of Nicolas's drawings, which I also had in the pile of images I wanted to work with. I think the snake works perfectly, on many levels. The spiral shape is elemental and dynamic. Both the snake and the rodents are sometimes considered base creatures, of the lower realms, and they have a bit of an "ick" factor. The snake is important symbolically in many cultures, and of course has huge theological baggage in the Christian tradition. But both the rodents and the snake are part of God's creation, and contain sparks, as we all do, of the emanation of the divine. And, thinking of what is edible, as Nicolas was always commenting about, the rodents would be the prey of the snake, so it puts the frenzied expressions of the little critters into a different context, that of hunter and hunted.
I'm not sure yet if I will add another ring of creatures - probably not, as there is plenty going on. I may add some text, or a border of some sort. First I am going to enlarge the layout 200% on the photocopier, which will make the embroidery more feasible, and produce a good size - about three feet square.
P.S. I just realized that in Louis Nicolas's original, he put a bit of red on the critters's eyes and tongues. Whoo hoo! Colour!