Midsummer Mitten

Midsummer Mitten

The form is a mitten adorned with symbolism associated with both Latvia and iron. I became interested in this form after researching Latvian folk stories and stumbling along the symbolism, history, and importance of the mitten in Latvian society. I feel this is an appropriate casting not only to celebrate the rich culture of Latvia, but also to celebrate the convergence of Midsummer’s and the fifteenth year of iron casting at the Open-Air Art Museum in Pedvale, Latvia.

I have chosen a variety of symbols to decorate the surface of the iron casting. Janis, as it is associated with Jani, the Midsummer’s Night festival which we will all be present for during the Conference. Auseklis, the symbol of the morning star, the usher of a new day; the summer solstice is the longest day of the year. Laima, the good and the bad, fate and luck; and Krusts (the Cross), the oldest symbol of ornamentation, and it guards, blesses, and brings happiness. Symbols for iron of various cultures will be present to represent the scope of international iron casting which is the reason all of us will be gathered at the Open-Air Art Museum during the summer of 2014 at Midsummer’s.

The casting in essence will be a mitten of a monumental scale that appears to have been dropped by someone and left behind; much like my imaginings of the mitten left behind in the story of ‘The Old Man and the Mitten.’ I will have the casting rest on and form around a boulder to engage the landscape and enliven the static casting. I have worked with a process involving stones and castings that, when completed, complement each other and support each other.

Paige Henry

Me and my pattern-mold for my residency at FSP in Minnesota 2013