Working on Ancient Runes and the Rilke Verse

November 21, 2015

I have now  returned from spending October at the Mendocino Art Center.  While there,  I further explored stamping porcelain letters and hieroglyphic-like marks onto “ancient” clay runes.  This is a work in progress, as I am trying to find a satisfying method for making these artifacts.

Rune 2 original-optimized

This pit-fired example is one of my first attempts. It is 6 inches long and about 3/4″ thick with a small, hollow space within.  It feels rather heavy when held in the hand.

My attempt at carving  words (taken from Rilke’s epitaph)  is pictured below but these words are not reversed and thus cannot be used for stamping.

Rilke verse_up_resolution

My next effort will be to translate the Rilke words into cuneiform markings and then cut them onto a clay, rune-like object.  Below is the code I will use. I downloaded this code  from the web (sorry but I did not record the link) and then reconstructed the code  in vector graphics.   Letters  within brackets are invented symbols since the ancient cuneiform language evidently did not depict a few letters from our alphabet. The translation of the Rilke verse that I intend to place on the runes is shown below the codes.

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