Ripples of a Blue Girl's Tears

"Ripples of a Blue Girls Tears"
It's Big! The final version will probably be done as a tryptych so I can get the 2m width I am looking for.

This is my first foray into interpreting great pieces of music, music which stirs my deepest emotions, then turning them into a woven piece. This is the main direction for my work and what a journey this piece is taking me on!

Music is, for me, the highest art form - the ultimate emotional journey. Listen to this; if you are over 45 and it doesn't stir you, check your're probably already dead!

That is one of my favourite songs, and certainly my favourite lyric; "Ripples", written by Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford. I know the lyrics inside out and it doesn't require a literature degree to work out their meaning; it's about youth, it's optimism, it's beauty, the inevitability of ageing and the futility of chasing what has passed us by. However, it was only when I stumbled on the link between this and the poem "Blue Girls", written 50 years before "Ripples" by John Crowe Ransom, that the image for my weaving really materialised. To my knowledge, Banks & Rutherford have never acknowledged that "Blue Girls" inspired their lyrics; though if you read both (they are printed at the end), it's inconcievable that this is not the case.

My piece, "Ripples of a Blue Girl's Tears" represents the Blue Girls through colour and shape, and I have chosen to reflect the melencholy mood of the song and poem also through the colour. The image itself represent the ripples and interference patterns created from tears falling onto a pool of water; tears of the Blue Girls looking upon their reflection in the pool "Seems not very long ago, Lovelier she was than any that I know" then seeing the distorted face reflected back at them "The face in the water looks up, And she shakes her head as if to say, That it's the last time you'll look like today." Dozens of hours have been spent taking the basic overshot pattern for the concentric waves step-wise to the final draft, manipulating the patterns to destroy the symmetry, yet replicate the interference patterns when ripples collide, then arranging these to give the semblence of a facial image in the distorted surface - just hope others can see it too LOL :-)The final stage was to create the distorted body images of the blue girls - something that I had to do with the liftplan-only, as to change the threading would have undone the main ripples image.

"Blue Girls" is considered to be the pinacle of his work, from an American poet who is considered to be one of the most influential of his time. The lyrics of Ripples are beautiful; the whole is sublime; read and listen and hopefully the two will come together for you in my design.

Ripples by Banks & Rutherford 1976

Bluegirls come in every size
Some are wise and some otherwise,
They got pretty blue eyes.
For an hour a man may change
For an hour her face looks strange -
Looks strange, looks strange.

Marching to the promised land
Where the honey flows and takes you by the hand,
Pulls you down on your knees,
While you're down a pool appears.
The face in the water looks up,
And she shakes her head as if to say
That it's the last time you'll look like today.

Sail away, away
Ripples never come back.
Gone to the other side.
Sail away, away.

The face that launched a thousand ships
Is sinking fast, that happens you know,
The water gets below.
Seems not very long ago
Lovelier she was than any that I know.

Angels never know it's time
To close the book and gracefully decline,
The song has found a tale.
My, what a jealous pool is she.
The face in the water looks up
She shakes her head as if to say
That the bluegirls have all gone away.

Sail away, away
Ripples never come back.
Gone to the other side.
Look into the pool,
The ripples never come back, come back,
Dive to the bottom and go to the top
To see where they have gone
They've gone to the other side
Ripples never come back
Sail away, away..

Blue Girls by John Crowe Ransom 1924

Twirling your blue skirts, travelling the sward
Under the towers of your seminary,
Go listen to your teachers old and contrary
Without believing a word.
Tie the white fillets then about your hair
And think no more of what will come to pass
Than bluebirds that go walking on the grass
And chattering on the air.
Practise your beauty, blue girls, before it fail;
And I will cry with my loud lips and publish
Beauty which all our powers shall never establish,
It is so frail.
For I could tell you a story which is true;
I know a lady with a terrible tongue,
Blear eyes fallen from blue,
All her perfections tarnished—yet it is not long
Since she was lovlier than any of you.