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OLIVIA'S GREEN MEN CUBE

Summer 2005

My friend Pat's wonderful Green Woman collage is discussed in another page. Another item on this table deserves particular comment.

This marvelous Green Man cube came from my internet miniaturist friend, Olivia Randell in England. After we had corresponded about my Green Men, she had said she was going to send me "a little something." But I had no idea it would be anything like this, so lovely and fascinating to manipulate. Tears came to my eyes when I watched all those Green Men faces unfold.

This one, ornately carved with grapes and vines, appears in Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucestershire.

My family also love this cube. It is so mesmerizing that they want to manipulate it over and over, but they are careful because they know how important it is to me and that I want it to last.

My grandson Joseph discovered its wonders when he came for a visit in the summer 2005. I showed him the Anderson book and explained how I became enamored of the Green Man. He was interested to see the faces on the cube also appearing in the book. Here he demonstrates for me and the camera the process of opening the cube. One flips and flips and one face appears, flips again, and there's another, etc., etc..

These multiple Green Man faces form one side. They appear in Chichester Cathedral in West Sussex. Notice the gilded leaves appear to be growing from the mouth? This form of Green Man is referred to as foliate. The brilliant colors of nature, which medieval people loved, are not easy to duplicate in stone.

This Green Man is from the parish church of Sutton Benger in Wiltshire. His foliage is the hawthorn, or may tree, the second most common form after the oak. This is more of an example of the disgorging Green Man, where the foliage is erupting from his mouth, as opposed to growing from it, as above.

"The hedges of quick are thick with may blossom
As the dancers advance on the leaf-covered King:
'It's off with my head,' says the Green Man,
'It's off with my head, says he.
... From William Anderson's poem

This Green Man with the incredible eyes and gilded leaves may demonstrate the process of aging, with veins of the leaves suggesting the lines and wrinkles that appear around and under our eyes and down our cheeks with the passage of time.Here the head blends seamlessly into the leaves.

This Green Man with the prominent teeth looks as if he's trying to eat through the foliage. He reminds me of some of the fierce Aztec gods. On the other hand, those teeth may reflect the results of the poor dental care at the time of its carving.He was carved very high up in the Lady Chapel of Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire.

It is believed that this Green Man, a mask form, which is the only face among an abundance of greenery and leaves in Lichfield Cathedral, Staffordshire, may represent the master mason, Walter de Ramesey.

"Green Man becomes grown man in flames of the oak
As its crown forms his mask and its leafage his feature;
'I speak through the oak,' says the Green Man,
'I speak through the oak,' says he.
... From William Anderson's poem

There are many Green Men in Beverly Minster in East Yorkshire, appearing throughout a structure that is considered a masterpiece of architecture. This particular disgorging Green Man appears on what is called the Percy Screen, named for a prominent family of aristocrats in the 14th and 15th centuries.

This double headed Green Man (actually it forms a circle; the sides are cut off on the cube) is outside the entrance to the Lady Chapel at Exeter Cathedral in Devon. There are many Green Men there, dating from 1265 - 1350.

These Green Men are sprouting artemesia or wormwood leaves, perhaps, some say, symbolizing the Passion of Christ.

He's working his way to the last face. Wonder what it will be?

Here is an example of many of the Green Men who are not often visible unless people know where to look for them. He appears among pop-up seats that allowed ministers to take the weight off their feet after standing for long periods of time.Since I became so intrigued by the Green Man after reading William Anderson's book, I have been gratified both by the reception of those who attended my presentations and who have seen my two sculptures and who have given me beautiful things as a result.One of the best gifts I have ever received is this marvelous cube. I shall treasure it always. Thank you again, Olivia.

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NOTE 2012: Unfortunately, I lost contact with Olivia, and my emails and the mailing address for her did not work. I was so saddened when I heard from another miniaturist in the UK that she thought Olivia had passed away and I hadn't know about it. I don't know what I could have done, but I wish I had been able to tell her once again what her beautiful gift has meant to me and all in my family who love my Green Men - especially Joseph, who is now in his second year at Texas A&M University.

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