Songs from the Celestial Navigators by Mari Eckstein Gower


I’ve always been fascinated by how the image of the world tree repeats in so many cultures. But my absolute favorite is the Hindu concept of the world elephants that support the earth as they ride through the universe on the back of a giant turtle.

I covered each elephant in motifs from china patterns, partly because the designs are beautiful and trace back to a time when the past was idealized. But mostly, I chose this motif because the Blue Willow pattern reminds me of the basic comfort of sitting at my grandmother’s table on winter days eating toast with lots of butter and marmalade (always served on one of those plates.)

As I continued working on this book, I realized that it had become something like a little altarpiece to the Hindu deity Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. I included two Sanskrit invocations in the artwork. On the left side is the Vakratunda Ganesha mantra for the removal of all obstacles. To the right is a prayer for prosperity.

Artist Bio

Mari Eckstein Gower lives and works on her artist books in Redmond, WA. She incorporates her love of images and words in her artwork, experimenting with new forms for combining the two. She studied painting and humanities at Scripps College and Claremont Graduate University.