Threshold by Casey Gardner

Threshold is a book about approaching and moving through transformation. The piece explores several aspects of change and revolves around a story inspired by Ovid’s tale of Daphne and Apollo in The Metamorphosis. Daphne is a nymph with a passion for hunting; she is pursued by Apollo, the god of sunlight, music, poetry, and healing. His Delphic edict is gnothi seautón, know yourself. Despite all his interesting traits, Daphne prefers her freedom. He chases her through the forest and rather than be caught, she pleas for a transformation and is turned into a laurel tree. (Apollo then, makes the laurel his sacred symbol.) Whenever I read Ovid’s tale or see Bernini’s Baroque sculpture of Daphne’s transformation, I wonder, why a tree. It’s tragic to see the wild huntress rooted to the earth, yet I find her grace and strength inspiring as she reaches and grows into the sky. I wrote this story, from Daphne’s point of view, to explore magic of transformation and the question of why a tree? I admire her determination to remain free, yet her call for change had an unexpected outcome, as do many thresholds we cross. The book also features four Mythological Meta-Muses of Flux. These are muses who embody a threshold between states of being; they are muses of the imagination who assist in creative journeys of transformation. I’ve given them names based on greek roots: Euthalia, Eupraxia, Eutropia & Euphemia. The book is made to be turned and read. The border reads a continual refrain of There is no Fixed Self. The alcoves beneath the map move from day to night, expressing our constant state of change through time.

Artist Bio

Casey Gardner began her career in the ski racing world of the Colorado Rockies. After graduating from CU Boulder with a degree in journalism, she worked in newspaper and magazine publishing before enrolling in art school. She has a BFA in printmaking and graphic design from California College of the Arts. At CCA, she studied book art with Betsy Davids. She lives in Berkeley, CA, making books and working as a graphic designer with Oona Kumataka at C+O Design.