begun in south korea in 2007. finished as tapastries in 2010 with the assistance of Amanda Salazar. oil, acrylic, iridescent gold ink and sumi ink on paper, mounted to canvas. an illustrative approach to The Mental Traveller by William Blake, a component of the Pickering Collection, possilbly written in 1803. 

"I travelled through a land of men, 
A land of men and women too, 
And heard and saw such dreadful things 
As cold earth wanderers never knew. 

For there the babe is born in joy 
That was begotten in dire woe, 
Just as we reap in joy the fruit 
Which we in bitter tears did sow; 

And if the babe is born a boy 
He’s given to a woman old, 
Who nails him down upon a rock, 
Catches his shrieks in cups of gold. 

She binds iron thorns around his head, 
And pierces both his hands and feet, 
And cuts his heart out of his side 
To make it feel both cold & heat. 

Her fingers number every nerve 
Just as a miser counts his gold; 
She lives upon his shrieks and cries— 
And she grows young as he grows old, 

Till he becomes a bleeding youth 
And she becomes a virgin bright; 
Then he rends up his manacles 
And pins her down for his delight. 

He plants himself in all her nerves 
Just as a husbandman his mould, 
And she bcomes his dwelling-place 
And garden, frutiful seventyfold. 

An aged shadow soon he fades, 
Wandering round and earthly cot, 
Full filled all with gems and gold 
Which he by industry had got. 

And these are the gems of the human soul: 
The rubies and pearls of a lovesick eye, 
The countless gold of an aching heart, 
The martyr’s groan, and the lover’s sigh. 

They are his meat, they are his drink: 
He feeds the beggar and the poor 
And the wayfaring traveller; 
For ever open is his door. 

His grief is their eternal joy, 
They make the roofs and walls to ring— 
Till from the fire on the hearth 
Alittle female babe does spring! 

And she is all of solid fire 
And gems and gold, that none his hand 
Dares stretch to touch her baby form, 
Or wrap her in his swaddling-band. 

But she comes to the man she loves, 
If young or old, or rich or poor; 
They soon drive out the aged host, 
A beggar at another’s door. 

He wanders weeping far away 
Until some other take him in; 
Oft blind and age-bent, sore distressed, 
Until he can a maiden win. 

And to allay his freezing age 
The poor man takes her in his arms: 
The cottage fades before his sight, 
The garden and its lovely charms; 

The guests are scattered through the land 
(For the eye altering, alters all); 
The senses roll themselves in fear, 
And the flat earth becomes a ball, 

The stars, sun, moon, all shrink away— 
A desert vast without a bound, 
And nothing left to eat or drink 
And a dark desert all around. 

The honey of her infant lips, 
The bread and wine of her sweet smile, 
The wild game of her roving eye 
Does him to infancy beguile. 

For as he eats and drinks he grows 
Younger and younger every day; 
And on the desert wild they both 
Wander in terror and dismay. 

Like the wild stag she flees away; 
Her fear plants many a thicket wild, 
While he pursues her night and day, 
By various arts of love beguiled. 

By various arts of love and hate, 
Till the wide desert planted o’er 
With labyrinths of wayward love, 
Where roams the lion, wolf and boar, 

Till he becomes a wayward babe 
And she a weeping woman old. 
Then many a lover wanders here, 
The sun and stars are nearer rolled, 

The trees bring forth sweet ecstasy 
To all who in the desert roam, 
Till many a city there is built, 
And many a pleasant shepherd’s home. 

But when they find the frowning babe 
Terror strikes through the region wide; 
They cry, ‘The Babe! the Babe is born!’ 
And flee away on every side. 

For who dare touch the frowning form 
His arm is withered to its root, 
Lions, boars, wolves, all howling flee 
And every tree does shed its fruit; 

And none can touch that frowning form, 
Except it be a woman old; 
She nails him down upon the rock, 
And all is done as I have told." 

 

-WB