Featured Artist: Grace Pyles, Mistress of Dragons

I’m going to do something new this week: hand the blog space over to another artist who’s on a similar point of their career path to me. In addition to being my longsword sparring partner, Grace Pyles is a Whitman sophomore with a burgeoning business selling clay dragons for use as companions, familiar spirits, or, in her own words, “backup lighters.” I have one myself, a bearded green serpent named Sam Jr., who is guarding my July paycheck at the moment. Here’s the link to her Etsy business, PicoDragons.

Her passion is truly inspiring, to the point where I can’t believe I’ve only known her for a year. But she’s mostly on here today so I can a) advertise the dragons (they’re spectacularly detailed and rendered, so click on that link) and b) share her poetry, to give you an idea of the kind of creativity that informs it and her art both. Check it out:

Riding Hood (inspired by the prompt “Red”)

See! It’s the color of


Or warning

Of the perfect strawberry between lips.

The perfect roses in the garden next door.

One cape makes two wings

And I’ll soar.

It’s the smell of cinnamon in the cold,

A barrelful of apples,

The coldest ember – the color of


Of don’t touch me or I’ll knock you out of this rainbow world so fast

Your grandchildren won’t see anything but grey.


The color of running.

Father’s bright shirts.

Jam on biscuits.

Of half the squares on a checkered blanket, the color of


And darkened,

It becomes the softest growl.

The tongue behind teeth.

Madness behind eyes.                                                                                                    

I remember

The howling

Of my smallest brother, the pine needles


Through my father’s clothes,

The warnings-

The tangle of wood and metal leaping from basket to hand.

Later, it is the color of Grandmother’s laughter,

Cardinals in the cherry trees,

Rectangles on the biggest quilt,

And the languid grass

That wiped my hatchet clean.

It will never be the color

Of the dust


Settling into fur on the path behind me.

And another:

Repairs Needed

“Aristotle talks about probability and necessity, but what good is a marvel, what good is a story that does not contain poison dragons.”

-Anne Carson


People didn’t come to see tragedy, the Playwright whispered, and tore a page from Macbeth as if

One leaf out of place could topple the entire stack of sadness.

If that were true, they wouldn’t have us read

Snippets of the classics in school, punching pinholes in the wall between us and a greater

Opus. Skimming SparkNotes doesn’t pack as much punch as actually reading Oedipus the King, but the ideas will still shudder you in the

Night years later, imagining pins instead of eyes.

Damn straight we didn’t. Tragedy is for people who haven’t spent their tears on something worthwhile

(Regret, loss, love) and need to fritter them away. The Playwright scribbles smiley faces into the margins of The Iceman Cometh

And folds a paper airplane from that other tattered piece of play. It loops once and is

Gone. Someday someone will find it and swallow salt as Banquo screams, “Fly, fly, fly!” – a fractal fragment

Of a masterpiece, a chip of a cathedral. Broken things

Never replace but can hint at a whole. The Playwright presses a feather quill to dry lips and

Sighs, imagining a story in which sorrow is the broken, not the breaker.

That link one more time. Seriously, buy a PicoDragon. Grace is currently selling at the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire, so if you happen to be there, find her booth and check out the wares. You’ll find a lighter to your liking.

I know quite a few artists my age who inspire me like this, and I’m hoping to feature more of them, should they give me permission to drag their names through the mud. Next week I’m heading to the Gentlemen of the Road stopover in Walla Walla to get down to some sick Mumford & Sons banjo action. I’m also getting steadily more enraged at Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things, and I’m told the ending is only going to make it worse, so prepare for that at some point. Stay tuned!