The ancients found many ways of expressing Planet-metal associations, especially in sacred art.
The alchemical chart shows the seven planets and their celestial forms from darkness to light. Alchemists would discover the planets from base (saturn/lead) to saintly (sun/gold) seeking to purify their own souls.
This knowledge was passed down to her by one of her Master Tutors, David Cranswick and she uses this chart to correspond to her minerals and pigments which she uses within her own work.
Malachite is a mineral that forms at shallow depths within the earth, in the oxidizing zone above copper deposits. It often forms within limestone. Some of the first malachite deposits to be exploited were located in Egypt and Israel over 4000 years ago, they were mined and used to produce copper.
It has been used in many ancient manuscripts and the jewel-like quality it emmits can still be seen to this day.
The name was first used by Theophrastus in 323 b.c. and comes from the Greek Chrysos, meaning “gold”, and Kona, meaning “glue”, in illusion to the name of the material used to solder gold.
Azurite is composed of mineral basic carbonate of copper, found in many parts of the world in the upper oxidised portions of copper ore deposits. Azurite mineral is usually associated in nature with malachite, the green basic carbonate of copper that is far more abundant. occasional use began with Egyptians, but it was uncommon until the Middle Ages when the manufacture of the ancient synthetic pigment “egyptian blue” was forgotten.
Azurite was the most important blue pigment in European painting throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Mercury was a source of the greatest interest to medieval alchemists, and its appearance and chemical behaviour were the basis of a very large part of alchemical theory and practice.
According to one influential system of alchemical thought, mercury and sulphur were regarded as the parents of all metals, and the marrying of mercury and sulphur lead to the birth of vermilion.
The pairing of sulphur and mercury strongly corresponds to the male-female dichotomy already present in western thought. Sulphur is the active male principle, possessing the ability to create change. it bears the qualities of hot and dry, the same as the element of fire; it's associated with the sun (sol), as the male principle always is in traditional western thought.
An orange lead pigment used in the medieval times and was made in a different way from our red lead, and was paler and more orange.
The pigment was very common all through the Middle Ages in manuscript embellishments and paintings.
Orpiment also known as Arsenikon to the Greeks and Kings Yellow because it shines like gold, is an arsenic sulphide, so much care has to be taken when making and painting with this dangerous pigment.
Cornelius Jansen, in the Seventeenth Century, summed up the character of orpiment bluntly: “Orpiment will ly faire on any culler, except Verdigres, but no culler can ly faire on him, he kills them all”.
Hematite is an iron oxide compound widely found in rocks and soil. During the Renaissance, hematite was one of the most popular pigments. It could be mixed with white pigment to create a variety of pink colors, ideal for painting skin tones.
Nasa has discovered grey hematite in abundance on Mars, which gives the surface a reddish brown color. on a moonlit night, Mars will appear red. The common nickname for Mars is the “Red Planet”, hence why iron oxides are associated with Mars.
The only source of blue colouring throughout history has been indigo and woad (isatis tinctoria). Woad was the Europeans indigo.
Grown in Europe since the Stone Age it has long association with East Anglia, notably with Boudicca and the Iceni Tribe, who used woad to colour their faces before going to battle.