MYTH & MAGIC
The Dallas-based artist opening a world of natural curiosities
Touting “magic for a modern age,” Spirit of Salt celebrates storytelling, ancient symbols, nature’s most delicate patterns… It’s symbolic, personal, and a little metaphysical, too.
Dallas-based artist and founder Heather Clark Lynn’s work is informed by what she calls “personal mythologies”: the symbols and objects we collect over a lifetime that shape our unique identities. The symbols can act as visual reminders for the people and moments that are dear to us. Lynn’s hand-painted, personal mythologies manifest themselves in many forms on tapestries, clutches, journals, and painted jackets.
Central themes move between natural and supernatural realms, half-remembered dreams, tricks of light, and faces in the trees. Her small online shop is often sold out, but fear not; Lynn takes orders for custom work. (We think that’s even better. Make those mythologies your own!) To learn a little more, we asked Lynn about the books, artists, and scents that bring her (and her work) to life.
Having the right environment is crucial. How do you design the ideal space to encourage free flowing creativity?
Music! Tempers, Ritual Howls, Chelsea Wolfe, and King Dude are current favorites. Fancy candles are my guilty pleasure. Burning some sage always helps set the mood. I have pretty minimal needs. I started painting on my living room floor because we didn’t have a table in our apartment at the time. My dream space would probably be a glass treehouse with an awesome sound system and (somehow, inexplicably) a huge wine cellar.
You’ve previously shared your fascination with Cabinet of Natural Curiosities, an 18th-century natural history catalog illustrated with detailed drawings of flora and fauna. How has it inspired your work?
I’ve been obsessing over this book since high school. The way author Albertus Seba arranges grotesque animal forms into beautiful compositions… I love it. I painted a big tapestry inspired by one of his compositions. It was the first piece that made me think I had something worth pursuing.
You’re also inspired by Leonora Carrington’s surrealist paintings. What do you connect with in her work?
Her paintings are so narrative, but [tell stories] in the language of dreams—bizarre and unknowable, yet strangely familiar. She lived through unimaginable horrors, historical and cultural shifts…you can feel the complexity of her experience in her work.
Tell us a little more about personal mythologies and the incorporation of symbols in Spirit of Salt pieces.
Looking at a symbol, in a way, is a creative act on its own. As we go through life we collect symbols, consciously or not, that come to define our identity. Painting these symbols on possessions is like creating personal talismans; it’s kind of the same principle with tattoos.
Where do you go to feel most inspired?
I love hotels. Getting out of your environment makes everything feel new and exciting. I also love ruins and very old places. I think they’re haunted with the sense of so many other lives you’ll never know. My favorite day trips from Dallas are to the Webb Gallery in Waxahachie, Scarborough Faire (when it’s in season), and hiking in Glen Rose. —Ashley Jones