You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘fairy tales’ tag.
Enter the Forest of Dreams is the bed I made over a 13 year period. More than a practical piece of furniture, it is a multi-dimensional creation containing a fairy tale and a story of the imagination, fruition and eternity of love. The bed frame is crafted by my hands and the quilts and bedding are stitched together with the story of my life. My husband Steve and I each wrote a poem which is incorporated into the fabric of the piece. The hidden part of the bed contains a symbol of eternal love.
A woman enters the forest to sleep and dream of her True Love. The trees gather round to mind her through the night. A new moon, fireflies and the first primrose of springtime light her way. Over the span of many years, her dreams and her desire coalesce in the river of dreams. She and her True Love find one another and together, they discover the secret of Eternal Love deep beneath the forest floor.
Bonnie McCaffery filmed and edited this beautiful video of me telling the story of my bed last summer.
I don’t consider myself a ‘drawer’, ie, I don’t routinely go about with a pen and sketchbook to record what I see. However, I’ve joined in The Big Draw, a month-long festival and celebration of drawing all over the UK. Twice this month, in fact.
The first time, I went down to Greenhill Arts Centre in my town, Moretonhampstead. I wasn’t too daunted by the blank page, because after all, the creation begins within me and manifests when I put ink to page.
There happened to be an article about photographer Lee Miller, who is one of my heroines on the paper covering the floor, which I took as a good sign.
The theme is ‘Sheep’ and there was a big still life assembled with a fabulous ram’s skull at the top. I chose a long flexible willow wand, twirled some sheep fleece around the tip, dipped it in ink and I was off. I stood over my paper, which was on the floor. I homed in on the skull which was very tricky to draw as the willow kept flexing, but I loved it! I think because I couldn’t control precisely where my marks went, it gave me a lot of leeway and freedom.
After my first couple of drawings, I wanted to get closer to the skull and have more control, so I used a piece of charcoal and sat on a chair with a board & paper on my lap. The charcoal was softer on the paper than the twig end and I could smear it around with my fingers. If my line wasn’t in the right place, I simply erased it.
Andrea who facilitated the evening invited me back the following week. She was going to read a fairy tale about wolves and we could draw whatever we see. She read ‘In the Company of Wolves’ by Angela Carter, a re-telling of the Little Red Riding Hood story. My first two drawings were with willow and ink.
Then I made some with charcoal on both sides of the paper.
Drawing has captured my fancy and I am very intrigued with the down to the bone-ness of fairy tales. A new pathway for my creativity has appeared before me, upon which I combine words and images to tell a new story.
When I show my bed ‘Enter the Forest of Dreams’ this August, it will be in the round, meaning that the bed will be viewable from all angles, front and back. When I made the headboard quilt, I backed it with some yellow-green fabric I’d dyed and a very simple label.
I spent Monday laboriously unstitching and removing the label, but keeping the machine quilting intact. I spent the past two days painting the back of the quilt. For some moments I wondered what I was doing. I rarely practice a technique or work a design out on paper. I just know how a thing should be and try to give it the space to emerge.
I’m into woodcuts and really like how the quilted outlines and details didn’t take up my fabric pastels and paints, giving my forest landscape a hand-hewn quality. I sponged most of the paint on.
I did quite a lot of the painting last night and thought of old fairy tales of women venturing into the nighttime forest, either by choice or by banishment. Women who are different, women who are ‘other’. Women whose vision is focussed on farther horizons than those about her can see and who speak answers to questions still half-formed.
It takes an incredible amount of courage to follow one’s Dream. It can feel dangerous or risky to fly in the face of convention, to turn one’s back on what is on offer and to walk towards a life which is yet to be crafted. I’m going to write these words onto the back in antique gold lettering.
As I cross the threshold of the Forest of Dreams,
my deepest longing is rough-hewn in the gloaming.
The trees gather round
to mind me through the night.
As I fall into sleep, does my Desire become a Dream?
And when I wake, will my Dream become Reality?