I have been working on a series of 22 sculptural rings entitled “Fairy-tales, Folklore and Mythcommunications…” since 1998. Each sculpture depicts a fairytale from western culture that has a relationship with archetypes found in the Higher Arcana of the Tarot. I find the Tarot to be significant for how it reveals insights into the classic journey of the human psyche rather than as a fortune telling device.
My lifelong fascination and study of fairy-tales, folklore, religion, myth and Jungian philosophy is the major influence in my artwork. I believe that in our urge to tell stories we seek to give order and meaning to our lives, explain natural phenomena, the complexities of life or to understand the human condition.
When choosing a fairy-tale for this series the first step is to note the cast of characters, the symbols and the meaning of the story. I then check these for parallels with the tarot card to match the similarities. I compose the ring sculpture keeping in mind the criteria I set for this series at the very beginning, which was; I must include a figure and it must tell a tale from Western culture that relates to the Tarot.
The ring is the object or pedestal because rings have historically been a symbol of power, ownership and authority. Most fairytales were written for women and poor young men who were not in this situation. Therefore, stories encouraged, motivated and inspired them to navigate their daily lives.
The negative space that is reserved for the finger is part of the composition and concept of this series. In the “Handless Maiden” the ring is extremely tiny, only large enough for a child. Once the Maiden is sexually abused her hands, or feelings, are severed from her. She is not able to wear a functional ring until she is healed.
By using traditional goldsmithing techniques to make sculptures I am consciously asking the viewer to re-interpret the use of materials and the value of conventional sculpture. Jewellery objects are often intimate objects that touch the wearer personally, either literally or figuratively. “Fairy-tales, Folklore and Mythcommunications…” are a series of miniature, precious metal sculptures that reference rings as a way of drawing the viewer into the story on a conceptual and intimate level.
The materials are carefully chosen to relate to the notion of each story. For example, “Bluebeard’s Wedding Rings” are made from a bone that I stole from a mean dog in the alley behind my studio. “Like Salt Loves Fresh Meat” uses raw, uncut diamonds to represent salt and was constructed as a box/ring/sculpture to reinforce the preciousness of salt in past cultures.