The Season of Fairy Tales

what you can do with art and fairy tales – this is gorgeous stuff from

follow the brush

If you go deep,
deep into the heart,
the heart of the forest,
you will find her.

I have loved The Season of Fairy Tales at Get Messy so much, I don’t want it to end. It is a subject very close to my heart and I feel that during the last two months I have only just begun exploring the realm of fairy tales in the pages of my art journal.

‘The Heart of the Forest’ – While some of my pages touched upon specific fairy tales, many of them drew upon the images that exist across many tales. I was particularly attracted by the image of the forest. I loved the idea of the heart of the forest as a place where all the juicy stuff happens in a fairy tale. It is an external setting and at the same time it is a place within us, a…

View original post 1,127 more words

…these hands…

these hands have been cut and slashed. have held knives and swords and swung a battle axe. thes ehands have seen bood. these hands have pulled babies’ bodies from women’s cunts, cradling their shell-like heads, bones still vulnerably soft. these hands have kneaded dough, stirred the cauldron, scrubbed the pot – with horsehair, with plastic bristles, with sponges. these hands have rubbed themselves together to keep warm and held them selves over the fire to chase away the chill. these hands have wiped away tears, held small babies to their body, settled and calmed and soothed. these hands have stroked heads and foreheads. these hands have entered the warm, inviting, wet places. have teased the hardened skin. in all kinds of places. these hands have felt skin soft as down, and stoked the fire underneath it. these hands have rolled in the bed, and on the sofa, and brought gass of hard, soaking, riotess pleasure. these hands have felt the bark of many a tree. have pulled aside the plants to snap and break off medicine. these hands have dug deep into the earth, through mud and humus and the bones of old leaves. these hands have closed the eyes of the newly dead. have gently and with honour, washed their bodies and laid them too, to the earth. these hands have twirled and danced to the music. have clapped together to show their approval. these hands are smooth. these hands are rough. these hands are mine, these hands are yours. these hands have pulled and shaped the red clay into figures, into pots. these hands have held paintbrushes, pulled themselves along in the paint itself. these hands channel everything you were and everything i could be. these hands are mine and yet, somehow not… these hands hold the mysteries of all of time. these hands leap up for joy or cover my mouth in censorship, or sadness, or contemplation. these hands, that were yours. these hands…

What Makes a Fairytale “A Fairytale”?

IMG_4224 (2)
“I burned to learn to read novels and I tortured my mother into telling me the meaning of every strange word I saw”… “because it was the gateway to a forbidden and enchanting land”.       Robert Wright

What Makes a Fairytale “A Fairytale”? Get Messy Season of Fairytales prompt 2 from week 3 by EMK.

I was in Lisbon and the fairytales were closing in all around me and opening up like petals in front of me. A woman with a tattoo of a woman’s hand offering an apple on her shoulder stood next to me on the tube, a russian doll on the other arm, the woman who got off 2 stops after her with 3 russian dolls on her purse.

I wandered aroud Sintra’s Quinta da Regaleira… drinking in the crazy millionaire’s scattered visions and experiments in various esoteric traditions. Nods to the mysticism of the Tarot rubbed shoulders with the promenading Greek and Roman Goddesses and Gods, Initiation Wells or upside down towers replete with masonic and alchemic references, grottoes, watery and dry caves, dark underground passageways, Knights Templar symbols jostled churches depicting Jesus Christ, and, most surreally, dragons suggestively hanging onto a conch shell…

and then… the fairytale tower – THE tower – where, as a girl of 8, I would have seen myself lifting my skirts to show my ankles… to skip (princesses always skip, never run) the circular staircase wound around the tower. I would have been a particular style of princess, dressed in the long, crinkling dress… with a pointy hat with veil flowing from its tip.


I was trying to draw the fairytale tower… it failed… or rather, I didn’t like what I drew… The shape of a fairytale is always winding, there are towers, or steps, or a path through a forest. You always find the path, even if you lose your way. The path is always there and it always winds. It is really a circular path that spirals in. I saw my perspective shift, and I drew the spiralling path, the tower and its stairs winding around it, from above. The well from the bottom. You always find yourself journeying to the centre. You end at the centre, you are alive and whole. You have escaped death, sometimes by acheiving impossible tasks, sometimes by your wits and sometimes with the help of other beings. You grow a little more – you start outward, go inward, and mature that little bit more. You move towards your centre. Maybe you move toward the moon…

You can set a trail, but it won’t help you, you have to have the adventure first, and, even though you may think yourself lost, the lesson is always just around the corner, and it will not lose you. I think it strange and beautifully ephemeral that people so often talk about Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs and not the white stones, when they recall the tale. Even though the successful trail was the white stones, their home was no longer theirs and they had to leave. The breadcrumbs had to be eaten by the birds (probably crows) so that they could get lost in the forest and find the next stage of ther lives, however dangerous it was.

Fairytales are full of extreme colours. Metallics – gold, silver, bronze – or the severe contrasts of whites and blacks. Look for fairytale images on the internet and your search will come back full of red – apples, blood, roses and a shock of red cloak. Red, the colour of fire and youth – the colour of extremes… of adventure and danger, of anger and passion, of potential violence, of breaking and birthing, of sex and its scarier cousin, love…

We set off on our inner spiralling adventure, not knowing which version of the tale we will end up in. Will we be eaten by the wolf? Will we unwittingly eat our grandmother? Will a wolf encourage us to throw our clothes on the fire? Can we use our cunning to slip the wolf’s grasp, tying the string he winds around us to a tree-stump and making our escape? Who will our tale be told by?


“Fairy tales were not my escape from reality as a child; rather, they were my reality — for mine was a world in which good and evil were not abstract concepts, and like fairy-tale heroines, no magic would save me unless I had the wit and heart and courage to use it widely.”

Terri Windling