Baba Yaga is a character within the Vasalisa stroy. She flies in a mortar and pestle, with a broom that she uses to sweep away her tracks. Her yard is bordered with a fence of bones and skulls, and her house is round and dances crazily on chicken legs. Baba Yaga lives deep in the forest, and to seek her out is truely a courageous thing to do. You really, badly, need what she has. She is The Wild Woman, and I have got to know her a little through working up this image and researching her through the text "Woman who run with the Wolves." Her lessons run deep and her wisdom is from an old and wise source.
Do you know the story of Vasalisa? It's the one where the girl has a mother who dies, is left a doll and then inherits a step family of cruel women. The fire in the kitchen goes out and Vasalisa is sent out into the forest to find Baba Yaga and ask for an ember from her fire. If you were to look at my Solo Exhibition page, you would see the images for the beginning of the story. So why did I start with this image that is half way along in the story? Well Baba Yaga is the character in this folk tale that I really liked from the get go.
When I first read Vasalisa, Baba Yaga turned an otherwise dull folk tale into a ripping good story. She was the character that I focussed on. She was the one that held the magic for me first. She inspired me to consider the Life / Death / Life cycle, she encouraged me to understand that I knew just enough for where my life was, at any given time. Baba Yaga is also that Elder Woman (the Grandmother or even that Old Woman you pass on the street), she knows about you, me, them, everything! And her apperance, her mannerisms, well, they are not something we can ignore!
All this began years ago. How many I can't say. Because the story stayed with me, and I read it over and over, and related it to my own children (without reading it from the book), it began to become a part of me. It was a story that I wanted to unpick and investigate, to sew back together and present in my own fashion. Hence the using of it to create my first concise body of work.
And as I unpicked, and turned it over this way and that, I found out that Vasalisa had something for me too, lessons to learn, images to create, tangents to follow. I discovered too, that it is in the relating of the story that people really come in close to the artwork. They see the spark that inspired the creation and they usually find their own connection with the image or the story.