Saturday, November 8

November 8: Once Upon a Time...

As much as I enjoy creating beautiful artwork, I also find great satisfaction when making work that deals with issues that are important to me. Sometimes, art is created to confront, or bring something ugly out into the light.

This piece was created for a show titled Beauty and the Beast. The juror allowed the artist to interpret this title in any way he/she chose. For me, it meant tackling a repellent subject matter, while trying to create a work of art that somehow had a push pull appeal aesthetically - a sense of beauty and repulsion in one. It was a difficult piece to create, and probably as the viewer, isn't exactly pleasant to spend much time with. It's a subject found hidden behind many seemingly happy home's front doors, and not easy to discuss, but one that shouldn't be ignored. It's about child abuse and neglect.
The artwork itself is made with a frame work of found branches of wood, sanded smoothly, and easy to approach from the outside, but has thorns inserted that point inward to where the book sits. You have to reach into the thorny interior to bring it out and read.
I stained the rice paper pages to look like gauze, used for wounds. Inside the left hand pages each have the alphabet stamped on them, while the right hand pages have information and statistics about child abuse transfered onto them. Also on the right hand pages, overlaying the statistical information, I found Mother Goose nursery rhymes, of the most horrific nature, and transposed them over the transfers, using embroidery, stamping, metal work, etc. Every few pages you'll find the words "Nobody Knows" collaged in and surrounded by thorns, which happened to be the title of a movie that was opening while I was creating this piece - and fit this subject matter all too well.
Following the video, I have left you with links to resources of help, and below that I have transcribed the most horrifying Mother Goose rhymes I could find, to use within the book.

Places to get and give help:


Mother Goose Rhymes

There was an Old Woman
There was an old woman
who lived in a shoe,
she had so many children
she didn't know what to do.
She gave them all broth
without any bread
and whipped them all soundly
and sent them to bed.

Fears and Tears
Tommy's tears and
Mary's fears
will make them old
before their years.

as I walked by myself,
and I talked to myself,
myself said unto me:
"look to they self,
take care of thyself,
for nobody cares for thee."

I answered myself,
and said to myself
in the same repartee:
"look to thyself,
or not to thyself,
thy self same thing will be."

1 for sorrow
2 for joy
3 for girl
4 for a boy,
5 for silver
6 for gold
7 for secrets
never to be told

For Every Evil
For every evil under the sun
there is a remedy or there is none.
If there be one, seek till you find it:
if there is none, never mind it.

Good Advice
Come when you're called,
do what you're bid,
shut the door after you,
and never be chid.

Cry Baby
cry baby cry,
put your finger
in your eye,
tell your mother
it wasn't I.

Baby Baby
Baby, baby, naughty baby,
Hush you squalling thing, I say.
Peace this moment, peace, or maybe
Bonaparte will pass this way.

Baby, baby, he's a giant,
Tall and black as Rouen steeple,
And he breakfasts dines, rely on it,
Every day on naughty people.

Baby, baby, if he hears you
As he gallops past the house,
Limb from limb at once he'll tear you,
Just as pussy tears a mouse.

And he'll beat you, beat you, beat you,
And he'll beat you to a pap,
And he'll eat you, eat you, eat you,
Every morsel, snap, snap, snap.

Friday night's dreams
on Saturday told,
is sure to come true,
be it never so old.


  1. You have tackled the beast beautifully, i must say. I worked as a paralegal for C.A.S.A. and it was very rewarding work, but awful to finally really know what some children are put through. Thanks for bringing their plight to our awareness again, and may we never forget the most vulnerable.

  2. As a survivor I really think you did a grand job capturing the sense of the beast that is abuse in the choice of colours, textures, and placement of the book with the thorns. Excellent.

  3. That 2nd photograph is quite chilling. I like the wooden framework with thorns forming barriers.

  4. thanks OC - I can only imagine the the rewards and sorrows one would encounter through a job with CASA.
    I appreciate your insiders perspective, as a thriver/survivor Jafabrit - thank you.
    Robyn, I agree, it is a chilling image, in this context, Sometimes they come along at just the right moment to say just the right thing...

  5. This is such a moving and thought provoking piece addressing such an important topic.


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