Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Ar Gor - eggs, geese, women, feet and other stories
Here's a sneaky peek at a piece I'm nearly finished making for an exhibition here in Dingle this April. 'Ar Gor/The Hatchery' is a group exhibition in An Lab, with a theme of eggs, geese and other associations. 'Tá an gé ar gor' - The goose is hatching. From some research into this project, I have been drawn into the murky world of eggs, geese, feet, distaffs and other stories...
Trawling through the internet was torture, so I returned, as always, to some of my favourite books for inspiration. I love Marina Warner, her books are gems and are on the I-will-never-part-with-you-bookshelf. From little snippets in her book 'From the Beast to the Blond', I came across the myth of the Bertha and the Queen of Sheba, both goose-footed women. Further research opened up a huge world of goose-footed sirens and beauties from Perchta (or Bertha), Tantaire, BabaYaga, Frau Holle to the Queen of Sheba...A lot of feisty old biddies it seems! Eat you as soon as look at you.
Unfortunately I don't have enough time to really delve into it now, but it'll be a subject I will come back to as soon as I can. When I mentioned this research of ladies with avian appendages on Facebook, one friend left me this message.
La Reine Pedauque, Bertha Bigfood, the Goosefooted Queen (Queen of The South) is an amalgam of Bertha of Burgundy and an older Teutonic Mother Goddess, whose symbol was the Distaff. They became aligned as Betel is the word for Distaff in the Language of Oc. There is also an association with the Queen of Sheba, as one of the riddles she posed to Solomon concerned the production of flax. The day after Epiphany was known as St. Distaffs Day or Rock Day, after an old name for the distaff, and this ancient Queen was celebrated then. There is also an association with the many Black Virgins in ancient French churches.
Holy moly! (Thank you Helen!!).There is a gem of a textile story in there, but it will have to wait. I have such a busy few months coming up, no time for dreaming about geese, feet, distaffs and other stories...