Blodeuwedd

Are you sitting uncomfortably? Then I’ll begin the story of Blodeuwedd…

On display with Bristol Upholstery Collective 28 July – 4 August 2017

at Joseph Studios, Unit 19a Barton Hill Ind. Est., Maze street, Bristol, BS5 9TQ

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Pink links below give access details of each part:

Outside back  –  Inside back  –  Seat  –  Skirt  –  Wings


Growing up in Wales, one was always aware of the Mabinogion and the particularly alluring myth of Blodeuwedd, the woman made of flowers and turned into an owl. This was punishment for being unfaithful to her almost-immortal husband and tricking him into giving away the sole secret of his mortality.

I first read Alan Garner’s The Owl Service with my friend Vicky by torchlight at Girl Guide camp, where we scared each other senseless and founded a friendship that has lasted more than 40 years.

… and the chair comes in how?

We’re often invited to be seated to be told a story. My piece is based on a chair you wouldn’t want to sit on – one that examines the discomfort inherent in Blodeuwedd’s story.

The frame is left revealed, with its tack holes, the inner workings of the seat are revealed: interesting, but broken, unusable and capable of causing injury. Is it still a chair? If not, what does it become?

Blodeuwedd’s story is also a story of transmogrification, of how we can become ‘Other’ in people’s eyes. It’s a storyline that is playing out in the media today.

Beginning life as a beautiful woman made from flowers, Blodeuwedd ends up vilified and outcast. How much she is a wrong-doer, and how much a victim depends on your own particular reading of her story.

Acknowldegements

  • David Heke – photograper with whom I collaborated on the Blodeuwedd chair
  • Sandra Wilson – for the gift of the chair
  • Andy F Wilson – for encouragement, Photoshop tuition, engineering help and all the months of other support that enabled me to make this chair
  • Frankie Saundry – for being my Blodeuwedd
  • Bridie Przibram – for owl feathers
  • Fashion Formula for the digital fabric printing and excellent customer service
  • Pinterest – see some of my Blodeuwedd chair resources

Before and after pictures

Given to me by Sandra Wilson – purchased as an upholstery project but then her son Solomon was born (he of the Disco Chair) and she found she didn’t have the time. Thanks a million, Sand xxx