Are you sitting uncomfortably? Then I’ll begin the story of Blodeuwedd…
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 are often invited to be seated to be told a story. I am creating a piece about the Blodeuwedd myth based on a chair but which also conveys the discomfort inherent in the tale itself – a broken-down chair you wouldn’t want to sit on. 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. Beginning life as the most beautiful young woman made from flowers, she ended up vilified and outcast. It depends very much upon how you choose to interpret her story: how much was she a wrong-doer, and how much a victim? We see an abundance of identification of ‘Otherness’ and its resulting vilification in the media today.