Thousandfurs

Thousandfurs

thousandfurs-file

This is Thousandfurs. Animal woman, mammal, furred woman ~ a recent painting in oils on wood, which you can buy as a gorgeous print on recycled paper from us here.

She is wearing a hair-cloak of furred mammals, alluding to the Grimm’s fairy tale “Allerleirauh” or “Thousandfurs” in which the king’s daughter makes herself a cloak of disguise from the pelts of many animals in order to escape her father’s unwanted attention (he wants to marry her).

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She is also a hairy woman – embracing the fact that we are mammals, like all the furred creatures around her: biting, snarling, scratching, stalking, roaring, sniffing, licking, listening, protecting, hunting, climbing, purring animal.

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Hair can be understood as a symbol of power – of both the psyche, as it grows from the head, and of the fertile, alive animal self; just as cutting it has sometimes been seen as a way of removing strength or agency.

Combined, these ideas express something about the animal cloak we must make and put on in order to escape a rigid system of toxic patriarchy and about living in that animal skin, both metaphorically and literally: not altering or diminishing our bodies or wild selves to please the insane culture or clearcutting our bodily wild forests which contain so much of our power.

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This painting is newly born into the world and as always I am unsure about how it will be received. I had it on display at our recent outing with Hedgespoken at Buddhafield festival and was delighted by how many folks were moved and touched by it. Painting it was also an interesting experience: I moved through painting all the parts of it at my usual slow pace, but when I got to the snarling wolf, I could not get it right! Every incarnation in paint that I tried didn’t work, and I almost despaired. The wolf I ended up with felt good but has a slightly different feel to the other animals. I suspect there could be a story hidden inside my own struggle there about my own snarling and how hard it is to bring it into the world.

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Prints of Thousandfurs made on recycled paper are available here

And so, wearing my wild, snarling, furred cloak, I step into the world tentatively offering you a new painting, on a new blog, testing my claws and sniffing the air.

I hope to write more here soon, and invite you to join me on the dark and fertile path into the woods….

8 thoughts on “Thousandfurs

  1. i love her. whether we be smooth or furry, we are mammals like our kindred, and that is a wondrous thing to be. i like the way all the animals rippling around her feel protective, enfolding… she seems accompanied by the wholeness of their spirits rather than wearing their pelts. and she has recognised her own wholeness in her animal identity. it’s beautiful.

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  2. When sitting with a plant, silk tassel, I had a vision of an old grandmother next to her washing line hanging out her furs of various animals, I understood it to be the shape-shifting path of survival, being able to play the part, to wear the hat. she looked mad though, and I also struggled to embrace that snarl. for she had complete knowledge of what to be and how to carry. beautiful painting, thankyou for bearing through it. I have yet to draw mine, though its in my minds eye 😉

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  3. What a beautiful window I spy there in your room, such inspiring surroundings! The painting’s a lot bigger than I imagined, I love seeing your process with the white underpainting. This story reminds me of ‘Donkeyskin’ by Charles Perrault. Many years ago I made a sculpture of ‘Donkeyskin’ as it’s one of my favourite stories.xx

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  4. This is a most gorgeous painting! Indeed, it brought tears to my eyes and I am instantly in love. Thank you for birthing this beauty into this world. And thank you for your words on the power of hair… I believe you have the right of it; our society so often tries to take our power by demanding we look a certain way, and trying to shame us when we don’t. Now then… my gloriously hairy legs are going to go carry me off in search of the fairy tale that inspired this magical piece. Much love to you and your family!
    XOXO

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