Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Arts and Letters and University Honors
Arts & Letters
art, sculpture, mixed media, folklore, mythology
This thesis is an exploration of the complex and interconnected nature of folklore, personal mythology, and re-enchantment as expressed through the lens of puppetry. I have drawn inspiration from the works of deeply reflective works concerning the psychological nature of mythologies of Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung, as well as the magical and beautiful work of artists Jim Henson, Brian and Wendy Froud, and Mercer Meyer. Through working in the medium of puppets, I have given consideration to the possibilities and limitations of these forms in expressing the complexity of narrative, personal mythology, the anxiety of disenchantment, lost and reclaimed identity, and a child-like freedom to reclaim enchantment. I have chosen the archetype of the witch to work with because of the ambiguous nature of her identity. Though I seek always to reconnect with the child within in the context of my work, I am also shaped by age and experience and I find myself connecting more and more with the older women, the ambiguous women, the controversial women through lens of traditional narrative. I have crafted three characters from three different European folktales: the Cailleach, a hag and divine ancestor from Celtic folklore; a Volva, a respectable and venerated sorceress from Norse folklore and mythology; and, Baba Yaga, the ambiguous and chaotic figure from Russian folklore. In order to shape these characters, I have sculpted, glued, twisted, and costumed them from a variety of materials. From a pile of stuff, I have given shape to these stories.
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Cobb, Amanda, "Shaping the Witch: A Visual Art Thesis" (2022). University Honors Theses. Paper 1194.