Author & Teacher
photo credit: Tory Williams
above are illustrations inspired by the myth
(l to r) Dorothee Duntze, Erin Garey, Warwick Goble
Are you ready? We are going to explore the story of the Six Swans as recounted by the Brothers Grimm! If you recall, in this fairy tale, the king had seven children — six sons and one daughter. When the wicked stepmother puts a terrible curse onto the sons causing them to turn into swans, their only hope is the courage and strength of their little sister to break the curse, but the princes do not believe she has the power to save them. "The conditions are too difficult. You would not be allowed to speak or to laugh for six years, and in that time you would have to sew together six little shirts from asters for us. And if a single word were to come from your mouth, all your work would be lost." This is a fabulous story for many reasons, not least of which is she saves them by SEWING! (makers for the win — woot woot), but also because of the extraordinary life challenges she must overcome to succeed. Themes of love + abandonment, solidarity + isolation, faith + commitment are woven throughout the tale. And, it is never clear that the princess will be able to surmount the ordeals thrown at her; it’s a cliffhanger right to the very last stitch. The first part of class will be spent journaling and identifying the different symbols, colors, motifs and archetypes that resonate most for each of us. Then, using your preferred medium — textiles, mixed media or both — each of us will create a piece that speaks to what happens when we lose our voice (or our ability to laugh, remember the curse took that away, too) and the extraordinary surge of power that informs our daily life when we do the hard work to reclaim it. As we play with the elements of this old myth, we will follow the different threads that the story provides including but not limited to:
What aspects of our soul are fragmented and out of reach?
How does this happen?
How do we reclaim the most powerful aspects of ourself?
What kind of determination and courage must we draw upon to live from our truth and speak it clearly?
Please note, if this offering sounds serious, it is not. We will be working from the heart of PLAY which feeds and nurtures joy. Our creativity, curiosity, intuition, kindness and generosity will be the rich resources guiding this journey. And as with any good journey, there will be many a surprise and discovery along the way.
EXPERIENCE LEVEL: All levels welcome
Supply List: All materials (including a pdf of the fairy tale) will be provided with your kit fee. However, if you have favorite bits of ephemera, fabrics, sewing notions, preferred pen, etc — you are encouraged to bring along anything that calls to you.
Kit Fee: $20 USD Your kit fee will be due to the teacher at the start of class. It is easier if you bring cash in the exact amount of the fee. About Elizabeth: Elizabeth Duvivier is the founder of Squam Art Workshops and author of Stories for my Sister. Since 2007, she has taught a variety of writing and mixed media classes using the power of myth to inform and expand our self-concept, as well as to increase the amount of joy we experience in our daily life. Online, you can find her at SQUAMLOVE Community site.