This post is a re-post from a benefit auction group I am leading for my friend, Tess Avelland. Tess owns an absolutely amazing store, Midnight Muse, that caters to wonder, imagination and beauty...not to mention a LOT of Pre-Raphaelite art. Late last year, she was diagnosed with Psuedomyxoma Peritonei, a very rare form of cancer. Her friends have been occasionally holding auctions to help her pay for her medical bills, and the expenses that arise from lost work time.
The story of Snow White is perhaps one of the most maligned fairy tales we know today. The original story, once full of metaphor, darkness and light, symbol, and meaning, was the first feature length cartoon by Disney, and the beginning of the entire Disney-fication of fairy tales. But the original story has so much more depth to it than Disney shared. These layers of meaning and symbol are discussed in the excellent article Snow, Glass, Apples by Terri Windling
When I considered a subject matter to interpret for my painted box auction for Tess, one of the first thing to spring to my mind was Snow White. There is the obvious reason...when I went with Tess to Faeriecon 2007, a very special memory, she dressed as the Evil Queen from Snow White for the Bad Faeries Ball, and she looked divine, tempting everyone with her glossy red apple. But also, Tess' long dark hair has often reminded me of Snow White's beauty.
The most fascinating part of the Snow White story to me is the moment when she chooses to eat the apple her step-mother offers her. Although she was innocent and naive, it is difficult to imagine that Snow White didn't know on some level that it was her step-mother in disguise, come for a third time to try to kill her. I first read this suggestion of Snow White's conscious decision years ago, in an essay evaluating Snow White's possible thoughts as she bit into the apple, and the image has never left me. This image is also brilliantly stated in Delia Sherman's poem, Snow White to the Prince:
Do you think I did not know her,
Ragged and gnarled and stooped like a wind-bent tree,
Her basket full of combs and pins and laces?
Of course I took her poisoned gifts. I wanted
To feel her hands combing out my hair,
To let her lace me up, to take an apple
From her hand, a smile from her lips,
As when I was a child.
It is this moment, when Snow White gazes at the apple, already bitten on its white cheek by the mother-figure she longs to please and love, that I wanted to paint on my box.
In the image on the box lid, Snow White gazes down at the apple loosely held in her lap, lips parted, and reaches one hand to her cheek, perhaps imagining the brush of death's fingertips that may soon enfold her if she chooses to eat the apple.
The box lid is framed in "black as ebony" deep blood red. Opening the box reveals a beautiful blue interior, the color of Snow's gown on the lid. Resting on the inside of the box top is the abandoned apple, now bitten on its red cheek as well. Snow White must be awakened., upon which is written in gold ink, "Red as Blood, White as Snow, Black as Ebony, The Fairest of Them All." The base of the box's exterior is painted a
This box features 100% original, one-of-a-kind art by Grace (me!). The artwork has been rendered in acrylic and pencil, and the box has then been given a varnish clear coat to ensure durability and vibrant colors.
Bidding will start at $25. Auction ends at 11:59 pm on Thursday, May 7th. Please comment here with any questions, and with your bids!