So, having decided that our first fairytale will be Sleeping Beauty, where to start?
I have always puzzled over this tale. The idea of revenge by a wicked fairy is fine, the idea of a poison that lasts a hundred years and was delivered by pinprick from a spindle has never troubled me (but it does now!). I do however worry about the consequences of waking a princess up after 100 years sleep and expecting her to be happily married to a prince a century ahead of her. Imagine Prince William on the verge of marrying Alexandra of Denmark, the daughter in law of Queen Victoria. This dislocation of time is difficult, and even more tricky if you accept that the entire court was put to sleep for a century.
I have been reading the third book by Tim Mackintosh Smith about the adventures of Ibn Battutah, a fourteenth century traveller. He encountered many characters along the way, including several mystics. One apparently foretold his travels, explaining that life is like a book and can be read at different points if one only knows how. Perhaps then Sleeping Beauty’s life would be best seen as a 2 volume set, one volume from the past and one from the future. Time between the two was not real time, but distorted.
The theme of time and my interest in making oil lamps led me to think of those Christmas candles that burn a day at a time through December. An oil lamp ‘candle’ wouldn’t burn down, the markers would never be passed no matter how long the flame stayed lit. A candle that marks 100 years but never burns down is fairytale material for sure.
As for Briar Rose, well, I have made very few roses in my time! My reasons for being involved in this are to avoid dragons, not roses! So I would like to start by twining a rose thorn around a candle lamp. This is definitely a challenge on the practical side for me, but I’ll start with the candle and we’ll see where it goes!