Friday, March 19, 2010

Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga is one of my favorite bags:
baba yaga 1

There are skull beads on this bag given to me by my son, there is a broom made from the hair of the daughter of a friend from my younger days, there is also a silver broom and cauldron, and a chicken foot made from the copper wiring from my house remodel.

But why Baba Yaga? She is one of my favorite folk characters too: witch, wise woman, herbalist, curandera, keeper of the flame, Baba Yaga is all of these. Folk figure or legend? Some of both, most likely. From the oral tradition, stories were written down; there are many versions and many exploits of Baba Yaga in the guise of monster, wise crone or helper: just like anyone's mother..... :)

This bag is woven of raw silk yarns, dyed fiery colors, with a eye-dazzler cardwoven band in the same flame yellows and reds:
baba yaga back

Baba Yaga lived in the woods, in a house perched on chicken legs. She kept, among other things, an eternal flame, for those who needed fresh coals to kindle a fire. After finding one's way through the woods to her house-on-legs, one appealed for permission to enter. If the correct secret words were uttered, the house would turn on its chicken legs, orienting so the visitor could enter.

baba yaga back2

Baba Yaga would give three tasks for the applicant to complete: always daunting tasks, like finding a needle in a haystack, or separating earth from poppyseeds.

If one completed the tasks correctly, burning coals were the reward, given in the hollowed out skulls of previous, but unsuccessful, visitors. There would be notorious and frightening sightings of the fiery skulls as they made their way home to the village through the woods.

baba yaga close up

Baba Yaga flew through the night sky in her cauldron or mortar, sweeping all traces of her path from behind her, using a broom made of the hair of her victims.

Baba Yaga is Earth Mother, fearsome and useful, helpful and capricious. In some stories she is the heroine, in others the monster.

baba yaga framed

Apropos of nothing previous, Patricia and Tuck were married this week:


We're meeting them for dinner later this evening, and I will be soundly berated for my recent lack of blog posts. Now I can ::blink, blink:: in all innocence. :)


Blogger Unknown said...

i love this story you've woven along with your beautiful bag Sara! lovely work!

is the bag lined with the red velvet i see poking out? or is that just a border for a drawstring?

i am making a bag for my husband for his I ching runes, and your design for this Baba bag have inspired me. i have the yardcloth done, i just have to cut and sew...the hardest part for me!!

thanks for sharing!

8:35 PM  
Blogger weavinfool said...

Have you ever wondered why we berate you for not posting? It is because you have great knowledge of folklore and come up with beautiful ideas that you actually bring to fruition.
We all have random great ideas, but you hone them and complete them.

Great post!

See you at spinning today at Meadowfarm.

7:47 AM  
Blogger Deanna said...

What a fun post! Thanks, Sara!

9:36 AM  
Blogger Theresa said...

What a beautiful bag and thank you for reminding me of Baba Yaga, stories I once knew and forgot.

6:07 AM  
Blogger Stephen said...

What a great way of bringing story and archetype into your craft experience. You have sparked my creativity. I'll chewing on how I can bring forth some perennial stories from my life into my weaving experience.


7:00 PM  

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