Passion and Purpose
At the age of 50, I returned to what has seemed to be a necessity, dedicating a large portion of my time on Fairy tales and Myth and Magic. After a few starts and stops with lots of trial and error, I figured out how to merge my career in the field of Art and Design with this magical pursuit and so, Dear Laurel came to life. I like to believe we all have a purpose and a passion burning inside of us like this and if we are lucky enough to get to work at it, we get to share it with the world. The harder we work at it, the better it will be.
My stories, poems, illustrations and Heirloom Art Dolls are all created with the empowerment of Women and Girls in mind and I consider myself a feminist and a mystical woman who loves the ideology of the wise crone archetype. They are for children and adults of all ages, but specifically for those who have an interest in advancing women’s equality and joining me to learn different ways we can continue to support and further this continued effort of social transformation.
Fairy Tales from Long Ago
As a child, I loved illustrated stories and I’m sure my love for the Arts began by pouring over the detailed illustrations that always told a story even without the text. I learned some antiquated messages from them though, like in the little girls were made of sugar and spice and all that’s nice and little boys were made of snips and snails and puppy-dog’s tails old nursery rhyme titled, What are Little Girls Made Of. Knowing that the rhyme wasn’t literally true, the messaging behind it certainly was real, as were all the nursery rhymes from long ago. Telling children how they must be in life. For boys, the imagery of being rough and tumble, the old boys will be boys comes to mind. For girls, that meant that we should be seen, not heard, be pretty and yes, maybe smart, be dutiful, take care of everyone and make sure not to cause any trouble or make anyone uncomfortable with our needs. Maybe the spice reflected we should be a little spicy, but probably not too much. Just right. Our fairy tales told us that we should never stray from our path, but if we did, we could likely be saved by someone either burly and strong or a wealthy prince, but both always handsome.
My favourite book from childhood that I spent hours and hours pouring over admiring the drawings and stories was Gnomes: Written by Wil Huygen. I still have it and admire the illustrations by Rien Poortvliet, but I look at it through different eyes now, wanting to see a more progressive side to the women and girls portrayed. Perhaps though, it is just time that I write my own magical stories into what I believe to be more progressive magic and myth.
Rewriting Stories of Magic and Myth
Kindness is a key message for me to get across in response to the world’s current political climate. I live in Canada, but even we are not immune to the divisiveness and hate that is bubbling up as if from the cauldron of a haggard old scary witch in the woods preparing to cook up Hansel and Gretel in the old Brothers Grimm version of the tale. Note the messaging that old women are typically depicted as either cruel and ugly or cute little old ladies who are usually victims in these tales. Telling my stories through Dear Laurel and the Little Witches is my small but mighty contribution to work towards erasing the harmful messaging for women and girls from the past and present.
I am constantly learning and growing myself. I know I have made mistakes along the way and it has been a long road in overcoming the limiting messages I received as a young girl and continue to experience in our current times, but I am proud to say I am an active participant of change open to learning from anyone of any age on the topic of progressive and inclusive equality.
With the birth of Dear Laurel, I vow that you will never see me dig my heels in or stomp my feet in resistance to making the world, real and mythical, a better place for all.