This seasonal needle-felted sculpture was created for Fingerprints, a Steiner inspired early childhood centre on the Gold Coast, Queensland.
His character was slowly revealed to me as raw fleece formed into this being. Each needle poke revealed a little more, allowed me to reflect and understand better and to explore the mysteries and lessons that Winter bestows.
Winter tends to get a bad press. Focus is upon coldness; bone chilling winds, the frost and ice. It is a time for illness, heavy grey skies, and culling. Sometimes a time of great scarcity, hunger and fear. Be it a cruel King Winter or screaming Cailleach, the essence of winter seems to be related to death and suffering without the recognition that with death comes regeneration; that Winter is a time of rest and reflection and a time to withdraw. A time to shelter, to take sustenance to re-energise and re-new physically and spiritually.
Myth tells us that Winter is overseen by the Crone,- The Cailleach, or Mother Holle,for instance; but in 1859 Gustav Seitz published a poem about a winter king whose entourage included a Snow Queen and Jack Frost.
So I wondered who would this Winter King be. From white raw fleece, as if from snow and clouds, emerged this regal and gentle man. A wise man, who wanders the winter landscape seeing to it that the land rests and prepares for the great burst of energy that will be necessary for the coming Spring and the renewal of life. From the darkness of winter emerges light and life. From its sombre realms joy.
After the Winter king retires to his rest, She emerges, the Maiden of Spring. Brigid, Ostara, Persephone, Bright Maidens who return joy and colour and abundance to the earth.
This Spring Maiden is sculpted from fleece. She is soft to touch and soft in colour to reflect the gentleness and innocence of the young maiden. In her arms a dove symbol of love, as are the pink roses. Her gown rises from and is the earth not yet in full flowering but awakening.
depicted here in the personna of a Harvest Queen. Her head is wreathed in a crown of leaves.Her felt cloak has been shaped like a maple leaf. In her basket miniature apples and pears. I recollect making these caused quite a bit of pain as the barbed needle pierced clumsy fingers.