Tuesday, April 6, 2010



*gasp!* two posts in 2 days!?
so let's start with the last, first.... i am aware that this is definitely not your traditional portrayal of arachne... she came bourne of some frustrations i was dealing with and the urge to dismember barbies and just make a spider! part of the frustration was the tedium in dealing with the lilith/inanna barbie (which i will get to... no worries there :) -there were just so many things going wrong with that one!
this piece is more about all the spider goddesses out there in general and i wasn't even going to call her arachne, although that's what was in my mind the whole time.... i know the word just means "spider" in greek so perhaps that's why it persisted. so i did research on arachne and other spider figures.... and that's how i stumbled upon dore's beautiful illustration shown at the top of the page here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arachne (along with a concise version of her myth)...and i realized that we'd created her in a similar manner so i simply had to keep the name (despite the theological liberties i took ;)
talking of liberties, i kept asking myself "would arachne crochet?" but i began obsessing over yarn balls that could be worlds that could also be the bulbous spider abdomen... about weaving the world or the universe... these are actually common themes in my older work, it was wonderful to get back to them again after many years.... :)
about the process: creating the figure herself was a series of hits and misses. i'm not sure it's clear from this photograph, but her body is *very* complicated. i started with *just* a modern style barbie body facing breasts up(they are the ones that have bellybuttons and don't twist at the waist) fully dismembered (yes, even her head) i then glued (lots and lots of hotglue!!!!) 3 pairs of legs (including the originals, they are in the back as they have larger feet... it's amazing to me just how much i've learned about the differences in barbie bodies... that's a whole post right there, though) i then reattached the original arms but "backwards" so the hands would be facing the right way. she now needed a face.... for a while i just had a face literally cut out of a barbie head glued directly onto the neck. now, that was incredibly creepy, and i liked that part but it just didn't go with the series. ...and i kept thinking about that dore piece, and the streaming hair.... so i swapped the face for a smaller than barbie doll head (because spiders have small heads) and, for added weirdness and barbie authenticity, glued the actual barbie face onto the smaller head. because it wasn't creepy enough, i then added tiny doll arms for mandibles. (the small heads and arms were also used in constructing kali, the first piece). then she was painted to resemble a weaving spider, as i thought that was appropriate. ..and once again she sat... while i worked on other projects, avoiding trying to figure out her environment....
then i finally decided to give in to my desires and have her crocheting.... so she crochets the universe out of the world on her back...


  1. Breath-taking! I am in awe!!! :)

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  3. Love it !!!!! and why wouldn't she crochet? It goes very well with the spinning webs, weaving the universe, sorta thing. I agree w/ Firespark on her analogy.
    It creates this amazing contrast of what would be considered the hideousness (creepiness) of the spider-woman and the wondrous beauty she creates out of her own body - which makes us see *her* beauty, even if we don't understand or aren't comfortable with her form.. ( she can always put it in better words than me, Go Firespark)
    Excellent work Sarah!