“THE ’HAREY’ PURSE”
SHAMANIC FERTILITY FETISH OBJECT
“THE ‘HAREY’ PURSE”
SHAMANIC ROADKILL FERTILITY FETISH OBJECT.
Vulva and Vagina made from recycled materials and a roadkill female hare.
(Completed in 2009)
This project began in 2009 during a weeklong ‘walk-about’ following the death of my father and shortly after the decision to start a family with my current partner.
I found the hare at the side of the road only 20 minutes into my lone travels around the North of England and Scotland.
She came with me the rest of the way, my travelling companion, and bit-by-bit, she was eaten, shared, processed and learnt from, becoming part of the journey, and touching every person we came into contact with, in a deep and meaningful way.
I was studying anthropology at the time, having been fascinated with tribal customs and fetishism for many years. I was absorbed in the study of magical practices and, in particular, fetishes.
Fetishes – usually an object (anything from a small stone carving of an animal to a carved wooden penis) believed to have magical power to protect or aid its owner; broadly: a material object regarded with superstitious or extravagant trust or reverence. The use of fetish objects is worldwide and from the beginning of recorded history – from Cave Man to modern Christian!
Over the following 16 months (it took a while for an old bird like me to conceive, lol) her bulging vulva was slowly stuffed and filled with little sacred objects, each having special significance: a carved penis from a dear friend; a small piece of chalk flint from the phallus of The Cerne Abbas Giant; a fossil spiral; a shell; a sculptured clay zygote from another dear friend; and a bird’s egg. Eventually, I couldn’t fit anything else in her. She dangled in the window of my motorhome as we drove along, bobbing away to music and the rhythm of the road surfaces, up-front and part of our lives – makes a change from fluffy dice!
A LITTLE BIT OF SYMBOLISM…
“Traditionally, the Easter Bunny, actually a Hare, was said to lay eggs at Easter. This concept is, of course, very strange to our factual minds, however, taken symbolically, the Egg not only represents Potential, but also the Cosmos and the very ground of Being from which we spring–no pun intended! One only need think about the Cosmic Egg and the Druid’s Egg to begin to get the full scope of this metaphor. No wonder then, that the Hare was at one time, considered both male and female. To produce the Cosmos, both must be present.
This union of masculine and feminine makes the Hare an excellent symbol for marriage.
Other associations with the Hare, that I won’t go into now, are witchcraft, or in ancient societies, with the seer or shaman–the Hare is also the trickster figure in many stories, who outsmarts Winter and Death…
Overall then, the Hare is a symbol of many things, all involving balance, Life, creative potency, regeneration, fertility and eternity. This symbolism manifests in associations with Springtime, the Dawn, the Moon and Sacred Fire, the Egg, the Circle and Infinity symbol, Marriage, Androgyny and Hermaphroditism, as well as Madness, Genius and Inspiration (which seem to go hand in hand).”
My ‘Harey Purse’ is a highly energised and striking object. I feel an affinity with this ancient and symbolic animal. She has inspired (and provoked) many since her creation, humbly as have I.
Thank you dear Hare for being a huge inspiration. Thank you dear Dad for being an even bigger one. Thank you my darling son and partner for being a source of constant joy and self realisation.
As with a lot of my work, I aspire to gently push the viewer, including myself, to question preconceptions and socio-cultural taboos by creating something beautiful and compelling from something dead and/or socially repulsive.
Look out for blogs on my other ART projects - SHAMANIC ROADKILL CAPE, PLACENTA ART & COOKERY, PLACENTA BOOTIES, PLACENTA DISCO-BOOTIES, SHAMANIC SHAKTI BEAVER MERKIN, ANTI BADGER-CULL TRIP-TIC, ROADKILL SQUIRREL TESTICLE EARRINGS , BURNING-MAN ASARO MUD-FAMILY PERFORMANCE ART & JAPANESE WISHING TREE