Cinderella Of The North
This doll actually started out in 2011 as a Chrisitian Andersen’s Matchstick Girl, but in the 3 years it took to make her, she had subverted my original intent and evolved almost of her own volition, into a Flemish Cinderella with Dutch, Belgian and Norwegian costuming influences. I photographed her in chiaroscuro, or Rembrandt Lighting, to allude to Flemish portraiture of the Golden Age and Baroque periods, which featured dark atmospheric tones, deep shadows and dramatic contrast lighting. My goal was to capture a look of a 16th century Dutch oil painting.
In allusion to the Cinderella’s formerly affluent childhood, her once opulent – now ‘peasant’ dress was stitched up with 170 richly colourful patches and embroidered with hundreds of Swarovski crystals, seed beads and Freshwater Pearls. I imagined that all those patches are fragments of her outgrown childhood gowns – now rags, which she’s been using for years to keep her one remaining tattered dress intact, while her pristine lace bonnet and precious silver slippers are the only legacy and inheritance from her dear late mother. Cindrella Of The Northis a an exploration of the darker side of the fairy tale – before the ball and the happy ever after.
The other three key influences that informed this work were a 1919 Cinderella illustration by Arthur Rackham, a novel Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire, and fairy tale illustrations by Sulamith Wulfing.