I have finished my newest medal.
Since i photographed it and photoshopped it to get it ready to post I have noticed one or two little things that need to be corrected and adjusted. But for all intents and purposes this medal is ready to go to press - so to speak.
I am very satisfied with this medal - it took a lot of work and my eyes are falling out of my head to be honest, but I think that all the little intricacies work together in a very pleasing balance of composition.
As you can see - the woman is in profile with her hair flying behind her in the wind. Because of the edge of the medal her hair has to turn around the rim of it. On the reverse of the medal that is where the real magic takes place as her hair is whipped up into a bit of a frenzy and thus releases the seeds which were cunningly concealed within her tresses.
For me the reverse side also resembles a landscape - so you can see that the seeds will conveniently end up where they belong and where they can take root to start the whole life cycle again.
Once again the hair turns the corner to confront its owner once more - and the life cycle is complete.
Hair is a very powerful symbol - one often charged with sexuality. I do not pretend to know all its permutations but I know from personal experience how hair affects the way people perceive you. I used to have very long, strong hair - it is a long time ago now. It got to be long enough so that I could sit on it.
It worked for me for quite some time and I know that men in my life found it very sexy but after a time (and at a certain age) two things happened.
First of all it just got to be a pain because it took a lot of care to keep it clean and brushed. Also it became a pain because strangers sometimes felt at liberty to come up behind me and touch or even stroke my hair - which I just found plain creepy!
And secondly I began to notice the comments of some of my girlfriends about the matter of how old you should be and still have long hair, as it was obviously seen as something for young/sexy girls not a middle aged woman. I also noticed a certain tinge of jealousy in their voices.
Actually there was another reason it stopped working for me which I really disliked. I became my hair. I was no longer Mary, with various interests and beliefs and a distinct personality. I was Mary with the long hair. I was defined by my hair
So I decided to get it cut.
Well, I cannot tell you the reaction I got when I went into my hairdresser to get it done. First of all the Hairdresser asked me was I sure - then she wielded her scissors and I almost sensed a slight look of victory in her face as she took the first half of its length off in one fell swoop. it was almost like she was taking my very strength and attractiveness with it.
Also - as she performed the snip all eyes in the salon turned on us and there was an almost audible collective gasp at the moment of contact.
I admit that I have used the term 'snip' intentionally as hair is also considered a symbol for the phallus. Think of the great thick plait of Rapunzel in the fairytale or medusa and her hair of snakes. Rapunzel has her plait cut off too and Medusa loses her head completely. The castration/weakening of Samson by Delilah is performed by the act of cutting off his hair. The list goes on.
I find it quite fascinating - it has so many little avenues of thought and discussion. People have very strong associations and opinions about hair.
So when I made this medal I wanted the hair to be very strong - it becomes an entity in itself. And suddenly when the woman confronts her hair as it comes around the edge of the medal it has become something of a powerful adversary as well.
I learned that other women fear the sexual potency of hair and some men go weak for it - but do they notice the woman attached to it?
I hope I have planted a seed of thought for you as you go about your day's business.