An artist’s process is a deeply personal and transformative journey, driven by passion, imagination, and an unwavering commitment to self-expression. From the initial spark of inspiration to the final touch, artists navigate a path filled with experimentation, introspection, and growth. Each artist’s process is unique, shaped by their individual experiences, influences, and artistic vision.
The second part to this journal entry delves into the inspiration for the Once Upon a Time Collection. As we examine the origins of the classic fairytale we begin to unveil the intricate layers of Alice’s process and as such, we gain a deeper appreciation for the beauty and significance of her creations, and a greater understanding of the profound impact art has on our world.
The Brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, made an indelible mark on the world of literature with their collection of fairy tales in Kinder und Hausmärchen (Children’s Household Tales). The publication of their first edition in 1812 marked a historic moment as it was the first systemic compilation of folktales in Europe and represented the first scholarly documentation of such a tradition. In 2005, UNESCO recognised the significance of their work by including it in its Memory of World Registry. This acknowledgement highlighted the immense impact the Grimm Brothers’ fairytales have had on modern culture and what is commonly regarded as the most widely distributed books that has emerged in the course of German cultural history
The Grimm Brothers’ unique contribution to folklore studies inspired folklorists across Europe and Great Britain to undertake similar efforts, gathering tales from their own oral traditions to preserve their cultural heritage.
The origin of the classic fairy tale lie in the rich tradition of oral folklore. Unlike the written form of fairy tales, folktales were told amongst the ‘folk’; ordinary people. The stories often delved into the darker more challenging aspects of life, particularly struggles faced by children as they navigate the uncertain and perilous world of adulthood. For centuries these tales were passed down from generation to generation as a means of imparting wisdom and life lessons resulting in leaving an oral trail as a vital part of cultural heritage.
It wasn’t until the seventeenth century that these stories began to be recorded in written form. However, it was much later in the early nineteenth century that Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, two German academics and linguists, embarked on a mission to preserve these tales and the moral lessons embedded within them. They believed that the oral tradition represented the most natural and pure forms of culture, deeply rooted in history, and essential for community cohesion. A form of poetry for the people.
Over the course of several editions, from the first in 1812 to the seventh in 1857, the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales gained immense popularity. The stories were adapted and refined to cater to a wide audience, evolving to shape modern society. Initially, the collection was never intended to be read by children. Only after some public disapproval of the subjects and dark tone, changes were made to make the folktales more palatable to children tales. The shift from a traditional folktale dealing with ordinary human characters, realistic settings and characteristically anonymous, timeless and placeless tale evolved into a literary framework with fantastic forces and beings, supernatural powers and imaginary characters ending with the hero or heroines’ transformative journey. Their enduring appeal lies in their ability to capture timeless themes and morals that continue to resonate with readers and viewers across the world.
Creating art is a journey that requires a willingness to embrace the unknown. Artists often face uncertainties and challenges along their creative path. They navigate through self-doubt, creative blocks, and the fear of failure. It is in these moments of vulnerability that true artistic breakthroughs can occur. Artists learn to trust their instincts, push beyond their comfort zones, and embrace the unexpected, allowing their art to evolve organically.
Art, in all its forms, is a powerful medium for exploring and expressing beauty. Paintings, sculptures, music, literature, and dance enable us to capture and appreciate the essence of beauty beyond what is observable. Through artistic creations, we can delve into the depths of human emotions, challenge conventions, and convey profound messages.
Today, the legacy of the Brothers Grimm lives on through the arts, music, theatre, film, new digitised media, and for Alice, the artistic medium of fine jewellery.
Through artists like Alice, their stories continue to evolve, inspire and captivate audiences, proving that their impact on cultural and storytelling remains as ubiquitous as ever.