Monday, 4 March 2013


Its taken a while but we are finally connected with the outside world again.
Now Rapunzel has arrived safely at her destination(s) I can post images of the final outcome.

I wanted to look at the traditional story of Rapunzel and I was primarily interested by the relationship between the witch and the girl

The witch is not a stereotypical fairy story witch. She has a name, Mother Gothel (apparently a generic term in Germany usually used to designate a godmother). She doesn’t appear to use magic – spells, incantations etc – in the course of the narrative. She obviously has power, or the peasant family wouldn’t have handed over their daughter. She has enough influence to get away with this and keeping her for twelve years before keeping her locked up for a few more. And she probably has wealth, building a tall tower/castle in the middle of a wood, even in medieval Europe, wouldn’t come cheap. 

She presumably cared for the girl. It’s not like the stories of Baba Yaga or Hansel and Gretel where the object was to eat the child. Rapunzel was looked after until she reached puberty then was locked into the tower, presumably to preserve her innocence. The witch, to her way of thinking, was protecting her (medieval Europe not being a particularly safe place for young girls). It makes me wonder about the witches own history.

None of these ideas have been backed up by research. They are purely based on what I know, half remember and have assumed.   But given that I am responding to an unread piece of buried writing which in turn alludes to a handed down fairy tale I don’t feel that the facts need get in the way of a good story.

The tall format (and embossing on the cover) references the tower. I wanted to use the concertina format to play with the idea of stories having different interpretations and readers bringing their own viewpoint to the narrative. How you fold the book influences alters the visible image and these can be read in different ways.

The witch and Rapunzel

Together inside the tower encircled by the dangers outside

A hint of the intruder/outside influences which will drive a wedge between them

The outcome of the relationship between Rapunzel and the prince

The cyclical nature of the story. In the original Rapunzel became pregnant. Does Rapunzel become the older woman trying to protect her child? (I decided in the end to use soft covers on the book so that they don’t intrude when it is viewed as a circle) 


  1. What a good interpretation!So, I'm not the only person who never saw the witch as "evil."
    I like the format, too and look forward to seeing it up close and personal in Bristol.

  2. This is brilliant! I really like the way the narrative unfolds through the form. Hope I get to see it sometime.

  3. Stunning, you must be pleased with the outcome. Can I ask how you ended up printing the edition?

    1. Eventually I ended up using an inkjet printer and Bockingford double sided inkjet watercolour paper

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I'm glad people like it. thanks for taking the time to comment

  6. I'm a bit late catching up with this but it is gorgeous Jac. I particularly enjoyed all your blogs about your experiments and it is wonderful to see the final book - fantastic.

  7. Well, I am even later than Helen, but I wanted to tell you how much I love your interpretation of your title & how you ended up executing it - it's such a beautiful, sculptural book. I especially like how you chose to express the 'wedge' - the way the pages split at that point, opening up to an even wider spread/piece of the story. Stunning!


I really appreciate hearing from you. Thank you for taking the time.