Baba Yaga Laid an Egg
Baba Yaga Laid an Egg (2011)
Commissioned as the trophy for the recipient of the 2010 Tiptree Award, Baba Yaga Laid an Egg, by Dubravka Ugresic.
Baba Yaga, flying through a birch forest in her mortar, is in mid-transformation between her black bird form and her human form. The pestle and broom she uses to propel herself through the air rest on the ground below her, and her three small eggs have spilled from the mortar and rolled into a hollow in the forest floor.
Dimensions: 8" W x 15" H x 10" D
Materials: Curly maple, English walnut, birch, ancient Kauri, cherry, copper, hog bristle, acrylic paint.
Finish: Danish oil (base), lacquer (birch trees), satin polyurethane (mortar, pestle, eggs).
When I was a little girl, my Lithuanian grandmother told me stories of the Raganas, the witches that haunted the Lithuanian countryside. I didn't realize that these stories were related to the Baba Yaga mythos until I read Ms. Ugresic’s marvelous book, and I knew immediately what symbolism I would draw on to create the trophy.
The birch “trees” are actual birch branches pruned from a tree in my yard. The “mortar” is made of curly maple, with the transforming Baba Yaga painted in acrylic. The “pestle” is made of cherry, the “broom” of birch and hog bristle and copper wire. The forest floor is a block of English walnut. I chose most of the wood species for their availability in Eastern Europe, the locus of the Baba Yaga myths. However, the three small eggs, one for each section of the book, are made from ancient Kauri. This wood originates in New Zealand, and has been preserved for millennia in New Zealand swamps. The trees harvested from these swamps have been carbon-dated to 30,000 to 50,000 years of age. Eggs are a key component of so many ancient myths from all over the world that it seemed appropriate to make the ones for this trophy from an equally ancient wood.
Page last updated 11 August 2011