“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” ~Albert Einstein
The new exhibit for the McCarl Gallery is entitled ‘Woven Woolen Stories to Tell,’ the title of the exhibit comes from a poem, Invitation, by children’s author Shel Silverstein:
If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Using vibrant, beautiful coverlets from the Gallery, the exhibit explores twelve different fairytales. Some are classic fairytales such as Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, while some are lesser known stories like Allerleiraugh. Also included are the famous American folk stories Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan, and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. For each fairytale, a specific theme or symbol was use to connect the story with the coverlet. Take for example the story of Paul Bunyan; in the exploits of legendary frontiersman, one of the most identifiable aspects of the stories is the inclusion of Babe the blue ox. In order to link the story to the textile, a coverlet with a blue ox was selected.
Something that makes this exhibit unique is the amount artwork that decorates the walls of the Gallery. There are numerous illustration prints taken from twentieth century storybooks and handmade artwork created by Tyler Friend and Amanda Schrott, two of Saint Vincent’s senior art majors. All of the images on the walls make a viewer feel as though they are part of the stories themselves.
As children, we all have grown up with fairytales; stories of enchantment and wonder where happily ever afters are commonplace. Though we grow older and jaded, remnants of those old stories stay with us.
Perhaps author Neil Gaiman had it correct when he wrote:
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”