This has always been one of my favourite fairy tales.... there is just so much simmering subtext and the imagery is so atmospheric.... red, fear, blood, danger, deceit, seduction, Big Teeth. Themes far too adult for a children's fairy tale surely?
Over the years the tale has undergone many interpretations since the original literary adaptation by Charles Perrault in 1697. Early oral versions depicted a shrewd young girl who uses her own resources to escape the wolf and get back home. However over time the story has evolved into the one we recognise today and which was a feature of so many of our early childhood memories.
I still have my own dog-eared copy of the Ladybird version from the early 1960s in which Red meets the wolf and tells him she has a cake and a bottle of wine for her poorly grandmother "to help her to get well again".
A BOTTLE OF WINE!
What an enlightened food parcel.....
Unfortunately both poor grandmother and Little Red are gobbled up in one mouthful by the crafty wolf who meets a gory end when he's killed by Red's father with an axe, then cut open to release the entirely uninjured pair. The grandmother was "still alive but very weak".
Thankfully, she is soon put back to bed and given some cake and wine, so all's well that ends well.
Except for the wolf. For such intelligent, wily creatures they never fare well in fairy tales.
So, what's in store for my Red Riding Hood themed workshop?
Well there's this......
Wooden Toy Theatre Cart & Wolf
I am SO pleased with this element of the workshop. The wonderful theatre cart is the result of several weeks of collaboration with the talented (and extremely patient!) Nick Day of Treacle Lane who took my ideas and suggestions and transformed them into an amazing kit, which is exclusive to Tower House Dolls.
The cart rolls along on four wheels, pulled by a very co-operative wolf, who seems quite amenable but has a glint in his eye.
Double doors open to reveal the interior
The back and side are decorated with vintage illustrations
Our 'Hedd of Markitten and Komewnikashun' insisted on having her likeness on the poster advertising the Travelling Toy Theatre.
The double doors open to reveal the interior which has panelled walls
Little Red's mother talks to the huntsman
Meanwhile deep in the forest the wolf runs ahead of Little Red Riding Hood......
..... to Grandmother's cottage!
And so the story unfolds
There are several other elements to this workshop, including a little toy Red Riding Hood doll, a vintage style fully illustrated miniature book and a facsimile of an original game from 1890.
Oh, and these, which I just finished today......
A little box with an illustrated lid....
.....opens to reveal a set of wooden puzzle blocks!
The blocks make up 6 different fairy tale scenes and come
complete with a set of illustrations.
I had hoped to have bookings open for this session, which is scheduled for 24 October, but perhaps predictably, I've been having problems with the wolves, which have proved elusive. The wolf I have used is just perfect, in size and stance but sadly has been discontinued and is in short supply.
Small Dog, who, as regular readers will know, takes no nonsense from wolves and claims to bite the heads off them up the garden, has offered to track some down for me but in the absence of any success on her part I have resorted to the interweb.
Initially, a global search discovered a few in Italy, but my hopeful enquiries drew a blank as they'd been sold. I've now found some in the US but only a very few and it will be touch and go whether they will all arrive in time from their various locations. So, to cut a long story short, I can't take workshop bookings until I actually have the wolves here, just in case there's a problem, or they escape and go missing in the post.
Feel free to register an interest in taking the workshop, but I won't be able to definitely confirm the October date for a week or so.
In the meantime however, preparations continue apace so watch this space!