New Work: Vučica (She-Wolf)

Vučica. Screen print, image transfer, hand coloring, 14 x 14, second-print edition of 30, © 2010.

Similar to the legend of the Silkie or Swan Maiden, there is the Slavic mythology of the “Vučica” or She-Wolf (reprinted below). In reference to this story, I have transformed an image of a late 1800s Yugoslavian maiden into a modern day bride, whose new bridal costume represents her wolf-skin.

The original source photograph was from a collection of (now common domain) ethnographic images. The altered imagery was created using screen-print, image transfer and hand coloring. A limited second-print edition of 30 is available.

The She-Wolf from Sixty Folk-Tales From Exclusively Slavonic Sources by A. H. Wratislaw

There was an enchanted mill, so that no one could stay there, because a she-wolf always haunted it. A soldier went once into the mill to sleep. He made a fire in the parlour, went up into the garret above, bored a hole with an auger in the floor, and peeped down into the parlour. A she-wolf came in and looked about the mill to see whether she could find anything to eat. She found nothing, and then went to the fire, and said: “Skin down! Skin down! Skin down!” She raised herself upon her hind-legs, and her skin fell down. She took the skin, and hung it on a peg, and out of the wolf came a damsel. The damsel went to the fire, and fell asleep there. He came down from the garret, took the skin, nailed it fast to the mill-wheel, then came into the mill, shouted over her, and said: “Good-morning, damsel! How do you do?” She began to scream: “Skin on me! Skin on me! Skin on me!” But the skin could not come down, for it was fast nailed. The pair married, and had two children. As soon as the elder son got to know that his mother was a wolf, he said to her: “Mamma! Mamma! I have heard that you are a wolf.” His mother replied: “What nonsense you are talking! How can you say that I am a wolf?” The father of the two children went one day into the field to plough, and his son said: “Papa, let me, too, go with you.” His father said: “Come.” When they had come to the field, the son asked his father: “Papa, is it true that our mother is a wolf?” His father said: “It is.” The son inquired: “And where is her skin?” His father said: “There it is, on the mill-wheel.” No sooner had the son got home, than he said at once to his mother: “Mamma! Mamma! You are a wolf! I know where your skin is.” His mother asked him: “Where is my skin?” He said: “There, on the mill-wheel.” His mother said to him: “Thank you, sonny, for rescuing me.” Then she went away, and was never heard of more.