New York: 2013. Unique artist's books (4 in this witches' library) and book object, size of object: 13-1/2 x 8-1/2 x 9-1/2 inches signed and dated by the artist / author, Sandra Jackman, on the raised rear panel of the box, below text by the author / artist which has been collaged onto an early [found] painted book cover. Each book signed on the back cover as well. The box / book object housing three of the books is constructed around a cabinet [an echo chamber?] in a black cloth-covered box. The interior of the box is covered with blood-red silk file; witches, skeletons and other-worldly creatures fill the echo chamber. The inside door has framed three-dimensional collage of paper, found objects, with title, THE WITCHES' SABBATH Other Stories, above and on the frame of the collaged picture. Tiny creatures and thick grey shadows hover on exterior walls and door. All materials acid-free papers and adhesives, oil and acrylic paint, wax, ink. Other materials used include wood, metal findings, glass, hair net, tiny plastic figures.
A separate pouch contains a flashlight and handmade doll (witch) which can be turned on by pushing bottom of flashlight to a constant or flashing light to illuminate the interior of the box. Another pouch lettered in red, "What is present will soon be past/ What is past may still be present in another form" contains Book 4, "Tales of the Witches' Sabbath / of Mid / Nights." Page size: 3 x 5 inches; 27 double-sided pages are painted in thick black oil and collaged with text and images. Random texts include "Why no outcry to crucify Lucifer? Time and place turned inside out... Divinations Accusations / Read the tract on superstition, magic and religion..." and "We must listen to the silence..." Outlines of cats are collaged onto black painted pages - some pop-ups - most three dimensional. Text is hand printed, typed, and computer-generated as well as stamped.
A drawer nearly the length and depth of the cabinet beneath the entrance door pulls out to reveal a miniature (1 x 1 inch) accordion book as well as a hand of translucent plastic with fingertips of burnt paper with unreadable text. This is Book 3. Painted images of strange creatures fill the 11 pages. The book can be examined in situ along with the other elements stored there. A sliding bolt holds the door to the cabinet shut.
Book 1 is held in a pocket installed on the right hand outside wall of the; book is double sided, measures 6-1/2 x 4-1/4 inches; hand-sewn binding in paper over boards, front cover displays a small painting of two witches with their mouths open. There are other tiny creatures hovering on both back and front of the book. THE WITCHES' SABBATH is pressure stamped on the spine and is just barely visible. The author / artist has painted and collaged each page including images and text - the witches own language and dialect - "to appease the purists amongst us" according to the artist.
Book 2, "What Happens Next," fits into a pocket on the roof of the cabinet, a slim fold out, 6 x 2 inches, 6 double sided pages including the cover. Some attendees of the celebration - Circe, Jezebel, Medea, Hekate, Morgan Le Fey - are named on each of the colorful pages. The text of the back cover starts, "Someone strikes a match. The flame comes to life..."
The left outside wall holds a framed painting on glass depicting a witch watching a large insect. This is accomplished in oil paint and in a scratch board style.
Historically the Witches' Sabbath is a pagan rite that is connected with devil worship. Long a source of inspiration for Western European artists, Hans Baldung and Goya each had a go at images. Authors such as Goethe and Meyrink are just two names on a long list of writers to describe the celebration. Composers such as Berlioz and Mussorgsky have been inspired by the rite known as Witches' Sabbath. Witches have wormed their way into mythology, religion, history, and children's literature, as well as contemporary fiction (John Updike and Ira Levin are just two examples).
Sandra Jackman tells us, "I could not resist throwing my two cents into the cauldron even though I've no personal knowledge of witches or their Sabbath... The odd part of this is I was reading about Wordsworth and his poetry and his description of how he likened its form to 'a gothic church,' and the poems that were part of the work equivalent to 'little cells, oratories, and sepulchral recesses,' and I decided to explore the form in a concrete way. Wordsworth, being a romantic poet with a decided religious bent, had no truck with witches. But, they made the church unhappy and the church sent out its righteous to do away with the witches. The Witches ' Sabbath I constructed is not told in a linear way, but the gist of this tale can be easily understood from the text and the images supplied in the four books." Item #10733