When it comes to fairytales, ancient stories or myths and poems, I find myself totally involved. I remember falling asleep to my mother’s arms every night while she would be reading the chosen story. Later on, Mythology became one of my most favorite subjects in primary school including the Greek Gods whose stories has always made me keep quiet and fully concentrated during the lesson. Such studies has followed me also during High School but mostly focused on Albanian myths and legends. Nothing has made me more interested while studying Albanian Literature than the Mythology which I have to admit, might have been like the only and first time when my heart beat hungry to learn more of my origin that directly led me to the Ancient Illyrian Religion. Albanian stories and legends include several classes of beings from which I would like to mention my favorites such as “Nymphs” or the “Jashtëshme” (female beings) which were believed to live in the wooded mountains or by the Sea. “Ora” a transparent half-human half-ghost figure which could transform into a human body in certain cases. It is believed an “Ora” used to live in forests, mountains, nearby springs or near to living places. These and many other myths has been collected from the Albanian pagan years such as the mountain Fairies we call “Zana”, “Shtojzotvallet” which are described as male and female sprites of the mountains, “Sileni” the goat people etc. One thing I have noticed wile reading Albanian fairytales is the fact that they are mostly focused on the figure of “Man” and the whole stories were about the journey of humans interacting with these beings. The Albanian Men are described as very strong, powerful, giants who always kept their word or “Besa” no matter what. What has always confused me as a kid living in a post modern society and raised with stories of Lewis Carroll, Hans Christian Andersen or Disney Cartoons, was the negative impact that Albanian mythical creatures had against humans. For example, Nymphs would abduct lost children and they would dance with them the whole night until they would drop dead. Also the fairies would use their beauty to distract men while singing and dancing around springs. Also humans would never mention the name “Ora” for it is believed that they would be cursed by it. There is also a character called “Kuçedra” which stands for a dragon or a giant serpent with seven to ten heads which by its name in Albanian sounds like a female. This being is a form of a demon who fires out of her mouth and moves mountains and eats people! These creatures were not always the antagonists or the bad guys but most of the time, Men were the Heroes. It has been a little bit disappointing to me noticing that all the fantasy female characters, most of the time, would be described as players because of their heavenly beauty. Beauty distracts Men. But this did not mean they were weak to be distracted so easily mostly than showing how these creatures actions and words were very bad and manipulative! It’s the same with the “Mermaids” from the Greek Mythology who would always be hunting for sailors and kill them while I always thought they were wonderful, nice and beautiful creatures. But I also think that there is a big impact from other religions followed after paganism that has changed the stories through all these years.
What I have realized is that Albanian myths are very similar to other Indo-European poetries of “Elves” who are creatures of Germanic Mythology/Paganism who were mostly protective due to humans and described as a race of gods of nature and fertility. Elves are often pictured as youthful-seeming men and women of great beauty living in forests and other natural places, underground or in wells and springs. They have been portrayed to be long-lived or immortal and they have magical powers attributed to them. They would be very beautiful and shiny, especially those who had more power. There are also Dark Elves or gnomes, dwarfs and other creatures who fight under orders of the Dark Forces which in this case is the same with the Albanian philosophy of mystical creatures. Different countries and societies have come up to different kinds of fantasy which was always based on their tradition, mentality, faith and creativity. It shows how they wanted to educate their people by choosing a bad behavior and turning it into a living being so you can create a more realistic experience of how you should treat people and yourself after learning your lesson! But after all the researches through history I have made until now, something makes me want to believe that all these stories talk about the same kind of beings which might be in different races according to places they have lived but just like every human has its own unique way of expressing, it’s the same when making up characters or scenarios. At least that’s how I would like to be but nothing can be absolutely right in this case.
“And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for two and a half thousand years, the ring passed out of all knowledge.”– John Ronald Reuel Tolkien “The Lord of the Rings”
I guess you can now tell all the main subject of this project! This time I wanted to come up with a fantasy creature which looks like a Guardian Forest Elf and represents a calm but strong female being who hides in Nature as a servant of the ground, trees, flowers and always aware of any strange thing happening around against all the living beings. To make this project happen I chose to collaborate with the best artisans in town @Smeruci . To create a fantasy creature like that it takes some unique and special accessories and clothing and these guys took their time to design the best jewelries ever for this wood elf. They also designed this magic green cape and most importantly, the elven ears! These artworks were out of my expectations and I don’t know how to thank these guys for bonding their artistic soul and creativity with Circle of Kurisu! We had so much fun during the process, starting from the make up to dressing up and photoshooting at the peaceful nature of “Kepi i Rodonit” a wonderful place where there is sea and also greenness. Probably on of the projects I have enjoyed the most!
The jewelries are made by macrame method including meaningful crystals such as Labradorite cabochon, Carnelian and Indian Agate beads. Do not forget to check their page @Smeruci for more artistic and handmade artworks like these beauties!
All the best,