Aunt Nancy



wood, gourd, glass eyes, steel, paint, book: leather, paper, silver wire

37 inches X 41 inches X 14 inches

Virtually every culture has a spider myth. spiders spin the webs that connect lives, and tell the stories.

Anansi is the the West African trickster spider/human god. The Americanized version "Aunt Nancy" comes from the Gullah dialect, from the folk-tales told by slaves that were brought to the Carolinas. The traditional African storytellers (griot) would be trained from childhood as the keepers of an oral tradition. These stories were a way of communicating with the gods. Anansi was "the owner of all the stories". Anansi continues to show up and weave stories, as in contemporary author Neil Gaiman's books, "Anansi Boys" and "American Gods".

This piece was constructed using a large gourd for the hollow body of the spider (modeled on an orb-weaving garden spider), with the legs fabricated from wood with steel rod inside for structure and strength. Inside the spider's body I painted a night scene of my backyard, (spider's view). I made the book pages with black Arches paper, covering it with hand-stamped leather. The drawings inside are made by stitching the pages with silver wire. The endpapers are silver ink on paper.


"Coyote Taught Me to steal" show page   Home
2007 Erika Wanenmacher