Emily J. Fruth
Cabbage Rose's Magic Paintbrush
Paintbrush, sterling silver, copper, found object; formed, fabricated, chased.
As a child, my mother used to read to me a lot. My favorite author was M. C. Heldorfer, who wrote books in which ordinary girls were the heroes instead of men or princesses. In Cabbage Rose, an innkeeper's sister is given a magic paintbrush that makes everything she paints come to life. On my favorite page, she paints beautiful watercolor roses which proceed to leap right off her canvas. This page is represented by the three-dimensional silver roses which form from the two-dimensional roses chased into the copper. At the end of the book, Cabbage Rose falls in love with the prince, but she thinks she is too plain to catch his attention. She paints herself a new face, fine clothing, and jewels to present to the prince. When she gets to the palace, however, he wants nothing to do with the strange beautiful woman and only wants to look for Cabbage Rose. She breaks the paintbrush in half, revealing her true identity, and lives happily ever after. This piece deals with my insecurities about my own appearance and the seemingly idealistic belief that the right person will value me more for my mind and my heart than for my face or my body.