Emily J. Fruth

The Nature of the Beast

Brooch set, 9” x 5” x 1/2”, brass, copper, enamel; champleve, piercing, cold connections, soldering

The Nature of the Beast depicts an ancient dragon hiding within the walls of a cathedral, and the angry villagers that have come with their torches and pitchforks to attempt to burn it out. This piece represents the duality of religious life and the extremes that it can sometimes be taken to, in one direction or another. As the background is fairly nondescript, the dragon can be seen in one of two ways: either on the outside of the church looking in, or on the inside looking out. Which begs the following questions: Do the gilded walls of the church protect the congregation, or do they harbor the dragon? Does the danger lie on the outside of the church in the wider world, or can there be just as much danger lurking on the inside? Who is the real monster, the dragon or the angry mob? This piece was created to help me deal with a couple of events that shook my own faith for a while; one in which a rift tore my congregation into warring parties, and one in which an old acquaintance of mine had me strung up like a puppet, dancing on the strings of my faith. It seemed at the time that the only way to be rid of the puppeteer was to cut the strings and rebuild my faith from scratch. These brooches have helped me to begin that process.