Before she was a spider, she was in art school

I had all these portraits of women with thin, narrow faces, and conservative clothes. Their faces were too small for their bodies. The portraits were drawn flat, like German Expressionism. Dignified women, with dignified, cold demeanors. Under the hands of the women, I jabbed sewing needles into the canvas, with malformed knitting projects ā€“ crooked scarves in ecstatic colors, pirate skull and bones, and little sweaters too small for anything but dolls, or too large for anything human.

They were awful. I couldn’t stand them. They were jagged. The ideas didn’t meld together, and there was nothing I could do about it.

I sketched protoplasmic shapes, like sea creatures being born in loamy water. I painted precise, whimsical shapes. But, I didn’t just throw them onto canvasses. I shaped them into classic iconagraphic poses. Madonna and child. Mona Lisa. The Last Supper. Christ Blessing. Francis Assissi with the animals. All of these bestial, animal, water shapes, like what I had seen in the cafe, but sharper at the edges, and no colors at all ā€“ just charcoal and pencil and blank canvas.

***

Describing art inside of a work of art is always strange because ultimately, you will never get to see these works of art. Arachne’s art must be spoken of, to tell her story, but you will never see it. I pause. I try to explain enough of it so you get the gist. I try to keep it short.

I think her work with knitting needles is probably really beautiful and cool. I think the protoplasmic shapes turned into icons are probably a little blah. Who knows? I’ll never see them.

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