I walk by this oven every time I walk down to the basement gym to work out. I live on the 5th floor of an old industrial building that has been converted/renovated into artists lofts/living spaces. There are old doors mounted like artwork, structural pillars that tower like trees throughout the complex (protected from any alteration to their form by their historic status). There are swaths of exposed brickwork, wooden beams that conjure coziness, polished concrete floors that you can slide across in your socks, and high ceilings.

But that oven really takes the cake when it comes to capturing my imagination. It is outside the pottery studio and not far from the french doors that open onto the wooden-floored, wall-mirrored dance studio. It always makes me think of the fairytale, Hansel and Gretel, and how Gretel tricked the witch into the oven when the witch wanted to cook and eat Hansel and Gretel; how temptations can lure us into trouble but that we can use our wits to get back out again.

I like the way the image of the fairytale’s oven (a place in which bread is made) ties in with the earlier image of the bread that Hansel used for breadcrumbs to make a trail to find their way back out of the forest and the way that the oven/instrument of death that the witch intends to use on Hansel and Gretel is the source of her own demise. Poetic justice.

Links of interest:
Five hundred new fairy tales discovered!
Hansel and Gretel Wikipedia

And here is a poem inspired by fairytale tropes and the spirit of pluck:

Breadcrumbs and Broomsticks
By Annette Marie Hyder

Nibble, nibble, she is the mousie
nibbling at her temptation housie,
a trap made up of her own cravings,
lunacy crafted from her own ravings,
licorice bars and spun sugar cell
butter soft doorknobs that lead to hell
dissolve in her hands and with subtle wrists
she provides her own petard-hoist-twist.

But she left breadcrumbs, indeed she did,
cloaked in sawdust and riddled with twigs.
She also infused them with a fragrance charm
so that she could find them come what harm.
From the belly of the oven to that of the beast
behind the moon and west of east
she’s wearing 100 mile boots and her can’t-fail smile
and she’ll be home to you in a while —
yes, she’ll be home to you in a little while.