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The Alchemical Kitchen: At Home with Leonora Carrington

The startled group responding to this contact with the spirit world is made up of a motley crew of parrots, demons, and even a nun and a priest. At once playful and serious, the image is constructed of nervous interlocking lines over amorphous washes of subdued colors. Only the central round table remains, pure white and glowing like the orb of a heavenly body, suspended in space and time. I cannot help but think of Carrington’s beloved Lewis Carroll and how this tabletop resembles the mirror through which Alice passes into a parallel world in Through the Looking Glass.

     As I gaze at a photograph taken the last time I saw Leonora Carrington (Figure 12), I am glad that our farewell conversation occurred around her kitchen table. Among the many important things she taught me over the years was that the most humble accoutrements of a woman’s domestic life – a chair, table, oven, teapot – contain a dual life and in the blink of an eye can reveal themselves as portals to other dimensions. I will miss her greatly, but she has left me and future generations armed with the ability to question the established order of things so that we may see with greater clarity that which we have been trained, in our modern world, not to see or value.




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