The life and death of Hiss and Cackle as told by an observer.
No one from the town could recall the actual birth of Hiss and Cackle, it’s commonly thought that the birth was concealed because the two were joined together in a forever kind of way. It is storied that from the beginning of people's memories, they were only ever remembered as little old ladies, skipping right over Maiden and Mother and settling into Crone.
The two were, rightly so, called witches, but they gave each other their formal names. One was called Hiss; she was the one with some teeth left. The other was called Cackle for the sound that emanated from her facial region as she laughed. They sometimes used the monikers, Blow Smoke and Old Crow interchangeably for each other, in the kindest way possible.
Because it seemed as though the two were born very old, they never had much of a use for parents. Often, it felt as if there were just too many cooks in the kitchen. So, they moved into a cottage covered in ivy, with a secret address.
It was a special extravagance to be invited to their cottage. As you walked in the general direction, you would smell wood violets first, then warm spices from the hearth would unfold to your nose, followed by hints of sandalwood and bourbon dancing through the air.
One thing you could expect, was as you prepared to leave, the ladies would offer you something to take home. It wasn’t something old or unwanted though, it might have been 1/2 of a wonderful idea, the name to a song you would write, or a string of words, that when spoken just as they were whispered to you, would heal a wounded heart. These gifts were important and light as a feather.
As much as Hiss and Cackle thought about their beginnings, they also contemplated their endings. They thought of how large the casket would have to be to hold two sisters. They thought of how it would happen. Hiss would say to Cackle, “Sister, I want to die first, so I don’t have to be one breath without you.” They always agreed that it would be Hiss to go first and Cackle just one breath after. Then they would go on together to the next chapter. Maybe this time, Hiss would be the mother and Cackle would be her child, connected briefly by a cord, but forever by the heart.
Hiss and Cackle were lovingly dreamed into life in my Battle Creek, Michigan studio. They are one, two really of a kind. I create my work using fine antique textiles, wood and clay.