Score: 96/100 (9.6 out of 10)
Aschenputtel is a brilliantly crafted scarecrow by Jackie Sonnenberg!
Aschenputtel is the main protagonist and later antihero of “Mice” by the same author/artist. The character and name of Aschenputtel (“Ash Girl”) come from the original Grimm fairy tale from Germany, the same tale from which Cinderella popularly comes from.
Following years of abuse, neglect, and overwork at the hands of Edna Dusseau and her two spoiled twin daughters, Geraldine and Josephine, Aschenputtel is granted a blessing from the magical “Great Tree” that consequently leads to her transforming from a sweet, kind, caring, and deferential young girl into a monstrous, terrifying, violent, sadistic, and powerful scarecrow bent on revenge.
That's what we see here.
Sonnenberg perfectly captures the look and feel of this dark, violent, terrifying, yet surprisingly relatable character in this art. Aschenputtel could be any of us on our worst day. She represents the deepest, darkest part of even the best of us. This is ironic because of the “fire” that lights her “heart” and innards, something she willingly adopted in the midst of her merciless and brutal vengeance.
Let's talk about scarecrows for a bit as a basis of comparison. Scarecrows range in their intricacies. They can simply be two planks or mop sticks forming an cross-shape with some clothing draped over them. They could also be quite fancy and intricate, taking hours or even days to make.
This scarecrow by Sonnenberg lands in the latter category. It is really quite intricate, likely having taken several days to make from the ground up.
Something that immediately stands out about Aschenputtel is just how big and like-like she is. She's life-size!
It's impressive how the artist was able to get her lady-like proportions right just through the use of hay. That's something that takes both skill and patience.
What's also incredible is that she appears to be poseable, at least with her arms. You can see this as she gestures with her right-hand in an “oh, my” type of gesture. This could have possibly been accomplished with wires, but we're not sure. The surprised or mortified expression on her face perfectly complements this gesture. Her face almost has a skeletal or ghoulish-like appearance, fitting with the monstrous personality that the character adopts. It also fits the Gothic aspect of the story and character.
There are also some subtle things about this scarecrow that stand out as unique and special. Her ball gown is one example—reflecting the appearance of Cinderella's iconic dress in the Disney film. However, it shows signs of wear and tear. It is noticeably dirty, reflecting the work and deeds of Sonnenberg's character. You can see fire radiating not just from her heart and torso but also in her throat and mouth. It's also flaring or radiating out of her back, represented by the flaming wood behind her. She also appears to be wearing a headscarf which, in contrast to her status as the princess of the fields, reflects her past as a little servant girl.
And Aschenputtel isn't the only entity in this work of art. Also present are the three blind mice, tucked safely away in her pouch. In addition, the crows—her warriors—stand on her shoulders, ready for battle.
This is outstanding!