I first encountered this story through Alan Garner’s The Owl Service, as did many of us of a certain age. Over the years I have read several versions of Bloduedd’s story. Along with the legends of Merlyn and Nimue, Tristan and Iseult and other tales it has intrigued and beckoned. Exploring Bloduedd as an image has been interesting as it is in her bird form she captures me most. I realised that I had drawn her without her mouth, that I see her as a barn owl and that she is in the process of transforming. I think of it as the silencing of the rebellious woman. Gwydion created her for Lieu, she is given to him but turns against her husband. In the defiance of new love she plots the death of Lieu – only to be re-created by Gwydion. This time as the hated owl, the solitary of birds. The choice of barn owl is a mirror to the ghostly silence of their flight, that and the harshness of their cry when they choose to speak. Much as I imagine she too screams against the control exercised over her by Gwydion.

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