Yesterday I dropped my Midsummer collection, and I’m thrilled to share that three pieces have already sold! The remaining pieces can be found here on Etsy. I think we could all use a little dreamy magic right now, so I hope the following images bring you a moment of peaceful whimsy.
The first piece is the Love-in-Idleness flower that Oberon and Puck use to torment Titania and confound the four lovers. I set my design in a beautiful heart-shaped pendant and added a little metallic thread for some magic.
“Yet mark’d I where the bolt of Cupid fell:
It fell upon a little western flower,
Before milk-white, now purple with love’s wound,
And maidens call it love-in-idleness.
Fetch me that flower; the herb I shew’d thee once:
The juice of it on sleeping eye-lids laid
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees.”
Next up is Peaseblossom, the first fairy in Titania’s service. I reused a previous sweet pea flower design for a small pendant, modifying the colours slightly. I used the same light green cotton fabric for all of the fairies and Bottom to give the collection a sense of unity. I’m always pleasantly surprised when I manage to execute the tiny curlicues in stem stitch–it’s very difficult!
“Bottom: Your name, honest gentleman?
Bottom: I pray you, commend me to Mistress Squash, your
mother, and to Master Peascod, your father. Good Master Peaseblossom, I shall desire you of more
The next fairy introduced to Bottom is Cobweb. I used satin threads and set the web in small clip bookmark. Did you know that cobwebs can serve as natural bandages?
“Bottom: I cry your worships mercy, heartily. I beseech
your worship’s name.
Bottom: I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good
Master Cobweb. If I cut my finger, I shall
make bold with you.”
This Moth/Mote choker is representative of Titania’s third fairy. There is some debate whether Shakespeare intended the fairy named “Mote” to be synonymous with “moth” (as some editions indeed change the character name to “Moth”) or if he meant archaic usage of mote as in a tiny particle or dust. I split the difference by making a dusty white moth fashioned in the likeness of a female Gypsy moth. The fact that there is no dialogue with Mote, however, seems to suggest she might be a microscopic spec! I LOVE this piece styled as a choker. I definitely want to make more chokers if I can score more settings.
The last of the fairies is Mustardseed. I love the way this little pendant came out–I find it impossible to resist French knots!
“Bottom: Your name, I beseech you, sir?
Bottom: Good Master Mustardseed, I know your patience well. That same cowardly giantlike ox-beef hath devoured many a gentleman of your house. I promise you, your kindred hath made my eyes water ere now. I desire you of more acquaintance, good Master Mustardseed.”
I decided to immortalise Bottom’s ears in bookmark form. His ears are, of course, adorned with peaseblossom and mustardseed, ready for Titania’s bower.
“When in that moment, so it came to pass, Titania waked and straightway loved an ass.”
Finally, I stitched a night scene of Titania’s bower as described by Oberon. The piece includes yellow oxlips, “nodding” violets, “luscious” woodbine (honeysuckle), and musk-rose. The “watery” moon is casting its light on the top of the bank, illuminating flecks of satin thread. My pieces are usually very planned with details drawn out, but for this one, I improvised on the hillside. It took many hours to create, but it was a therapeutic escape.
“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows
Quite overcanopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine.
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lulled in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamelled skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in.
And with the juice of this I’ll streak her eyes
And make her full of hateful fantasies.”
If you’ve made it this far, thank you! I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing Shakespeare’s beautiful language come to life with needle and thread. I know I certainly enjoyed visiting his fairy land for awhile (can I stay????).
Any thoughts on what my next literary collection should be?
Peace and love in these trying times,