Tuesday, 21 May 2013


Dragonflies are my new current obsession. This was inspired by looking at Art Nouveau jewellery at both the V&A Museum, and also the Musee Des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, both of which house stunning collections of jewellery in specially designed galleries. The main inspiration however, was the stunning brooch above, created by Rene Lalique. It is called "Dragonfly Woman Corsage" (1897-1898) and is in the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon. It captures perfectly the mythology of the dragonfly as well as the fragility, and beautiful irridescent colouring of these wonderful insects. It also embodies themes characteristic of the Art Nouveau movement such as Nature, eroticism and metamorphosis as well as the use of opulent materials.

Dragonflies have a bad reputation in mythology and they are called the "Devil's Darners" as well as "Water Witches" (Lalique may well have had the latter term in mind when designing the femme fatale/dragonfly hybrid in the above brooch). They were said to sew shut the eyes and ears of children who misbehave, pick out human eyes, and weigh the souls of those whose heads they flew around and then bring injury to them.

It's not all bad news for the poor dragonfly however, as they are revered in China and Japan as holy insects and they also symbolise victory in battle. 

Depictions of dragonflies in the arts and crafts of the Art Nouveau movement perfectly show off the variety of colours in dragonflies and their irridescent glow. Compare the bejewelled versions above to the natural versions below.

My new series began with "Sonar" (below) in which I'm trying to emulate the jewel-like colours of the dragonfly bodies. "Echo" is a meditative all-white piece where the dragonflies are laid out in a similar pattern to "Sonar". More pictures of other designs to come soon.