My three pieces for Romeo and Juliet exhibition are completed and ready for hanging for the exxhibition opening on 8th June.
Collaborating with writer/artist Sheila Farrell in response to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet we were drawn to the Queen Mab speech made by Romeo’s friend Mercutio (Act 1, scene 4) that speaks of the mischievous fairy Queen Mab who meddles with our dreams.
Mab comes from Celtic folklore and for me the speech put in mind the images of the strange creatures in the corbels at Kilpeck Church in Herefordshire. Sheila grew up in Ireland and was surrounded by a culture of such mythical tales. So, we played with the notion of the uncanniness of dreams.
My 'Dream Collection', in the use of imagery, colour and materials aims to capture a sense of the hyper-reality of our dreams and nightmares and of the familiar and unfamiliar touched with faerie magic. I have incorporated Sheila’s words into the works.
I am pleased that with the different use of materials and techniques three different dream moods are evoked.
From Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Act 1, scene 4
ROMEO: I dreamt a dream tonight.
MERCUTIO: And so did I.
ROMEO: Well, what was yours?
MERCUTIO: That dreamers often lie.
ROMEO: In bed asleep while they do dream things true
MERCUTIO: Oh, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
BENVOLIO: Queen Mab, what’s she?
MERCUTIO: She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate stone
On the forefinger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies
Over men's noses as they lie asleep;
Her wagon spokes made of long spinners' legs,
The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers;
Her traces, of the smallest spider web;
Her collars, of the moonshine's wat'ry beams;
Her whip, of cricket's bone; the lash, of film;
Her wagoner, a small grey-coated gnat,
Not half so big as a round little worm
Pricked from the lazy finger of a maid;
Her chariot is an empty hazelnut,
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
Time out o' mind the fairies' coachmakers.
And in this state she gallops night by night
Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love;
O'er courtiers' knees, that dream on curtsies straight;
O'er lawyers' fingers, who straight dream on fees;
O'er ladies' lips, who straight on kisses dream,
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are.
Sometimes she gallops o'er a courtier's nose,
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit;
And sometimes comes she with a tithe-pig's tail
Tickling a parson's nose as 'a lies asleep,
Then dreams he of another benefice.
Sometimes she driveth o'er a soldier's neck,
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades,
Of healths five fathom deep; and then anon
Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes,
And being thus frighted, swears a prayer or two
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab
That plats the manes of horses in the night
And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hairs,
Which once untangled much misfortune bodes.
This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
That presses them and learns them first to bear,
Making them women of good carriage.