Jan 07, 2013 Creative Conundrums and Poisonous Plants It’s 2013 and we’re all still here! This feels like a special year. This is the first year I have ever begun where Mother Eagle is the business I want it to be, with no fear or anxiety that it’s not quite me, not quite right. For a while now I have been gripped with the desire to create a series of embroidered jewellery designs based on magical and poisonous (sometimes both) plants and trees. Mother Eagle would have these in her garden, and in the woods around her, know them well and use them wisely. Many years ago I began training as a Medical Herbalist, and although this never transpired, (I am a Clinical Aromatherapist instead) I have a lifelong interest in plants, matched with one in folklore and traditional medical and magical practices. My bookshelves grown under the weight of such themed titles and so the first problem I had was narrowing it down. Over the Christmas break I started researching the MOST poisonous and the MOST magical plants, trees and herbs, made a list, added the folklore, what they looked like etc…There were many. Too many. The next problem I had was the uncomfortable one of commercial success and popularity versus personal indulgence and artistic interest. Although I will get a kick out of embroidering all 13 traditional magical trees from the druid calendar, plus every native British magical and/or poisonous plant, will anyone want to buy one and if they did want to buy one, am I going to be inspired to create another copy? However, if I learnt anything in 2012 it was about having artisitic integrity. I have a few issues here. Like the fact that Mother Eagle isn’t me. She isn’t a Druid nor is she a witch (at least not a ‘typical’ one, if there is such a thing). My interests do not necessarily translate into her life. Similarly, some poisonous and interesting plants just don’t look very interesting, so they won’t work as jewellery very easily, like Poison Hemlock for example. Certainly not very recognisable unless you really know what you’re looking at. Looks like Cow Parsley. Probably how it kills you but anyway…Blackthorn is another very dark and sinister plant that I was really keen to do, but I’m not sure about how I would create the long nasty thorns. And again, would this will bring success to the collection commercially? I can’t deny that having strong pieces like the Midwinter Fox or Wolf, or the skull trio have attracted the interest of bloggers and press, and have been my most popular pieces to date (both animals now on a made to order basis, the first edition sold within weeks). So an animal element is always going to be strong and with wider appeal, than, lets say Wolfsbane (above), which again has a lot of fascinating history and deadly fame, but just isn’t an iconically recognisable plant or frankly easy to create in stitch. Then there’s also all my older designs, like the Owl Pendant and the Hare that only exist in metal frames at the moment and I want to ‘upgrade’ them to a fresh wooden frame. Desicions, decisions… I put it to my fans on Facebook and Twitter and got a very positive response, which I thank them enormously for! So although the next 2 collections for 2013 will be dominated by new designs, there will also be some classics, upgraded or with a new twist. The images I share here with you are of plants that didn’t make the cut (hover on the image to see what they are!). But if you don’t agree with me, you can always have me create your own bespoke piece! I just added a page to my website telling you all about how to commission me :) I couldn’t resist sharing with you what (at the moment – things may change!) you can expect from Mother Eagle jewellery this year. I don’t feel there is a compromise here, and I’m excited with how I think I will execute each piece! There will be a LOT of Stumpwork featured to stretch my skills: Midsummer 2013 Collection: Oak (an acorn pendant) Birch (brooch) Crabapple (Pendant) Mandrake (Pendant) Foxglove (Pendant) Hawthorn (Pendant) Henbane (Pendant) Bee (Pendant) Raven (Brooch) Toad (Remake of the Pendant) Stag (Remake of the Pendant) Skeleton Hand (Pendant) Willow (Brooch) Midwinter 2013 Collection: Mistletoe (Pendant) Holly (Brooch) Ivy (Pendant) Pine (cone – Pendant) Arctic Hare (Re-do Pendant) White Stag (Re-do Pendant) Hedgehog (Brooch) Yew (Pendant) Femur (Brooch) Ribcage (Remake of the Pendant) Elder (Brooch) Mugwort (Pendant) Deadly Nightshade (Pendant) Which pieces are you most excited about?