For the Love of Insects

With summer well on its way, here in NC – (I saw my first fireflies today. They never cease to send me into a fit of wonder.) insects are suddenly on my mind again. (The 8 mosquito bites just from planting a melon vine yesterday don’t help keep my mind away from insects, either!

Gardens and their denizens have been favorites of embroiderers for centuries. Spiders and their webs hold pride of place in crazy quilt blocks. In the renaissance and Tudor embroideries, all manner of creepy crawlies appear among the flowers.

But did you know that bellydancers also have a love-hate relationship with the creepy-crawlies? Costumes have been decorated with sparkly versions of butterflies, dragonflies, and so on — usually things with wings (although leaving hte garden mataphor for a moment there have been some unfortunate run-ins with seafood and misplaced, disembodied hands, but hopefully those are rare…)

What interests me is the fact that it seems to be very difficult to do insects on bellydance costumes in a less-than-tacky manner. Butterflies with bra cups for wings, usually made out of those sequinned camisoles that were so popular back in the day (Camisoles and tops that I often love on their own, with a pencil skirt by the way…). Dragonflies on the belt with the body vertical in… umm… suggestive locations. It’s all been done. And often in beautifully executed sequin embroidery.

I have an idea for a garden/insect costume myself, despite the current “thou shalt not even go there” attitude that has developed from the above sad costume choices. Wish me luck — I’ll probably need it. 🙂 But I’ve got other costumes to develop first… and I have GOT to get back to beading that turquoise bedlah I’ve been documenting here!

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