Bookalicious was held on Thursday 6th October at Post Industrial Design in West Footscray. Just like a grown up ‘book week’, guests were invited to dress up as their favourite book characters. The event was one of many in Maribyrnong Council’s Literary Festival, and was a fantastical evening of food, wine, music and readings – with a mock murder mystery thrown in for good measure. Thankfully Sherlock Holmes was in attendance and got straight to the bottom of it!

hamlet columbine skull

Hamlet was the inspiration behind my floral installation -or more specifically Ophelia and her famous monologue. As you’ll see, the language of floriography was thriving back in Shakespeare’s day…

hamlet rosemary bookalicious

“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray,
love, remember: and there is pansies. that’s for thoughts.”

hamlet pansies bookalicious

“There’s fennel for you, and columbines: there’s rue
for you; and here’s some for me: we may call it
herb-grace o’ Sundays: O you must wear your rue with
a difference. “

“There’s a daisy: I would give you
some violets, but they withered all when my father
died: they say he made a good end…”

Rosemary represents remembrance and pansies were for thoughts, but what were the intentions behind the rest of Ophelia’s strange bouquet?

There are many explanations, but generally it is believed that Claudius receives the fennel for flattery and columbines for infidelity, the Queen receives her rue with the meaning of repentence, while Ophelia ‘wears hers with a difference’ – the other meaning for rue is sorrow. Rue was also thought to assist with abortions, and there is some speculation that Ophelia is pregnant in this scene.

The Queen also receives the daisies, which once represented deception in love affairs (but are now known for loyal love). Finally, violets stand for faithfulness, and as one enthusiast said, ‘It is perhaps Ophelia’s own interpretation that Hamlet’s faithfulness has withered and she cannot possibly love him again’.

Thank you to Mary at Post Industrial Design and the Maribyrnong City Council for their support of such a wonderful event. If you’d like to see some more pictures of the evening, including all the fabulous costumes pop on over to Post Industrial Design.