I learned of the Mystery Challenge late in the game but it sounded like a wonderful challenge. One of my fellow sewing bloggers, Patricia of Sew Far North, was paired with me and knowing my interests and my love of my family history, challenged me to create something that embraced Mary Queen of Scots and my love of Steampunk. It sounded like the coolest and most thought provoking subject ever, I had so many ideas. Unfortunately, most of my marvelous ideas are beyond my skills. I thought I could make a corset befitting a 16th Century Queen, and yet funky enough to be steampunk, well after many attempts I have given up on finishing the corset in time for this challenge, I am determined to have it done for next year’s comi-con though. That left me with no project. I have toyed around with quite a few ideas but in the end I decided that I needed to change gears, step away from the sewing machine and turn back to another of my passions which has fallen by the wayside, I would make something with beads. That brought on the next big question, what to make?
Mary Queen of Scots was far more impressive than I realized, she was a catholic, but loved her people and her country so much that she did not allow any fighting over religious beliefs. She believed that people should honour god in whatever way satisfied their conscience. During her reign, Scotland saw its time of greatest peace, even if they didn’t realize it until years later. At one time she was the Queen of Scotland, France, England and Ireland. She was hated and feared by Queen Elizabeth I, as many English Catholics felt she was the rightful Queen of England. In the long run this fear ultimately led to her execution.
“Perceiving her as a threat, Elizabeth had her confined in various castles and manor houses in the interior of England. After eighteen and a half years in custody, Mary was found guilty of plotting to assassinate Elizabeth, and was subsequently executed.” – Wikipedia
In many portraits, she is shown to be wearing her pearls, or her golden rosary. Just before she was executed she handed her companions her rosary, bible, and Agnus Dei. She refused to renounce Catholicism, and although the last rights and prayers were started in English, she prayed loudly in Latin, and continued to do so until her execution was completed.
How in the world was I suppose to come up with something that would do her justice? Sunday night I decided that the time had come to make something, befitting a Queen or not. When I went to bed I asked her what she thought I should make. This question led to the most amazing dream I have ever had. I met Mary and watched, as though attending a play, her life unfold. She had one true love, Francis II of France (her first husband) who passed away two years after they were married. She stayed alone into her 20’s when she decided she needed to produce an heir. This decision led to a lifetime of horrible, treacherous, power hungry men, all of whom betrayed her. The only “person” who never betrayed her was God. As I sat watching her life, she turned, looked right at me and said “Make me a Rosary, something that embraces what was so important to me, and honours me. My faith is, and always was, that which I held closest to my heart” and then I woke up.
Monday morning once I got the kids to school I set to work on a Rosary fit for a Queen. I did a bunch of research, seeing as I am protestant and we don’t use the Rosary, I wasn’t sure what elements I needed and what had to be absolutely exact. Remembering the Steampunk aspect of my challenge I decided I needed to use materials that were from an era before plastics, nylon and polymer clay. I have a (very messy) cupboard full of supplies for making jewelry, so the hardest part was choosing what to use. I knew I needed metals, stone and precious gems. In the end I found that I had everything I needed including the leather cord to lace it.
I really like the end result, I think she would approve. I plan to make an authentic, period, velvet carrying pouch to protect it. When I get that done I will post it as an update to this post. It was suggested, if I were ever to get to Scotland, I should take the rosary with me and present it as a gift at her family home. I love that idea and will do just that as soon as I am able. As a bonus, I remembered how much I loved making jewelry, and have decided, once my summer capsule is done, I should make a few coordinating accessories, I can’t wait to get started.
If you liked this and would like to see other projects from this challenge, Here is a list of the uber talented bloggers who are taking part in this tour please feel free to go visit them: