Specialising in fantasy and folklore, The Midsummer’s Night Masquerade is the brainchild of independent artist Megan Johnson, providing her the perfect creative outlet to handcraft a selection of dark and whimsical couture accessories. The Midsummer’s Night Masquerade lives up to its name as a shop for those who live beyond the realms of normal folk. In her selection of one of a kind pieces, the ethereal merges with echoes of the pagan lives of old. Rustic sensuality is made fresh with iridescent shimmers. This place is not only for the Fae to play, but also for anyone to put on a mask and have a taste at being someone new.
I first came across Megan’s creations via her handcrafted polymer clay Ouija board planchette necklaces; the meticulous detail, sensual use of pearlescent and metal paints and tiny glass balls create a sumptuous piece of jewellery. It’s not often that planchettes are created from polymer clay, and her take on this curious object provides a refreshing portrayal of the planchette as a modern accessory. Her Etsy shop holds various playful designs that show an insightful eye to detail, whilst allowing Megan to work with themes that continue to represent her own personal interests.
Seeing her processes through to the very end, Megan works from initial design to creating and photographing her own work. But how did The Midsummer’s Night Masquerade come about? “I started out as a self-taught masquerade mask artist about 15+ years ago, but since then have dabbled in fairy wing making, elaborate art-nouveau style floral crowns, some Steampunk costume accessories. I definitely wanted to keep ‘masquerade’ somewhere in my title. Being that I primarily work with Faery themes and I’m a Pagan, selecting Midsummer was the obvious choice for me in that Midsummer is known as being a time of the year when the presence of Faery is strongest,” explains Megan.
“Most recently I have found myself working with polymer clay creating what I’ve come to call ‘enchanted woodland’ style creations from leaf pendants and mini Fairy Door necklaces to detailed Fairy Frog sculptures, whimsical mushrooms, Tooth Fairy bags, Pagan themed jewellery… and now these Ouija board planchette necklaces. I love myths and legends and Faery and sci-fi. I’m inspired by the artwork of so many amazing artists from Arthur Rackham and Alphons Mucha to modern day artists such as Brian Froud, Alan Lee, and Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, and so many many more. “
Megan doesn’t only create jewellery – with constant versatility, she has also created sprightly head wear, eclectic trinkets (Tooth Fairy bags, anyone?) – and even her own sets of light-up wings. As well as being a self-taught mask artist, Megan had dabbled in the performing arts, not only being the Director of a Faery Cast at Renaissance Fairs but even playing the Faery Queen herself: “I’ve been able to show off my Fairy Wings and make-up skills… not only for myself but for several Fae in my cast, too. That was an enjoyable experience.” More recently, clay has become a primary tool in many of her pieces that are for sale. Each planchette takes Megan anywhere between 5 to 8 hours to create. Moulded from FIMO polymer clay, the designed are dusted with metallic pigments before being baked permanently into the clay. “I add in further details, like ageing or highlighting, or rust patinas with acrylic paints. Each one is sealed with a clear varnish for long-wear protection. For a bit of sparkle and flash, I decorate my planchettes with iridescent glass ball beads, though I’ve recently started to add in accents of crystals. My white-pearl planchette features a chunk of genuine amethyst in the centre.” In light of the Halloween vibe, Megan has recently been adding skeletal body-parts into her planchettes – skulls, thigh bones – even pelvis bones – amalgamate an essence of the macabre into her wildly esoteric and mystical constructions.
“Each [planchette necklace pendant] is about 3″ in length… these aren’t small pieces, and are intended to be used as jewellery,” Megan muses. “But, if someone instead wanted to actually ‘use’ one of these for divination purposes on their Ouija board, I can certainly see that working too!” As part of these new developments, Megan has set up a special Patreon account. “Here people can see not only my most recent creations, but also my ‘secret content’, such as Work-In-Progress photos, perhaps some special blog posts, tutorials, some periodic Patreon-only Etsy shop sale codes, and other ‘behind the scenes’ stuff. But you have to become my Patron in order to be privacy to this ‘secret content’.”
With all of her current projects, it’s exciting to see the extent of imagination going into The Midsummer’s Night Dream. From the depths of the sea to goblins and faery-themed creations, they lurk in the equilibrium between reality and reverie, waiting to find their perfect partner from the world of Man. The Midsummer’s Night Dream promises to bring you an array of luxuries for any time of the year. After all, why should dressing up be just for Halloween?