This empty and unregimented space offered the medieval artist the opportunity to give free rein to his own inspiration and imagination. It was the Terra Incognita he could populate with the scions of his fancy, the space where he could experiment and test the limits of what was socially acceptable. This resulted in a marvellous wonderland full of mischievous, whimsical hybrids known as ‘drolleries’, celebrating a permanent carnival and saturnalia. There are frolicking monkeys, flirting peasants, preaching foxes, asses wearing the Papal tiara, monks, nuns, and kings in half-human, half-animal shape, making music, fighting mock combats, peering vaingloriously into the mirror or insolently at the reader, and so on.


When searching for a new and original concept of wearable art, I soon recognized that these drolleries belonged to the most exquisite, attractive and amusing draftsmanshipthat the last millennium had brought forth. So I decided to make them the centrepiece of my ‘Ailettes’ project by encasing a new and unique figure, hand-painted by myself on true parchment, inside an uncommon, meaningful pendant. Thus, what once was merely a marginal caprice now gets deservedly promoted to a new status of jewel. 

Francisca Shilova


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