© Memorial Hall Museum, Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association
Four stylized dragon flies dart from the corners of this embroidered square to hover over a cluster of seaweed swirling around the centralized mark of the Deerfield Society of Blue and White Needlework. Originally inspired by 18th century American embroidery, the Society's designers, Ellen Miller and Margaret Whiting, soon incorporated other influences into their patterns. Here, the designer has in mind the Art Nouveau style which, like the Arts and Crafts, was popular in both Europe and America at the turn of the nineteenth century. Characteristic of the style is the presence of whiplash curves resulting from the contained energy of its sinuous lines. Seaweed and Dragon Flies combines these Art Nouveau hallmarks with the Arts and Crafts interest in natural materials and fine hand-craftsmanship. From the 1870's through 1910 dragon flies held sway as a popular design motif.