Ella Hawkins talks about the biscuits she makes, inspired by her research on Elizabethan dress, and on everything from William Morris wallpapers to TV shows like Outlander and Game of Thrones. She also talks about her upcoming monograph, titled Shakespeare in Elizabethan Costume: ‘Period Dress’ in Twenty-First-Century Performance (forthcomin from Bloomsbury), which examines how early modern garments are recycled and reimagined in contemporary costume design for Shakespeare.
(You’ll hear Saronik trying, and failing, to recall something Oscar Wilde said. Turns out he was slightly misremembering the exact quote; it’s in “The Soul of Man Under Socialism” and the passage begins with the sentence: “Now, I have said that the community by means of organisation of machinery will supply the useful things, and that the beautiful things will be made by the individual.”)
Ella is a design historian and artist based in Birmingham, England. She has a PhD in
Shakespeare Studies and specializes in the study of stage and costume design, dress history,
and material culture. Drawing on her academic work, Ella creates edible art inspired by museum collections, art
history, and costumes designed for the stage and screen. She uses a range of decorative
techniques to make iced biscuit sets that celebrate the material culture of the past and
present.Ella has previously worked with the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Shakespeare
Birthplace Trust, and the Royal Shakespeare Company on various projects relating to
design and theatre history.
(For our American listeners, ‘biscuit’ in this case means ‘cookie’.)
Image: Assortment of Ella’s biscuits
Music used in promotional material: ‘pastorale’ by Dee Yan-Key