Ms Arachne's Residence

Artwork details: gouache, 19.5 x 27 inches (50 x 69 cm), 2004.

Meet Ms Arachne. Arachne appears in Greek mythology - she was a mere mortal and, foolishly, very boastful about her weaving skills, saying that she could weave better than anyone, even Athene, goddess of the arts... Never, ever say this sort of thing - the gods are always listening, and always up for a fight.

'Ms Arachne' - painting by Nancy Farmer

Of course it all goes horribly wrong for her when she challenges Athene to a competition. Athene turns her into a spider as a punishment for such presumption - at least in one of the versions of the story. The more complex and interesting version has it that Athene is voted winner (because no-one dares disagree, even though Arachne's weaving is more original and imaginative) and Arachne goes off and hangs herself in her distress... and that Athene follows her and turns her into a spider not as a punishment but so that she can continue to live and to weave (or spin - spinning and weaving seem to have got a little confused at this point in the story) because Athene has actually a guilty conscience over the whole incident as she knows full well that Arachne was never going to be voted winner.

'Ms Arachne' - close-up of picture

Well, that was cutting the whole story extremely short - but suffice it to say that the once proud weaver of Greek legend never really got over the trauma of being turned into a spider and her lifestyle went rather downhill after that, so here she is in her neglected and rather squalid council house, inviting you in to her 'Residence'. I wouldn't go in, if I were you.

'Ms Arachne' - even closer!

All images and prints are © Nancy Farmer. Please email me if you wish to reproduce any of these images, or see my permissions page in the 'info' section.

Prints & Original Artwork

You can now buy prints of my work (and a few originals) in my Etsy Shop. If you would prefer to buy direct from me, or you cannot find what you are looking for in the shop, feel free to email me instead: If you are interested in original artwork, I do intend to post a list of currently available artworks in due course, but I'm in the process of moving and re-building a main website, so for the meantime please also email me for more information on originals, and also commissions.