From the Faraway Tree — the Challenge of Literature Blog Hop

A little under a month ago, Erin Prais-Hintz from Tesori Trovati/Treasures Found unveiled the latest in her quarterly series of challenges and blog hops—The Challenge of Literature. The brief? To use literary inspiration to create a piece of jewellery.

In Erin’s words:

What is your favorite literary pastime? Do you enjoy reading poetry? Are you a fan of the classics like Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, or the Bronte sisters? Do you recall the first novel that you ever read that you so fully connected with? Or are you in the throes of reading bedtime stories so that colors your literary world?

Whatever your inspiration… poetry, drama, mystery, fantasy, realistic fiction, romance, graphic novels, children’s illustrated or young adult… I challenge you to be inspired by literature this month!

If you love reading, this is the challenge for you! For the Challenge of Literature, we will choose a piece of writing that speaks to each of us personally and translate that literature into an accessory.

via Treasures Found :: Inspiration is Everywhere.

From the moment I read her post, I knew this challenge was something that spoke to me. I love to read, and I always have.

But what would best inspire me? My favourite genre is fantasy, closely followed by science fiction. And paranormal and horror fiction. And historical fiction. And chick lit. The occasional thriller, especially if it has a science bent. See what I mean?

And then I thought of Enid Blyton, whose tales of fairies and forests started my love of fantasy. Oh, The Enchanted Wood, The Magic Faraway Tree and The Folk of the Faraway Tree. Reading these books transported me to a delightful land of fairies, pixies and gnomes, animals who spoke, magic lands and adventures. I have read them all dozens of times, as a child and as an adult. I still own copies—and not the politically correct and sanitised versions from the 1990s but the original copies I had as a child, battered and well read.

For those who have not been lucky enough to read these classic books, the Faraway Tree is a magical tree. Three children—Jo, Bessie and Fanny—move to the country. One day, they discover a mysterious woodland, the Enchanted Wood, and at its heart is the Faraway Tree. When the children climb up the tree, they discover that there are all sorts of folk living in the tree, and at the very top, a ladder leads up to a series of magical lands in the clouds, with names like Topsy-Turvy Land, The Land of Take What You Want, The Land of Birthdays, The Land of Toys, The Land of Enchantments and more. Not all of the lands are pleasant, and the children have many adventures with their friends from the Tree, Silky the fairy, Moonface, The Saucepan Man and more.

“It’s a simply enormous tree,” said Jo. “Its top goes right up to the clouds—and oh, Dick, at the top of it is always some strange land. You can go there by climbing up the top branch of the Faraway Tree, going up a little ladder through a hole in the big cloud that always lies on the top of the tree—and there you are in some peculiar land!”

“I don’t think I believe you,” said Dick. “You are making it all up.”

“Dick! We’ll take you there and show you what we mean,” said Bessie. “It’s all quite true. Oh Dick, we’ve had such exciting adventures at the top of the Faraway Tree. We’ve been to the Rocking Land and the Birthday Land.”

“And the Land of Take-What-You-Want and the Land of the Snowman,” said Fanny. “You just can’t think how exciting it all is.”

“And, Dick, all sorts of queer folk live in the trunk of the Faraway Tree,” said Jo. “We’ve lots of good friends there. We’ll take you to them one day. There’s a dear little fairy called Silky, because she has such a mass of silky gold hair.”

“And then there’s Moon-Face, with a big round face like the moon! He’s a darling!” said Bessie.

(From The Magic Faraway Tree, by Enid Blyton. First published in 1943.)

I thought to myself, what if I could create the Faraway Tree as a necklace? Who and what would need to be present to evoke this most magical of trees? Well, all magical trees need an owl of course! Silky the fairy and Moonface, who lives right at the top of the tree, near the ladder that leads to magical lands. An assortment of leaves and flowers and fruits from a tree that whimsically grows acorns, apples, cherries, and more.

And here it is, my Faraway Tree necklace, and a pair of leafy earrings to match it.

A closer look at the focal:

And the earrings. I kept them simple, as the necklace is so busy!

Some of the components I used include an owl pendant and some coordinating ceramic beads from Gaea, a couple of spacer beads from Humblebeads in the necklace, and also in the earrings, lovely rectangular rhyolite (also known as rainforest jasper) beads in shades of cream, rusty brown and green, brass chain, lots and lots of Vintaj components including the branch, earring leaves, fairy and Moonface charms, plus a sweet acorn cap and a leafy clasp, Czech glass leaves flowers and rondelle “fruits” and a couple of sweet little flower headpins I found on Etsy some time ago. A scrap of sari silk in colours to tie it all together that was wrapped around a package of sari silk from Mudhound Studio.

If reading the books interests you, you can find the more recently published versions on Amazon and The Book Depository, or try eBay for vintage copies like mine.

For the rest of the blog hop participants use the links below or visit Erin’s blog:

Erin Prais-Hintz
Rebecca Anderson
Rose Binoya
Lori Bowring Michaud
Shannon Chomanszuk
Marlene Cupo
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Kim Dworak
Beth Emery
Therese Frank
Amy Freeland
K Hutchinson
Jennifer Justman
Susan Kennedy
Linda Landig
Lisa Lodge
Lisa Lowe
Kirsi Luostarinen
Beth McCord
Melissa Meman
Sharon Misuraco
Tracey Nanstad
Melinda Orr
Kashmira Patel
Alice Peterson
Sally Russick
Niky Sayers
Pam Sears
Amy Severino
Tracy Stillman
Emma Todd
Melissa Trudinger — you are here!
Lesley Watt
Shai Williams

20 thoughts on “From the Faraway Tree — the Challenge of Literature Blog Hop

  1. Melissa this is a lovely piece. I love all the elements you put into this necklace. It certainly looks enchanting, and fits the theme of your chosen book.

  2. Melissa – I adore the necklace. It is my favorite piece that I have seen so far in the challenge (I’m half way through). Love everything about it – great job!

  3. I am not familiar with the book series – but it sounds just wonderful! And after your description of it – you seem to have captured the essence of the books just perfectly in your piece! I love it!

  4. Hi Melissa,
    Beautiful necklace! I love all of the elements that went into your design. Although I have not read these books, I feel that you captured the essence of the book through your description and passages.
    Therese

  5. I am not familiar with the books, or the illustrations – but that sounds so fabulous! The Magic Tree as the apartment building of the Fae! Your necklace is a great fit! Bits and baubles, treasures tucked int eh branches…an eclectic mix, woven into a magical whole! So perfect!

  6. I am absolutely crushing on this necklace! I love the fantasy woodland feel, the way the characters like the fairy and the owl are woven throughout. This is a really fun piece and I am so glad you shared these tales, as I have never read them! Thank you for playing with me in this Challenge! Enjoy the day. Erin

  7. looks like a bit of a magpie collection, and I really mean that in a nice way… I would see this on a fairy for sure. I’ll have to keep an eye out for these books. I’m definately leaning old school on my kids books

  8. Your necklace is so lovely and viney and woodsy and whimsical all at one time! You combined so many wonderful elements in a very skillful and successful way! The sari silk – just the thing and it came by accident on a package! Never throw anything away, that’s what Erin Prais-Hintz told me and she’s right! Wise to keep the earrings more simple, but they’re wonderful. It would be so fun to wear this! Excellent interpretation!

  9. I could so see this around my neck, and that’s coming from a non-jewelry wearer (only a creator) as well as a non-reader (except to the grandkids)! You have me hunting for the collection for them. Great job!

  10. omg! i love love love your necklace! all woodsy and whimsical. just perfect. you asked on my blog (storiesbyindigoheart) whether or not my sister likes my necklace. she absolutely adores it! yesterday i gave it to her as a gift and she said something to the effect of, “oh, my goodness. i so wanted this but i wasn’t going to ask, so thank you so much.” (!!!!) yay! i guess i should add that into my post, huh? anyway, just wanted to answer your question and let you know how much i like your piece. it looks like something i would wear!

  11. What a wonderful necklace – love all the different components you used to capture the story! I am going to have to look into these books now 😉

  12. Those books sound wonderful, I will have to look for them. I love your necklace it captured the spirit of the tree perfectly. Beautiful.

  13. Came back to thank you for commenting on my blog! I couldn’t find an e-mail for you and it was fun to see the lovely necklace and earrings again!

  14. This is just beautiful! What a wonderful piece! So full of fascinating little details, I could look at it for hours! These books sound so enchanting, I would love to get them for my little ones to read 🙂

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