Outlandish Creations: Epic Inspiration Reveal and Blog Hop

Epic Inspiration Blog Hop badge

What’s your favourite epic TV show? There are so many of them these days, from Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey and Black Sails; space operas like Battlestar Galactica and Dr Who; and other big budget dramas like Sons of Anarchy and Mad Men. I thought it would be fun to use these lavishly produced shows as a jumping off point for jewellery design, so I asked a few of my blogging friends to join me in a challenge and blog hop I called the Epic Inspiration Blog Hop.

My absolute favourite show, hands down, at the moment is Outlander. You could say I’m a little obsessed with it. For those who haven’t had the chance to see it yet, it’s a romantic, action, adventure series set largely in 18th Century Scotland, right before the Scots rise under the banner of Bonnie Prince Charlie in their final futile attempt to seize control of the British throne. It’s based on a series of novels by Diana Gabaldon, which are being made into a series by Ron D Moore (whose credits include Star Trek Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, as well as Battlestar Galactica). The summary from Starz says:

Outlander follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate relationship is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

The story is not just a romance, although the developing relationship between Claire and Jamie plays a big part. There are political machinations, accusations of witchcraft, and the looming threat of Black Jack Randall, an English soldier who is the ancestor of Claire’s 20th century husband Frank. The end of season one is truly not for the faint-hearted, and I’m going to be waiting with baited breath for season two to air.

There is a lot to inspire in Outlander. The sweeping vistas of the Scottish Highlands for one. The divine costumes for another. And of course the story itself. I created three pieces inspired by the show, each drawing from different aspects.

My first piece is inspired by the Scottish landscape. One of the key locations in both the book and the TV show is Jamie Fraser’s home Lallybroch. In real life, the derelict Midhope Castle near Edinburgh was used for Lallybroch exteriors.

UK bead artist Natalie McKenna has a series of ceramic pendants inspired by Scottish landscapes. When I saw this one, I immediately thought of Lallybroch. In this piece I’ve tried to invoke the gorgeous vistas of the Scottish Highlands, the blues and greys of the sky, the browns and greens of the landscape. I’ve kept it simple, choosing beads that complement the focal, rather than compete with it, including some more beads by Natalie.

Lallybroch necklace

My second piece was inspired by the incredible wedding dress created by Outlander costume designer Terry Dresbach. Silvery linen is pleated and tucked into a full, lush shape, and flakes of mica give the underskirts a wonderful shimmer as they catch the light. The final flourish is a scattering of acorns and oak leaves embroidered with metal thread across the skirt and bodice:

Image courtesy of Starz

Image courtesy of Starz

If you’re interested, Terry Dresbach has posted close-ups of the dress details on her blog here.

I’ve used the embroidered oak leaves and acorns as inspiration for this necklace. The silver-plated stampings I’ve used look a lot like the embroidered leaves. Through the chain of the necklace, I have woven some grey-green sari silk.

Acorns and Oakleaves

My final Outlander piece was inspired by a line uttered by Jamie Fraser to his wife Claire. “You are my home now,” he tells her in a moment guaranteed to send hearts aflutter! When I came across a word bead by Swoondimples that says almost exactly that, I had to have it. A house to dangle from it from BoHulley Beads. Red hearts for Jamie and Claire’s love, and some blue flowers to represent the Forget-me-knots that Claire picked right before she fell through the stones and into the past. The clasp is a dragonfly, a nod to book two in the Outlander series, Dragonfly in Amber (currently in production for season two).

You are my home

So that’s Outlander. But wait, there’s more. A few weeks ago, when I did Heather Powers’ Game of Thrones challenge, I promised that I had another piece in the works, just waiting for some beads to arrive. This is a necklace inspired by another wedding dress, in this case Margaery Tyrell’s dress for the wedding to Joffrey Lannister. The Tyrell symbol is the rose, and her dress had an intricate train decorated with fabric roses, and beautiful embroidery of thorny vines and flowers across the bodice.

Image from HBO: Making Game of Thrones

Image from HBO: Making Game of Thrones

Leah Curtis from Beady-Eyed Bunny makes polymer clay roses in just the right shape. I wanted to evoke the cascade of roses on the train, and I included some red roses too, just for fun. Silvery thorns peek out between the blooms and red droplets remind one of the hidden dangers of the rose. Quite fitting perhaps as Margaery’s new husband died at the wedding, although not necessarily by her hand.

Margaery's necklace

So that’s it from me, thank you for reading this far and if you haven’t seen (or read) Outlander, give it a go! I’m looking forward to seeing what other designers have been inspired by their favourite shows to make. Here’s a list of the participants, thank you all for playing along!

Melissa Trudinger             https://beadrecipes.wordpress.com (Hostess)

Karen Mitchell                   http://www.overthemoon-design.com

Andrea Glick                      http://zenithjade.blogspot.com/

Karen Martinez                 http://fairiesmarket.blogspot.com/

Lennis Carrier                    http://windbent.wordpress.com

Lindsay Starr                      http://phantasmcreation.blogspot.com/

Mona Arnott                      http://bijouxgemsjoy.blogspot.com

Lee Koopman                    http://stregajewellry.wordpress.com

Shaiha Williams                 http://www.ShaihasRamblings.com

Veralynne Malone            http://veradesigns.blogspot.com

Elisabeth Auld                    http://www.beadsforbusygals.com

Kelly Schermerhorn          http://meanderingwithkelly.blogspot.com

Dini Bruinsma                    http://www.angazabychanges.blogspot.nl

Jami Shipp                          http://www.celebratinglifewithdamamashipp.blogspot.com.au/

Terri G                                  http://terrisbloomingideas.blogspot.com/

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Epic Inspiration Jewellery Design Challenge and Blog Hop

Epic Inspiration Blog Hop badge

I think you’d have to have been living in a cave in the last few years if you’ve missed the wave of Epic TV that has been filling our screens. From Game of Thrones to Outlander, Black Sails to Vikings, Downtown Abbey to Poldark, and more, these shows are lavishly filmed, gorgeously costumed, and rich in inspiration for jewellery design.

So, I thought the time was right to have a design challenge and blog hop inspired by Epic TV. Of course, almost as soon as I thought of the idea, Heather Powers came up with her Game of Thrones challenge, but we talked about it and decided there was enough scope in TV series out there to inspire a dozen blog hops!

If you’re after a starting point for inspiration, may I suggest you check out the official site for your favourite show, as they often have fantastic galleries of pictures as well as links to special features on sets and costume design and so on. There is a myriad of fan blogs and tumblrs for shows too, which can be a great source of inspiration and images taken straight from episodes.

Take my favourite show, Outlander, a period drama (with a splash of time travel), set in 18th century Scotland, based on the first in a series of books written by Diana Gabaldon. It features spectacular scenery and fabulous sets, and the costumes are rich in details and authenticity. The official Starz Outlander website has loads of pictures and videos providing inspiration. And costume designer Terry Dresbach has a gorgeous blog featuring details of the costumes and her own inspirations (I particularly like her posts on the materials used in Claire’s wedding dress—that exquisite metal embroidery!!—and the amazing eye brooch in Geillis’s costume for the Gathering). There isn’t a huge amount of jewellery worn, other than Claire’s wedding ring and a pearl necklace given to her by her new husband, so I know I’m going to have to dig deeper for inspiration.

So. Onto the blog hop. The rules are simple:

  1. Sign up here by commenting on this blog post (if for some reason you can’t leave a comment here, my email address is on the About page of this blog). I’ve put May 3rd as the date to sign up by, but I’m not really going to turn anyone away.
  2. Pick your favourite TV series. Or more than one if you like. It doesn’t have to be a fantasy or period setting, you could choose Revenge or Empire or something like that. But let’s stick to TV—movies can wait for another hop.
  3. Design at least one piece inspired by the series, by the characters or the setting, the costumes or the story, even a particularly inspiring line from the show.
  4. On June 6th, publish a blog post featuring your piece(s), and tell us about your favourite show and how it inspired you, who might wear it (if it is for one of the characters) and so on.
  5. Hop around and check out what others have made. You never know, you might find a new favourite!

Feel free to copy the image at the top of the post to use as a button.

We’re All Ears: Floral February

This month’s We’re All Ears inspiration over on the Earrings Everyday blog comes from a series of mixed media collages featuring watercolour paintings with fresh flowers by Malaysian artist Limzy. Aren’t they stunning!

LimzyFlowergirlsCollage7

The first pair of earrings was inspired in part by my favourite series of books (and now TV series) Outlander (or CrossStitch as it was called in Australia and the UK) by Diana Gabaldon, about an English woman who travels back in time to the days of the last Jacobite rebellion in Scotland in the mid-1700s. Her journey back in time is triggered as she reaches to pick blue forget-me-nots at the base of a standing stone in the Scottish Highlands. They are on handmade copper earwires from Rebecca Anderson and feature Czech glass flowers and waxed linen.

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The second pair is a dainty pink pair for my daughter’s best friend. It’s fun to think that over the next few years as my girls get older and start wearing earrings, I’ll be making earrings for them and their friends too! This pair is on sterling silver for sensitive young ears and again feature Czech glass flowers.

Dainty pinks

Pop over to Earrings Everyday for links to other participants in the monthly blog hop!