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