Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Fields of flowers: Art Journey Four

After missing Art Journey Three due to family events, it’s lovely to get back to creating with art beads. Art Bead Scene’s Art Journey Four features the art of Odilon Redon:

Bertrand-Jean Redon was commonly known as Odilon Redon (April 20, 1840 – July 6, 1916). His nickname was derived from his mother’s name, Odile. He was a Symbolist painter and printmaker, born in Bordeaux, Aquitaine, France. Redon is one of the most important and original of all the Symbolist artists. Symbolists relied on dreams, emotions, ideas and feelings. They valued the artist’s reveal of their own personal truth. Redon’s work was visionary and focused on the world of his own personal dreams, imagination and fantasy.  Redon believed that art could transcend the everyday and open onto a marvelous world of the mind.

— Art Bead Scene Studio

The ABS team chose three of his works as our inspiration for this journey, and from these I was most drawn to the painting “Bouquet of Flowers”. I love the variety of different blooms all randomly gathered together in the vase — it’s my kind of bouquet — and the palette and dreamy style evokes the beauty of the flowers.

Bouquet of Flowers, 1900-1905
The young Redon was fascinated with Darwinian biology. His late still lifes like this one show a keen naturalist’s eye paired with a vivid imagination. He combined many types of blooms in an explosion of color and shape, much like fireworks in the sky. The vase that was used frequently in such paintings came from his ceramacist friend Marie Botkin.

Around the same time that this Art Journey began, Gaea Cannaday released a series of floral pendants featuring wildflowers, and they really remind me of this painting. I was lucky enough to score a few of them and used two to make necklaces.

The first necklace features flowers spilling out of a vessel, a bowl or vase. I added a chain of Czech glass flowers in different shapes, colours and sizes, knotted onto waxed linen and finished off with a bit of chain around the neck. Note the little bird bead on one side and ceramic round on the other side, which came with the pendant — Gaea makes delightful little bead/pendant sets for her Facebook group sales.

The second necklace uses a pendant made of dark brown, almost black clay, with flowers reaching up like wildflowers in a field. I added two-holed Czech glass flower beads with seed bead spacers and a dragonfly clasp. I wasn’t sure if the flower beads would work the way I wanted them to but it looks amazing! I think I might end up keeping this one for me.

I really enjoyed making these two necklaces, so thank you Art Bead Scene for the inspiration! I’m looking forward to the next Art Journey!

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Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

A Gift From the Sea: Art Journey Two

Art Bead Scene’s Art Journey Two is about to end, and I’ve just managed to slide in under the wire! This Journey has focused on the illustrations of Virginia Frances Sterrett, an American artist whose short career illustrating fairy tales flourished during 1920s. Sadly she died of tuberculosis in 1931.

Art Bead Scene selected three of her fairy tale illustrations as starting points for this challenge, and I chose Proserpina and the Sea Nymphs, an illustration in the book Tanglewood Tales (1921), as my inspiration for this necklace.

Proserpina and the Sea Nymphs
From Tanglewood Tales (1921) illustrated by Virginia Frances Sterrett

The focal is one of Jenny Davies-Reazor‘s amulets, a polymer clay shadow box containing a pearly shell much like the shell held aloft by one of the sea nymphs in the illustration. The pale aqua and teal colours of the illustration, which darken to an inky blue almost perfectly match the colours of Jenny’s amulet. I added a small length of English cut Czech glass beads in frosty aquas, and finished it off with a length of bright copper chain, which provides a lovely contrast to the blues much like the coppery colours of the kelp in Sterrett’s artwork.

I do wish I had time to make some more pieces based on these illustrations, they are so rich with pattern and colours, very inspiring! Thanks again Art Bead Scene! I’m looking forward to Art Journey Three!

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Hoot Hoot

It’s reveal day for the Art Elements February challenge and this month’s theme, chosen by Cathy Spivey Mendola, is Birds of Prey. My bird of prey of choice is the owl, although my owl is definitely on the cute side rather than the formidable side!

I picked out a small owl pendant by Erin Prais-Hintz from my stash, and knotted it up with a selection of Czech glass beads on orange waxed linen, finishing it off with a little brass chain around the back of the neck. It’s a simple piece, but with the blue and orange colour scheme quite striking. The back of the owl is stamped “hoot hoot”, hence the name of the piece.

And at the very last minute while I was putting things away, I found a pair of earring charms from Humblebeads in her faux tin style, with owls (I had been looking for them but they were in a place I didn’t expect to find them!). I love making earrings, they come together so quickly.

Thanks for the theme Cathy, owls are a favourite around here, and even the cute ones are predators. This is a blog hop, so please have a look to see what others have been inspired by the theme to make:

Guests:

Tammy

Beth

Cat

Anita

Kathy

Alysen

Linda

Rozantia

Jennifer

Hope

Sarajo

Melissa  <– YOU ARE HERE

Sarah

Team Members: 

Caroline 

Cathy

Claire

Jen

Jenny

Karen 

Laney

Lesley

Lindsay

Marsha

Niky

Sue

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Butterfly Dreams: Art Journey One

Art Bead Scene has refreshed its monthly art challenge for 2019, providing more time, more art and more inspiration! The new challenges have been renamed Art Journeys and the first one features two lovely nature illustrations by Art Bead Scene leader Heather Powers.

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In Heather’s words:

I love drawing things that nurture the soul, relish in the simple life and celebrate the every day.

I created this piece to represent the light within each of us, our ability to be kind, loving and uplifting and how that will attract beauty to us.

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I decided to focus on Heather’s moth and butterfly theme for this piece, rather than the colour palette, and pulled out a cute set of beads from Gaea Cannaday to use in a necklace. The colours aren’t quite the same as those in the illustrations, I went for a slightly brighter, summery palette. I also took inspiration from some of Heather’s simple, sweet necklaces, making a tassel using some chiffon ribbon and stringing the pendant I made from the tassel and beads on natural leather.

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Thanks for the inspiration Heather, can’t wait for the next Art Journey!

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Books

Diana’s moon earrings

It is such a long time since I last blogged, I think I posted just once last year. I’m hoping to get more into it this year, but we’ll see if that happens. There are a number of regular challenges I hope to take part in.

Anyway, I digress. This pair of earrings is doing double duty, as a piece for Art Elements’ monthly challenge, which for January is Moon, and also for Allegory Gallery’s Inspired by Reading Book Club, for which the book of the month is Deborah Harkness‘s book A Discovery of Witches, one of my favourite reads of the last few years.

A Discovery of Witches is the first book in the All Soul Trilogy, a series about a witch and a vampire, two of  three “creature” races that live amongst us. Diana, a historian and reluctant witch who refuses to knowingly use her magical powers, inadvertently calls up a long-lost alchemical manuscript from the depths of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, which promises answers to the origins of the supernatural races, witches, vampires and daemons. Scared by it, she sends it back and it disappears again, but not before it has been noticed. Pursued by other creatures who want the book, she runs straight into the arms of Matthew, a 1500 year old vampire and the two fall in love, which is, of course, forbidden between the races. The series is about their hunt for the manuscript, and for its meaning for creatures. It has also recently been made into a TV series.

So how does this relate to the moon? At one point in the book, Diana calls on her namesake, the goddess Diana, who makes an appearance in later volumes as well. Diana is the Roman Goddess of the Hunt and is also strongly associated with the moon.

The moon gave me a way to do both challenges at once. These earrings have a beautiful pair of enamelled charms from Anne Gardanne, featuring a silvery crescent moon on a deep blue background. I’ve paired them with a couple of silver owl beads, that just seemed to want to go with the moons. I’m quite pleased with them, they are simple but rather pretty (and I’ve just realised that one of the owls is upside down — oopsy! Good thing these are for me!).

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I made another moon necklace last year that I was rather pleased with, that I don’t think I have posted on this blog, It features a Gaea Cannaday resin and copper pendant showcasing one of her gorgeous moon paintings. And even though it wasn’t made specifically for this challenge, I think it’s quite fitting that I show it off here.

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If you’d like to see what other people made for the Inspired by Reading challenge, check out the Facebook group. And to see the other Art Elements Moon creations, please check out the blogs of the other participants below:

Jenny

Melissa

Kathy

Sarajo

Hope

Sarah

Rebecca

Divya

Anita

RosantiaR

Cat

Evia

Alysen

Beth

Tammy

Art Elements Crew:

Claire

Laney

Caroline

Cathy

Sue 

Niky

Jenny

Jen

Lindsay

 

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Books

Inspired by Reading: The Swan Thieves

This month in the Inspired by Reading Book Club and challenge our book was The Swan Thives: A Novel by Elizabeth Kostova. It was a big book but surprisingly readable for all that, with a dash of intrigue, a psychological element and a good dose of art history. In any case I enjoyed it! 

The premise of the story is a psychiatrist trying to understand his patient — renowned painter Rob Oliver — who has attacked a painting purported to be by a particular artist of the French impressionist school. Oliver’s story is told largely to Dr Marlow by his wife and his ex-lover, and gradually uncovers an obsession with a young French  woman, an impressionist painter torn between her respectable marriage and her passion for art. Ultimately the mystery is solved by the psychiatrist. 

Although I sometimes found the jumping between the characters confusing, I thought that the author painted a good picture of  Oliver and the obsession that overtakes his art. And I loved the author’s vivid imagery, which suited a book about painters. 

There were two elements of the book that I wanted to explore with my Jewellery but unfortunately I only had time this month for one. The angle I didn’t have time to take was to look at some of the impressionist paintings mentioned in the book, including those by Alfred Sisley, who painted a number of streetscapes in the towns of Louveciennes and Moret-sur-Loing, both mentioned in the course of the story. I even picked out a set of boro lampwork beads in the colours of a winter streetscape that I wanted to use, but I realized I need to figure out the best way to highlight the beautiful beads. 

But the other scene that grabbed my attention was from early in the book, when the psychiatrist Andrew Marlow was visiting the scene of his patient’s crime at the National Gallery of Art. He meets a young woman (who unbeknownst to him will become crucial to the story) and it is his description of the Jewellery she wore that got my attention:

… on her collarbone she wore a necklace if knotted leather strung with long ceramic beads that looked as if they could have had prayer parchments rolled up inside them. (Chapter 6, The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova)

I came across a polymer clay bead made by local artisan Jenny Church (she doesn’t have a website but she sells through the Facebook group Australian Art Beads), that was long and covered in mysterious writing. I asked Jenny if she would make me some matching beads, and knotted them all together on leather with some Greek ceramic beads with a grey and gold look. I used more of the Greek ceramics to make a button and loop closure to the necklace. 

  
I was quite pleased with the chunky look of the piece, it’s not often that I use big beads in my jewellery designs. 

For more about the challenge, and to see what others have been inspired to make by the book, visit the Inspired by Reading Facebook page

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

The Wonky Bead Blog Hop

A little while ago, Kristi Bowman decided to hold a blog hop to see what jewellery designers might want to do with her new “wonky beads“—big fat chunky polymer clay beads in vibrant colours and textures. I jumped right in and ordered the Fuschia colourway. When the beads arrived I was thrilled with them, they are such vibrant silky colours!

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It took me a while to decide what to do with the beads, as they are much larger than I usually play with, and I was unsure what to pair them with. In the end, I pulled out some ivory large hole pearls in similar hues to the single ivory wonky bead, and found a bag of purple Greek ceramic beads with magenta and gold splotches (technical term, that one!), as well as some lavender waxed linen cord and antique brass chain.

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While I was in Kristi’s shop, I also picked up a pair of flower charms in the same shade of purple. I knotted them to a pearl and then continued to knot the linen up the front of the brass earring wire, twisting it around as I went.

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I’m really happy with how this set turned out, think I might keep them for myself!

Thanks again Kristi for the opportunity to play with your funky wonky beads! There are other participants in the blog hop, please go and have a look at their creations on Kristi’s blog, or hopefully by clicking on the links below!

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