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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Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Summer Color Surprise Blog Hop

Some months ago, Lisa Lodge announced another one of her fun challenges and blog hops, the Summer Color Surprise Blog Hop. Lisa’s challenges involve purchasing a kit from her, containing a selection of beads for creating something. In this challenge, we didn’t get to pick the colour of the bead selection, hence the surprise.
The bead kit I received was green. It contained a round Marsha Neal Studio pendant with a spiral design in a pretty shade of green, a handful of large round yellow turquoise beads and some tiny olivine Swarovski bicones.
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While I was tempted to keep to greens alone, I decided the beads needed a pop of colour to pull the three shades of green together, I added some green and orange bi-coloured glass nuggets and some oval antiqued copper chain. Apparently I’m on a long necklace kick at the moment, because this one is about 30 inches long.
Summer colour challenge
With some of the left-over Swarovski crystals and a couple more of the bi-coloured nuggets, I whipped up a pair of earrings too.
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Thanks for the opportunity to create something with these beautiful beads Lisa! I’m looking forward to the next challenge in November. Now, go and check out what other people have made. We all got different packs, so there’ll be a great variety!
Your Hostess: Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist
Chris Eisenberg, Wander Ware Audrey Belanger, Dreams of an Absolution
Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs
Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes <– You are here!
Monique Urquhart, A Half-Baked Notion
Beti Horvath, Stringing Fool
Charlene Bausinger Jacka, Clay Space
Renetha Williams Stanziano, Lamplight Crafts
Leah Mifflin Tees, My Beady Little Eyes
Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Molly Alexander, Beautifully Broken Me
Alicia Marinache, All the Pretty Things
Laurie Vyselaar, Lefthand Jewelry
Eleanor Burian-Mohr, The Charmed Life
Julie Lockhart, Copar Aingeal
Dolores Rami, CraftyD’s Creations
Elizabeth Bunn, Elizabeth Beads
Mowse Doyle, Mowse Made This
Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera
Candida Elkins Castleberry, Spun Sugar Beadworks
Shaiha Williams, Shaiha’s Ramblings
Christie Searle Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry
Andrea Glick-Zenith, ZenithJade Creations