Inspired by… A Rumor of Gems

This month’s “Inspired by Reading…” book group selection was “A Rumor of Gems” by Ellen Steiber

A Rumor of Gems

I had a feeling I would like this book. Gemstones appearing, magic and mystery, myth and legend come to life. These are motifs that have fueled my work and inspired me since I was a child, with renewed interest in Art School, studying on England, doing my own research… I expected the inspiration for a piece to come easily, and actually it did not… 

The book is quite engaging, filled with rich characters that have depth, revealing their secrets over time. The locale is both here and now, a city you can imagine readily, and a fantasy landscape of the imagination. I was  drawn into the story, and thoroughly enjoyed it…  

When I finished the book – I had little time remaining with which to design and create a piece. Where to start? I was drawn to the moonstone as it’s one of my favorite stones and I have a lovely cabochon waiting for a setting. But that was to easy for me, too clear cut and evident.  I try to truly challenge myself when I am doing a blog hop, an event like this. It becomes my time to experiment, to play, and to be free of the constraints of shows, schedules, inventory. To make a piece for myself – whether it is a success or not… 

The scene I found to be the most evocative was Alasdair in the Womb of the Mothers. I was thrilled to read the names of so many goddesses, with respect and reverence. They were represented as many faces of the archetypal Maiden/Mother/Crone goddess. I work with the feminine divine frequently in my artwork, surely my inspiration would come from this scene? I have a stellar piece of lapis – as Alasdair gave his personal lapis life stone to the Cat Goddess. But my Muse was silent. 

So I went back to the beginning: 

“Alasdair left the apartment at midnight, well into Hekate’s hours. She was present tonight. He had felt her from the moment the sun sank beneath the horizon, had seen her in the waning crescent of the moon, had heard her owls calling from the hills… And it made sense that she’s be comfortable here. The city was , after all, a crossroads of sorts, and she is a goddess of crossroads.” (page 25)

This was the first goddess reference in the book, and it was exciting to me… It set the tone of myth and magic come alive, of scholarly fact interwoven into the fiction of the tale. This – Hekate – was my inspiration. 

 Hekate and Cerebus

Hekate & Cerberus, Apulian red-figure krater
C4th B.C.

Hekate

Hekate is the goddess of the night, the moon, the Underworld, and magic. She is the dark moon, and with Artemis (Maiden) and Selene (Mother) makes up the Triple Goddess. (She is partnered with Persephone and Demeter in the same way). This three fold nature continues in Hekate’s associations with crossroads where 3 roads meet, and with seeing the past, present, and future. Crossroads are liminal areas, areas of transition; Hekate governs life, birth and death. She welcomes souls to the Underworld, yet carries a torch to light the way to the future. One of her symbols is a key – to unlock inner mysteries. 

The key and her role as the goddess of the Dark moon, the crone, the wise woman… was where my inspiration lay. I chose to use a large black labradorite stone – as a stone was essential based on the book – and this stone evoked the dark moon. 

black labradorite 

Hekate pendant

I sculpted a polymer pendant – three cornered for Hekate’s crossroads. The stone is set with a wire staple and then an additional polymer bezel.  It bears the marks of stars for her mother – the Titan Asteria (Star). and is crowned with 2 crescents to represent the other aspects of the Triple Goddess. A key dangles from the bottom of the pendant. The polymer is hand painted, and finished with Gilders paste for a subtle sheen. 

I plan to finish this with a necklace of gems. Moonstone, labradorite, hematite, pearls, garnet perhaps – but there was no time… 

pendant with key

gems ideas

William Blake's Hekate

“The Night of Enitharmon’ Joy” (aka The triple Hekate) by William Blake. 1795. Pen and ink, watercolor on paper. 

This is one of the iconic Art History images I always associate with the goddess Hekate. 

 

Thank you for reading my ramblings! I am sorry I did not get the piece done – I am very happy with the results – this one is for me although I may make another similar version. Please check in on my colleagues and freinds who are also participating! It should be a very inspired and inspiring selection this month after such a good read! 

Mary K. McGraw http://mkaymac.blogspot.com/
Mary Harding http://maryhardingjewelrybeadblog.blogspot.com/
Jenny Davies Reazor http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog/
Judy Campbell http://www.macmillanmarie.blogspot.com/
Jeanne Billeci Steck
Andrew Thornton, Laurel Ross, Terri Greenawalt http://andrew-thornton.blogspot.com/ 

Participants will also be listed here. 

 

Resources: 

Theoi

A-muse-ing Grace Gallery ( The Art of Thalia Took)

Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

BeadFest – these are the people in my neighborhood

My first Beadfest as an exhibitor has come and gone. It was most definitely worth the days spend firing and glazing in a frenzy! I had a wonderful time – seeing my pieces well received, meeting new friends, catching up with old friends. And I managed to fit in a little shopping and a bit of barter (tomorrow’s post). For now – a recap of the booth, and a few of my neighbors. I regret not taking more people pictures…I seem to have focused on the beads. 

My booth

high fire and words

"Mythic Nature" series

Lunar Hare

Lampwork lovelies from my neighbor Sue Kennedy of Sue Beads

 Sue Beads

What patience! Hundreds of raku beads from Amy at Xaz Bead Company

Xaz Bead Co.

One of a kind ceramic focals and buttons from Mary Hubbard at White Clover Kiln.

White Clover Kiln

Green Girl Studios – pewter charms, buttons, pendants…

Green Girl Studios

Lampwork from Heather of HBM Studios. 

HMB Studios

Lampwork focals from Anne of Gardanne Beads. 

Gardanne beads

The show was great, although long hours on one’s feet. The atmosphere was very invigorating, and creative. I am thrilled to be part of this community; I am very glad I took the leap and applied. Although it seems very quiet here at home, alone – I am full of ideas and energy – so thank you friends!

 

 

 

Denizen of the Deep – Suburban Girl Design Team “Summer” reveal!

Summer! It is here – no questioning that! Temperatures in the 90’s here in Delaware have me dreaming of the ocean. Luckily all of DE is relatively close to the beach (as opposed to the shore in NJ) and headed there for a respite soon. The summer charms from Diana arrived ages ago – and a lovely lampwork from Jan as well! I confess, I finished this yesterday. I have been up to my elbows in clay, teaching sculpture and wheel throwing at Clay Camp – and found it hard to switch gears. But with such lovely ingredients in my mind’s eye – I think I was designing this piece weeks ago in my head!

Summer sampler Summer loot

Here is the first pile of potential pairings. I knew I wanted to use my own ceramic mermaid pendant, how could I not? The colors in Jan’s bead were so inviting! And the gorgeous paairing of sandy brown and celadon in Diana’s – so my style! Here is: shell slice, mother of pearl, stick pearl, sea glass, river stone. 

Idea pile 1

I wanted to bring more of the earthy sand color in – so Marsha Neal Studios silks to the rescue. I have a huge stash I sell with my pendants – so I am spoiled and have a color for every need!

Add some silk...

Hmm. The pile of potential has changed. Abalone, amazonite, recycled bottle glass beads, copper green pearls, jasper… What jasper is that? THe dark teal-y one with drown matrix? You know the one I mean…

Getting closer...

And here she is: “Denizen of the Deep”. I ended up with pearl and kyanite as the dangle, abalone, amazonite, MOP, pearl, and that jasper as the gems strand. 

Denizen of the Deep

I wanted the larger components on the right to be balanced visually, so the left side is a double strand of gems and matte olive seed beads. Here’s a detail of the pendant and the SGD Team featured components: 

details...

The starfish, you say? Where is the starfish? I had to go rogue and do a companion piece. I wanted the starfish to get equal attention, so it is the focal on the matching bracelet ( silk, seed beads, and gems – as inteh necklace)

partner piece

The completed pair

Hope this finds you cool and content – enjoying the best of summer and avoiding the worst. Have a cold beverage, some sushi, and channel your inner mermaid!

Please stop by my partners pages as well!

Diana Ptaszynski http://www.suburbangirlstudio.com/
Jenny Davies-Reazor http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog
Kristen Stevens http://kristen-beadjourney.blogspot.com/
Jan Onipenco http://moltenmayhem.typepad.com/
Marla James http://marlasmudmoments.blogspot.com/
Sandra Basara Miller http://www.sandra5461.blogspot.com/
Michelle Buettner http://misheldesigns.blogspot.com/

 

The Soup is ON! Bead Soup Blog Party…

Arrival

It came nestled in purple, a color often associated with royalty. And I surely felt like a queen when I opened up one precious pouch after the other! SO many! Such treasure… Jelveh outdid herself.  Now I had seen her blog and her Etsy site – and I can honestly tell you, I was eager to take a peak at the lampwork. For she is a lampwork goddess, and I assumed I would get a lampwork focal. This is a busy part of the year for me and I was most often in the basement studio glazing ceramic tiles and pendants. So one Saturday, I cleared my schedule, brewed fresh coffee (the brew of inspiration) and sat down at my table…

work table

(This is a clean view of my table. Believe me – once the magic starts there is not so much empty space visible…)

BSBP sketchbook

And I sketched, and planned. I wanted to be able to share the process with you, and also have a record for myself, for the future. The ideas for the main pieces were pretty immediate. 

first BSBP

The first piece. Made entirely of BSBP beads and clasp; nothing at all from my stash. I had challenged myself to do that, and being my first BSBP had no idea if I would succeed. My generous partner made it easy! This piece was designed for my mother, as it is not my color palette. The lampwork focal is such rich gorgeous deep colors. You need a better view: 

first BSBP view

And then for my sister (who now will know what one of her birthday presents will be…) as she is a Scorpio. Classic, versatile black and silver – she is a lawyer and often likes to dress up the professional uniform with a little non traditional bling. (Again – all BSBP stash)

scorpio earrings

These green beads shouted spring, vegetation, plants… so I paired them with glass floral beads and copper. I wanted the warm copper tones to mellow the sharp fresh green hue. 

spring earrings

Now – for the biggee. Drumroll please…

BSBP the biggee

When I saw this lampwork focal I immediately knew I wanted it to stand strong with accents to support it yet not compete. It is large and exquisitely detailed, with a diverse color palette. The blue stones from the soup worked well in scale and color; so I added silks, double strands to bring out some of the other pastel tones in the focal. The only items from my stash: the silks and the clasp. How serendipitous to have cones in my soup? 

BSBP focal

And them there is still soup to savor on another day! As with homemade soup – it is often better the next day after the flavors meld. I look forward to returning to a second helping with this: 

doggie bag

And the most delectible morsels…

favorites BSBP

The lampwork goddess bead I simply adore. That one is mine! She is a dark plum/brown which makes me think of Earth, fertility, vegetation.  I am thinking of breaking out the seedbeads. I know – shocking! But beading a fringe bouquet with gladd flowers and leaves – are those even the right terms? I see it in my mind’s eye, and know those relatively simple beadweaving techniques. 

Oh! Don’t go yet. I have to give you the list. But thank for stopping in – I would love to hear your thoughts on my creations, and I hope to see you around in the future…

Here is the full list of participants! Bead soup Blog Party 2011