Thursday, July 10, 2014

Art Bead Scene – team members’ challenge blog hop

                           The Little Mermaid by Edward Dulac

The swirls and rhythm of this painting send my imagination into a dance of forms.  When Heather Powers, Editor and founder of the Art Bead Scene blog suggested that we, the ABS blogging Team, have a blog hop of work inspired by the July Challenge painting--seen above--I was quick to say "count me in."  Today we are having the reveal of our creations celebrating art beads.  Some of us made a piece or two or three of jewelry and some of us made  art beads.  I knew from the get go that I would make beads.  And so I did.  I surprised myself by what I came up with.  I hope you enjoy them too.

I start with a picture of quite a few pieces that I made as I played with forms and ideas.

unglazed ceramic beads by Mary Harding

From those I chose a few to take further for today's post.  The ones I didn't choose will be further developed.  Perhaps made stronger or smaller or larger.  Not sure.  The ones with the octopus edges will need to be made thicker I think since I want to run them through the tumbler to soften but not really change the edges.  To sponge clay that thin and delicate would probably break it.

ceramic bead shard with ancient water worn look by Mary Harding

another view of the ancient shard by Mary Harding

The pieces I chose for today's post are rugged enough to stand up to necklace wear and have a wonderful texture and form to color.  I tried hard to keep the palette of the painting but that is very difficult for me to do.  I do think I kept within a reasonable range.  I love the colors of this painting but I could not resist making them a bit brighter after making the first piece a little too dark I think.

Scroll style beads ceramic ( cold glazed)  by Mary Harding

I love all the movement in this painting and tried to recreate it in these scroll shaped beads.  I imagined them being worn on a hemp net style cord.

Scroll bead on hemp net core

Scroll style beads on a hemp net cord.  Beads and cord made by Mary Harding

And finally a couple of little mischievous  sea serpents for charms, or earrings.

                                            Sea serpent charms by Mary Harding

I hope you will check out the work of the other team members to see what they created.

                     Mary Harding  you are here

And then feel inspired to join in and make a piece of jewelry with art beads.  You can get all the details about participating in the ArtBeadScene Monthly Challenge HERE

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Inspired by Reading Book Club: The Drunken Botanist

The June selection for the Inspired by Reading Book Club was The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart and what a fun and informative book it is.  I was captivated from the first pages of the  Aperitif where she describes how this book came into being.  I think it was her love of jalapenos and her introduction to me of the concept of "muddle"  that got me to keep on reading.  And of course because I love plants.  Amy's knowledge about them is astounding and fun!!  The book's format invites browsing and curiosity.  I am sure that I will be forever looking into it to find out more about plants I love and ones I have never heard of.

As I mentioned earlier, my curiosity was perked by the use of the word muddle.  After I found out what it meant, it became the cornerstone of what I was inspired to make for today's blog post.

Yes, that is right, I made a muddle stick necklace.  First I looked up what a muddle stick might look like on Google Images and realized that I had one ready made right in my stash--that is almost ready made.  I did have to add a few components.  

Picture of my loom part

I didn't know exactly what it is called but knew it was for textile manufacture so again I looked on Google Images and found something similar and traced it back to its technical term: pirn bobbin.  And then just for fun I looked on Etsy and there they were.  I had gotten mine some time ago in antique mall.
Set of three vintage wood bobbins, wood spools, vintage sewing
Pirn bobbins on Etsy

Since I have adapted mine somewhat to meet the needs of muddling:  a long stick to bruise herbs, and other plants to flavor a drink, I attached a texture disk that I had on hand to the bottom and strung it all together with a very long and sturdy balled head end pin and then made the wrapped loop for stinging it.
copper clay textured disk  by Mary Harding

When it came to stringing it all together I actually gave up the balled end head pin and instead wire wrapped it to one of my porcelain ceramic beads.

 and then strung on the pirn bobbin and attached the textured disk with a small spacer and a wrapped loop.  I attached a small garlic clove to it it for decorative purposes.  I did not find any reference to using garlic in a muddle but I suppose you could.

And finally an overall view

Overview     Muddle Necklace by Mary Harding

If you are interested in trying a muddled cocktail I would suggest  The Mamani Gin and Tonic  on page 238 even though I have not.  I just think the idea of jalapenos and cilantro with tonic would delicious.  I may even try it without the gin since we don't have any on hand.

Thank you once again Andrew Thornton for a wonderful blog hop and opportunity to let our imaginations run wild and have fun doing it.
Now to visit the others and see what they made.

Andrew Thornton, Laurel Ross, Alison Herrington, Constance Vale and Karen Hiatt

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Time to Stitch 5 Blog Hop

 This is my first time participating in the cool blog hop.  I chose a very simple flat peyote stitch bracelet for this project.  I started with a bracelet in size 6 seed beads.

The second bracelet I made in size 8 seed beads.

Bracelet with stitch changed to size 8 seed beads

Both bracelets together

And the last one still to come will be in size 11 seed beads.

One of the things I learned from this exercise is that what looks good in size 6 seed beads does not have quite the fashionable look once it is done in size 8.  And for size 11 quite a bit is lost.  What I liked about the original size 6 bracelet was that the large button and beads made a fun and bold bracelet.  As it got smaller it got planer I think.  Next time I participate in one of these I hope to be quite a bit more adventuresome and bold as well.!!

Now let's see what everyone else made.  The list follows:



Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Inspired by Reading Book Club An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin

For the month of May, we read An Object of Beauty for our Inspired By Reading Book Club.  It is a fast moving and very entertaining book by one of my favorite actors, Steve Martin.  It takes place in New York City and is about the art world:  galleries, auctions, artists and money.  The setting was nostalgic for me as I lived in New York City for seven years around the time I attended college there.  I was inspired by the main character, Lacey's purchase of Andy Warhol's painting Flowers.  A photo of the work in also in the book as well as quite a few other works of art.

I have always like  Andy Warhol's work and had just the right pieces to make a necklace reflecting on this painting.  I had a number of steel flowers and a necklace form that I had been dying to use.  I had recently discovered that these steel pieces that I had acquired from Objects and Elements going out of business sale could be soldered to brass or copper with soft solder.  So I decided to give it a try.

I love the way they turned out.  A bit offset to one side but the solder just gave the flowers the grungy touch that I was looking for.
Once I had the flowers in place I found a great bulky chain to string them on. And then I found myself in a dilemma:  where would the clasp look best?  In front or back.  I had thought that the clasp in front would give the necklace an asymmetrical look and that would help with the flower placement that was not quite centered.  Not so sure.

So then I tried it with the clasp in the back.  For while I thought I liked that best.

And now I am not so sure once again.  Any suggestions?

I still love the flowers and know that I will have fun wearing this necklace whichever way it ends up.  

Now I hope you will take a look at what the other's created.  They are listed HERE on Andrew Thornton's blog, our wonderful host.  Thanks once again Andrew for making this all happen each month.
Note:  Andrew is traveling to the Bead and Button Show today in Milwaukee so he may not get the blog post on until later today.)

I have updated the link to Andrew Thornton's blog post so that now you can read what he wrote for the blog hop!!

After Reading the comment below from Backstory Beads, I decided to give the clasp another try.  I changed it a bit by adding some silver to it to tie in with the flowers.  Here is how the necklace looks now:
picture taken inside with flash  brings out the true color in the necklace

picture taken outside with natural light

another view with natural light

I think this will be the final version.  Thanks so much for looking.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Echo Creative Club with Jeannie Dukic

                             Echo Creative Club
Last year I was pleased to have been chosen to participate in Jeannie Dukic's Echo  Creative Club and be part of a bead exchange with Jennie.  She sent me a lovely set of red beadswith gold and black highlights that I picked out from her website.  In return I sent her some of my work.
Now it is May and it is my month to share what I made on my blog.

Here is a picture of the beads that I chose from Jeannie's website.  They are  called polarity beads.  They are handmade from polymer clay by Jeannie.  I love the depth of the gold and blacks on and  in the reds.  I received a set of 6 beads.

I decided to make a double wrap bracelet with Jeannie's beads.  I made it differently than I have before and did a sort of free form peyote style bracelet.  I  varied the width of the bracelet and arranged the beads so that they would be shown off to their best advantage.  I gave the button clasp a bright red color to bring attention to the beads and I made a handmade ceramic button.  For the button I hand painted the flowers red and the background a yellow green.  I think it goes so well with the seed beads and Jeannie's beads.

                                                               Mary Harding
           double wrap bracelet showing placement of beads and variegated width of bracelet

When the bracelet is wrapped around the wrist twice, it shows off the beads at the top of the wrist, as planned

                                           Overview of my double wrap bracelet.

Thanks so much Jeannie for this opportunity to work with your beautiful beads.  I loved trying out a new double wrap style.  Best of all it was a pleasure getting to know you and your work.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Textures in Landscape

When I was in Buffalo recently I saw an exhibit by Anselm Kiefer called Landscapes.  The following photos are quotations from Kiefer and closeup photos of the textures in his painting.  His paintings are very large and these pictures are but a small portion of the whole.  I have posted the a full picture of each painting below.

Anselm Keifer's Painting's  Full size in same order as the texture close ups.

I have focused on the textures of Anselm Kiefer's paintings as I feel they highlight the poetic and political energy of his painting.  I found Kiefer's interpretation of landscape very powerful.  He has opened my mind to another way of looking.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Inspired by Reading Book Club Interpreter of Maladies

                                          Mrs Sen's  Short Story  by Jhumpa Lahiri

For April we read Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri for Andrew Thornton's Inspired by Reading Book Club. I have read several books by Lahiri:  The Namesake,  Unaccustomed Earth and part of the Lowlands ( that was in the New Yorker Magazine) so I thought I was ready for this book of short stories.  I especially admire Lahiri for her eloquent prose, articulate portrayal of anguish using the smallest details of daily life, poetic story construction and array of  interesting characters.  But I was not expecting to be ravished by the beauty, the sadness, the prose that is so engaging that one is no longer reading but being, and the images of landscape, dress, hair, weather, and the inside of feelings made into tangible objects that I found in Interpreter of Maladies.  Caught up in all of these experiences, I created the fish in the picture above and from there went on the create a necklace inspired by the story, Mrs. Sen's.
A brief summary would be that Mrs. Sen, a young married woman ( about 30)  is missing her homeland of India,  feeling isolated and lonely and unable to find her way.  The loosely parallel situation of Elliot, a young boy she is babysitting after school  propels the story.  About halfway through the story, we learn through Elliot that there are two things that make Mrs. Sen happy:
the arrival of a letter from her family and fish from the seaside.  How letters from home and fish play out determine the remainder of the story.  I chose to make a necklace with fish because I felt it was the best way I could portray the poetry of feelings in this story.

                                                Polymer Fish  Mary Harding

                                     Polymer Fish  Mary Harding

 I call the necklace Mrs. Sen's Fish.  I made the fish from polymer clay, my now go to medium for creating 3 dimensional images of the imagination.  This fish just sprang from my hands and I felt that Lahiri was guiding me all the way--that is how deeply her work has been affecting me for the past weeks.

But as usual for me, the making and the thinking are different and I have struggled to turn these fish into a necklace that at least comes close to what I wanted it to be.  I knew from the beginning that I wanted the  larger fish to curve around like a necklace so I constructed a framework out of 10 gauge copper that I annealed and forged and then wrapped in linen.

                                               Copper frame wrapped with linen
Copper frame for necklace

I had originally planned to have the clasp in the middle of the back of the necklace but soon learned it would seriously throw off the balance of the necklace so I chose a side clasp which surely worked better.

Early on I decided to change the linen wrapping for a Sari silk dark burgundy since it showed off the focal fish better and I liked the idea of making a reference to how Mrs. Sen dressed:  " a different Sari everyday."

                                          Fish on dark burgundy Sari silk

The necklace went through several other changes but in the end I went for a slightly asymmetrical simple design and two different Sari silk wrappings of the forged copper frame.  Here it is:

                                 Mrs. Sen's Fish  Necklace by Mary Harding

Thank you once again Andrew for creating and continuing to lead this wonderful book club Inspired by  Reading.  I am looking forward to another year as I realize that Interpreter Of Maladies was the last book selection for this one.
Thank you for stopping by. I hope you will check out what others have created.  You can find a list of who is participating here. and below:
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Sarajo Wentling
Jeanne Steck
Mary Harding
Karin Grange
Ann Schroeder
Mary K McGraw
Rachel Stewart
Christine Damm
Andrew Thornton, Laurel Ross, Alison Herrington, Terri Greenawalt, and Karen Hiatt

Raku Bead Video Part III