Between the holidays and a book that I didn't feel like re-reading, I've taken a couple of months off from the Inspired by Reading Book Club. It feels good to be back in action for our February selection! This month we read The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by first time author Natasha Pulley.
I was really expecting this novel to have more of a steam punk feel from the cover and description... maybe the octopus on the cover reminded me of the Order of the Brass Octopus from the Parasol Protectorate series! Set in Victorian London with some flashes to Japan as the modern period is just beginning, the book revolves around a trio of characters unlikely to end up in the same circles. The book opens with Thaniel Steepleton, a clerk for the Home Office discovering a gold pocket watch clearly meant for him in his room. There is much mystery around the origins of the watch and what is meant to do... as it does not seem to be an entirely ordinary watch. The titular watchmaker is Keita Mori, a Japanese immigrant who possesses mechanical abilities years beyond any one else. The third main character is Grace Carrow, an Oxford physicist struggling to find her independence in a world not quite ready for that. I don't want to give too much else away and ruin the story for anyone.
Steampunk or not, there was plenty of gears and clockwork involved in the story making me think of a pair of mis-matched porcelain charms by Joan Miller with gear decals. At first I was considering wire wrapping some sort of gemstone beads above Joan's charms. As so often happens to me, when I was looking for something for a different project, I stumbled upon the perfect "cocoon" links from my friend Anna Pierson of Saga Hus. The brown fabric is a perfect match for the gears and the blue dots add a touch of whimsy.
This next pair of earrings has an unexpected connection to the book by way of Katsu the clockwork octopus. Sound strange? Yup. It is. When Eric and I were shopping Michelle McCarthy's booth at Bead & Button last summer, he apparently added some things to my basket without me knowing. One of those items was this little pair of octopus charms... I didn't know I had them until I started putting my beads away after we got home! After reading the book, it seems almost like they stole into my basket on their own like Katsu creeping into Thaniel's dresser! Ok, maybe I'm reading too much into it but it still cracks me up. Fancy wire wrapping is still a little outside my normal comfort zone, but I do like the look so I stretched myself and tried to channel my inner Loralee Kolton for this pair! (Seriously, if you don't know Loralee's work, check out her Etsy shop HERE to see her amazing designs! She's got a major knack for wire work and combining components in wonderful ways!)
Ok enough rambling! I paired the cute little octopus charms in a soft grey-green color with some Labradorite coins. I wanted to hide the wire loop on the charms and add a little more interest to the whole design. Taking a page from Loralee's book, I did some messy wire wraps with tiny grey charlottes around the loops. I think the messy, not exactly matching wraps speak to the randomness of Katsu's workings.
I have a cheap-o "brass" octopus necklace that I bought years ago when I first read the Parasol Protectorate series that I've been meaning to take apart and use the pendant. Unfortunately I ran out of time and that got put back on the back burner for now. Oh well... I'll eventually get around to it! For now I'm going to cuddle up with next month's book!