Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February Art Bead Scene Challenge

If you are at all interested in art beads or jewelry making, there is a fabulous blog called Art Bead Scene (or ABS for short) that does a monthly challenge based on a piece of art.  The only real rule is that any creation you enter must include an art bead (i.e. a bead, charm, button or finding made by an independent artist).

I participated for the first time last month when I was inspired by an awesome painting of peacocks, but this is the first time for me to enter since I started my blog.  Part of the fun of these challenges is seeing what everyone else made in the blog tour that ABS hosts at the end each month.  I'm excited that I will get to take part in that part of the process this time!

Anyway, enough background.  Let's talk about this month's challenge and the inspiration behind it.

Heijinja, 1941

Tōshi Yoshida
Woodblock Print

I had originally sworn off participating in another design challenge until I get done with an upcoming craft market I'm participating in during the first weekend in March (more about that in a future post!).  But when I opened my package from Nancy Schindler of Round Rabbit the other day, I knew that I had to change my mind because her Petals Pendant in Antique Rose (on the right in the picture below) was perfect for this challenge.  The fact that it arrived the day after the artwork was announced made it feel like destiny.  The colors in shades of pink, burgundy, and grey in the focal were just right... I also thought the lines running behind the flowers were evocative of the architecture from the print.

So, having made my decision to participate, I set off to dig through my boxes and boxes of beads and pulled out a wide selection of possibilities.  I also found another Round Rabbit pendant that might become a second entry for this challenge if I get my act together!  From here I culled it down to my very favorites and then started playing around with different bead combinations.  The only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to work in some of the freshwater pearls in light peacock to pull out the grey tones from the print and the pendant.

I picked out a gorgeous Green Girl Shibuichi Rose Blossom clasp that I've been hoarding for years because the flower reminded me of the cherry blossoms in the print.  Wanting to use other metal pieces that played up the unique color of the shibuichi (an alloy of copper and silver), I broke out my metallic Vintaj patina paints.  You can see the clasp below with natural brass on the left and painted pieces on the right.  In the end, I only ended up using one of the painted jump rings, partially because I liked the darker natural brass and partially because some of the other elements didn't work with my final design.  I'm sure I'll find a good home for the other painted pieces in other designs soon!

So, without further adieu, here is my finished design.  I stuck to the more muted side of the palette from the print focusing mostly on the pinks from the cherry blossoms and the grey from the rooftops and background.  There are hints of darker red in the pendant and some of the beads but nothing too terribly bright.  The luster in the clasp and the pearls add richness and depth to the design.

My friend Kathleen exclaimed, "But it's so muted for a Sarajo!"  She may be right that this color palette is outside my normal comfort zone, but I think the color choices speak to the quiet beauty of the scene in the least that was my goal.

Adding a P.S. to this blog post....  I did actually manage to create as second piece in response to the artwork.  Here it is!

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