Thursday, September 25, 2014

Stiff: Inspired by Reading Book Club

Today is the reveal and blog hop for the Inspired by Reading Book Club.  Each month we read a book and create something... and it can be anything!  We're combining both the August and September installments this time.  For August we read a nonfiction book that I've been wanting to check out for a while, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach.

I've been listed as an organ donor ever since I got my first driver's license at 16, but I never really considered donating my entire body to science.  I'm not sure that reading this book has done anything to change my mind.  Even though I know that I personally will have no more use for the shell of my body after I've shuffled off this mortal coil, there's just something a little unsettling about many of the things for which it might get used.  I mean, I can totally get on board with the idea of donating your body to be used as an anatomy cadaver at a med school.  But other uses for cadavers, no matter how noble (or not) sort of creeped me out.  Especially disturbing for some reason was the chapter with the body used for car crash impact studies and the way they were dressed in blue tights and leotard with hands and head covered.  Go figure, a book about dead bodies gave me the willies!

As I was reading, I wasn't entirely sure what this book might inspire me to create.  After all, this isn't a book about death, but about the dead themselves... about what happens to the bodies we leave behind.  That being said, I think it's pretty difficult to separate the ideas of death and the dead... it is for me anyway.

So, for my creations I sort of flipped the whole thing on its head.  Life is short and we should embrace every moment of it before we find ourselves just another stiff on the table.  I kept thinking about what our tour guide in Ireland was fond of saying... "Live each day like it's your last...because one day it will be!"  With that in mind (and maybe the recent death of Robin Williams crept into my consciousness too) "Carpe Diem" ended up being my theme for this challenge.

I knew I had a Vintaj altered blank in the shape of a luggage tag and I thought it would double nicely as a toe tag like the one on the book cover.  I grabbed the Impress Art letter set that I won from Andrew's blog a while ago and stamped the phrase "carpe diem" onto the tag.  I originally thought I'd use the tag as part of a charm pendant, but its small size made me rethink that.  I ended up etching and painted an Vintaj Arte Metal bracelet blank and riveting the tag on top of that.  I wire wrapped some African Jade flat nuggets and finished it with a hook clasp.

While digging around in my art bead stash for another project, I realized that I actually had a polymer clay bean bead from Swoondimples that said "carpe diem."  I figured I might as well make a second piece!  I paired the bean with some charms including an angel wing that I had painted silver and a couple of Czech glass beads in coordinating colors.

So, I'll leave it up to you to decide if you feel like reading a book about dead bodies, but I do hope each and every one of you will heed my advice and seize the day!!

With all my preparations for the Art Wander, I didn't get around to reading our September selection but I hope you'll also check out what the other book club members created for both months.  Andrew will have the full list of participants over on his blog HERE.


  1. Great way to use Stiff as inspiration! I like the addition of the angel wing to the long necklace. Beautiful work!

  2. Hi Sarajo! It's funny how the car crash section creeped you out and that's the one that inspired me! I love the message you drew from the book and both of your very creative pieces!

  3. Love your pieces for this challenge. The bracelet is amazing!

  4. I realized that I read your post and thought about what I was going to say, but never did post it during my internet issues. Both pieces are really lovely! I like how you interpreted the book and epitomized it in the saying. I love the zesty, vibrant colors of the bracelet and necklace and think both have a real wearable quality! Great job! Thanks so much for participating! Keep up the good work and see you in October!