Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Children's Book Inspired by Reading Book Club

This month's selection for the Inspired by Reading Book Club was quite the substantial tome at 675 pages.  I've been dragging The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt since I got it from the library.  It's been to Illinois, North Carolina, Alabama, and back to Minnesota with me and I'm still only halfway through it!  

Here is the description from the library catalog:  When Olive Wellwood's oldest son discovers a runaway named Philip sketching in the basement of the new Victoria and Albert Museum -- a talented working-class boy who could be a character out of one of Olive's magical tales -- she takes him into the storybook world of her family and friends -- a world that conceals more treachery and darkness than Philip has ever imagined and that will soon be eclipsed by far greater forces. 

This isn't just the story of the Wellwoods though... it also chronicles the Fludd family (the father is a talented but very troubled potter) and a large secondary cast of characters as well.  I've had a hard time keeping the children all straight.  At the point I am in the book, Queen Victoria is in the last days of her reign but I understand that the events span through (or at least into) the first World War.  


It's not that I don't like the book... it's just been slow going for me.  Usually when that happens I'm more than willing to bail on a book and move onto the next one.  This is just one of the rare stories that I want to keep reading but I really can't tell you why.  It's not because of the riveting action... not much has actually really happened.  Maybe it has something to do with this part the book jacket description...  "But the joyful bacchanals Olive hosts at her rambling country house--and the separate, private books she writes for each of her seven children--conceal more treachery and darkness than Philip has ever imagined."  When is all that darkness happening?  In the book's defense, the jacket does also say "the damaging truth about the Wellwoods slowly emerges."  They weren't kidding about the slow part!  We'll see how much longer I give this one... at the rate I'm going the June book won't stand a chance.

Anyway, onto my designs!

At a loss for a better idea, I looked to the work of William Morris for inspiration.  His prints are just so lush and full of detail... a true feast for the eyes.  I ended up settling on a pattern called "Seaweed" because of the colors and also because Philip was so drawn to and inspired by the sea when he first comes to live and work with Fludd.  The colors and butterfly made me think of the fields and marshes around Purchase House as well.  I hand painted the butterfly focal and then added a mix of fluorite, bronzite, peanut beads, and brass elements.    

The day before the reveal I finally got to a scene in the book that actually inspired a clear, concrete design idea.  Just one problem, I was lacking some of the components that I needed to make it work.  Luckily, my good friend Marcia had just what I needed and was willing to share.  For those of you who have read the book, can you guess what inspired me?  

For whatever reason, the parts about Elsie really wanting (and then getting through unexpected means) the red belt that was shaped like an arrow struck a chord.  I knew I had this skinny red leather cord and I immediately thought of the Nunn Design arrow charms.  The arrows are what I was missing.  I thought that this leather would be a little easier to knot than it was, but I think I made it work in the end.

That's it for me... I hope to whip up some earrings to go with my necklace and get those to Unearthed Arts before the weekend.  Don't forget to check out what everyone else made for this month's book club.  Andrew Thornton will be posting the links on his blog HERE.


  1. I'm impressed - you're further along in the book than I am. I thought about William Morris, too, but used his prints as inspiration some time ago. Both if your pieces are a lot of fun! Lucky for you your friend had just what you

  2. Congratulations! You have gotten the furthest of all of us! It does SEEM like a book I would like as well, I'll come back to it sometime. Anyway, I do love your necklace and bracelet designs! The butterfly is fantastic!

  3. Both of your pieces are enchanting! Way to go! I thought of you when reading the book and wished you could have come to the book club meet up, because as a librarian of young adult books, I think you'd have an interesting take on it. Another time! :-) I love the butterfly necklace. It has a very elegant vibe, a perfect translation of the William Morris print! And the bracelet is... CHARMING! Pun intended! Great job as always and thank you so much for participating!

  4. Lovely pieces, I love that Butterfly Necklace best.