Thursday, April 28, 2016

Inspired by Reading: A Girl of the Limberlost

It's time for another installment of the Inspired by Reading Book Club!  This month we read Gene Stratton-Porter's novel A Girl of the Limberlost.  This book was recommended by book club member Terri Greenawalt, who happens to be a descendant of the author... how cool is that?

This novel was written in 1909 but I think it really holds up.  In a strange way, it almost felt like something more modern written to feel old fashioned... if that makes sense.  Occasionally the dialect tripped me up a little bit, but overall I found the whole thing quite charming.  Sometimes it's nice to revisit a kinder, simpler time.

The story centers around Elnora Comstock, a teenaged girl living with her spiteful mother along the edges of the Limberlost swamp and her journey into young adulthood.  As usual, I'm kind of terrible at summing up the story without giving too much away.  Suffice it to say, Elnora overcomes the financial obstacles to furthering her education when she discovers that she can sell butterflies and moths and other items from the natural world around her.  The first part of the book follows Elnora's early days in high school and then the story fast forwards to just before her graduation when money troubles once again rear their ugly heads.  The second half of the book picks up there and introduces a slightly star crossed romance into the mix.  You'll just have to read it to see how that all turns out!

While at times I was pretty annoyed at how nasty Elnora's mother could be, she eventually sees the error of her ways toward her daughter and mends their troubled relationship.  I appreciated how determined and plucky Elnora was throughout the book and how pragmatic and even keeled she tended to be.  I would have pitched a purple fit if I found myself in some of the situations she faced!  I loved one Amazon reviewer's description of the book: "Think of it as Midwestern Cinderella story, but with no glass slipper and plenty of moths."  That made me giggle.  But enough about the book... onto jewelry creations!

The ideas started churning around in my brain pretty early in my reading.  I knew I wanted to focus on the moths that were so integral to the story arc... that provided a way for Elnora to follow her dreams.  A couple of beads jumped immediately to mind, but as I started digging through my beads, I soon realized I have amassed a decent sized collection of butterfly and moth beads.

So much to choose from!  Beads from Humblebeads, Vintaj (painted by me), Round Rabbit, Kylie Parry, Green Girl, and Summer Wind Art

The first thing I created was a variation on a design I've made before.  In my last round of painting metal I worked up a couple of the butterfly in profile pieces from Vintaj... one in purple with a bronze-tinted glaze over the top.  I paired the pendant with various Czech glass beads as well as some ametrine rondelles.  I picked beads in shades of purple, amber, and palest yellow to represent the illusive Yellow Emperor moth from the story.  Who knows, maybe this necklace would have complemented Edith's ball gown from that ill-fated soiree!

For this challenge it seemed fitting to finally make something with the contents of one of the destash bundles that I bought from Andrew Thornton a while back.  I snatched this lot up for the wonderful Green Girl pewter moth pendant and the really unusual glass beads that reminded me of ampules, but there was plenty of other good stuff and I decided to keep it all together.  I'm happy that I was able to use so much of Andrew's carefully curated collection of beads together for this necklace and still have plenty of the ampules and the grey glass nugget beads left for future jewelry making!

Last but not least, I managed to pull together a third necklace this month with a cool luna moth pendant from Summer Wind Art that Eric bought me for Christmas.  (I think I'm overcompensating for only making earrings for the last few challenges!)  I love all the rich shades of green and brown in the pendant and tried to capture some of them with my bead choices.  I used a mix of gemstones (including a couple of shapes of bronzite beads... I'm not sure what the green ones are) and Czech glass.  I'm not 100% sure about the jump rings with seed beads on them... I'd love to get your opinion on that part!  

Lack of sun makes for a not so great picture... 
P.S.  While I didn't make it for this challenge, I did make a necklace with a wonderful luna moth bead set from swoonworthy lampwork artist Kerri Fuhr for the Art Bead Scene a while back.  If you missed it you can see it HERE.


  1. I love the seed beads. I recently did that on a necklace. I just put it up on Facebook so you can see it there.

  2. Cool! Really terrific how you interpreted a story into your art.

  3. I read this book many years ago and, to me, it was simple magic, and inspired my love of moths, even though I have yet to see one of these beauties here in this Northern climate...I enjoy how it inspires your jewellery making...

  4. Beautiful work, I love the idea of using a book as inspiration :)

  5. I love all your necklaces. That Green Girl moth is the best, and it's fun you got to use some of the lot's beads with it! I think the seed beads on the jump rings on the last necklace are a great detail!

  6. Great necklaces! I think the Green Girl moth one is my favorite... and I love the seed beads on the green and brown necklace (and the colors!)

  7. Wow you were busy! My favorite is the last one with he Summer Wind Art pendant. I really like the pendant, it has that thick body that I associate with moths. I love the bronzite, and I love the beaded jump rings. Great Job!