Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Inspired by Reading: The Marriage of Opposites

I skipped last month's Inspired by Reading Book Club, but I'm back in action for the September selection!  This month we read The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman.  I'd never ready any of Hoffman's adult books before... only one or two of her young adult titles.  It took me a little while to get into the story, but I'm so glad that I stuck it out.

The novel tells the story of Rachel, a young Jewish girl growing up in the early 1800's on the island of St. Thomas and follows her and those close to her through to her old age.  There was much beauty in the story as well as sadness and the frustration of coming up against society's rules and norms which are often so very unfair.  Rachel is such a strong, stubborn, and resilient character albeit often prickly to those she cares for the most.  This is a story filled with love, loss, and longing that was wonderful to watch unfold.  I loved how the stories of the characters ended up being even more entwined than you first thought as the lives of what seem like secondary characters come into view.

Despite a lot of lovely imagery and language in the novel, it took me awhile to decide what themes or images from the book I might use as a jumping off point for my creation this month.  I eventually settled on the idea of the Flamboyant Tree whose branches and flowers were repeatedly mentioned.  (I honestly wasn't sure if it was actually a real thing until I did a Google search!)

Flamboyant Tree or Delonix Regia
So just last week, and not for the first time in my beading life, I fell prey to not paying attention to what size something bought online actually was.  Shocking, right??  I've always loved the gorgeous pinks and oranges of Patricia Healey's copper and am particularly fond of her flowers.  So it seemed like a no brainer to snatch up one of her flower pendants that was on last chance clearance at Lima Beads (with an additional 10% off no less!).  But here's the thing....  55mm is HUGE!  Lol.  I'm sure none of you would have been surprised by the size when you opened up your package, but I sure was!  Ooopsie!  But no matter, I knew that someone out there would favor the bold design that this powerhouse of a pedant would need.  The color and flower shape were perfect for a flamboyant tree inspired design... I regret nothing!!

I dug into my box of orange beads and found a good number of chunkier carnelian and Czech glass beads that were contenders for the design.  In truth, I probably could have gotten away with even bigger beads, but this is what I had on hand!  I ended up using carnelian nuggets, faceted rounds in two sizes, and smooth rounds... so many yummy shades of orange, dark red, and peach.  

Not being super knowledgeable about plant life, I also wanted to see what the Bougainvillea flower looked like.  I found a picture where the blooms were just a wonderful mix of bright colors.  Most of what I saw were the pink to purple flowers, but this picture was perfect for the Golem Design Studio bead that I was thinking about using!

I decided to make a variation of a design that I've done before with the carved almond beads from Golem.  (I'm seriously addicted to their amazing designs and COLORS... so yummy!!)  I picked up a strand of this shape in what they call peacock in a mix of orange, pink, and purple.  Despite the name of the pattern, I think looks like flower petals in this color way.  I made a chain tassel and added tiny Czech class beads to the end of each piece of chain in complementary colors.  Sometimes I leave the chain plain for this style of necklace, but I wanted the extra pop of color for this one!

One of the other thoughts that had been vying for my attention while I read the books was the mention of moths beating against the windows.  This imagery came up several times, and though not in any way really central to the story, it stuck with me.  And, hey, a good excuse to pull out my moth beads!  It seemed appropriate to grab one of the small moth pendants by Lisa Peters Russ that I bought from Allegory Gallery after seeing them in a Facebook post (or it might have been a video).

I grabbed three of these cuties, but chose to work with the one with touches of palest green and tiny specks of what I would definitely call "haint blue."  Because of the diminutive size of the pendant, I tried to give it a little extra punch with some beads dangling from lengths of chain that sit behind the moth.  It was fun to pull out some of my tinier gemstones for this design like some AB vessuvianite, prehnite rice beads, faceted smoky quartz, and some Czech glass.  I finished the back with a bit of ribbon in shades of green.

Usually after a big show I go into a sort of jewelry making hibernation period.  I work so hard heading into a show that I'm just done for awhile afterwards.  I'm thankful for book club getting my mojo back way quicker than normal!



  1. These are very nice. That copper flower is huge, but beautiful!

  2. I bought a vey similar big copper flower from Patricia Healy when she had a booth at a local Bead Fair 4 or 5 years ago. What sold me was she was wearing a necklace made with the flower and it looked awesome! She had on a black turtleneck that was a perfect background for the copper color. It really is a lovely pendant. I've tried numerous designs and still haven't come up with one that does it justice. Maybe time to try again :) Thank you for your ideas and inspiration.