Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Inspired by Reading: The Valley of Amazement

This month's Inspired by Reading Book Club selection was The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan.  I for one, was not amazed.  After slugging through it for most of the past month, I finally gave up on reading it at about page 300... way more than my usual 50 page deadline for a book to hook me.  Seriously, I gave up about half way through.  If I hadn't stopped when I did then I'd probably still be trying to finish this time next month!

For whatever reason, this one just didn't grab me.  I think that part of the reason was that I didn't find any of the characters particularly like-able.  Also the fact that so much of the story revolves around one of the main characters, Violet, being kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery.  Yeah.  That probably has something to do with it.

Anyway, I was still determined to make something this month.  So, since I didn't finish, I went a little vague in my design direction.  Thinking about the name of Violet's mother's first class courtesan house, Hidden Jade Path, I remembered some lovely Jadeite carved flower beads that bought in my very first year of beading.  I'd had them in one of my bead boxes with a Rhyolite (I think!) pendant that I've also had for quite some time.  I obviously had long thought that they would play nice together, but just never got around to doing anything with them.  (I know you've heard this story from me before!)  They have to wait no more!

Rounding out the design, I used some Burma Jade rounds that I bought three or four years ago from Dakota Stones.  Because they were individually knotted, I'd just never taken the time to cut them free until the past week.  I'm really trying to be good and balance my time between making new things and getting my ridiculously messy studio under control... wrangling these little guys was part of last week's work.  I knew that I wanted to string the beads (the idea of doing a zillion wrapped loops just wasn't exciting me!), but I wanted to jazz it up a bit.  So, I turned to yet another neglected element in my hoard of jewelry making supplies... my collection of Vintaj filigree and embellishments.  It took a little bit of wrangling to get the deco vine pieces to work the way I wanted them to as connectors, but I'm glad that I didn't give up on the idea!

There was a lot of exposition about the way the courtesans would work with the jewelers to get better jewelry sets as gifts from their suitors and patrons, so making jewelry for this month's book seems even more appropriate than usual.  I'm hoping that next month's book is more to my liking!  Better get to the library to grab it before I head out on the Bead Cruise.


  1. You did a beautiful job

  2. I feel ya! I'm usually a big Amy Tan fan, but this one was a bit challenging for me. I'm still working my way through it. I had to take a break though, because I was spending time with my niece and I kept imagining her in the main role and it made me hate it.

    Despite not being in love with the book, I'm smitten with your piece! I love all the muted colors and how the Vintaj filigree gives it that nice elevated flourish. Plus the patterning on that stone is perfection! Nicely done! And thank you so much for participating!