Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Inspired By Reading ~ January Edition

It's hard to believe 2 months have sped by. And along with them, the holidays. Thankfully, it was decided to postpone the December meet-up and Blog Hop. I'm happy to say the local holiday markets kept me very busy creating and selling!

For December, we were to read Bridge of Birds, by Barry Hughart. January's pick is The Journey To The East, by Herman Hesse. Because of the aforementioned holiday markets, I did not find time to read Bridge of Birds before Christmas and chose not to bring the rather large library book with me on vacation. Instead, I slogged through the much shorter book by Hesse.

The narrator of The Journey To The East tells the secret story of belonging to and travelling with a secret society. It appears that this society is on a journey to the east in search of spiritual enlightenment (or something). says Hesse used "mesmerizing prose". Personally, I had a difficult time getting through the short 118 pages. While the narrator was trying to find meaning in his life, I was trying to find meaning in the book. As I look back on my bookmarked pages, a few kernels of life lessons are starting to pop out. Maybe, The Journey To The East is one of those books that you have to read over and over again. Each time, you find something the missed.  I'm not sure about that and doubt I will read it again.

At one point in the narrative, the narrator, HH, recalls holding "a bundle of a thousand knotted threads" As I reread that passage, I'm still not sure if he actually held the knotted threads or there is some deeper meaning to it. At any rate, the image stayed with me and I knew I wanted to do something with knotted threads. I wasn't sure what materials or how and still had a week or so before returning home. I also got an idea of color towards the end of the book when HH describes the entrance of the President of the League as he awaited judgement. He wore a "festive robe", "sparkled with gold".

I dug the last of my gold silk cord out of my stash, found some lapis, blue glass beads (I think african trade beads) and lovely gold and blue enameled beads from the now extinct local bead shop and went at it.  It seems I was headed more for regal than festive.

The result was this long two-strand knotted necklace!

Once again, Andrew's choice of books inspired me to try a new technique.
Although, I can see the flaws, I am pretty exited about how this turned out. I'm looking forward to trying it again!

Don't forget to check in with the other participants!

Andrew Thornton (our fearless leader)
Laurel Ross

Mary K McGraw

Mary Harding

Sarajo Wentling

I'll add more as they post. Andrew usually will have the full list!
Also, I hope you will think about joining us next month!


  1. Jeanne I think the passage you chose and the image of the regal robe are very exciting and I see they inspired you to make a wonderful necklace. One I think HH would have approved of for its simplicity, honesty and its on the mark quality. Isn't is wonderful how these books and the making always seem to enrich our lives? I am always amazed at where these books lead me.

    1. Thank you Mary! I too am amazed by the inspiration from the book and the group. I enjoy telling people about this group and sharing the stories behind the pieces.

  2. I also founo d the book to be slow reading, but I think there are gems in the story and I think you found one with your passage that you quoted. The gold thread and blue look so good together.

    1. Thank you Mary! Perhaps the teacher in me will go back to the book at some point. as I mentioned, on second and third glances I began to see deeper into Hesse's words!

  3. While I can't speak to how well your necklace goes with the book since I didn't get around to it, I love your necklace! Good for you trying something new. I love how challenges and blog hops often get you to stretch out of your comfort zone. Working with fibers and knotting still seems intimidating to me, but you make it look effortless. I really like the color combination too.

    1. Thank you Sarajo! I used to be afraid of knotting, but have really come to enjoy it this year!

  4. I had a hard time getting into the narrator's voice at first. I then pictured us at a dark bar and that some dude was telling me his (kind of sad) tale and it somehow made it a little easier to get into.

    The piece that you created is really cool and I'm glad that the challenges have inspired you to try new techniques! The gold of the cord accents the blue beads nicely and has a very archetypal color palette that I associate with Ancient Egypt. The beads also give the cord a really nice texture, almost like a rosary or a mala necklace! Nicely done!

    And thanks so much for participating! I am so glad that we have been able to bond over books and beading!

    1. Andrew, thank you so much for your thoughtful response. Your bar chat is a great way to approach the book. I also think it was interesting that I did find more meaning when I looked deeper at parts. Maybe I will pick it up again someday.

      I'm enjoying getting to know you too ~ so disappointed you won't be coming to Tucson. That would've been so fun ~ but I do understand.

  5. P.S. The note about your local bead store closing really hit close to home. A lot of my friends who have had bead stores (some for many years) have hung up their hats and given in. Bead stores… well, any local retailers, really… play such a dramatic role in our communities. They make our towns places to go, add local color and act as meeting places for people. Having a brick-and-mortar store is certainly a challenge, particularly a non-essential "luxury" store like a bead shop, but I think that at the core, we're doing good works and inspiring people to create and get in touch with their artistic side. And… in a way… making life a little more worth living. (Okay, I'll hop off the soap box.)