Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Inspired By Reading ~ April~ interpreter of maladies

I enjoyed the April selection for the Inspired by Reading Book Club. For this month, our moderator, Andrew Thornton chose the Pulitzer Prize winner, interpreter of maladies, by jhumpa lahiri. It is an engrossing collection of short stories set in India and Boston. The stories opened my eyes to the customs and culture of the people of India in both settings.

I found inspiration in many of the stories and was able to complete two pieces. I actually combined inspirations from 2 stories for my first design. In, “A Temporary Matter”, the character consults a calendar of William Morris Wallpaper designs. And in the second story, “When Mr. Purzada Came to Dine”, Mr. Purzada's clothes always consisted of plums, olives and chocolate brown.

I searched the internet for William Morris Wallpaper in plums and olives and found “bird and pomegranate" at The Original Morris and Co. 

I made a bezel with 14g copper wire which I hammered and soldered. The oval bezel was soldered to a copper plate which I then textured with metal stamps. The metal was oxidized and tumbled.

Some of you may remember that last month I swore I would never again tumble chain. Well - I did.

Luckily there weren't too many knots.

I asked Andrew for his thoughts on sealing the picture in the bezel and I've decided to wait till I have time to practice on something I don't care about.
(btw - for those who have been following my progress - this piece represents my new skill this month!)

I recently traveled by car from Long Island, NY to Portland, OR with my husband. It was great to have small snippets to read along the way. I read "Mrs. Sen's" as we drove through Ohio. There were several references to the powdered vermilion she put in the center part of her hair - an Indian custom for married women. As I finished the story, I looked up - 
we were just about to cross the Vermilion River!!!
 I quickly jotted a note - I knew I had to find a way to represent that line of vermilion. 

Teepee Canyon Agate and
Rose Quartz from South Dakota
Before visiting Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, I insisted we stop at The Rock Shed in Keystone. My husband would have loved to bring home a large landscape speciman - the South Dakota rose quartz was gorgeous! Unfortunately that was impossible as we were flying home. After a while of wandering around the small shop and chatting with Gene, the lapidary, I chose some tumbled rose quartz and Teepee Canyon agate cabs. 

click this picture to see shape of cab

In Portland, I found matching seed beads at Let It Bead. What a great shop!

I kept the wire wrap simple and neat so the pendant could be reversible. I'm planning to let the copper oxidize naturally. I love that rustic brown.   

The necklace is about 22" long to offset the 2" cab.

Check out Andrew's Blog for links to all the other participants!
The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton

There is one more piece I want to make. In "This Blessed House", the main character wears a "pearl choker with a sapphire at the center". 
Yes, I found sapphires on my trip! Specifically, rough sapphires from the Missouri River at Opal Mountain Gems in Philipsburg, Montana. 
But first I have to tumble and polish them. A project (and learning experience) for another day!

*A little more trivia about the book 

  • it was featured as a question on Jeopardy
  • it has been used in high school English classes in Lansdale PA

I can't wait to see how our next book An Object of Beauty, by Steve Martin inspires me.
Won't you join us???

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I WAS Inspired by Reading!!!I

Another month has passed and I’m ready for another installment of the Inspired By Reading Book Club. For the month of March, Andrew (Thornton), our fearless leader, chose An Irish Country Doctor. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable novel by Patrick Taylor, who is himself an Irish doctor.

We follow young Dr. Barry Laverty as he becomes assistant to rough Dr. Fingal O’Reilly. Taylor’s anecdotes give us many insights into life in a small town, human nature, and how to “read” and best deal with different personalities.

I was struck by how Dr. O’Reilly dealt with one character early on. It was actually Barry’s first encounter with the seemingly gruff older man. O’Reilly literally threw the patient out of his office and told him not to come back until he had washed his feet.
Well – of course I had a podiatrist appointment the next day. And you can be sure I washed my feet before I went!

Here’s the necklace I was inspired to create. The flip flops stamp was as close as I could get to feet. I love the way the tiny wrap came out on the blue beach glass.

 I traced a river stone for the copper blank. Don't you love the organic shape?!

Everything was oxidized in liver of sulfur and tumbled. I'm not sure I'll ever put chain in the tumbler again. (Who am I kidding? It looks great ~ I'll deal with the tangles.)

I also need to figure out which copper wire I used for the wrap, because it did not oxidize like I wanted it too.
I'm hoping this will become a favorite at art and craft fairs in The Hampton's.

Another part of the book that I could not get out of my head was the title of the 6th chapter ~ “Forty Shades of Green”. I’ll just leave it to your imagination as to what it reminded me of.

Anyhow – I had to create something green. I actually thought for a brief moment to create 40 green things. Not in my lifetime!
Instead, I searched through my box ‘o green and settled on some lovely faceted chrysoprase beads in two shapes. I really love the many shades of green in these beads.

Once again, I must thank Andrew and the other book club members. I challenge myself each month to try different techniques and create my own components whenever possible.

Please check out the other participants. I'm excited to see some new names and more participants this month!
(I'll add links on Thursday. For now I'm off to NYC to have lunch with my daughter)

Jenny Davies-Reazor
Judy Campbell
Andrew Thornton, Laurel Ross, Terri Greenawalt, and Alison Herrington
Karen Grosset Grange   Be sure to scroll down - it's in French and English!!!
Sarajo Wentling
Ann Schroeder
Rachel Stewart