Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Inspired by Reading January/February Blog Hop...

Today is the Reveal for the January AND February selections for the Inspired by Reading Book Club!  For January, we read "The Enchantress of Florence" by Salman Rushdie.  For February, we read a collection of short stories called "Difficult Loves" by Italo Calvino.  All of the participants agreed that there was ample imagery to draw from each book.

Due to conflicting schedules, we postponed the in-person meet-ups for these books, but decided to go ahead with the blog hop.

"The Enchantress of Florence" is a richly detailed quest story, relating the adventurous history of a mysterious woman belonging to the Mughal court.  The book parallels the worlds of the Mughal empire and Renaissance-era Florence.  The book often times reads like poetry, which adds a layer of rich imagery and plays on the courtly style of writing from the time period being described, but can also feel confusing or overly tangental.

Here's the reveal for "The Enchantress of Florence":

This necklace was made by Laurel.  Here's what she had to say about it:

My submission for The Enchantress of Florence was inspired by all of the times that lips were mentioned in the story.  The black and white chain links, the white and bright red beads are from a Destash event.  I choose the blood red beads primarily off of Argalia, a main character and lover of the Enchantress.

Also, since we skipped the January meet-up and read the book in February, it took on a bit of a Valentine's Day feel.  The lip focal is actually a plastic lollipop from my kids that I chopped the back off of and drilled some holes around! How's that for recycling?  I wanted to give the lips a little dimension and texture, so I sewed the edges (it's also how I adhered it to the felt).  After I did that, it reminded me a lot of the Rolling Stones and Rocky Horror Picture Show.  But it was too cool not to keep rolling with.

So I got to thinking, the sewn lips captured the story that the author was trying to tell us through the "storyteller" during the course of the novel.  All the stitching was the random bits of information that seemingly made no sense and that were all just crazy descriptive tangents of the whole book.  

Believe it or not, I actually took notes and went through the story again to see all the times that lips, talking and storytelling were mentioned.  It's an awful lot!  Add to that, one character describes the city of Florence as being shaped like lips... I could go on and on!  Maybe next book club...

These rings were made by Alison.  Here's what she had to say about them:

These are my embarrassing first attempt at stacked rings!  These represent the Akbar's Nine Stars (disciples) in the book, which represent the Navaratna which is an actual gem setting  arrangement with cultural significance in Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism.  Top row: Emerald, Diamond, and Pearl.  Middle row: Yellow Sapphire, Ruby and Coral.  Bottom Row: Cat's Eye, Blue Sapphire, and Hessonite.

This necklace was made by me!  Here's what I had to say about it:  

One of the characters in the book was based on an actual, historical figure known as Akbar.  He was the emperor of the Mughal empire and known for being a philosopher and admirer of the arts.  He was also known for his lavish style and regal opulence.  I did some Google searching and found a portrait of him.  I decided to translate the design in the painting into a piece that I made.  I didn't want to copy it exactly, so I made a modern interpretation.  In my piece, I used faceted freshwater pearls, faceted rubies, and dark blue labradorite.  To inject a little gold, I used galvanized seed beads, gold chain and a gold-plated toggle.  


"Difficult Loves" is a collection of short stories by Italio Calvino.  While the stories were written primarily in the 1950's, they had a modern, contemporary feeling and didn't feel dated.  (This might have been due to later translations.)  The stories, although sometimes only a few pages long, captured slices of world and were bright with poignant feeling.  The concept of "difficult love" was explored through many lenses and dealt with an array of subjects.  

Here's the Reveal for "Difficult Loves":

This necklace was made by Laurel.  Here's what she had to say:

This necklace was inspired by "The Garden".  It features two brass flowers, brass chain, and a variety of green stones and ceramic focal beads from various Destash events and from the shop.  The main focal was made by Marsha Neal Studio.  There is also a bead from Keith O'Connor and an enamel bead by Andrew.
This necklace was created by Laurel.  Here's what she had to say about this piece:

The simple daisy necklace was also inspired by the Calvino short story, "The Garden".  The focal point is a sterling silver piece by Silpada designs and it enhances a strand of gorgeous jasper and jade from Allegory Gallery.
This necklace was also made by Laurel Ross.  Here's what she had to say about it:

My purple octopus necklace was inspired by the Calvino story, "Big Fish, Little Fish".  The shell pieces were sourced from a necklace that I found at a local antique shop and deconstructed.  They were to represent the boy's father who was searching the cliffs for shelled sea critters.  The square buri nut beads were from Allegory Gallery and I chose them because they looked like octopus suckers on the tentacles.  There is a natural bronze octopus charm found at Allegory Gallery from Nina Designs.  I dipped it in ammonia to create the dark patina.  In keeping with the purple theme, I chose some pretty light purple glass beads and some various seed beads.  The necklace can be worn very long or shortened with the unique sterling hook which was from a neighboring shop to the gallery, G Squared, several years ago.  Had hoped to make some earrings to match, but never got to them.  Maybe next month!

This necklace was made by Alison.  Here's what she had to say:

I loved the stories that I read!  This necklace represents the Mediterranean Sea in the stories "Adventure of a Bather" and "Adventure of a Reader".

These two necklaces were also created by Alison.  Here's what she had to say about them:

These necklaces were inspired by the story, "Adventure of a Near-sighted Man".  He sees the world (his little town) completely different after he gets glasses.  And his little town treats him differently after he gets glasses.

The "dark" and "light" necklaces represent the "before" and "after" and the change in perspective.

This necklace was created by me.  Here's what I had to say about it:

I was inspired by the short story, "The Enchanted Garden".  I used a mix of semi-precious stones to capture the colors of the forbidden sea-side garden, verdant greens and watery blues.  All the little stones were wire-wrapped to create a wire-wrapped link chain that can be worn with the clasp in the back, front or off to the side.  The clasp – a flower and leaf – is sterling silver and was made by my family at Green Girl Studios.

But that's not all... check out these great blogs for more pieces inspired by "The Enchantress of Florence" by Salman Rushdie and "Difficult Loves" by Italio Calvino:


The next selection is "An Irish Country Doctor" by Patrick Taylor.  For the remainder of this year's full list, CLICK HERE.  To see next year's selections, CLICK HERE.  If you're interested in keeping up with what we're doing, CLICK HERE to visit our Facebook group page.  CLICK HERE to view our Pinterest page with supplemental inspiration.  It's fascinating to see what elements from the books we read will inspire people!

7 comments:

Bluefinch said...

Hello! Although I joined the club late and didn't have time to read Rushdie's book, based on what I've have seen from the group, I must go back and read it! From Laurel's lips to Alison's stacked rings, Andrew's pearls and Sarajo's filigree necklace, the different interpretations are fantastic! All of the pieces are really quite fabulous!
I am immediately transported to Calvino's Enchanted Garden by all of the colors and textures and details in your pieces! I can just see the gravel paths, the pool, the flowers and the ping-pong table!
Love the purple octopus on Laurel's Big Fish, Little Fish piece! Can't you just see that thing clinging to her neck! I also love the clear blue beads in Alison's Adventurer of a Bather piece. If you've never been skinny dipping, I highly recommend it! I also love her pieces for The Adventure of a Nearsighted Man! The two different perspective pieces are spot on! If you don't wear glasses then you are lucky. But for the rest of us we can all remember that first time we saw trees or grass and realized we could actually see the individual leaves or blades of grass! And we all know what the switch from glasses to contacts does for the way we literally see the world and for how we view ourselves.
I have really enjoyed this book club and I cannot wait to see what we all create next month!
Rachel

Ann Schroeder said...

This is going to be a bit long winded because there so many great pieces!

About the Rushdie pieces: Laurel's lip necklace IS cool! I love that it represents so many elements from the book, including the stitches being akin to the tangential writing style.

Allison's rings embody so much symbolism, and I love that you tried something new with this hop. I did too!

Andrew's necklace is opulent, and I love that it is the result of additional research and a painting.

For the Calvino book: It's interesting that several hop participants were inspired by the garden story. You can't go wrong with a garden! Both of Laurel's lovely necklaces show that.

I really love the Laurel's Big Fish necklace. It looks like the ocean, and that hook that can make it long or double strand is great!

Alison's Mediterranean sea necklace is beautiful. Those clear rounds look just like water. I especially love the creative interpretation in the before/after, black/white necklaces. That story was so interesting, and these necklaces really do it justice.

I think my favorite is Andrew's garden necklace. The colors are so beautiful just as the garden was described. It's the kind of necklace I would put on again and again.

Thank you so much for letting me join the hop. I had a really great time. I'm reading the March book now!

Jeanne @ Gems By Jeanne Marie said...

Oh my goodness – I’m not sure where to start.
I am impressed with those of you who finished the book. (Everyone, but me???)

Laurel, I love those lips! I noticed a lot of references to mustaches in the little I did read. And yes, I took notes too.

Alison, I applaud your attempt at stacking rings. I appreciate that many of us push ourselves to try new techniques and are willing to share even when the outcome isn’t as we’d hoped. The meaning behind the rings is interesting.

Andrew – I’m impressed with your research and love your interpretation of Akbar’s adornment.

It is interesting that so many of us found inspiration in Calvino’s story , “The Enchanted Garden”.

You all created beautiful, meaningful necklaces. I enjoyed reading about your inspiration.

maryharding said...

I am so impressed with all of these pieces and how well and yet differently they captured the books we read these last two months.
Laurel, your necklace is amazing. Love those lips and that you counted how many times they came up in the book.
Allison your stacked rings are great. I like the symbolism in them and I like the way you stacked them. They make a great statement.
Andrew your necklace reflecting Akbar's jewels is beautiful. It is so well designed to fit into his time and style. Love the pearl and gold combination.
Laurel your Calvino necklaces are all wonderful. I especially like the purple octopus one since it isso the colors I imagined when I read the story.
Allison your "glasses" necklaces are so cool--great concept!!
Andrew your enchanted garden necklace is such lovely colors. I think it is so interesting the the Enchanted Garden inspired so many of us!!
Thanks again Andrew for having this book club and this place for us to show our inspirations!! It is very special to me.

Sarajo Wentling said...

Sorry to be so slow to comment...there's just so much going on that it's hard to know where to start! (and I have to find a moment I can really sit ant think)

Anyway, here are some quick impressions...

Laurel, those lips made me giggle! What a fun direction to take things! And look at you with 3 necklaces from the Calvino! I especially like your garden inspired pieces, but they are all lovely.

Allison, congratulations on not playing it safe and trying something new with your stacking rings! You've got to start somewhere and our first attempts are often not quite what we had imagined in our minds. You also went to town with your Calvino pieces! I really like the two coordinating necklaces you did and now want to read the story that inspired them.

Andrew, thanks to you for being our fearless leader and organizer! This is my favorite monthly challenge by far! I think it's cool that you did a modern take on Akbar's necklace from his portrait...what an interesting direction to take things. I just adore what you did for "The Enchanted Garden" (a group favorite story it seems). All those beautiful gemstone colors and textures...just yummy!

Looking forward to starting the next book and seeing what next month's reveal uncovers!

Shaiha said...

What great designs! I just love seeing everyone's interpretations of the stories/books. I am really going to have to find the time to read those books.

Eileen The Artful Crafter said...

It's fascinating to see how people are unspired or interpret from each book. What a great way to stimulate creativity. Love so many of these.