Thursday, May 28, 2015

Inspired by Reading May Blog Hop...

We've worked our way through the 2014/2015 reading list and just have one more book after this before we start the new cycle!  It's really hard to believe that we're going to be starting on our third year soon!  The idea to start the book club originated with a desire to make more time to read... and boy did we put a dent in that goal!  If you think about it, that's two dozen books under our belts!  While I love to read, it's a guilty pleasure for me.  (I say a "guilty pleasure" because while I value the importance of reading and engaging the imagination, there's often times so much to do and work on that when I take time for myself, I feel like I should be doing something else.)  I honestly don't know if I would have read all these books had I not had the book club to prompt me.  So I'm grateful for that and for all the friendships I've made through the book club!  CLICK HERE for the 2015/2016 book picks!  The next round is a little different.  All the books that were chosen were selected by the participants of the group!  Usually I sort through my "to read" pile and cobble together a list that way.  So it'll be interesting how different the titles will be!

For May we read, "The Children's Book" by A.S. Byatt.  I have to admit that it probably wasn't the smartest choice timing-wise.  It's a whopper of a book and everyone is absorbed in this busy time of year.  For those who have children or teach, it comes at the end of the school year and with graduations and grading papers... squeezing in an epic sized novel wasn't likely.  And for everyone getting ready for the summer season and big shows, like Bead&Button, it seemed nearly impossible to find the extra time.  Even so, the book was richly studded with lush details and period references that provided a bevy of points of inspiration.  I will say that the ensemble cast of children and characters was a bit tricky to keep straight and got a little confusing.  I, personally, only got part way through the book, but will keep going.  (I do have a long train ride in the near future!)

Near the beginning of the book, there's a fancy costume party given by the main character.  We picked up a smattering of whimsical pastries from the new bakery in town to accompany our in-person meet-up.  The tarts and Tigre tea cakes come from Warrior King Pastries.  Not only were they a feast for the eyes, but they were sumptuously delicious as well!

Without further ado... here's the REVEAL:

Laurel made this necklace.  Here's what she had to say about it:  "The piece is based upon the first few pages of the book where the boys discover the young man who lives in the tunnels under the museum.  My focal represents the ornate Gloucester Candlestick that Philip, (the young man they find) has drawn again and again in his sketchbook.  I went crazy with these gray beads to represent the dirt and grime on him and paired it with the green Czech glass squares to represent his transformation – thanks to a bath and a trip to the country house!  I didn't get very far in the book, so this really is only based on my first impressions of the book."

Even though I've really been pressed for time, I made two pieces!  Granted, they are probably the simplest pieces I've ever made for a book club reveal.  I took my own advice and "made a simple pair of earrings"... twice!  

The first pair of earrings were inspired by the first introduction of Olive Wellwood.  "He took pleasure in the appearance of his visitor, who was dressed in dark slate-coloured grosgrain, trimmed with braid, with lace at the high neck and fashionably billowing sleeves above the elbow.  Her hat was trimmed with black plumes and a profusion of scarlet silk poppies, nestling along the brim.  She had a bold, pleasant face, high-colored, eager, firm-mouthed, with wide-set huge dark eyes, like the poppy centers."  The earrings feature lampwork glass discs made by Ren Farnsworth.  I added a little bit of extra coiled wire, so that the earrings dangle and act almost as a stylized stem.

Later in the book, there's a party sense where all the children and young people are asked to make lanterns for decorations.  There's a passage that stuck out at me: "He painted a dull red horizon, with shadowy grey forms rising high above it.  There were squat cylindrical forms, and tall bottle-shaped forms, and shapes like hives and casques.  There was a flowing festoon of flame and tongues of pewter-grey smoke from the summits, the skyline of Burslem, made elegant as a party lantern."  Eventually the party lanterns catch on fire and these simple earrings capture that moment of engulfing flame.  In them, I've used vintage Czech glass beads.  The beads are hollow and sort of lacy.  The colors remind me of flames and in sunlight, the beads seem to glow.

But wait... there's more!  Check out what these other participants of the Inspired by Reading Book Club made with "The Children's Book" in mind:

June's selection is "An Atlas of Impossible Longing" by Anuradha Roy.  CLICK HERE for the full list of books coming up.  The in-person meet up for June is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, June 24th with the blog hop the next day.  If you're interested in keeping up with what we're doing, CLICK HERE to visit the Facebook page.  If you're on Pinterest, we have a supplemental inspiration page.  CLICK HERE to see it.


Jeanne @ Gems By Jeanne Marie said...

Great interpretation from both of you!
I'm still working my way through the story.

Sarajo Wentling said...

I'm always sad to have to miss the meet ups, but those baked goods make me feel even sadder... they look delicious! Next time we visit maybe. :)

Laurel, your necklace has a simple elegance to it... very nice.

Andrew, I love both pairs of your earrings. I'm especially fond of the lantern ones. For the poppies, did you use a coiling tool? or are those hand wrapped? I'm intrigued.

Alison Adorns said...

Thanks Andrew for a lovely meet up! Your earrings turned out amazing! Laurel, your necklace is terrific and it does remind of the dirty kid!

Andrew Thornton said...

Laurel: I know I said this at the meet up, but I adore your necklace! Even though the beads are supposed to represent "the dirty boy", I think it's very sophisticated. And I am smitten with the Saki toggle. Great job! And thanks for participating!