Monday, July 01, 2013

Terri Greenwalt Is Inspired By Reading...

Terri Greenwalt came to town for a few classes this past Saturday.  We took the opportunity between classes to snap a few pictures of the projects that she made for the May selection of the Inspired by Reading Book Club, "A Rumor of Gems" by Ellen Steiber.

Aren't they adorable?  I love the character she's given her pieces and how expressive they are.  They've got such life and they were exactly the scale I imagined the jade dragon from the book to be.

Terri really did an excellent job, drawing so many references from the book and transforming them into little works of art.

Here's what she had to say about the book and her creations:

"I’m not a person who would normally pick up a fantasy novel, unless it was written by J.K. Rowling, since I’m a Potter fan.  But Andrew did a great job in selecting this fantasy for the Book Club, because it’s filled with so much gem lore.  Also, while it was obvious that Lucinda was the heroine, figuring out who among the enchanted folk was the hero really kept me guessing!

Early on I knew I somehow wanted to use gems in my project, gems associated with Lucinda or Alasdair, most probably the life stones.  And the jade dragon was a whimsical character which really caught my fancy, so I played around with ideas involving him, too.

I didn’t necessarily want to make jewelry, so I thought more along the lines of an object d’art.  I’m not a carver, so I couldn’t carve jade, but I have become interested in polymer clay, so I explored making faux jade for a sculpted dragon.  My resources were a faux jade tutorial by Linda Moseley, which I purchased from her shop on Etsy.  The best known polymer figure artist I know of is Christi Friesen, and I knew her dragon book from her sculpture series would be just the ticket so I ordered that, too.
But I still wanted to use the life stones, so pivotal in the story, especially since the dragon liked to take them from Alasdair.  That dragon was always up to something!

But how does one incorporate ten gemstones into a project, how does one mount them, and, perhaps the larger problem, how does one afford them? So, I focused on how to procure the stones, thinking that if I could reasonably source them, I could also figure out how to use them in my art piece.  My chiropractor is into the healing power of gemstones.  In fact, some are available for purchase in her office.  Scored some inexpensive crystal, aventurine, and moonstone.  My bead stash yielded coral, turquoise, and lapis lazuli. Six out of ten, not bad at all!  But those last four had me puzzled as to how I could afford stones that would be visible to the human eye.  And the answer was fantasy!  I would source some lab created stones for stand-ins!  And I did.  I went for a variety of shapes and sizes, sizes as large as I felt were reasonably priced for my project.

My last dilemma was how to showcase them in my piece.  They needed a container, a container that they could be attached to in some way.  Thinking about all of the times Lucinda and Alasdair had tea or coffee together or alone throughout the story, as well as Alasdair’s fondness for coffee, the perfect vessel popped into my mind.  The playful little dragon would be spilling a brown tea/coffee like beverage from a cup!  And the liquid would be tinted resin which would secure the gems!  So the search was on for an appropriate and affordable tea cup, the more symbolic to the story the better.  A lilac motif would fit the story beautifully as a reminder of the lilacs that grow on the mountain of the lost city.  Everything on Etsy was too expensive, but I did score a lilac covered cup and saucer at Pat Catan’s for only $4!  The big project was ON!

I was so pleased at the end of the novel when Alasdair turned out to be the hero and Lucinda was gifted his life stones by the jade dragon.  Without knowing it before I finished the book, my project was turning out to be a perfect representation of the story!

I misread the directions for the light green jade I wanted to make, and ended up having to make a huge batch of the white jade recipe to have the right proportion to go with the Burma jade recipe I doubled by mistake.  It turned out to be a happy accident, because when my first light green jade dragon slouched, crashed, and declawed himself in the oven late Sunday night, I had some left over Burma jade to make a second dragon.  If I had needed to make another batch of faux jade that late on Sunday night, I think my project would have just been a spilled cup of gem juice!

So late at night, I made a smaller Burma jade dragon from things I had on hand, waiting patiently while he cured in the oven.  The only problem he encountered in the firey cave was a crispy, burned crest, which I rehabilitated with some gold paint.  More embellishment for my gem encrusted jade dragon!"

The July selection for the Inspired by Reading Book Club is, "The Cookbook Collector" by Allegra Goodman.  If you're interested in what the full list is for the entire year and how you can participate, CLICK HERE.  The Reveal for "The Cookbook Collector" is Wednesday, July 31st!  If you're interested in keeping up with what we're doing, CLICK HERE to visit our Facebook group page.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gems and Dragons are two of my favorite things! I am adding this book to my reading list asap, right after I finish "The Dalai Lama's Cat". Thank you for the recommendation of "A Rumor of Gems".