Saturday, March 08, 2014

Inspired by Reading Reveal Part 2...

Due to some scheduling conflicts and some emergencies, we had to postpone the in-person Inspired by Reading Book Club meet up.  I think all of us were a little bummed because the meet ups are so much fun and we've all had a REALLY long winter.

So, we decided to reschedule and I'm glad we did!  It was nice to get together and talk about the books and life.  Originally we were going to order pizza, because it's Italian and "Difficult Loves" was written by an Italian.  We changed our minds and went with curry instead.  We told ourselves that it was to go with the Indian theme of "The Enchantress of Florence" (even though it was really a Thai curry from First Wok).

Laurel also brought a party tray with nuts and crackers.

We also had some peppermint shortbreads covered in white chocolate.  I wish that I had a tie-in with the books, but I can't think of anything clever.  They're just good and they come from Scamps Toffee, who will be our new neighbors in the new location.  So when folks pick up their candy, they can also swing by for some beads and artwork.

This appliqué fabric collage was created by Carolyn Turner.  She said that she was inspired by the Goatherder story in Difficult Loves.  She depicted the little boy and even framed it in a rustic, distressed frame because the character lives, for the most part, in the wildness.

Carolyn also made a appliqué fabric collage for Big Fish, Little Fish, also inspired by Difficult Loves.  The piece she created depicts the father gathering sea life.  She said that if she had more time, she would have added the little boy.

Below are the pieces made by Terri Greenawalt.  The first piece is for The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie.  The second was for Difficult Loves by Italo Calvino.  Here's what she had to say about the pieces:

Wow!  What weather!  And wow!  What books!  Salman Rushdie said that The Enchantress of Florence was his most researched book, and I believe it.  I started taking notes about the characters he mentions in the beginning of the book, looked at my ever-lengthening list, reviewed the thickness of the book, and gave up!  All I can say is that he worked hard to include so much historical research in his work of fiction that the story becomes cumbersome and hard to follow, albeit filled with marvelous imagery.

I borrowed my copy from the local library and had it for a month before I gave up on ever finishing it.  When day 28 in February arrived, it was time to move on!  I gather from the remarks of other club members that the long book concludes rather hastily, and my guess is that concern about the length of the book caused this.  I wish he had done some judicious editing at the beginning to make his story's length more reasonable, but I suspect he didn't want to cut out his research!

I took my inspiration from Rushdie' descriptions of the opulence of the palaces.  I chose a dark brass double link chain as the basis of a necklace meant to express the richness and wealth of the ruling class.  Turquoise sari fabric was woven through the chain to give the necklace bulk and a feeling of antiquity.  I chose the color turquoise as a background for the gold and matte gold findings that suggest wealth.  Using beading wire, I gave the necklace a jewel-encrusted look by adding seed beads and foil-lined turquoise and lime green glass beads.  The round turquoise crystals I added for some sparkle and flash came from a $3.00 elastic based bracelet that I cut apart, harvesting pre-wired beads and patterned metal tube beads.  I think I achieved an opulent look with this technique, and turquoise and lime is a favorite color combination of mine.  I think the lime also alludes to wealth, as it relates to citrus, a luxury of royalty.

I chose a Nunn Designs toggle closure in a damask patterned matte gold to both fasten and create the focal of the necklace.  Five matte gold parrot tulip bead caps combine to finish off the ends of the necklace as well as accent the center of the toggle as bead embellished tassels.  The tulips add an opulent, flowering vine feel to the piece, as well as give a nod to Argalia, the Turk, lover of the Empress, who used the tulip as the motif to adorn his undergarments and body tattoos.

I am a firm believer that a really good short story is difficult to write.  After all, there is a limited amount of time to develop the characters, plot and setting into a well-crafted story.  Italo Calvino is said to be a very popular short story writer in Italy, which I do not doubt.  Our stories were translations of the Italian, and while the stories were interesting, I think they lost some charm in the translation.  After all, it was Liz Gilbert who commented in her novel, "Eat, Pray, Love" that spoken Italian is the world's most beautiful language.  I'm betting that some of the prose appeal was lost in the translation.  What was not lost in translation was their quirky darkness, which makes the collections' title, "Difficult Loves", spot on.

I read several of the stories, including The House of Beehives, The Adventurers of a Nearsighted Man, The Adventures of a Photographer, and The Enchanted Garden.  They all had a degree of darkness, and I struggled with how to interpret them as art.  Partly I think it was due to the abruptness of the prose, which I contribute to the translation factor.

I had an idea for the Photographer, but haven't had time to work on it yet.  I decided I wanted to spend my time on The Enchanted Garden for two reasons.  First, I was drawn to the story because of the closeness to the title of a favorite book of mine written long ago by Frances Hodgeson Burnett, and secondly, because I really enjoyed it.  I liked the circular construction of the story, as well as the similarities it had to the novel and the fact that it didn't seem quite as abrupt as the other stories.

I wanted to repeat the circular pattern in the story in my jewelry, so I chose to make a necklace.  The story is circular because it begins and ends on the beach.  I strung my necklace from the beach, to the sky, to the garden.  And I linked those locations with a focal from Jade Scott that depicts a happy bird perched on a leafy branch.  The wire branch with its resin-filled bird and leaves, represent the thicket linking the beach to the secret garden.

I envisioned the beach as a sunny, breezy stretch of sand on the Amalfi Coast, an idyllic playground for two little urchins from a nearby village.  I captured the feeling and texture of the sandy beach from the inspiration I got from a starfish necklace created by British designer, Lesley Watt.  She used farfalles (peanut beads) mixed in shades of tan and adobe to mimic sand, a technique I loved!  I added some shards of pale peach coral and some tiny, creamy stones and shells to create a beachy feel.

I decided that I needed to somehow incorporate transitions between the beach, the sky, and the garden sections of my necklace, not just to define those areas, but also as a way to keep the eye moving around the piece.  The Jade Scott focal made an excellent bridge between the beach and the garden, but I needed a way to create a definition between the pastel beads of the beach, sky, and garden.  I would need a fastener, so I chose a delicate little copper toggle shaped like a leaf to separate the sky from the garden.

I visited Allegory Gallery recently for the opening of Jenny Davies-Reazor's show (which is GREAT, by the way!), when I spied a word bead by Diane Hawkey that I knew would be perfect for my Enchanted Garden necklace.  I didn't know how I would use it, but it spoke to that story.  The word was HARMONY, and I chose it because it was the thing that was lacking in the story.  It was inharmonious that the sickly boy was trapped inside a room filled with pictures of nature while he could not go out to enjoy the beautiful garden outside his window.

The children playing in the garden felt that irony, and returned to the beach.  The boy began to throw seaweed on the girl, and she joined in this new, inharmonious behavior because it somehow seemed acceptable to now have inharmony in their play.  The irony of the sick boy being unable to enjoy his garden made them feel a sense of guilt over their ability to enjoy pleasant play.  The harmony bead was perfect to delineate the horizon between the beach and the sky!  It's lush, spring green color adds to the fresh, outdoorsy tone of the necklace.

For continuity, I completed the necklace with farfalle beads, mixing two shades of blues and greens in the sky and the garden sections respectively.  I accented the sky with shiny little heshi pearls to represent clouds, and created the garden with tiny Czech glass flowers and leaves.

The next book up is "An Irish Country Doctor" by Patrick Taylor.  The next in-person meet-up is scheduled for Tuesday, April 1st from 6PM to 9PM.  The blog hop reveal will take place all day on Wednesday, April 2nd.  Hope you will join us in reading along and creating something!


Mary Harding said...

Love the applique pieces you made Carolyn. Your images and the style seem so perfect for these stories in Difficult Loves. The distressed frame adds so much as well.
Terri both of you necklaces are lovely. I like all the elements you chose and how they relate to the stories. I especially like your rich and regal necklace inspired by the Salman Rushdie novel The Enchantress of Florence. The greens and gold are stunning together especially the way you made the focal. Beautiful.
Sounds like a wonderful evening!!

Ann Schroeder said...

I love the creations by Carolyn and Terri! The appliqués very much bring to mind those stories. It's fun to see someone create something different than jewelry. Teri's necklaces are beautiful! I love the ornate look of the Rushdie inspired necklace.