Gift #895: September Art Bead Scene Challenge

Well, the “Great Cooldown” has commenced.  We’ve been having moderate temperatures, but tonight a cold front is coming through and we’ll be having brisk fall wather.  It seems we’re finally saying goodbye to summer for another year.  And since it’s the last day of September (Yikes!  Where did it go?) it’s time for a recap of the month’s jewelry challenge from Art Bead Scene.

the artist's estate; (c) Henrietta Garnett; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

the artist’s estate; (c) Henrietta Garnett; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

I loved this painting by Vanessa Bell, View of the Pond at Charleston, 1919.  She was a British painter and interior designer who made a name for herself as part of the avante-garde Bloomsbury Group.  The eldest sister of writer Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell was an accomplished painter who was mentored and influenced by John Singer Sargent  and Whistler.  The color composition in this work of art is just perfect – the cool blues, greens, and greys harmonize beautifully with the warm pink and yellow tones.  I’m fascinated by this painting – I love how the broad brush-strokes and somewhat blurred perspective give the scene a dream-like quality.  It appeals to the imagination – it’s warm and inviting, such that you can feel the heat of the sunshine, smell fresh air and baked bread, and then wander outside to sit by the tree.  It holds an aura of expectancy to it.  This is one of those paintings that I just want to fall into.  It was fun trying to capture the essence of the painting in jewelry.

The first set that I created was influenced by the watery blues, greens, and tans in the painting.  The necklace is called “Faded Leaf”.


The necklace focal is a ceramic pendant by Bo Hulley wrapped with brown cotton twine.  Ceramic rounds matched the pendant perfectly, echoing the same colors of washed-out  blue and speckled browns.  The necklace is accented with silver branches, a copper butterfly coin, and silver spacers.  (I’m still in my mixed-metal phase).  The clasp is fashioned with a spiral copper round bead and hook.  A tiny leaf gives a bit of extra interest and ties in with the pendant too.


The earrings are a simple affair with elements directly from the necklace – the ceramic rounds, silver spacers, butterfly coins, and tiny leaves.  I really like the watercolor, faded color scheme.  It looks just like late summer/early autumn days of pale blue sky and dried leaves and grasses.

The warmer pinks and yellows were still begging to be used in a design and I wanted to try making some art beads too, so I rolled up my sleeves for round 2.  I’ve been wanting to incorporate my rubber stamps in making jewelry and since i have lots of floral, leafy stamps, this seemed like the perfect time. However, I wanted the design in relief, not embossed into the clay.  So I made molds and pressed the stamp in the molds.  Then after it cured, I pressed clay into the molds – and voila – it worked perfectly.  After baking I painted them with acrylics and once dried, lightly sanded the surface to give it a weathered appearance.


To keep the focus on the pendant, I kept the necklace design simple.  I added pink silk ribbon, a czech flower, and tiny stone round to the pendant and strung it on a length of pink ribbon I bought a while back.  I’m still not sure how I feel about the yellow flower – I can’t decide if it looks too stark against the pendant or helps draw out the warmer yellow tones.  It might get reworked later.


I’m very pleased with the earrings.  I made smaller clay pieces with the same stamp and dressed them up with pink silk, a silver spacer, and soft rouge bead.  I’m calling this set “View from my Window”.  I tried to mimic the colors of the painting in the clay pieces so that it looked like what you might see out the window.  The pink silk ribbon is supposed to represent the drapes.

This was a wonderful painting for September and I really enjoyed creating jewelry that captured the nostalgia and warm, sunny feel of days that have slipped away into memory.

Blessings to you,


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