Well, here we are on the first of December. How did we get here so fast? I have a hard time with this part of the year because I like Christmas decorations and the anticipation of Advent, but I hate to let fall go. Can’t we use pumpkins to celebrate Christmas? Consequently, while in the desperate final hold of my beloved autumn, I was delighted with Art Bead Scene’s November challenge. They weren’t jumping on the winter/Christmas bandwagon – no siree – they were as enamored with all the glories of late autumn too.
The artwork is entitled “Autumn Flowers” and is by Marguerite Zorach, 1940. Zorach was born in the 1880s in California and showed great talent for art at an early age. While studying art in Paris, she was strongly influenced by the Avant Garde movement, valuing especially color and lines over realistic expression. She exhibited extensively and was a powerful voice in the American art scene. This is her only known silkscreen print. I love everything about this painting. The bright and varied colors and strong, clean lines make it very appealing. I love the graphic feel of the piece – it gives it a wonderful vintage feel. And of course, the leaves – beautiful, wonderful fall leaves in a myriad of hues. I deliberated on a design and how to incorporate leaves into the jewelry pieces for a while and in the end decided to put some of my new metalsmithing skills to work. So I made my own leaves out of copper. I’ve entitled the set “Memories of Leaves” as it evokes the rich warm beauty of afternoon walks in fall.
I hand-cut and textured them and gave them patina by heating them with the torch (that my friends, is magic…. it’s just like alchemy – you heat up the metal and then this beautiful rainbow of colors sweeps across the copper sheet – it’s mesmerizing!) I paired the leaves up with czech glass flowers, leaves, and other beads. To kind of harness the beads into shape so that they wouldn’t flop around everywhere, I wrapped gunmetal wire around them and made curly-queues with the ends (I still enjoy that little flourish).
I made smaller leaves for earrings and used smaller glass flowers and beads on the earwires. I made the earwires myself – I’ve been getting some extra practice at that and this time decided to jazz them up a bit by putting beads directly on the wires. I have to be careful when I put them on to not drop the beads off – I’m thinking a tiny dab of jeweler’s glue might fix that problem.
All in all I’m thrilled with my first attempt at incorporating metalsmithing into a finished piece of jewelry. I see lots of leaves in my future.
Blessings to you,