May’s Art Bead Scene challenge was a piece by Picasso entitled “Bowl of Fruit, Violin, and Bottle” painted in 1914.
Picasso’s work has always seemed to me something of a “Where’s Waldo?” experience. When I look at this, I see an untidy stack of papers and envelopes – nothing at all like what he had actually painted. With some effort I can make out dissected parts of a violin. I’ve yet to find the bowl of fruit or the bottle. Anyone see the bottle?? The blog post introducing the work described the cubism of Picasso as a departure from a traditional depiction of an item in favor of a fractured image seen from different angles – somewhat like what you would see if you looked at an object via funhouse mirror sets. It’s a creative idea, though my brain is not wired to accept and understand such manipulations. I think his style is useful in provoking discussions about what is ultimately the purpose of art – the idea that the artist is trying to communicate, or how the audience chooses to interpret the art… and what happens when the two are divergent? Is the artist’s conception or the audience’s perception more important? I think the power of art is in driving these sorts of discussions. It creates a conversation across time, an exchange of ideas that enlightens and broadens one’s experience.
Such were the thoughts running through my head as I grappled with how to interpret this artwork into jewelry. I loved the color palette, but my initial ideas on subject matter were a bit vague as I tried to decide whether to design based on what I saw when I looked at the painting or what Picasso had in mind. Then my favorite bead designer, Humblebeads, entered the picture with a whole passel of amazing beads she designed from the colors and textures of the painting. I loved every single thing in this collection and purchased quite a few when they went up for sale.
The conundrum quickly shifted to “which beads to design with first?” once I had received them. I actually have 5 necklaces mocked up on my beading travel desk, but it was hard to choose which to work with first. I hope to get to the others very soon as these beads are so beautiful – gorgeous colors and interesting textures. Here’s the necklace that I made first.
I paired the Humblebeads bird with a metal clay brass “faux bois” heart pendant I made earlier this spring in my metal clay class and a braided brass oval. I used the oval as a toggle for the piece and fashioned the bar with a piece of brass wire hammered flat at the ends. For the body of the necklace, I wire wrapped stone beads and oval links together in a repeating pattern. I don’t recall what the beads are (probably some kind of jasper), but they are pink/burgundy/grey/black mottled stones that match the bird just perfectly.
And here’s a closeup of the bird pendant. Amazing!
Humblebeads also made sets of earring charms and I ordered a pair that complemented the colors of my bird to use for my earrings. These are kept fairly simple since the charms themselves are a feast of layered colors and designs. I added tiny brass hearts from my metal clay set and accented them with a Czech bead.
I’m thrilled with this set and never imagined at the start of the month that I would have such a lovely set of artbeads to work with. And now I’m off to work more on additional pieces! This is the gift of art – from Picasso 100 years ago, through Heather Powers of Humblebeads, and then to me – we share a conspiracy of color, pattern, inspiration, and creative joy together.
Blessings to you,