Gift #1103: August Art Bead Challenge

So I’ve been a bit delinquent in posting about the jewelry I’ve done for Art Bead Scene challenges this summer.  I’ve done them each month, but June and July whisked by before I could blog about them.  I’m being a bit more prepared for August and not waiting till the last minute.  I absolutely loved this piece we had as our inspiration:


“Twelve Princesses on the Way to the Dance” by Kay Nielsen, published in 1923.  I was delighted that we had an illustration this time instead of a painting – that was a nice change of pace.  And I was thrilled that it was so heavily inspired by Art Nouveau, which is one of my favorite styles of art.  This piece was commissioned to illustrate Twelve Dancing Princesses and Other Fairy Tales, by Author Quiller-Couch.  I think the work of art perfectly captures the whimsy, opulence, and mystery of a fairytale.  The strong repetitive linear lines are very appealing to me and I love the use of color.  The deep dark of the forest background really pops with the lighter tree canopy and the princesses’ dresses and creates a stunning effect.  I love to just stare at it.  For my jewelry, I wanted to capture the essence of the forest scene, the colors, and a linear emphasis to the design.  image

Of course, I knew right where I’d start – my collection of floral birds by Heather Powers.  We won’t discuss exactly how many of these birds I have, but suffice it to say I have a rainbow of colors to choose from.  This bird is a lovely coppery, peach color with brighter peach and white flowers and dark brown tones underneath.  I love how the bird itself mirrors the colors of the illustrations.  I paired the bird with a peach Humblebeads disc bead and one of her coppery Renaissance leaves.  The leaf has a lovely subtle shimmer which lends a sense of opulence to the necklace.  To mimic the linear aspect of the trees, I used two copper twigs from Nunn Jewelry.  The graceful curve in the branches works really well in the necklace.  I embellished one of the twigs with Lucite leaves and flowers to add a bit more color to the necklace and give some visual interest.  I finished off the necklace with gunmetal chain to echo the dark colors of the background.


For the earrings, I pulled several elements from the necklace, including more disc beads from Humblebeads.  I’m just enchanted with the dark streaks of color through the peach beads and the creamy flowers.  They remind me so much of the illustration.  I filled in the design with Czech beads in a dark earthy green/brown, bead caps, and Lucite floral dangles.

HumblebeadsI relished designing and creating this set based off of such a wonderful piece of art.  As a parting anecdote,  I had been anticipating this month’s challenge for a while, since I had downloaded the ebook of all the artwork for the year.  When I first saw the illustration, something in it reminded me of Fantasia.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but the feeling the illustration stirred in me was similar to some of the sequences in Fantasia – notably the ones with the long parade of people moving through a forest carrying lanterns and the Nutcracker section where the fairies float down.  On the Art Bead Scene post introducing the inspiration for the month, they included some additional info about the artist.   I was stunned to learn that he migrated to the US from Denmark after WWI and worked for Walt Disney.  His biggest contribution was… you guessed it… Fantasia!  Wow!   I had no idea.  Later in life he returned to Denmark but his style was no longer popular.  Though he ended his life in poverty, his work is now considered pinnacle examples of the Golden Age of Illustration.  His work is beautiful and I’m planning to explore more of his art and his life.


Blessings to you,


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2 Responses to Gift #1103: August Art Bead Challenge

  1. Pingback: Gift #1103: August Art Bead Challenge – Margery Warder

  2. Sarah I love your necklace! You did a fantastic job of incorporating elements of this beautiful illustration. I loved the back story too.1

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