Gift #1111: November Art Bead Challenge

There’s something rather satisfying about seeing all those ones in a row.  It’s a fine repeatable number.  I guess it would have been even cooler if I managed to post it on Nov. 11th.  Then it would have been Gift #1111 on 11/11.  Well, this blog post has us staring into the face of December.  The days go so fast.  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a beautiful November.  Our fall lingered here well into November because we had a warm October and I for one was delighted to have the leaf color stay longer.  It’s still hard to see it come to an end and the  leaves flutter down from the trees.  Once the leaves are fallen and it’s just bare tree limbs, I’m ready to move into mid-March.   If there aren’t leaves, my heart just isn’t in it.  And speaking of leaves, this month’s artwork from Art Bead Scene was a feast of autumn foliage.


This beautiful Impressionistic masterpiece is called “The Bouchardon Mill” by Armand Guillaumin was painted in 1906.  He was born in Paris and took up painting, become close friends with Camille Pissarro and Paul Cezanne.  I learned from the posting that he also became close friends with Vincent Van Gogh’s brother, Theo (who was an art dealer) and sold many of Guillaumin’s paintings.  I love the moody, wistful feeling of the painting.  It looks so peaceful and quiet.  You can almost feel the mist rising from the river and the chill in the air.  I love the way he expertly combines pops of autumn color with dark, moody swathes of trees and landscaped hills.

Right away I knew what focal point I wanted to use in crafting the set of jewelry inspired by this painting.  There’s a polymer clay and mixed media artist I’ve admired for many years now – Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati.  Long ago when I first saw her work, she had beautiful leaf pendants that exactly matched the colors in this pendant.  Last month, I actually got to meet Erin for the first time at a bead retreat and I was gifted one of the pendants.  I visited her store and found some other matching ones and ordered those as well.  “Simply Maple” is the star of the necklace.

And you can certainly see why!  She’s pressed maple leaves into a clay-filled bezel, painted them, and given the whole thing a delicate metallic shimmer.  I have to admit to feeling a bit nervous about doing justice to her work.  I chose a mix of Czech beads in the hues of the painting to create a rich, beaded strand to set off the pendant.  And to give the pendant more weight, I added a large skeleton leaf behind it.  The glass beads are hues of the dark burgundy/brown that is present in the painting.  However, some of the crystal beads I chose had an AB finish on them, so in the light the beads appear brown with flashes of blue, which matches quite nicely.  I also added in some maple glass leaves, also in burgundy.  And tiny brass spacers throughout give a wink of light to the piece.  I wanted it to flash and dazzle and catch the light in unique ways to mirror the play of autumn light in a forest.


I brought in some of the thematic elements to the earrings as well – tinier skeleton leaves with maple glass beads layered in front, brass spacers, and some leftover glass beads.  The star of these earrings though are my wonderful Humblebeads disc beads.  I love Heather’s disc beads so much and it’s always the debate of “do I use these or continue to admire them on the bead board”.  They feature burgundy feathers (that could look like leaves) on a dark brown background and they are breathtaking.  They matched perfectly with the glass beads and give a whimsical air to the earrings, as well as the faint whisper that a bird might be nearby in those autumn forests.   A feather and a leaf drift downwards in an autumn breeze and for a moment you can’t tell which is which in the last lingering rays of sunset.


Blessings to you,


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2 Responses to Gift #1111: November Art Bead Challenge

  1. Eliza Waters says:

    These are beautiful, Sarah. I love the maple glass beads especially.

  2. What a beautiful essay! It was a pleasure to read and a privilege to take a look at the jewelry creations the painting has inspired!

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