In a brief, brilliant display of “getting my act together” I’ve managed to create my jewelry for this month’s challenge before the very end of the month. Mark this down because I can pretty much guarantee it will be a sole performance for the year. Are you ready to meet our artwork for the month?
This is “Star Lovers” by Warwick Goble, created in 1910. Isn’t it lovely? I was immediately captured by its fairy-tale style and the dream-like feelings it stirred. Goble was an English illustrator who got his start with the Westminster Gazette specializing in chromolithography. He transitioned to illustrations for various magazines and eventually started illustrating books. His delicate watercolors lent themselves easily to color plates in such popular books as War of the Worlds, Rip van Winkle, and Arabian Nights, and volumes of Japanese fairy tales. He became a resident illustrator at MacMillan and was one of the foremost illustrators of Asian storybooks. He put his career on hold to serve during WWI and following the end of the war, returned to his art and continued to illustrate books until the end of the 1920s.
I’m delighted by this scene and have found myself imagining the story that it illustrates. Is the woman separated from her love and the birds assisting her long search to be reunited? Or perhaps her love was turned into a bird by an enchantment and they fly together each night with stars lighting her lantern. They cross the skies, seeing the world by starlight. I like the second option better. There were a lot of visual elements to incorporate into jewelry – birds, stars, butterfly wings, lanterns, Asian art. Likewise, there’s a multitude of colors one could pull out ranging from black to blue to grey to peach to yellow. I was rather overwhelmed with options and had lots of half-baked ideas floating around my head. I didn’t have much in the way of art beads that directly looked like the illustration and I didn’t think I could make anything to do it justice. But I have a large collection of Humblebeads polymer clay beads and once i settled on using one of those, the color palette and materials came together pretty quickly.
So my rationale for the necklace is thus: the painting evokes a dreamlike quality of a woman searching for something she loves. For her, that occurs in the sky. For me, the realm of what I love is in the forest. I wanted to create a mood rather than a literal translation. I focused on the darker hues in the artwork since I don’t wear pale pastels. The dark moody grey-blues lend themselves to a dark wood in wintertime. The beads complement the bird perfectly, with hues of blue, grey, tan, and black mottled together. I got the strand at a bead shop in Cincinnati but I don’t remember the type of stone. I accented the necklace with a gold pinecone (also from Humblebeads), some matching clay beads, brass spacers, and golden Czech glass leaves. I wanted highlights of gold to twinkle throughout the necklace. In this woman’s world, light emanates from a lantern at night. In my necklace the brightness is meant to reflect rays of sunlight that illuminate the darkened forest.
The earrings are composed of themes found in the necklace. I have used matching clay spacer beads in a woodgrain pattern with blue florals, bead caps, and the polished round stones. I dangled little brass birds in flight as a nod to the flock of birds in the illustration. I’ve been debating on keeping the birds or replacing them with more of the Czech glass leaves – both versions are pretty.
I hope you enjoyed a peak at my jewelry and the process behind creating it. Though it’s not as literal a piece as I initially planned on, I’m pleased with this version. It feels like a dreamy walk through a snowy forest at twilight. The woods are dark, birds are settling in the trees for the night, and the air is frosty. Suddenly a shaft of fading sunlight pierces the darkness and recasts shadows of birds and pinecones in a rich gleaming gold. Magic glistens in the tree branches for one moment of illuminated brilliance before all goes dark and still. The walk may be over, but the stars are just coming out and a cup of cocoa beckons. As I wake, I know I have found what I loved and sought for in the heart of the trees.
Blessings to you,
Nice work, Sarah. I really like the birds!