"If music be the food of love, play on."
~ William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Act 1, Scene 1
I am experimenting with making beads in my 'simple truths' style. I think I am going to call them 'simple tales' or 'story beads' or something like that. Nunn Design has some really beautiful things to work with in your jewelry. I am fortunate to be a part of their first Innovation Design Team. Just the name of that makes me giddy. They sent me some goodies to play with and I sent the baubles off to Becky Nunn for her trip to Tucson. I hope they were a hit!
One of the products that was in the goodie box she sent were their new channel bead tubes. They come in different sizes and finishes. There is a channel that can hold images or clay. I was so intrigued by them that I went right out and bought a few dozen of my own to play with.
Round about the beginning of this month, I found out about a gallery called the Central Wisconsin Cultural Center in a town about 30 minutes from where I lived. They were hosting a juried art exhibition entitled "That's Amore." I have a goal of putting my work out there into more galleries, so I thought this would be a good place to start. So I decided that I would make something special just for this exhibit.
In thinking about love and and what it means to me, I happened to look up and noticed a piece of art that Kerry Bogert made for me. The mixed media canvas is a riot of bright reds and deep purples with swirls of black and sparkled lines in stylized flower shapes with some of Miss Kerry's beads for the centers. I asked her to add my favorite love poem, Shakespeare's sonnet 130.
My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red:
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound:
I grant I never saw a goddess go,
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
At the time that Shakespeare penned these lines, there were a lot of love poets out there throwing around impossible cliches of comparison for their muses. You would think that these ladies were floating on air, with garments made of flowers and shining as brightly as the sun. Shakespeare is clearly using conventional love poetry metaphors as a statement against his contemporaries. The 'Dark Lady' inspiring these lines as well as sonnets 127-154 would ultimately betray him, but at the time he wrote this one he is truly professing his love for her.
Sonnet 130 pokes fun at the overblown comparisons that most of his contemporaries used to hold their muses up to an impossible ideal of beauty and grace. Shakespeare does not compare his love to grandiose metaphors of golden locks shining like the sun and rose blossomed cheeks on fair snowy skin. Rather his love is of dark complexion with obvious flaws, such as stinky breath and decidedly unmelodious speech. That is precisely what I love about this poem.
This sonnet always speaks volumes to me. The ordinariness and humanity of his 'Dark Lady' is what makes him love her all the more and he finds that beautiful. It sort of gives me hope that my love would find my flaws appealing as well. In this time of Hallmark-driven love declarations, it is comforting to know that I don't have to be perfect to be beautiful in the eyes of my love.
I wanted to honor this poem with my new beads. Each of these barrel beads is an inch long. I filled them with clay and pressed the words from the sonnet into them, two lines of the sonnet in each. You can read them by spinning the bead in your had and reading each line as it circumnavigates the beads. And if you read each bead in order, you will have the entire sonnet.
I took my color cues from the beautiful lampwork glass bead set from my friend Julianna Cannon of Julsbeads. Their dark earthy colors in burgundy and forest with the unexpected flash of gold guided the choice of color for the barrel beads. I knotted each bead on three strands of hand dyed silk cord from Marsh Neal Studio and finished it with a strap of cinnamon colored leather and a heart shaped hook clasp. I wanted them to have the look of old parchment inscribed with the scratch of an ink-filled quill.
From afar, the beads just seem to have a rough texture. Upon closer inspection, you can see that there are words on the beads. And if you look closely, you can read the entire poem around each barrel and from left to right on the necklace. I hope to make more of these types of beads with secret messages, or even snippets of poems or lyrics on them, to carry the message that is important to you close to your heart.
Have you ever received a secret love note that you treasure?
P.S. Today is my day to post on the Earring Everyday blog, and I am hosting the first EARRING LOVEFEST over there today. We have 7 - count 'em 7! - winners in the EARRING LOVEFEST. I am also honored to be the guest poster today on Love My Art Jewelry. And there will be a little giveaway there as well. (Totally a coincidence that I would be posting in so many places at once, you would think I never sleep ;-) Go and check them out!