25 April 2011

Art Bead Scene Challenge: Finches & Bamboo

"The taller the bamboo grows, the lower it bends."
~ Chinese proverb

Bamboo are the fastest growing plants on the planet. You are seeing all sorts of bamboo products now from floors to clothing and everything in between. Harvesting this natural grass is very sustainable.

Bamboo is prized for being flexible yet strong, traits that allow it to bend in the storm and ones that are smart for us to emulate.
Finches and Bamboo, Northern Song dynasty (960–1127)
Emperor Huizong (1082–1135, r. 1101–1125) Chinese
Handscroll; ink and color on silk; 11 x 18 in. (27.9 x 45.7 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
John M. Crawford, Jr. Collection, Purchase, Douglas Dillon Gift, 1981

Symbolism of the bamboo is that it stands for simplicity and humility. The bamboo plant does not flower but once every 60-130 years so it needs no further adornment. And the hollow trunk of this plant reminds the Chinese of the virtue of humility because it is empty at it's core, recalling that we should not fill ourselves up with material things or arrogance.

Bamboo is also associated with respect for elders.

From Living Arts Originals, "The young branches at the top of the bamboo trunk will not grow at the same angle as the older branches below, in order to allow sunlight for their elders. When the young shoots emerge from the roots, they are under the shade of the older bamboo branches. Such a spirit reflects the young respecting the old as well as the old protecting the young." 

I find this last fact particularly intriguing.

In going through my art bead stash this month, I found one complete set of things that I would still like to explore. I teased the Bead Table Wednesday folks with that set above, but it was that little bird tile in the top that kept calling to me.

This decoupaged wood tile is from Skye Jewels on Etsy. Marie does some really lovely pendants and charms that have this great vintage vibe. She will drill a hole in them if you like, or leave it untouched, as in this piece, to use for filigree wrapping. I ended up wrapping two different Vintaj filigrees around this round tile to make it secure. These two birds reminded me of the finches in the challenge painting.

{"Love Life" - necklace that didn't sell}
But it needed something more. I happened to have a necklace from my show last summer that didn't sell that I decided to pull apart and use some of the pieces. In particular, I love the round leafy bead from Melanie at Earthenwood Studio (on the right side of the design) because the shape of the leaves and the color reminded me of the painting. And the shape of the pewter leaf from Green Girl Studios is a spot on match to the bamboo leaves. But this necklace that I was pulling apart was done up in silver, and I had started with brass. I didn't want to re-do the whole thing, so the challenge then is to bring the silver into the design in a way that seems balanced and thoughtfully placed. (And for the record...someone had commented that I was very brave to pull something apart, but I do that all the time with defunct jewels. And there must be a reason that this piece didn't sell...if nothing else than for me to make more things from the raw materials!)

{detail of the Green Girl Studios pewter leaf}
I added two wire wrapped links of these little wood nugget beads to call to mind the trunk of the tree, an enameled wire ring from the Industrial Chic line and the most lovely pewter leaf that says 'love life' on the back from Green Girl Studios. Below the pendant I wired on a branch and attached a brass leaf with one little pewter leaf to bring back the silver tone.

The back is finished with peridot green matte seed beads for comfort interspersed with tiny rustic silver spacers. The Vintaj brass hook clasp is wired with silver wire and more of the green seed beads attached to a leaf toggle (my last! Note to self: buy more Vintaj!).

{Available here.}

The result is what I call "Grow Tall, Bend Deep & Love Life."

Come back and join me and my beady friends as we hop through the Art Bead Scene challenge blog hop on Friday, April 29th. There are some great prizes to be won for the month from Jess Contreras and Deryn Mentock that you won't want to miss. Share your post of your interpretation of this painting by Thursday, April 28th to be included in the blog hop and be sure to check out the entries on Flickr!

Enjoy the day!


stacilouise said...

I really love those colors! The orangy tones with the green, especially the lighter green seed beads on the back! Great piece.

Thanks for the reflections on the bamboo, loved them!

Dawn Doucette said...

Erin, what a beautiful peace! The color & texture you combined were fantastic... and that splash of silver was perfect!

More importantly I love the interpretation of your muse. While the medium of bamboo is so simple, the thought you put into it is really thought provoking! Love it!

Have a MOST splendorous week my dear!

Christine Altmiller said...

what lovely thoughts and breathtakingly beautiful necklace. perfect colors and blending of beads.

SummersStudio said...

This feels so peaceful. I really like your solutions for mixing the metals. Beautiful.

Jannie Funster said...

A bloghop Friday, eh? Sounds fun. Not sure if I'll be around, but I'll try! In the recording studio on the 29th, whooohooo.

Loving all the sweet design touches to your site, Erin. And that masterpiece of a decoupage necklace, for sure!! Just beautiful!


Malin de Koning said...

I loooooove it!

Sally Anderson said...

I love it, Erin! And I love mixing metals in a piece. I think it adds visual texture and interest. This is really beautiful!

Silver Parrot said...

Very pretty! Oh, and I saw your beads in the new "Beads 2011" mag - congrats!

Laura (TLN) said...

Gorgeous creation, and a beautiful story with it. Thanks for sharing.

Cory said...

Love, love, love every thing about this necklace.

Cristi Baxter Clothier said...

Gorgeous as always, Erin!

Jenn said...

Loved the first necklace! I don't know why that one didn't sell. But, I also love the new piece and how you thoughtfully integrated all pieces together. The new piece is definitely a statement piece and highlights those components you wanted to bring out.

Holly said...

Erin, as always, this is a gorgeous necklace! I love your style, it's so obviously your work :)

jamberry_song said...

It turned out so beautifully. I love the additional colors; they really make this necklace sing!

Linda Landig said...

I, too, love the colors of this necklace, esp. the seed beads around the back. You write so well. Thank you for sharing the background about bamboo, esp. the symbolism.

Marie Cramp said...

I had not blogged in so long I had no idea you had made this! It is gorgeous! I absolutely LOVE it!! You still rock my world with your fabulous style!


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