29 February 2012

The Challenge of Music Reveal

Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music.
~Ronald Reagan 

Welcome to the Challenge of Music!

Each quarter I pledge to Challenge my readers with a new theme. This quarter our theme is Music.

I asked anyone who wanted to play with me to share a favorite song or artist or style of music and use that as the inspiration for an accessory or something creative of their choosing. The requirement is that the participants share something about that music, like the lyrics, or information about the artist, anything that can help us understand their muse. I knew that it would be great to get a glimpse of musical influences from around the world. Knowing that the music we choose to listen to is like a cultural fingerprint, this will be a most entertaining way to learn more about all the unique personalities that are playing along. Since my post is quite long, let's get this party started!
One of my favorite artists is Sara Bareilles.

From the moment that I first heard her sing "Love Song" I had to hear more. Her album "Little Voice" quickly became the only one that would be playing in my car, much to the chagrin of my children. It was the last song on that LP - "Gravity" - that gave me chills the first time I heard it and still manages to put me in a trance. I push repeat on that song almost every time I am in the car {alone} and sing along with Sara at the top of my lungs. I do love to sing, and can mostly carry a tune, and I would like to fancy that if I were to be a famous singer, I would sing songs like Sara Bareilles. If we are ever driving in my car together I will be sure to regale you with my karaoke version of this song. ;-)

However, when I found the video for "Gravity" I was utterly mesmerized. It is truly one of the most remarkable videos I have ever seen (and I saw the first video on MTV back when they actually played videos!). I have come to find out that it was directed by an award-winning director named Matthew Cullen who along with his team at Motion Theory is responsible for some of the most memorable commercials and videos around. Here is what they say about the video for "Gravity" on their website:

What begins as an evening stroll soon unfolds into the ultimate journey for Sara Bareilles. Her every step changes the world around her, as if she's taken a million strides. As the story unfolds, Sara's motion creates the illusion of defying gravity itself as she seems to walk calmly away from Earth into space. We pass practical celestial objects as we move farther away, such as a man carrying an airplane, balloons resembling planets and lights making up constellations and galaxies. Every element is made up of choreographed people and simple props, grounding our journey in emotion and humanity.

It's an impressionistic environment, with visuals rooted in the universal themes of the lyrics. In a single take and a combination of dance, unique props, and amazing lighting, Motion Theory's Mark Kudsi led a team to create an entire universe in the span of a city block, infusing the journey with subtle design and visual effects. The result is a video that covers great geographic distance as it ventures over the emotional landscape of what inspired "Gravity" in the first place.


 I simply cannot get enough of this video. See if you agree.


Every time I hear this song I think in terms of ripples on a pond that are ever widening. The colors I get are soft and serene, like the sky at dusk on a wintery January day, the kind where the colors bleed into one another in shades of icy blue, dusty peach, vanilla cream and dove gray. I pulled out this amazing hollow bead from Stephanie Ann Dieleman. That hollow seems so delicate but it is quite strong, a reference to one of my favorite lines, "You loved me 'cause I'm fragile/ But I thought that I was strong/  Then you touched me for a little while/ and all my fragile strength is gone."

I wanted this piece to have the feeling of being pulled in different directions, like being in orbit, ever-widening circles, like those ripples on the pond with each piano chord. I was also thumbing through my Calder book for inspiration.  I used a free-form wire technique with galvanized steel wire, then added a frame in heavier gauge wire underneath because I thought it was too flimsy. In each scroll there are tiny gray-blue seed pearls and Swarovski crystals in my favorite Tabac finish over gray, each bead orbiting in its tiny universe. I was clearly influenced by the celestial nature of the video, playing it on an endless loop in my studio this past weekend as I was pulling this together. It was incredibly difficult to photograph this piece, it is more like sculpture. Wearable art! I really love this piece. I think that it truly captures the feel of the song from the color of the musical tones to the stirring climax of Sara's ethereal voice and the stunning video images. Plus it is propelling me in a completely new direction. I plan to make more things like this and that has me excited about creating again.

Another favorite song is "Uncharted." This is from her album "Kaleidescope Heart". This song has personal meaning for me as it does for Sara. 

She says this of her centerpiece song on her third album, "I was worrying [to a friend] about how I was never going to be able to write another song, and I was starting a lot of songs but I couldn't finish any of them. I was really worried about stepping into the unknown and I didn't know what to expect the second time around... and that afternoon, I sat down and wrote 'Uncharted.'" 

That is a powerful statement to me because I feel this way all the time. I am always feeling like I have to top myself which often causes me to seize up and not produce a thing for weeks on end (as happened recently). Not because I lack ideas or that I am missing the skill necessary, but more that I wonder if I can keep up with myself or others. I know that it is not healthy to compare myself to where others are on their journey, but that doesn't stop me, as I am sure you can relate. Then I create a few things that are utter crap (I just don't show that side often enough ;-), clear that junk out of the way, and press on. And eventually, I come up with something that brings the spark back.

The bridge on this song has one of my favorite lines:

Compare where you are to where you want to be, and you'll get nowhere.

I tried to keep it simple with this necklace, but, well, that didn't exactly happen! I wanted an explosion of color, to refer to the Kaleidoscope Heart of the album name. I used that line above from the lyrics on one of my new Story Beads to form the centerpiece in a lariat-look necklace, but it really can be worn extra long or doubled up. I added the silk strands, glass beads, agate rounds, a kaleidoscopic Swarovski crystal button wired to a brass cog (from an experiment a year ago that went nowhere), a few coils of colorful wire and two chains for a pop of color and movement. I added a pewter heart from Green Girl Studios and a colorful beaded tube from JulsBeads. There is a playful asymmetry in this piece to show that were I started was much more simple than where I am today and the path is ever changing and branching off. I am wearing it right now, in fact to remind me of this wisdom.

I have to remind myself all the time that it does me no good to compare where I am today with where I am headed, nor to what someone who has gone before me has achieved. I need to be in the moment. My moment. And when I am, I can be free from worry and comparisons and negativity and realize that my path is uncharted, and I get to make my way as only I can. 

As I was doing the research on Sara,  I came across this really adorable video for the song "Gonna Get Over You." I love that she is trying to get through this tough break up by be-bopping around the grocery store. Her alter-ego in this video is a really put together rocker chick that has this really awesome rockabilly style with the poufed hair, tight jeans, white t-shirt and black leather biker jacket. However, the first thing that I noticed is that she is not wearing any jewelry. Egads! That is just not right! So I decided at the last minute to make just one more... something fun that would speak to her broken heart but also to her tough exterior in this video.

My necklace features some upcycled and new chains in gunmetal and black along with a some festoons of rhinestone and silver chains. It was trickier than I thought to get those chains just right. Still not sure if they are.

The focal is a great raku heart in light blue and grungy brown from Lisa Peters Art and a sterling silver heart charm just floating around my stash.. I can totally see Sara wearing this in that video, can't you?

Thank you so much for joining me in the Challenge of Music hop. Since you were kind enough to sit through my entirely long post, if you leave a comment here, I will be having a surprise giveaway in a few days! Any old comment will do, but you MUST have a way for me to contact you via email either in your profile or comment. 

Are you as pumped as I am to hop? Please join the rest of the talented participants in this most musical challenge!

Erin Prais-Hintz - YOU ARE HERE!

Happy hopping!

P.S. Did you enjoy the hop? Would you like to play next time? Watch for the next quarterly Challenges in May, August and the return of the Challenge of Color in November!


Patti Vanderbloemen said...

Wow! I have been catching your comments on FB and a few days ago, you had not even started your piece! That first piece...the wire work....again, WOW! I do have a question for you....Do you ever sleep? Beautiful work!

Melinda Orr - BANDANA GIRL said...

Love the necklace...totally inspirational!

stacilouise said...

I have never heard of Sara before, but I am now a fan! She is right up my alley. I read your post first and then listend to the song gravity, and I could feel those little ripples and pools, and your pieces mirrors it sooo well. (who doesn't love a good calder inspired piece?) And really, I love that piece. The others are wonderful too and I really like your new tube beads.

I often find myself singing loudly (and not very well, but hey, it feels good) to the radio....to my kids dismay. Usually the same song over and over until I am ready to move on too.
thanks for the fun challenge!!! loved it.

Courtney Breul said...

How do you do it? And when do you sleep? :)

Your work is so very beautiful and expresses each song wonderfully. Love what you did.

Music is such a wonderful thing, that you for sharing.

Unknown said...

I knew it! I just new it. You had mentioned your love of her music before and I told you she touches me too. When you said you picked the artist I just knew she was it!
About your pieces.............I have no words that can cover how much they have touched my heart.

Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio said...

Wow - that is an awesome video! Stunning Necklace!!! Off to check out some of the others too - what a great challenge!

Cece said...

Gobsmacking gorgeous pieces and of course the music too. Thanks for hosting.

peacockfairy said...

Wow Erin! You've really outdone yourself! All 3 pieces are amazing, but I love "Gravity" the best. Truly a work of art!

Alice said...

First, I can just picture you singing at the top of your lungs in your car while people are giving you 'that look'.

Second, thanks for the fun videos. I'm going to have to watch them again. Love the ending on the second one!

Third, I knew you would make something amazing for this challenge, but I was not prepared for 'Gravity'. I can't stop looking at it. All of your pieces are gorgeous, and I love the story behind each.

Thank you for hosting this challenge! I had a lot of fun!

Amy S. said...

First - what a fun challenge - thank you for creating and hosting it!

I love all these pieces and they complement the songs perfectly. My favorite is the piece you created for Unchartered. I love the colors and how you crafted the tube focal with the (amazing) quote!

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

Oh..my..goodness! Erin, the spiral necklace you created is beyond amazing! I am in awe. The style is fun and contemporary and right up my alley. The other pieces you created are gorgeous too. I also really like the third necklace with upcycled chains. Wow Erin, when you put your heart and soul into something, it really shows. No, it shines! The pieces you created are an inspiration!

I had never heard the artist you selected. Beautiful voice. The video is fun to watch!

Thank you for creating such a fun challenge!

Bits of Learning said...

Erin, thank you for hosting this wonderful hop! So much fun!

That is all the words I have, I am just staring in awe at these STUNNING works of art! I have no words!

I do have one question, "Do you sleep?"! Gorgeous work, the translation from song to design is flawless!

Christine Altmiller said...

Thank You so very much for hosting this Hop, Erin ~ it was as inspiring and soul searching as it was fun.

You are my first stop and I am not sure I want to leave. That "Gravity" is truly ripples in a lake, swirling around all dreamy and hypnotic and the Kaleidoscope is such a fabulous burst of living out loud!

I am embarrassed to admit I never paid attention to Sara Bareilles. I thought she was probably too pop for me, but I was instantly captivated. I will certainly be looking into her more. She is probably someone the girls and I can agree upon! Loved the very end of that "Gonna Get over You" video...too cute!

Thank you once again, Erin!

Norma's Bag Boutique said...

Great post. My daughter brought Sara to my attention some time ago with the song "King of Anything". I realized I knew "Love Song" and then discovered the video "Gonna Get Over You" which I just love. Thanks for making me watch "Gravity". Your interpretation of these songs on jewelry is great. Yes, living the moment without overthinking is something I need to remember myself often.

Holly said...

Erin, firstly, thank you for this challenge! I think it connected all of us on a new and different level. I've loved browsing and listening to what everyone has chosen - it's enlightening and so much fun!

I'm another fan of Sarah, but have to admit that I hadn't heard Gravity yet. I will be adding it to my iTunes wish list though!! Your necklace for this piece is just amazing - the details, and sense of motion is so engrossing. I could get lost in following those curves.

The other two pieces are incredible too - the colors and flow of the second piece really call to me. And that third necklace is just so rocker chic, it's edgy and sweet at the same time!

And again, thank you thank you thank you for this awesome challenge!

Lisa Peters Russ said...

What a wonderful Challenge! Thank you so much for using one of my Raku focals in your piece! Your work is always so beautifully inspiring Erin
Happy Creating

indigo heart said...

wow, erin, these pieces are gorgeous! my favorite one is 'gravity'. that song! that video! wowza. just brilliant.

LJ said...

Thanks for creating this hop :)

This has reminded me that I put Sara's 'Little Voice' album in my amazon basket months ago and still haven't actually bought it - I really should!!

Beautiful pieces of jewellery. I particularly like the piece inspired by 'Gonna Get Over You' - the colours look great together and I love the rockier edge to it :)

I'm definitely up for more hopping in the future!

Dawn Doucette said...

I totally love, love, love your loops and curls in your wirework. Your pieces all really hit the mark Erin! Job well done!! Thanks so much for hosting, this was a great challenge!

Cindy said...

Gorgeous, incredibly gorgeous, Erin! I am truly in awe of all three designs - each totally unique. My favorite though, if I did name one, just might be the first with all of the wire coils... you really outdid yourself!!

Sarah Sequins said...


Sara is one of my favorite artists EVER, and I love the video for Gravity.

I also love how you created three pieces that completely embody the songs you chose. I could see Sara wearing the third necklace in her video. It would be perfect!

Wonderful job! Thanks for hosting this challenge -- it's been a lot of fun for me. :)

-- Sarah

Stephani Gorman said...

Cool,Cool,cool...Loved your designs and vidios were perfect! :)

Lori Anderson said...

That first one -- holy hannah but I love the wire work!

Karyn B said...

They are all stunning, but that wire work! Wowsa!

cw whitedogjewelry said...

Gobsmacked indeed!!!
'loved the music, words and video.
Once again, your work is incredible! The spiral necklace is outstanding!
You are an amazing artist with great inspiration to others.
..continued success to you.

steufel said...

Oh Erin, everything is soooooo beautiful. I'm absolutly in love with the second one. It ia auch a fun piece. And thanks again for doing this hop. It was a real challenge and so much fun!

Pearl and Pebble said...

Erin your wire work is beautiful and it looks like music!!! I think Sara totally needs that rhinestone, chain and heart necklace.! How perfect is that!!! Thanking you so much for hosting this challenge and getting things to simmer at least over here!

Elysian Studios said...

Erin- that first piece is amazing! I am totally lovin' the steel wire myself! I hope you reached an exciting new place in your creative journey- -I know I did, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for that. This hop was just what I needed!

Cynthia Thornton said...

I love how you used the Green Girl heart charm! The whole ensemble works perfectly together. I especially love the variation in textures between the strands. Oh, and that steel wire necklace is amazing! I love that wire, and this necklace is more proof of how something common can truly be elevated.

Maneki said...

I hadn't heard of Sara before. Alway nice to be introduced to a new artist.

Lovely necklaces! I especially fell for the first one with the wirework "squiggles". It feels like a sketch or doodles that've been pulled from a paper and rendered in 3D. Very cool!

SueBeads said...

Beautiful pieces, Erin! Love how you made three. I just didn't have time!

Shai Williams said...

That first piece leaves me absolutely stunned. Such perfection. The third piece has to be my favorite as I can actually see myself wearing it.

SoulsFireDesigns said...

Oh Erin! I love Sara and these pieces are just so perfect! The wire work on "Gravity" is just phenomenal! I think my favorite is the last piece though, playful yet tough. Perfect!

Malin de Koning said...

Erin, you have made three beautiful pieces. But really, the first one just blows my mind away. It truly is a piece of art. Just like you said, more like a sculpture. It is so so beautiful! Mesmerizing. I am being hypnotized by all the swirls and orbits and tiny universes. Love it! Love it! Love it!

I have never heard of Sara Bareilles before. I am glad to have been introduced to her by you.

Thank you so much Erin, for arranging this challenge and blog hop. It's just been one of my best ones. You are a fantastic source for giving inspiration to lots and lots of people all around the world. Love you for it!

Erin S said...

these are awesome pieces, Erin. I'm blown away by the wire spirals one! You continue to wow me with your creativity and range!

sandi m said...

I only know Sara from the show on TV (name escapes me) - will have to check out her music.

Great interpretations - but love the wire coils best.

Jenny said...

Hello Hostess - with the most-est! Three! Well done. I agree that you have really suited the pieces well to your music. I think my fav is the colorful "Kaleidoscope " piece. I like the gypsy-ness of it. I am not familiar with that song, or Sara B. (until now) but I am always drawn to text in a piece, and the message there-in.

Thanks for this! It was great!

Marcie Abney Carroll said...

Ya' know, I didn't used to like her until she started judging the Sing-Off, but she's got so much personality! You should YouTube her and Ben Folds and Sing-Off and listen to their rendition of Baby, It's Cold Outside. Beautiful pieces as always and I'm so impressed that you were able to turn out three!!! Wow!

Beth Hikes said...

I love Gravity! That song has always been such an immense heart opener for me. What a beautiful peek inside your soul, Erin :) The fragile strength of the bead and the ever expanding wire is simply poetry in your hands. Thanks for giving me a glimpse inside you today! xoxo Beth

Andrew Thornton said...

Beautiful work, my friend! You've done an excellent job on all three pieces! I am inspired by your ceaseless creativity! Good job!

And I'm a smitten kitten with your Gravity piece. It looks like it could just float away with delightfulness!

Cynthia said...

I saved your blog to comment on last, but I peeked at yours first!
I am not at all surprised that your creations are beautiful, and perfectly capture your chosen songs. I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite, but if pressed, I'd pick "Gravity". It is simply stunning. I absolutely love it. But I really like the other 2 as well. I think the last one would look great on Sara Bareilles, in the video. It's too bad she did not contact you for a custom piece!!

I think one of the boys did a Sara Bareilles song last night on Idol?!?! And, now I have a Sara Bareilles channel on Pandora.
Erin, you are so inspired and truly inspiring! Looking forward to the Spring challenge, whatever it might be!!

Tanya said...

Erin, all of those are just gorgeous. I think I like "Gonna Get Over You" the best though. I love the tough exterior that cracks a bit to show the soft, gooey inside. :) "Gravity" just took my breath away and "Kaleidoscope" is one of the cheeriest pieces I've seen in a while. You are such an inspiration.! Thanks for putting the challenge together. It was fun. :)

Kim Stevens said...

I'm really just speachless Erin! And it takes a lot for me to be speachless since I'm a talker! First I'm really sorry that somehow I missed this challenge, this would have been incredibly fun.

I'm just blown away by that first one, and love the colors in that second one, and I think the chains all work together on the last one. I love using those together!!

Love, my friend, just love!!
Kim xo

Unknown said...

Erin! I love your new jewelry design called "Gravity" - it has so many layers of detail, meaning and magic. It is truly a breathtaking piece! Thank you for sharing photos of your creation! Blessings, Cristina

Lori Bowring Michaud said...

Erin, thank you so much for hosting this hop! I absolutely love the Gravity necklace. You are constantly amazing me with your talent. The colors in the lariat are perfection! They're not colors I wear or work with, but they're great!

beautifullybrokenme said...

Oh my goodness - you blow me away Erin! All three of these designs are so creative and unique, it is hard to pick a favorite. I love "Gravity" for it's intricately made form that truly represents the song so well, and is such a different and unique look for you. I can't wait to see more of your work in this style! The heart with all the chains would be perfect with Sara's outfit - you are right! My favorite, though, is your second piece. The bold colors and asymmetrical style continually draw my eye through the design - fabulous!

:) Molly

Therese's Treasures said...

Wow Erin, I love Sara and just like you I wore that CD out in my car. I love the necklace you made to go with your song choice. You brought the song to life in your piece. The second necklace is colorful and fun like a carnival just like you. Yes Sara would have totally rocked that third necklace in her video!

Bobbie said...

Wow. Wow! WOW!! I loved each and every one of the pieces, for their own beauty and for the perfect way each one reflects its song and the sentiments they inspire in you.

I think the first necklace will live in my memory for a long time -- it's really something special!

BooBeads said...

Wow Erin, just wow!

The inspiration tied into each piece is absolutely there in each amazing piece you put together!

Amy F said...

I love sara! and those pieces you made are fantastic and fit the songs so well! thank you for organizing such a fun hop!

Rebecca said...

Absolutely amazing Erin. All of these pieces are stunning, I can't decide which one I like the best....the colours in the middle piece are amazing, the top piece is absolutely knock out....and thank you for introducing me to a new artist. Thanks for the challenge! I think it will be a springboard for me! X

Lola said...

Oh!!! Wow!!! Your designs are amazing! Erin, your gift for words, design, music and the ability to bring people together in a thoughtful and beautiful way seems to be unending. Thank you for taking us on this wonderful journey ... I can't wait to see what your next challenge will bring.

Mary Harding said...

Your blog hop is so well thought out and inspirational. Music is such a great way to release one's creative spirit and tap the deepest of feelings. your pieces are wonderful. I too love the circles best but all are wonderful.

EB Bead and Metal Works, LLC said...

Erin each of your pieces is truly a piece of art work! I really love that first piece with all the wire work, but like I said each of your pieces are fantastic! You make me drool each time I see one of your pieces! Thanks again for putting on the blog hop! I had a lot of fun seeing what everyone created!!!

Ema Kilroy said...

Thank you for introducing me to Sara. I love her songs and her voice! You captured each song within each necklace so beautifully! I love the last piece just as it is. I wouldn't change it. The sparkles, the heart and the edginess of the chains are perfect with the theme of this song.

Thank you for hosting this challenge. I have been having so much fun finding new music through visiting everyone's blogs. I think music says a lot about a person but to see a creation based on that music speaks volumes! So much fun Erin...thank you!

Brandi Hussey said...

They are all gorgeous, but the Gravity Necklace is amazing and stunning!!!! I'm so awed by it. The design is beautiful.

Kirsi said...

Yours jewel are so beautiful as always. I so like your style. and the songs match them perfectly.


Kelly Harms said...

I found your site through Nunn Designs, and I am so inspired by your work. Thanks for sharing your inspiration and the great work of Sara. I've been finding inspiration from the music of Sixx A.M and the amazing photography of band founder Nikki Sixx. The genesis of their latest album and how music influenced his photography and how the photography in turn influenced the music is really fascinating. I really love the song "Skin" which has some hauntingly beautiful lyrics which inspired a series of mixed media wall art using the lyrics and vintage photos from the 1800s.

MoonRae said...

I will never be able to thank you enough for hosting this wonderful challenge....I'm so touched and inspired by all the wonderful artisans and their pieces,their songs and their words...
I sortof' participated(made a piece inspired by the song "Ever so Lonely" by Sheila Chandra) but did not commit for a few reasons.
This has been an extremely moving experience.....
~Bravo Ladies!!!~

Cynthia said...

I enjoyed your Music Challenge post. Beautiful "pieces" all around. I hope you will do this challenge again, so I can participate...call it "repeat chorus". :-)

CraftyHope said...

I don't k ow what to address first; the music, the jewelry, or the fact that it's taken me so long to get over here!! I guess let me start by apologizing for my delay. So sorry!
Now, I've never heard Sara's name or her music before. Thank you SO MUCH for introducing me to her. One of my goals for the year was to find new music. You are definitely helping me achieve this.
As far as the jewelry....OMG!! That first necklace is so perfect for that song. The idea of ripples in the music fits perfectly. The song is enchanting and the necklace is mesmerizing = perfection!

Cristi Baxter Clothier said...

Hi Erin! I just wanted to say that all of these pieces are fantastic. Your "Gravity" piece is phenomenal!

Outstanding creations as always.



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