24 August 2013

Bead Fest Pity Party - Inspiration Adventure

Today our goal is to get out of the house and go on an adventure!

When I am at home I spend a lot of time in my basement studio with only a tiny window up high to see the light of day. And while I was in the studio as of 8am this morning, I will be taking a break and getting outside and on with life. I have to sing at a wedding later today, but after that it is my goal to investigate a little section of the Green Circle Trail in my hometown, something I am hoping to base my piece of jewelry on for my Challenge of Travel reveal next Saturday, August 31st. The theme for the Challenge this year is to go on a staycation in your own hometown and celebrate what makes it a wonderful place to live.

So today I would like to share something special about my hometown of Stevens Point, Wisconsin. We have a University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) in our community. This university has a very respected College of Natural Resources. They are also known for their outstanding art, theater, dance and music programs.

On the campus, there is an incredible mural along the wall of the College of Natural Resources. This mural was created in 1975 led ceramics professor named Richard Schneider and is a huge mosaic that is pretty cutting edge even today.

"With computer technology donated by Control Data Corporation, the design was divided into 286,200 tiny squares, each of which was analyzed for light/dark values on a 28-step scale. Professor Schneider then created designs from the different Natural Resources disciplines which coincided with the requirements of the light/dark scale. The computer generated forty photographic negative printouts which were enlarged and assembled into a 6 by 18 foot composite of the mural and in which each tiny square appeared as a ¼ inch square of the appropriate symbol for that value. This assemblage was divided into 646 panels, mostly 3 by 4 feet, designed to coincide with existing joints on the building itself."

It really is quite an incredible sight, but one that I take for granted. So when I was on the campus recently for my daughter to participate in the Point Tap Festival, a three day tap dance intensive with instructors and dancers coming in from across the country, I thought I would take a few shots.(That in itself is an amazing testament to the quality of the dance education on campus).

UWSP Mural on the College of Natural Resources building

But also nearby was a newer art installation that I came to find out was put up earlier this year with a visiting art professor. It is called 'Garden of Curiosities.' This set of structures looks a little like a bunch of huts that almost have a human shape with heads and bodies. Upon closer inspection it is clear that they have doors and windows. It was created with branches that were harvested in an environmentally sensitive way and invites the viewer to participate in the experience by walking through and inside each of them.

As I approached it closer, I could hear the twittering of dozens of birds and could see them swooping and circling the structures. It looked like they were having a blast! This art installation is not only a beautiful sight, but is like a bird's playland! I felt as if I were a tiny baby bird surrounded by my home nest. It made me wish I had wings!

Garden of Curiosities art exhibit at UWSP
Yesterday I was working with some of my cardinal themed pieces for the upcoming Pacelli Panacea silent auction. I made a necklace and earring set as well as a bracelet. Since they are birds, it seems right to share that here in keeping with the art that I viewed on campus.

I used a cardinal in a birch tree pendant from Heather Powers at Humblebeads paired with a strand of czech glass beads, red coral rounds and some mother of pearl chips. I had a strand of these little silver leaves from I don't know where and they seemed like the perfect accompaniment to this Cardinal spotted in the trees.

I also made a bracelet with a ceramic button that I picked up from Lisa Peters Art at the Bead & Button Show. The focal is totally awesome. I have a lot of luck with Lisa's pieces of art in that things I make with them usually sing beautifully. This bracelet, however, strikes a sour note.

I worked really hard on this design. I love the cardinal from Lisa and I liked the new Rizo rice-shaped beads. However, when I woke up this morning, I decided that it looked ridiculous. I would not bid on that in an auction. The scale was all off and the button just flopped around too much. So I ripped it apart and came up with a better idea that fit the scale and feel of the rustic ceramic cardinal head button. I love it so much that I am sharing it as a tutorial for you! I think the steps speak for themselves.

I don't know if Miss Lisa is making any more of these, and each one that I saw from her was different, sculpted by hand, so this might very well be a one-of-a-kind. I might just need to bid on my own item in the silent auction I like it so much! ;-)

Cardinal ID - bracelet
In keeping with today's theme of "Inspiration Adventure," answer this question for a chance to win a $20 credit in my Etsy shop (please, PLEASE, turn on your email in your profile, or leave your email in the comments. If I can't reply to your comment, you can't win! Thanks!):

What hidden gem have you discovered in your hometown OR
what treasure in your town is waiting to be discovered by you?

Now... go out there and discover it! And if you are interested in joining me in the Challenge of Travel blog hop, I would still take you! You can sign up for the hop through Sunday. And then on Monday, I will be sending the reminder email.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your inspiration, Erin.Love the cardinal on the leather. I'll have to dig around my closet or the thrift store now!
I've had some wonderful adventures this week with the grandkids, geocaching around Balboa Park in San Diego. I thought I knew this park intimately, but joyfully admit that hunting for hidden caches has taken me to some beautiful new spots to explore. Inspiring me to take another look at materials and techniques in jewelry making when I think I've exhausted the possibilities.

Anonymous said...

Wow - that cardinal necklace is so gorgeous! A hidden gem in my hometown is a small museum with an original 1800s schoolhouse.

Tanya said...

That is a gorgeous necklace. And the bracelet is stunning. Thank you for the tutorial.

As for a hidden gem, I have been enjoying the streets of Kansas City. I have taken a few self guided tours of the fountains, but have been noticing the beauty of the city.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to your upcoming Challenge of Travel, I've been thinking a lot about my home town of Melbourne. It's an understated city, not showy like Sydney, but culturally rich and vibrant in many ways. As always I'm drawn to the beach, and the green leafy parks, and it seems there are always more places to explore here. I'll be telling you more about it next weekend!

Mal said...

I've been doing lots of mindful walking and playing with ideas prompted by your wonderful challenge Erin and am looking forward to the big unveiling next weekend! Loved reading a little about your place. The Garden of Curiosities looks amazing! Thanks for a lovely post! Wendy

Shai Williams said...

I just love that necklace. Those are normally colors that I avoid but you cause them to play together so nicely.

One thing that I have been wanting to do in my home town of Tacoma WA is the Tacoma Museum of Glass. I was really planning on hitting there before the hop next week but things came up :(


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