Thursday, March 18, 2010

MARCHABS, Almond Blossom Water Color

Each month the Art Bead Scene Blog sends out a challenge to their readers to submit entries inspired by a well-known work of art. The entry must incorporate an art bead as well as reflect the color or patterns of the chosen work.
This month's choice, Van Gogh's "Almond Branches in Bloom"  is so compelling that I couldn't stop thinking about it. Doesn't it make your heart sing?
I've always loved Van Gogh's work, and the story of his life is one that touches me as well. Being the son of a minister, never fitting in, being rejected by others, his dreams of helping others and his drive to express himself through art, these ideas all mix into my understanding of his lively colors and brushstrokes.
My entry for the March Art Bead Scene Challenge is titled Almond Blossoms. I have created and incorporated several art beads in my design. The focal bead is a faux pietre dure, made in polymer clay following the wonderful tutorial created by a talented artist whose heart is as beautiful as Van Gogh's painting, Aleksandra Micic. The smaller blossoms, also made of polymer clay, are based on a photo found here. I used the technique of caning or mille fiori to create the image using a palette of clay in a sort of three dimensional painting process.
Whereas the claying portion of this project was pure happiness, the beadwork is always more of a challenge for me. I worked through several designs before deciding on this one. I tried to use as many natural elements as I could to depict the branches and leaves that are typically the unheralded support for the blossoms that take center stage at first glance. Most of the beads are of rugged chips of jade, jasper, mother of pearl and wood, but I gave into my sparkling glass beads that were calling to me to represent the glint of the sun peaking through the pale petals of the blossoms.
I'm aware that the ephemeral nature of the blossoms is what tugs at my heartstrings as I see them fluttering in the breeze, but I made the decision to follow my practice of avoiding groupings four beads in my work as this number is attached to the concept of morbidity in Japanese. Each grouping of three or seven is the result of my conscious wishes for the wearer to be filled with peace, and good health.
If you would like to see the step by step photos of the process I used to make the art beads, please visit my Flickr set.
Thanks so much for reading and sharing in this challenge with me.


  1. Very unique and beautiful!!! I love how you designed and realized this wonderful idea!!!

  2. What a lovely entry into the ABS March Challenge, Jill! It's such a beautiful interpretation and statement piece! Bravo! Will look to see more from you!


  3. Yes, you have surely outdone yourself this time, I am stunned! I can't wait to see you on the front page of ABS! :)

  4. Oh Jill I just can't keep my eyes away from those blossoms. I've seen other entries... for me, yours is the winner! Love S.

  5. Hi Feeling, Cindy, Kate and Sandra, Sorry to take so long to reply. I've been claying with the Indy Polymer Clay Guild people today. We learned how to make coral and turquoise beads, and then I couldn't leave town without looking around at the craft stores:). Thank you all so much for your kind and encouraging remarks.

  6. Hi my friends,
    I was afraid to hope that your prediction might come true, but in fact they did. I'm so happy to have been chosen as the designer of the week :) Thanks for cheering me on.

  7. ¡Precioso! con una clara inspiración japonesa...adoro la tendencia oriental.

  8. ¡Gracias, Cris, encantada de conocerte!
    Con respecto a una inspiración japonesa, tienes toda la razón del mundo! Estoy baja la influencia de la cultura japonesa. Soy professora de japonés y francés. Estoy contentísima que tu pudieras detectar mi pasión por el estilo japonés. Un besito, Jill

  9. Bonjour, Je m'appelle Chloe! Tres, tres magnifique, non? Tres bien Jill! J'aime beaucoup le fleurs :)