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.