Saturday, May 29, 2010

MAYABS Praise Neckpiece for challenge


Inspired by "Le jongleur"by the artist Marc Chagall, this is my entry for the May challenge at one of my favorite blogs, the Art Bead Scene  The descripton of the challenge for May 2010 is here

I have admired Marc Chagall's work for a very long time. Would you like to hear the story of how I first experienced his amazing art? Okay...

A long time ago (in the 80's) I won a scholarship to be an exchange student for a year in France. Nearly every weekend a small group of friends and I went exploring the regions near our university. Our guide books in hand, exuding the energy and awkwardness of kids on the brink of adulthood, I'm sure we were a curiosity at the very best.

One weekend we decided to take a short trip to Reims from where we were living in Strasbourg (on the German border, north-eastern France). We had read that there was a beautiful gothic cathedral there and that it was famous for having been the site of the coronation of French kings. My friends were all fired up about the champagne too, but that was just a side issue for me. I wanted to see that cathedral.

We hopped off the train and made our way to the touristy center of town, carefully following our tiny guidebook maps. When I looked at this cathedral from the outside, framed by the road of cafes with plastic champagne bottles taller than a grown man, bombarded by the noise of venders, I was not so impressed. It looked like photos I had seen in my history books, its nondescript grayish-brown hue blended into the ominous rain-laden clouds - nice gothic architecture of course, but I was hoping for more. Most of my friends headed off to taste champagne, but one said to me, let's go inside; I heard there is beautiful stained glass in there. I'm so thankful for that friend!

As we ventured inside, the hush of the place was like water to a thirsty soul. I let it wash over me as we gazed up at the amazing blues of Marc Chagall's stained glass. Breathtaking, I've never before or since been so moved by religious art. It was simply overwhelming. (Come see a photo taken by Rogiro here on flickr - )

This month's challenge at the Art Bead Scene reminded me of this precious memory. I like so many of Chagall's paintings, The Juggler too. His work has such bright colors, and I like to imagine fanciful stories of the people and animals he paints. His art is a joy and I might never have come to know his work had it not been for that friendly nudge.

This neckpiece is made with glass beads and polymer clay. I made the focal pieces using a technique I learned from my newest claying favorite, Donna Kato's The Art of Polymer Clay - Creative Surface Effects. I used a brocade technique like Donna, but instead of using a stamp, I made my simple design by using textured paper like that used in scrap booking. I wanted to keep my background design simple, so I only used one layer of texturing and Lumière paint. To this I added "gems" of clay, metal leaf, ink and Magic Glos.

I hope that when you look at my piece you might imagine the shapes and colors of Chagall's juggler's legs with pops of the other colors in the painting here and there in the gems and glass beading. The three focal pieces together are an abstract person, arms raised in praise. For me this is a memory of my "first Chagall" there in the quiet of that cathedral with my friend.

This piece is on display and for sale at Art and Soul by Phoebe.  

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