Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tapisserie - Art Bead Scene Blog: July Monthly Challenge

This month's Art Bead Scene Blog: July Monthly Challenge is inspired by a painting by Picasso of his wife, Olga.
At first I was struck by how my own beloved grandma, Amy, had a similar appearance to the lovely Olga in the July ABS portrait.
Do you see any similarities?  
My first idea to meet this challenge was to make a cane.  I love making canes; and this would by my favorite kind of cane, a face cane.  I focused on old photos of Amy and started with her eyes:
Then I added the nose and lips:
I've recently undergone three surgeries, one on my neck and one on each of my hands.  It was so difficult for me to reduce this cane- nearly impossible  I used my forearms and an acrylic rod instead of my hands.   I didn't dare risk ruining the work my neurosurgeon has done.  I had seen my grandma's face in the cane until I saw the reduced parts. I found an unknown man staring back at me instead of either Olga or Amy!  The top cane in this bunch looks like a young man to me.
Well, I had to fix this!  I watched a wonderful video titled  

Differences Between Male and Female Skull, Head, Face- Art Tips by Merrill Kazanjian . I used his advice to add some extra translucent clay above the eyes and in the cheeks, narrowed the jaw a bit and it looked much more like a female; actually it looked more like Olga than Amy this time.

I've had much fun already playing with this face cane, but I'm not quite ready to show you the results.  I hope to share those on Tuesday.  

Instead, I began doodling in clay focusing on the pretty floral pattern on the seat in the portrait. My sister says that our grandma had wallpaper in a very similar design in her home.  (I don't remember that so much as the house burned when I was a very little girl.)  Here is a photo of my uncured clay "doodles".  I began to think of this as a tapestry, thus the title of my first ABS challenge piece this month "Tapisserie" (French for tapestry).   

I have been toying with the idea of making a "bib" neck piece since I've had my surgeries.  My neck has a smile-shaped scar now:  
It might be nice to hide this extra "smile"  under some well-placed/well-designed necklace until it fades a bit - at least for my first show since surgeries on July 27.  Tapisserie should fit the bill.
It is made nearly entirely of polymer clay.  The black "beads" on either side of the main bib are re-purposed vintage beaded earrings minus their old findings.
 The clasp is actually a clay-covered vintage finding as well.
I know that many of us are allergic to many metal findings, so I cover, lift, or simply avoid metal parts in my mixed-media pieces.   Comfort is my first priority when designing pieces of jewelry. Polymer is light weight and I've yet to find anyone allergic to it.  A few more glass beads were added to allow for fluidity of movement.
Do you see the little red ball inside the yellow flower?  That is a secret (for now).  You'll have to ask me to tell you ;).  
All in all, I am very pleased with my new Tapisserie neck piece.  It is very comfortable and I plan to wear it at my next show.


  1. J'aime beaucoup votre collier et je suis sûr que cela vous va à merveille. Encore une fois bravo pour cette magnifique création.

    1. Merci Ahowin, vos mots m'enhardissent. Comme votre bracelet du mois derniier m' a captivée, j'ai hâte de voir votre participation ce mois-ci! Biz d'Indiana :)

  2. What a beautiful piece and a fun description of your design process. I'd love to know the secret of the red inside the yellow flower. I'll keep reading!

    1. Thank you Ann. The little red ball in the flower is silica gel that I dyed with alcohol ink and glued to the cured bead I keep a little container of these that we find in so many packaged foods to keep the moisture away.
      It is fun to add these to my projects as a little sparkly embellishment.

  3. I love your story as much as your work of art, Jill... beautifully done! Un grand succès...

  4. Jill, vous méritez d'être la designer de la semaine, votre collier est si unique, et tellement beau. À mon for intérieur, je me disais "j'espère qu'elle sera la designer de la semaine" bravo! congratulations.

  5. Congratulations on being the designer of the week, when I saw your piece on flickr I thought it was a winner. I am so sorry to hear about your surgeries and how it's effected your art, but I know you are a trooper and believe in where there's a will there's a way!