It's ages ago since I participated in a monthly challenge it feels like. This month I really wanted to get started on something and gathered info on challenges. One challenge that I instantly felt a connection to was the Art Bead Scene Blog challenge, featuring a painting by Franklin Carmichael called Jackknife Village. Living on a peninsula, always close to the sea, I really liked the landscape he conjured up on his canvas. While it doesn't really look like that around here, the image reminded me of the childhood vacations I spent in Bohuslän (google it and you'll get photos illustrating my point). It's pretty similar to the Bohus coastline. In other words, it was an image that wouldn't leave me.
Some weeks ago I felt compelled to paint a pendant with these images -- of the artwork and the childhood vacations -- in mind. I got out a 34 mm arte metal (i.e. blackened steel) pendant and started painting using white gesso that I tinted with acrylic paint. Now, the only small brushes I have are watercolour brushes as that's always been my favourite media when it comes to painting (ironically, Carmichaels painting is watercolour and I still didn't choose that myself for this project). No way I was going to ruin them with acrylic paint -- and besides, the brushes are made for heavy paints like oil and acrylics anyway. So I had to make due with some bigger craft quality brushes instead, which partially determined what style to paint in: it wasn't possible to paint any fine details so instead I opted for an impressionist style. The kind that just look like smudges of paint close up, but forms a dreamy landscape when you take a step or more back and admire it from some distance. I always did like impressionism as a teen.
It's really just a doodle, but a doodle I had a lot of fun working with. It might not be perfect, but I'm still pleased with it. While it might be hard to understand from seeing these photos, I must say it looks quite pretty in real life -- though of cause I see it through my own rose-tinted glasses right now.
So the challenge really inspired me, but unfortunately I also wanted to participate in it for real (and get a chance to win as they always have such lovely art bead prizes) and the pendant just didn't want to turn into a piece of finished jewellery (a bead strung on cord or chain doesn't qualify). So frustrating! The days went passed and I couldn't find anything useful in my stash. No blues or if I found any they were the wrong blues (pendant have a slightly lavender blue, most my blues are turquoise). Or the wrong finish: the pendant is so matte that any shiny bead detracts from the focal. The last day today and anything I did try failed. Everything conspired against me!
Wanting to at least do something with the pendant, I made this necklace which I doubt will be approved by the ABS team. But at least I did finish a project so I should feel good about myself anyway, even if I can't officially be part of the challenge this month.
The cord, by the way, is one that I've tea dyed myself. Tea dyeing might not be the best method of dyeing textiles as the tannins can weaken the fibres over the years, but it's easy and fun -- and you can experiment to get just the right hue. Like in this case: I let some cords steep longer than others which gave me range of hues to choose from when wanting to find a good match for the pendant. It looks a bit dark in the first two pics, but it really does match the cliffs in the pendant.
The necklace cord is simply made by doubling the cord, knotting a loop in one end and tying the loose ends to a metal button. Nice and simple. You just need a cord long enough, which was really just barely the case here.