Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Persephone - my new neckpiece

I have created a neckpiece inspired by the myth of Persephone. Flowers woven from tiny beads and rich bead embroidery make a very pretty piece. I found some wonderful glass chips that remind me so much of the pomegranate seeds Persephone ate. I learned some new techniques whilst making this, a picot edge to the bead embroidery just suited it, also the reducing of the strap at the back presented a challenge. I used Beadsmith Fireline thread to secure the flowers and leaves. Originally developed for fishermen, it is very strong, but virtually invisible. This is the first time I’ve used it and I’m impressed with it. Many blissful hours of work have gone into Persephone, I thought very carefully about the position of all the flowers, I'm glad that I decided on an asymmetrical design, it suits the nature inspired theme perfectly.

Painting of Persephone by Rosetti
Persephone was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. Demeter, who was the goddess of the harvest refused to let her daughter marry. Zeus on the other hand thought it was time for Persephone to take a husband and he ordered Eros, the god of love to shoot Hades, the king of the underworld with one of his arrows. Hades, smitten with Persephone as a result, bore her away to the underworld to be his queen. Demeter was distraught at the loss of her daughter and caused the crops to fail and famine to sweep the earth. Zeus eventually asked Hades to return Persephone, but because she had eaten some pomegranate seeds in the underworld, she has to return to her husband Hades for part of the year. I like to imagine that she is happy to return to him, and allow the different seasons on earth.  

It occurs to me that Persephone would wear very different clothes during her time in the underworld. After a few months in girlie flowery garments she is probably pleased to put on something black, stylish and with a hint of the gothic! I may well have to make another darker version for her that would suit her other persona.


Thursday, 2 August 2012

Pips and Squeaks

Do plants have feelings? I think they must do if my recent experience is anything to go by. Last week I bought 2 identical little dahlia plants to brighten up the patio. After a few days  one was vigorous and sporting loads of pretty yellow and red blooms. The other was looking very dismal and snail chewed. For some reason I got it into my head that it was being overshadowed by the other one and as a result was lacking in confidence!

Thinking it would benefit from some dead heading I went over and pinched off a dead flower. EEEEEk said a high little voice!  Maybe the tiny Fae that inhabits it was taken by surprise! I resolved not to startle it again so have been giving it some encouraging pep talks over the last few days. I empathised with it completely, I know  it can take a while before you find your own unique way to shine.

Pippa - a seed gatherer faery with her special
circlet on her forehead
Talking of Faery Folk, I have been working on something with a seed and berry theme. Feeling that I wanted to work with wood beads after a while of making sparkly things,  I tipped a big jar full of them out onto my beading mat. Out fell a beautiful oval shaped piece with a mother-of-pearl centre. How strange, I don’t remember buying it or putting it in the jar. I got paper and pen out to do some quick sketches of how I might use it, and an idea almost seemed to draw itself. It’s very scribbly but enough to show what I am to make. I must work it up into a finished watercolour, it would make a lovely little gift to pop into the box with the necklace when I've made it.
The centrepiece almost seemed to stitch itself –the challenge I think will be the twisty stems adorned with berries, seeds and leaflike beadwork that I want to surround it.
I’ll need to stitch sample pieces to perfect the technique, which will be a useful one to learn, as I plan to do some more wood elf pieces in future. Here's my first tryout.