Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Spicing things up

The theme for ‘The Sketchbook Challenge’ this month is ‘Spices’. Very appropriate for the month of November, as the hedgerows are full of lovely rich spicy colours.

Spice shades in the hedgerows - from my sketchbook
When we got married just over two years ago, one of our gifts was a lovely big spice rack. I use it every day, in fact as I write this, I have chicken marinading in a spicy mixture of cumin, coriander, fenugreek, ginger and garlic, ground in a pestle and mortar and mixed with greek yoghurt. Spices are very commonplace in our homes today, but it was not always so, they were prized for their preservative qualities and even used as currency in ancient civilisations. During the fourteenth century, in Germany, one pound of nutmeg could be traded for seven oxen! An interesting thought as I have just grated some onto my mug of hot chocolate – enough to pay for the Sunday joint I reckon!
I loved wandering through the souk on our trip to Morocco some years ago, looking at all the heaped bowls of spices, dates, olives and other exotic wares. Spice stalls jostle for attention amongst leather goods, carpets and metalwork. I’ve an idea for a collar exploring the theme of spices, but it will have to wait until the new year to be made as I am working my way through my waiting list.
Picking out the beads to use in a project is very much like using cooking ingredients. Proportion is all important. It is often the little touches of a contrasting colour that make the main colour beads in a project really ‘sing’.

When I get round to making the Spice Trail Collar, I will include hints of olive green, as well as some textured sterling silver, to remind me of the other goods on sale in the souk as well as the hot spices. Those mottled ones in my little wooden bowls are made of ceramic and have been waiting for inspiration to tempt them out.

My bead board at the moment is covered with woven flowers in pinks and pale cream shades. It is when the centres are added, in the contrasting pale green that they really come to life, proving that a little bit of 'seasoning' can really pep things up.


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