Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Challenge of Music

Earlier this month, Erin Prais-Hintz from Treasures Found issued another challenge:  the Challenge of Music.  It took me a few days to wrap my head around this one.  I spent almost a day perusing the songs in iTunes.  I did no beading that day and didn't even get to play Star Wars.  Yes, I blame Erin.

What I came to realize, though, is that most music puts some sort of vision in my head.  "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" conjured images of Marilyn Monroe in that gorgeous pink dress from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.  The theme from Angel made me think of Gothic lace and red jewels.  "Me and My Shadow" had me really wanting to bead a top hat.

I not only found it hard to choose one song, I found it hard to begin beading from only the music or lyrics.  I kept seeing the movie, television show or video associated with the song.

Then I came upon  this:

The song is "Hurt," written by Trent Reznor and performed by Johnny Cash.  This song is on Johnny Cash's album America IV:  The Man Comes Around, which is an amazing album.  (Seriously, go check it out.  I don't mind waiting.)

I listened to Cash's version and Reznor's version several times and thought it was interesting that each version made me envision totally different things.  It might be my remembering the videos or it might be the totally different styles.  They are two totally different songs which happen to have the same melody and lyrics.

Speaking of lyrics, here they are:

I hurt myself today
to see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
the only thing that's real
the needle tears a hole
the old familiar sting
try to kill it all away
but I remember everything

what have I become?
my sweetest friend
everyone I know
goes away in the end
you could have it all
my empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

I wear my crown of thorns
on my liar's chair
full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
beneath the stain of time
the feeling disappears
you are someone else
I am still right here

what have I become?
my sweetest friend
everyone I know
goes away in the end
you could have it all
my empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

if I could start again
a million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way

Cash's version makes me think of love and life and regret.  I've listened to it many times this month and am amazed at the emotion it delivers.  The video reminds the viewer of Cash's life and accomplishments while simultaneously presenting the idea of how empty those things can be.

I wanted to showcase something old and worn, a piece that might carry with it a lifetime of memories.  I made a pendant using a wooden circle I picked up at Michaels for 5 cents (yep .. 5 cents).  I used a mix of gold, pewter and bronze delica beads to bezel the pendant, then added a bit of chain around the edge.

The bezel is inspired by a technique by Julia Gerlach.  Her "Catch a Cab" necklace graces the cover of Beautiful Jewerly:  Make It and Wear It.  I loved the use of chain in her bezel.  My wooden disc isn't quite the same as her cabochon, so I stitched the chain around the outside.  I love the way it turned out:

The pendant was easy, but the rest of the necklace was a challenge.  (I suppose that was the point.)  While experimenting with a variety of chains, pearls, beaded ropes and ribbon, a little voice kept nagging me about an idea I was "saving."  Since nothing looked quite right and I was coming down to the wire, I gave in and dug out this chain:

When I saw this chain at the bead store, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.  It was perfect for Marcie Abney's Looking Glass Pendant pattern.  How much fun would it be to bead around the big circles in the chain?  (The answer .. pretty fun!)

Using Marcie's pattern as a jumping point, I beaded around several circles in the chain, using different types of beads in shades of gold, bronze and copper.  (Marcie's blog is full of beady goodness and her etsy store has more beautiful patterns.

The circles in the chain seemed to "work" with the song and Cash's video.  Circles are symbolic of union.  Cash's love for June Carter Cash is evident in the video.  The impending loss of that love is also apparent. (Cash was in frail health when he filmed the video.  June died soon after the filming and Cash followed her not much later.)

The video shows Cash at the end of his life remembering the beginning.  The stark contrast between the beginning and end reminds me of the "circle of life."  The dark chain contrasts with the brighter, beaded circles, almost like a beginning and an end.

For the final touch, I grabbed a small charm I bought from Staci Louise Artisan Accents.  (Check out Staci's shop for more goodies.  Her blog is also full of eye candy.)

I'm quite happy with the result.

I will certainly be beading another, colorful necklace for spring using the same technique.

Before deciding on the circle chain, I grabbed a wooden washer and made a toggle clasp using the same technique I used to create the pendant.  Since I didn't use that clasp in this necklace, I decided to make it into its own necklace.

This simpler version is great as a choker.

Erin, thank you for the opportunity to challenge ourselves with music.

Here is a list of all the participants.  Please check out their blogs for some awesome and inspiring work:

Erin Prais-Hintz
Tanya Goodwin - you are here

Saturday, February 25, 2012

i heart macro Sunday

I am constantly amaze by the kiddo as she grows into her own person.  She's starting to develop her own taste in music and will often ask to hear a song over and over until she can remember some of the lyrics.

She loves "Sisters are Doin' It For Themselves," sung by the Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin.  She often asks to hear "the happy song" ("Shiny Happy People" by R.E.M).  Lately, though, she has been asking to hear Bob Dylan.  (I'm pretty sure my Dad was involved in this, though I'm not sure how.)

In honor of the kiddo and Bob Dylan, I have a few macro shots that are "blowin' in the wind."

studio waterstone

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I'm guest posting on Sharyl's Jewerly

I've been busy working on challenge pieces this week, so I haven't done much blogging.  (I have tons of ideas for posts, though.)

Luckily for you, I am guest posting today over at Sharyl's Jewelry.  Sharyl was kind enough to let me talk about seed beading and show off some of my finished pieces.

If you have a few minutes (or hours) check out Sharyl's artfire shop.  It's filled with beautiful, handmade pieces. I love the colors in her Nepalese Inlaid Turquoise and Brass Necklace.

I am drooling over her Carved Bracelet.

And what outfit couldn't benefit from her Beautiful Lady of Stone Necklace.

A big "Thank You" to Sharyl for allowing me to guest post on her blog.  If you are interested in seeing what I had to say, check it out here.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

i heart macro Sunday

This week, I don't have any good stories for you.  I do have a few back yard pictures from last week.  I like the colors in the first two.  These are from my in-laws' back yard.

I also took the time to figure out how to use actions in Photoshop to put a border on my pictures.  This took a bit of playing around on my part, but I am happy with the end result.  (It's the little things that make me happy.)

Happy Sunday and macro day to all of you.

studio waterstone

Saturday, February 11, 2012

i heart macro Sunday

When I was younger, my parents and I would often visit my grandparents on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  It seemed most of my aunts and uncles would do the same because my grandparent's house was always full of company.  (It didn't hurt that most of my family lived within five or ten minutes of each other.)

Now that I'm grown and have moved further away, it's hard to just "drop in" on either my parents or in-laws.  It is still a treat, though, to spend an afternoon visiting.

While the kiddo tired out her grandmother, I had the opportunity to spend a few cold minutes in my in-laws' back yard.

Even though I was only outside for about fifteen minutes, I think I took enough pictures to last through several "I heart macro" posts.  (Hopefully, you won't be too tired of wintery back yard photos.)

Today, I want to share a few pictures of my father-in-law's pond.  Even in the middle of winter, it is something to see.  The water lily leaves floated just under the water's surface, almost touching the thin sheet of ice hovering above.

The texture on the leaves was amazing.

As were the ice crystals:

This little bubbling pipe was merrily working away.

studio waterstone

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hoops and crystals

In the midst of working on my projects for our Beading Babes group, I stumbled upon  Romina Designs.  These Autumn Hoop earrings screamed "you need me."  Seriously, they did.  And I now have a pair.  :)

These earrings worked up quickly and easily.  The pattern is also very versatile.  I foresee many hoops in my future .. big ones, small ones, double layered ones .. you get the picture.  :)

I also took a stab at the crystal right angle weave bracelet.

I love this bracelet.  I wanted something sunny and fun and this definitely is both.  I have some of the gold seed beads left, so I might have a few of these on my wrist come summer.

A big thanks to Valerie from Romina Designs.  Check out her shop for more great designs.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

i heart macro Sunday

I wish there was a way to take the kiddo's energy and bottle it.  She doesn't typically walk.  She runs.  Everywhere.  Today, we took a walk around the arboretum just to try to "use up" her excess energy.  (It didn't work.)

It was a bit chilly, but the kiddo loved running around the lake and snapping pictures of everything.  I still get a kick out of seeing her, camera in hand, crouching over a leaf or bush for the "perfect" shot.

I was mesmerized by a wheat plant (I think).  A few fuzzy blooms on the inside had collected droplets of water.  I must have taken 20 pictures of this plant, but I will only bore you with a few.  :)

I was also taken with this branch.  I didn't realize until I got home, but since it was a cloudy day, this color picture looks to be more black and white.

studio waterstone