You're probably saying to yourself, "Hey, wait a minute! I don't see any mermaid!" Well, this is not one of those literal pieces, this is one of those artsy pieces where you have to squint and stand back a ways to truly appreciate it (kidding, just kidding - you won't find a mermaid even if you do that, although I would find it amusing).
The folks over at the Art Bead Scene Blog sponsor a challenge every month wherein they chooose an image for inspiraiton and challenge you to use an art bead in some way in the creation of a piece. They define art beads as "a bead, charm, button or finding made by an independent artist. Art beads are the vision and handiwork of an individual artist." I love art beads of all kinds and I have lots of favorite artisans. If you've been following my blog for long, you've probably seen some pieces sure to inspire envy.
The inspiration piece for July is The Little Mermaid by Edmund Dulac:
I'm always drawn to sea themes and I love this piece because it isn't the stereotypical sea theme. It has a dark twist to it (not the skull and skeleton). Everything is broken and twisted and jumbled. It's chaotic and it has lots of muted color. I had a bead by lamp work artist Laurie Ament of Isinglass Design that I thought would work perfectly for this project. Laurie actually made this bead and asked me to make a free form micro macrame piece with it for her. I got some of her beautiful beads in exchange for doing this, so it was win-win! She makes all kinds of great pieces like fish and turtles and shells and seahorses... and I could go on and on, but it might be best if you just pop over to her shop and take a peek for yourself and I'll get on with the story. This is the bead Laurie sent:
It's different on the other side:
See what I mean about this piece fitting the inspiration piece? It just has that feel to it and has lots of the colors from the illustration. I tried setting the bead in black first and it wasn't right so I cut it apart. Then I tried big patches of the colors pulled from the bead and it wasn't right either. It was way too busy and completely overshadowed the bead, so I cut that apart, too. I finally resorted to a very neutral gold color. It's not a color I work with very often and it feels slightly uncomfortable, which I think works when you're aiming for chaotic. I just started randomly knotting and got this far before I felt like giving up:
My friend, Lindsay (she's brilliant, by the way - check her work out here) convinced me to keep going. She suggested I add little bits of color, so I went back to the
drawing macrame board.
Well, now it's starting to feel like something. Of course, I'm not sure what it is starting to feel like, but something! So I plugged on and ended up with this:
I just love it when a plan comes together. This one was a challenge for me in many ways. The colors were not my old standby, comfortable colors and I'm very much a straight line, symmetrical kind of person. Free form is hard for me. I have to work hard to make it look like I didn't work hard! I do free form once in a while (you can see some examples here and here if you're interested), but it doesn't come easily.
Anyway, with Laurie's bead and Mr. Dulac's illustration for inspiration, it all gelled. I swear I even see a swirl of tentacles, the sweeping fan of a shell and little bits of the tangled sail and mast in the knotting. Maybe even some of the stringy seaweed floating in the deep currents. Are you with me?