Through all my years as a design student or even a design educator interested in art history, I had never come across Odilon Redon. So when I downloaded Art Bead scene’s challenge book (pdf) for 2017 I was intrigued. “Profile on Red Meanders” was the June inspiration. Later when I won the FEBABS challenge I had the opportunity to pick any beads that I wanted from Soul Silver. Needless to say, I picked those Art beads that would enable me to take part in more ABS challenges. Coincidentally, for me Sally’s matte Art bead set in pink, purple, green and beige where the inspirational beads for this month’s challenges.
My beads arrived months back but I put off designing thinking that I would be free in June (when the semester ends) to work on it. However, life had other plans for me. This has been the busiest June I have seen in a decade 🙁 giving me no time to pursue my passions. But I was determined to make use of Sally’s beads to create a piece.
Research – Where is the red in Red Meanders?
When I started to make the piece, I googled the inspiration painting to know more about it. I found not one image that matched the one in the e-book. The prints I found on most websites either had a bright red background or an extremely dull pink background. The neon colours of the June ABS inspiration where nowhere to be found. However, when I read about the period in Redon’s life when he is supposed to have painted this, I found out that he was into chalk pastels. Redon explored the expressive and suggestive powers of color. He used ethereal chromatic backgrounds that he paired with figurative subjects like the Joan of Arc in this one.
Redon is also famous for his paintings of severed heads. They are said to symbolise a higher state of consciousness through the exploration of dreams, nightmares, and subjective vision. This knowledge coupled with the information that I had on chalk pastels set me on a definitive path. I realised that I had to make a piece that was dreamy, textural with a strong ethereal point of focus.
The painting also reminded me on the colorful Chalk drawings that my friends and I used to draw in school. During celebrations we would often decorate the black board with coloured chalks that were reserved by the school for special occasions. Flowers, bells or bows would be shaded in soft creams, peaches, pink and bluish greens and outlined with white. Building up on those memories, I decided to follow a palette of soft beige and chalk green with pops of magenta and purple.
At this time, I was also working with Palm leaf craft artisans of Pulicat. I was helping them in product development as a part of a Government aided project. Creating Palm leaf jewelry was something that I focussed on. Those who follow me on Instagram would have seen glimpses of these creations. I will write more about them in future posts once the designs are submitted for review. As I was there, I utilised the services of artisans to create palm leaf beads and a pendant component for my design.
I connected a dichroic focal that I bought at Michaels to the palm ring made by Mrs. Jalka a palm leaf master craftsperson. I used the palm beads made by Mrs. Ajitha A, another artisan along with Sally’s (Soul Silver) triangular beads. I also used some ceramic cylinders given to me by Kelly Patterson during our swap and hop 1n 2016. Faux pearls, dyed agate and rose embroidery thread complete the necklace
As this is a necklace of contrasts, I would have liked to work on it a bit more, esp the cord part, but for now the Art bead necklace is ready for Sale. Here are the details in a gist for the challenge
Art Bead Necklace
Designer – Divya N
Brand – Sayuri
Art beads from – Soul Silver (Sally), Palm beads by Mrs. Jalka and Mrs. Ajitha
“I have often, as an exercise and as a sustenance, painted an object down to the smallest accidents of its visual appearance; but the day left me sad and with an unsatiated thirst. The next day I let the other source run, that of imagination, through the recollection of the forms and I was then reassured and appeased.”…Odilon Redon
During the course of my research, I came across this quote by Redon and after reading it I wanted to make something else. A piece with heads, dreams and saturated colours in the given inspiration image. I used the Frida Kahlo beads I bought from Pricilla beads at beadfest last year along with thread beads and made a pair of earrings. Like Joan of Arc, Frida too is an inspiration as she is a fighter and a believer in something that is much greater than us. I am not sure if he decoupaged beads count as art beads but I love wearing them and enjoyed all the attention that I got at work.
I am just beginning to experiment with combining different textures in one piece and I would like some feedback. How do find the pieces? Do you ever wear or use natural reed, grass or leaf products?
I hope you found it interesting