ABS Challenge: May

May 24, 2011 § 9 Comments

After diving straight in with my miniature bead soup for the May challenge over at ABS, I thought it would be simple enough to put something together – but it turned out to be harder than I thought.

I kept getting stuck on the inspiration, wondering whether the ideas I had were really responding to the piece well enough, whether it was green enough, whether I needed to do something more … ‘lady with an umbrella’ ish.

Despite the muted cream, white and lilac tones, despite the bright acidic lemony-green and the richer colours of the fields, I kept getting drawn back to the very very dark brown-green-black of the central tree and the women’s hair, hat and bow. Putting a great dash of black right in the forefront of the painting, so strikingly different from the rest of the delicate shades washing round, seemed courageous (and slightly mad). If I work using black it’s something that is all black, completely – I hardly ever use it with other colours. But this seemed like an interesting experiment to try a very absorbing colour with lighter, brighter ones.

Art bead – ceramic button by White Clover Kiln

Mustard coloured beading cord; copper plate findings; Czech glass flower in Picasso finish and Swarovski crystal; black lava beads; ruby zoisite squares; lemon jade oval

White Clover Kiln’s button really picks up on the subtle colours and simplified leaf shapes in the painting without being too referential, and provides a soothing compliment to the zingy mustard colour and racing green and black squares. The different textures of the stone, ceramic, lava, metal and cord I find very pleasing purely in a sensory way!

Sometimes, it feels like your work or your ideas are slipping away from you; that you’re making something that’s not quite fitting with what you want it to be, or your expression of an idea or emotion or response. I’ve made a couple of things recently that have been experiments and haven’t really felt like they had come from me, they’d just come from randomly generated ideas that happen to be passing through my brain. But with this bracelet, it sort of…came together. Yes, it is different to what I would usually wear, and yes, it was inspired by something I would never normally choose – but it just worked. When I photographed it and saw that zap of yellow across the black lava, I knew it was right!

When I look at the painting, it reminds me of the moments before a summer storm, where the clouds run together and start getting sooty, the air tastes metallic, and there’s a warm feeling of excitement and anxiousness permeating the atmosphere. The colours of the leaves and grass seem brighter and energised, the clouds pocked and full of rain, and women carry umbrellas – just in case. It has a tranquility that you only get before something breaks overheard, a crack of thunder and a snip of lightning that forks to the ground, not frightening but thrilling and enthralling. The bracelet is called ‘Quiet Field before The Storm’.


Don’t forget to check out the other entries in the ABS Flickr pool! There will be a blog tour on 30th May over at Art Bead Scene.


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