The inspiration image for the Art Bead Scene design challenge this month is a watercolor by Marianne North titled “Red Water Lily of Southern India.” North was a biologist and botanical painter of the Victorian era.
The inspiration image is saturated with color from lush greens to vivid pinks. At first, I thought I’d create some jewelry using the entire color palette supplied with the image on the Art Bead Scene blog. It includes a couple of greens, a range of pink-ish purples, and a couple of neutrals. Ultimately, I limited my design to the pink and purple hues, and focused on the flowers.
I’ve been making polymer clay flower components for a new line of jewelry. I started during the winter and am currently assembling the various necklaces, earrings, and bracelets for a spring debut. Consider the necklace and earrings I’m showing you today a preview of the line. Or rather, a second preview. I debuted some of the flower components for a chandelier earring design challenge last month.
I had a set of flower components in purple, which I could have used. But I decided to make some new flowers with more pink in them for this challenge. The flower components I made for this challenge aren’t an exact match for the colors in the painting, but they are more suited to the overall palette. To make the flowers, I start with white clay, which I then color with pastels. I use acrylic paint to distress the flowers and bring out the details. Rubbing off the excess paint also softens and smudges the underlying pastels, furthering the faded and distressed effect.
According to what I read, North did not use black in her paintings. I was thinking I should also avoid black in my jewelry designs for this challenge, but when I auditioned silver, copper, and brass metals with the flower components, none looked as right as matte black. So, the necklace back is textured matte black chain with a matte black S-hook clasp. And the earrings are on Vintaj Arte Metal wires, which are also a matte black.
This is my second time participating in the Art Bead Scene monthly design challenges. They chose great inspiration images. I’ve been fascinated by Victorian-era botanical art for as long as I can remember, but I’ve never taken time to educate myself about the artists. I enjoyed reading about the intrepid Marianne North as part of the background for this challenge.
I’m still debating what to call my new line of flower jewelry. The working title is “Distressed Flowers,” which has to do with both the finish on the components and the reason I decided to make the line. You’ll have to stay tuned here for the post where I officially debut the line to learn more. The plan is to have everything ready before the end of next month.