Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Inspired by Reading Book Club The Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn



The Inspired by Reading Book  Club selection for  September is The  Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn.   This book takes place in Manila roughly during the time of the dictator Marcos.  It is a very dense, film like pastiche of life in post colonial Philippines.  Not an easy book to read for several reasons.  It can be confusing and it does display many graphic images of the violent and sad lives of those less fortunate, especially women.

I have personal reasons for wanting to know more about the Philippines since my grand children's maternal grandfather emigrated to the US from Manila.  I also have been quite intrigued by Jessica Hagedorn's writing.  I loved the movie references and  meta texts of those movies throughout the book adding depth of meaning to many aspects of the novel, as well as referring to the Philippines' importance in movie making in that part of the world.  I especially liked the part about the German film director visiting.

I was inspired to make my necklace by the character of Abuelita Socorro.  Here is Hagedorn's description of her:
"Abuelita Socorro has silver hair.  She drenches herself in "Maja" perfume, wears her perpetual black widow's dress with sheer black stockings and black suede pumps. She has thick ankles, a thick waist and always wears two strands of pearls."

I decided to dress her in  more traditional Filipino jewelry and made a necklace that features the filigree of the Tamborin jewelry and the butterfly that symbolizes the dream of freedom from colonial repression/rule.


This picture shows the simple filigree of a chain that actually comes from Mexico but harkens back to the Spanish filigree tradition.  The toggle clasp that I made has a lone butterfly on a background of copper turned black by patina.  The goldish color of the brass is suggestive of the original filigree that would have been made of gold plated silver.

The pendant I made is also made with brass pieces to suggest gold.  The butterfly itself is stamped into silver soft solder and the flower and border are brass stampings that have been soft soldered to the base. 




                                                      A necklace for Abuelita Socorro

Sadly the dream of freedom from colonialism, also expressed with the butterfly symbol, by the poet, writer and martyr Jose Rizal, did not bring a better life to the Philippines.  The novel the Dogeaters deals with the complex subject of being Filipino in the late 20 the century.  Abuelita Socorro is one  part of this multifaceted identity.
Andrew  Thornton is the leader of the wonderful Inspired by Reading Group.  I am always challenged by the books he has chosen for us to read and to be inspired by to make a creation.  Thank you once again Andrew for a remarkable read and the chance to express my take on it  in jewelry.   I hope you will check out what others have made this month.  The list follows:
Mary Harding http://maryhardingjewelrybeadblog.blogspot.com/    you are here
Mary K McGraw http://mkaymac.blogspot.com/
Jeanne Billeci Steck http://gemsbyjeannemarie.blogspot.com/
Andrew ThorntonLaurel Ross , Connie Parsons , and Allison Smithhttp://andrew-thornton.blogspot.com/

5 comments:

  1. I really like the piece you made and the thought process behind it and how each element has meaning. It is complex like the book.

    While I struggled reading the book and initially had a hard time adjusting to her writing style, I found the book to have left a big impression on me.

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    1. Thanks so much Mary. I appreciate your comment about me including my thought process. I do love to talk about process and it is such a fun part of this reading group. I was thrilled to find that you knew Rizal since I had just discovered him in the process of making this piece!! I was interested to learn that you struggled with the book too but I see that you found much in it to think about. Makes is all worthwhile!!

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  2. What an amazing piece! I love it! I always love your creations. If you haven't seen the article with an interview with Hagedorn, definitely check it out. http://bombsite.com/issues/34/articles/1398 It directly talks about some of the themes that are alluded to or referenced in the book.

    Oh! When I first saw the pictures of your piece, without reading anything yet, I instantly thought of what they called the First Lady. One of her nicknames was, "the Iron Butterfly". So your piece works on multiple levels!

    And thank you again for participating! It means so much to me! You're a very talented artist of a stellar caliber and do such amazing things! Thanks again!

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  3. What an amazing piece! I love it! I always love your creations. If you haven't seen the article with an interview with Hagedorn, definitely check it out. http://bombsite.com/issues/34/articles/1398 It directly talks about some of the themes that are alluded to or referenced in the book.

    Oh! When I first saw the pictures of your piece, without reading anything yet, I instantly thought of what they called the First Lady. One of her nicknames was, "the Iron Butterfly". So your piece works on multiple levels!

    And thank you again for participating! It means so much to me! You're a very talented artist of a stellar caliber and do such amazing things! Thanks again!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Andrew for your wonderful comments. I am touched and so pleased. I appreciate the url about Hagedorn and plan to read it. I do think she is such an interesting author!! You always pick such great and mind expanding books for us to read and then spend time noting and encouraging us for what we make. I am so glad that you appreciate my participation and that of all of us and always with such kind words. You are the best!!

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