Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Inspired by Reading Book Club October: My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me Edited By Kate Bernheimer

Inspired by Reading Book Club October 2013 selection

Bats, a black cat, a full moon, mournful howling sounds and a young newly wed bride fill out this Hansel and Gretel inspired story by Francine Prose, who in turn inspired me to make my necklace for this month's blog hop.  A necklace I have titled The Messenger.

The Messenger  Necklace by Mary Harding

For Andrew Thornton's  Inspired by Reading Book Club October selection we read from My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me edited by Kate Berheimenr.  What a treat!!   And I surely would have missed it if I had not been part of this reading group.  Thank you Andrew!!  I don't usually like short fiction but reading modern Fairy Tales is very different from reading  modern short stories I found out: mind blowing and uplifting rather than grim and depressing.(over generalization, I am sure.)  From the first story, titled Baba Iaga and the Pelican Child by Joy Williams, I knew I was in a new and wonderful world.
Of  the stories I have read so far, I liked Tim Shepard's  Pleasure Boating in Lituya Bay , based on Italo Calvino's Fairy Tale Jump Into My Sack, the best but I could not get any ideas of a something I would want to create.
It wasn't until I tried out Hansel and Gretel by Francine Prose, a favorite author of mine, that I got some images and ideas for a piece.  That story seemed to march right into my imagination and tell me what to do. Lots of reasons for that, the setting is the hills of Vermont,  the narrator is 21 and after 10 days already unhappily married,  visiting a possible evil witch,she thinks, who is the mother of her new husband's  past "love of his life" .  She wonders if this is what it would be like if Hansel and the witch are in cahoots  when they are served a dinner of wild mushrooms and kid around about watching to see if she shows signs of being poisoned before they begin eating.

I got my idea for the title of this necklace from the 20 years later part of the story.  I decided that it would be a kindness to poor Polly if she could know, at least on some level, that things would turn out all right and that she would not be be subjected to such emotional cruelty by her husband for too long and that she would go on to lead a very full and productive life.  I hid messages to Polly within the necklace in the long copper tube beads.  They are stamped into the metal but disguised as beads-- which fits in with the other theme in the story.

             closeup of necklace showing the long hidden message tubes, disguised as beads

The skirt shaped pendant is made from polymer clay and was completed in part in Christine Damm's Art on
Farm Intensive workshop earlier this month.
                                               close up of the skirt pendant by Mary Harding

 I did the coloring when I got home, added the wire wrapped stones, the bail and then made the metal message beads just this week. I used one of  Cindy Wimmer's tutorials in her new book, The Missing Link  to construct  the wire wrapped link, called Whirligig, to suggest the large eyes of fear our Gretel must have had that night they spent in the barn with the spooky sounds of bats and a black cat.  Halloween come early!!

All in all, story by story, and bead by bead I had a wonderful time with My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me.  My thanks to Andrew Thornton for introducing us to this marvelous book and to Kate Bernheimer for collecting the stories under a single cover so that we could read them.

I hope you will check the other participants.  Here is the list of blog hop participants!!

Ptaszynski Diana . Vintage blue studio
Andrew Thornton  Our host!


  1. What a cool statement necklace, Mary. I really like the copper tube beads you made and the colors on the pendant. In my time with the book, I didn't read that story but now am intrigued!

  2. I really like your idea of hidden messages in the beads you formed. Also like that lovely pendant you created.

  3. I love how you brought it all together! That piece you made with Christine Damm is really special. I love the colors and the tribal feel to it. It looks like calico patchwork to me, which is what I would imagine the character might wear. Love the round links too! Great job with the hidden message beads. So clever! I can't wait to read this story now! Enjoy the day. Erin

  4. Mary, what a fabulous collage of a necklace! Your polymer piece is so layered and complex-- you really pushed the envelope on that one. I love the shape too. And your story about your inspiration and how you inserted your ideas into the story is so interesting. Can't wait for next month's challenge!

  5. I read this story and that necklace is great for it! Pssst, don't forget to add me to the blog hop list!

  6. Lovely necklace full of meaning, I especially like the textures in your polymer and metal beads.

  7. Once again, you blow me away with your talents! This necklace is a showpiece! I love how you were able to hide secret messages to the characters in the book in the piece and how the only way to find out what they are is to ruin a thing of beauty. One of the other things that I really enjoy about all of your pieces is how much thought you put into them and how you draw on inspiration and guidance from other artists to create something wholly new. Good job, as always!

    Thanks again for participating in the book club! It is such a pleasure to see what you'll make!

  8. An amazing necklace inspired by a book! Well done!

  9. Wonderful, Mary! I love what you've done hiding secret messages in the tube beads.

  10. Wow! amazing blog.I really like the copper tube beads you made and gradient making


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