Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Inspired by Reading Book Club Interpreter of Maladies

                                          Mrs Sen's  Short Story  by Jhumpa Lahiri

For April we read Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri for Andrew Thornton's Inspired by Reading Book Club. I have read several books by Lahiri:  The Namesake,  Unaccustomed Earth and part of the Lowlands ( that was in the New Yorker Magazine) so I thought I was ready for this book of short stories.  I especially admire Lahiri for her eloquent prose, articulate portrayal of anguish using the smallest details of daily life, poetic story construction and array of  interesting characters.  But I was not expecting to be ravished by the beauty, the sadness, the prose that is so engaging that one is no longer reading but being, and the images of landscape, dress, hair, weather, and the inside of feelings made into tangible objects that I found in Interpreter of Maladies.  Caught up in all of these experiences, I created the fish in the picture above and from there went on the create a necklace inspired by the story, Mrs. Sen's.
A brief summary would be that Mrs. Sen, a young married woman ( about 30)  is missing her homeland of India,  feeling isolated and lonely and unable to find her way.  The loosely parallel situation of Elliot, a young boy she is babysitting after school  propels the story.  About halfway through the story, we learn through Elliot that there are two things that make Mrs. Sen happy:
the arrival of a letter from her family and fish from the seaside.  How letters from home and fish play out determine the remainder of the story.  I chose to make a necklace with fish because I felt it was the best way I could portray the poetry of feelings in this story.

                                                Polymer Fish  Mary Harding

                                     Polymer Fish  Mary Harding

 I call the necklace Mrs. Sen's Fish.  I made the fish from polymer clay, my now go to medium for creating 3 dimensional images of the imagination.  This fish just sprang from my hands and I felt that Lahiri was guiding me all the way--that is how deeply her work has been affecting me for the past weeks.

But as usual for me, the making and the thinking are different and I have struggled to turn these fish into a necklace that at least comes close to what I wanted it to be.  I knew from the beginning that I wanted the  larger fish to curve around like a necklace so I constructed a framework out of 10 gauge copper that I annealed and forged and then wrapped in linen.

                                               Copper frame wrapped with linen
Copper frame for necklace

I had originally planned to have the clasp in the middle of the back of the necklace but soon learned it would seriously throw off the balance of the necklace so I chose a side clasp which surely worked better.

Early on I decided to change the linen wrapping for a Sari silk dark burgundy since it showed off the focal fish better and I liked the idea of making a reference to how Mrs. Sen dressed:  " a different Sari everyday."

                                          Fish on dark burgundy Sari silk

The necklace went through several other changes but in the end I went for a slightly asymmetrical simple design and two different Sari silk wrappings of the forged copper frame.  Here it is:

                                 Mrs. Sen's Fish  Necklace by Mary Harding

Thank you once again Andrew for creating and continuing to lead this wonderful book club Inspired by  Reading.  I am looking forward to another year as I realize that Interpreter Of Maladies was the last book selection for this one.
Thank you for stopping by. I hope you will check out what others have created.  You can find a list of who is participating here. and below:
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Sarajo Wentling
Jeanne Steck
Mary Harding
Karin Grange
Ann Schroeder
Mary K McGraw
Rachel Stewart
Christine Damm
Andrew Thornton, Laurel Ross, Alison Herrington, Terri Greenawalt, and Karen Hiatt

Monday, April 14, 2014

Shibori Ribbon Blog Hop Challenge

I had never laid eyes on Shibori Ribbon before out host Tanya Goodwin of a Work in Progress posted that she wanted to do a blog hop with this newly discovered stringing material.    But once I saw it I knew I was seriously smitten.  So I asked to join in.  And lucky me, I was one of the folks chosen.

Tanya sent each of us a piece of shibori ribbon about 9 inches long.  Here is what mine looked like before I went to work.

Shibori Ribbon

I began by cutting a 2 1/2 inch piece off the end.  I did not want to cut the ribbon in half since I was not certain of exactly what I would make.

My first idea was to bead embroider a small oval of the ribbon and use it in one of my handmade bezels    

I needed to refresh my bead embroidery skills and reached for my Robin Atkins One bead at a Time book that  had been such a help to me when I participated in her Bead Journal project.  I cut out an oval in ultra suede and basted the ribbon piece to the ultra suede with a piece of parchment paper underneath to help stablizie the silk and ultrasuede. This "sandwish" worked well.  I began by affixing one of my handmade stoneware  ceramic beads to the oval and then began to free form bead embroider around it and elsewhere until I felt the piece was finished.  Later I realized I might have left more of the ribbon unbeaded to show off the silk better.  Below is a picture of the back of the bead embroidery showing my stitch work and the paper used to stabilize it.  Not very pretty but I thought it would be informative.
backside of the bead embroidery showing paper used to stabilize the stitches and reduce puckering

Front side of the bead embroidery

Once I had the bead embroidery done
I had to put an edging around it that would hold all the  pieces of that original sandwich together.  I tried several sizes and stitches with seed beads but they didn't look right.  Then I had the great idea to stitch some of the colored ball chain I had just purchased from Ornamentea.  The stitching on of the ball chain went along quite well.  Even when I cut the chain, it could still get the loose ball to fit in well.  Luckily the cloth pendant was flexible and I was able to get everything into the bezel

Bead embroidery on Shibori Silk fitted into the bezel

Then I drilled the stringing hole and finally glued the pendant into the bezel with E6000 glue.

Next step was to decide how to string the bezel.  In the end I chose a long strand of antiqued brass very small ball chain.
                                                Shibori Ribbon Bead Embroidery

Since I had quite a bit of ribbon left I decided to make a necklace with it.  First I tied about a 1/4 inch of the ends with some waxed linen and slipped them into some brass cord ends --also from Ornamentea--  which I had already filled it up with glue.  The waxed lined cord around the ribbon was enough to fill up the cord end and it was easy to make a secure and attractive fit.

Then for stringing the ribbon:  I decided on a small gauge antiqued copper chain with a few colorful jump rings attached to the cord ends and one of my own toggle clasps.

                             Shibori Ribbon necklace with 3 of my handmade ceramic charms

I hung 3 of my handmade ceramic charms from the ribbon. The suppleness of the Shibori ribbon was a boon to them falling nicely .

Thank you Tanya for this wonderful opportunity to try out Shibori  Ribbon.  I am looking forward to trying it out in a bracelet in the near future.  The other participants in this blog hop are listed below.  Enjoy some great eye candy!!

Mary  you are here

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Treasury Posting with Craft Cult Widgets

I have found this Craft Cult Widget that will work on Blogger and other blog formats for posting a Treasury. You can find it here. The HTML code generator for Treasury posting I  had been using no longer works.
This one is quite similar.
A few tips: You need to be in HTML mode to get it to work.
You can only test that it is working by publishing your post.
You can choose what size you want.
You can pick a screen shot version or a dynamic view.
The dynamic view will show changes and SOLD listings.
Much easier to use and you can access all of your Treasuries from a drop down menu.
Seems reliable.
The code is short.
You cannot  test how it is going to look in Preview mode.
You have to publish you blog post to see how it is going to look.
Centering the Treasury in your post is a bit complicated but they are working on making it easier.

I am testing one I made last week for First Friday Art Walk.  It has come out fine.  I am so happy!!

Raku Bead Video Part III