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.
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 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."
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:
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 http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog
Sarajo Wentling http://sjdesignsjewelry.blogspot.com/
Jeanne Steck http://www.gemsbyjeannemarie.blogspot.com/
Mary Harding http://www.maryhardingjewelrybeadblog.blogspot.com/
Karin Grange http://ginkgoetcoquelicot.blogspot.fr/
Ann Schroeder http://www.beadlove.wordpress.com/
Mary K McGraw http://www.mkaymac.blogspot.com/
Rachel Stewart http://www.bluefinchjewelry.blogspot.com/
Christine Damm http://storiestheytell.blogspot.com/
Andrew Thornton, Laurel Ross, Alison Herrington, Terri Greenawalt, and Karen Hiatt http://andrew-thornton.blogspot.com/