Studio Musings

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Accepting the Challenge

It's been a long time (read several years) since I participated in an art challenge. But I ran across this one at the Art Bead Scene three days ago. Tari of selected two paintings from John Anster Fitzgerald - (1819? – 1906), The Captive Robin and The Storm as the starting point. You can see both on the challenge page.

The Captive Robin, depicting a fairy court in rich, autumnal colors gathered around a table with what I think is a robins egg sitting on a leaf plate, with the poor robin bound in a berry vines in the lower left of the painting.

I found myself wondering, what happened to the robin? And then, what if he were rescued? If you were going to go up against the fae, I'd need a fairie stone. Or perhaps I'd done the fae a favor sometime in the past, for which they'd given me a token of their appreciation, which I could attempt to exchange for the robins freedom, along with some other gifts, of course.

One never enters the fairy court empty handed. The question of 'what happened next' kept nagging at me, begging to be answered. And so this necklace was born. Since the deadline for this entry was today, I didn't have a lot of time. The color scheme is an amalgam of the two paintings. The bead work is a mixture of freeform peyote stitch and right angle weave. I left it more open and airy than my typical work, as I found myself thinking of tree roots and vines. Am I trying to weave a net to catch the fae or unwind the robin's bindings?

A resin cabochon with the suspended image of a feather/fern/leaf (the stamp I carved is a feather, but the coloring I used makes it look more fern-like) became my 'fairy token' and the primary focus for the piece. I used right angle weave to capture it. The second photo is of the back of the cabochon as I'm almost done encasing it in RAW.


  1. Wow. The detail here is so amazing. I am in awe of how different everyone's pieces are from the inspirations. I love the freeform weaving you did. Bravo!
    Enjoy the day!

  2. Hello fellow Seattlite!! Beautiful work, love those little beads and it always amazes me what can be done with them!!

  3. Love your interpretation. Interesting how you managed to capture the seemingly chaotic composition but create a whole that holds together. Very inspiring!

    Also I really like yor former posts, (like the one about the sanding belt for instance), so I have signed up as a follower. I am happy to have made your accuaintance (I know it is prabably spelled wrong, but please forgive me, I am only Swedish ... )

    Happy new year!
    All my best,

  4. Thank you all! I've come to realize that sead beads are every bit as versatile as oil paints or acrylics as an artistic medium. In thus piece I used every size sead bead from 15s on up.

    Malin, I love your description of my work; it's also a great description of my life; trying to draw some sense of a whole out of chaos. And welcome!

    I found myself thinking of tree roots while creating this piece. I think that and the repeating use of a limited color
    palette helped unify the composition.