Friday, September 12, 2014

Getting ready for my Bellefonte Art Museum jewelry show in November!

Cirque inspired jester cabochon necklace
I've been working hard on some new pieces for the upcoming show, and this is the story of the Jester cabochon necklace I just finished, inspired by the Cirque du Soleil.

The first time I attended a Cirque du Soleil show I was absolutely and completely mesmerized. Right from the beginning of the show (Alegria), my jaw dropped and my chin was down to my knees the whole time. I was in awe of the talent, dedication, discipline, and hard work it takes for the performers to do what they do. And I was transported by the story as well as the message of the show itself. Cirque, the organization as a whole, is very much based in sustainability - of the planet as well as the human spirit, which I love. 

So, many images have stayed in my mind along with the incredible music of the shows (I've seen four shows so far and will see as many as I can as opportunities arise, and have some of the music CDs, which I like to listen to while I work). And many more images have arisen, inspired by the soul and spirit of these shows and the Big Spirit people who make them happen.

The photo above is of my most recent cabochon necklace, inspired by the joy of Cirque. 

The piece began with the beautiful hand carved moon face cabochon, glued to a backing of Lacy's Stiff Stuff. I cut the backing into a shape, not yet knowing what would result. First I beaded the border of the face, wanting to use all the colors of the rainbow, sort of as a multicultural message - "we are one; we are made of the rainbow, and we are together in our journeys." 

If you're familiar with my work, you know I listen to my creations, and they pretty much tell me the directions they want to go. As I beaded the border around the face, I understood that this face wanted a hat. And not just any hat, it wanted a jester's hat. 

I find the occupation of the jester interesting, in that the skills of a jester, according to Wikipedia, included "songs, music, storytelling, acrobatics, juggling, and magic," (how delicious is that?!) as well as some fairly pointed political commentary. They are somewhat akin to the Native American heyoka. The heyoka would "ask difficult questions and say things others are too afraid to say," according to the Wikipedia definition, which aligns with the Native teachings I have absorbed over the years. Heyokas are teachers and facilitators, taking us through difficult and painful things, incorporating humor to blunt our fear and pain in order to help us to learn and grow.

Jester's hat and background
So this jester got his cap, and he made it clear that he didn't want it symmetrical - he likes the rules not to be too tight. Around his face I used peyote stitch, and on the background I used the stop-stitch technique for texture. 

OooooooOoooo, then it was time for fringe - you know I'm out of control with fringe, I love it so much. So he was telling me he wanted me to continue his body down through the fringe, which I did, choosing colorful beads that echo the colors around his face and in his cap. 

Fringe details
His body includes a loving heart, his arm and hand, which holds the brass ring he's captured, along with a little ball he likes to play with in his spare time, and a star representing his connection with all things celestial. (His star and his ball are at the bottom of the fringe - click on the first image above to see it enlarged.) This jester performs in the spotlight, and the fringe on each side of his "body" represents the darkness outside of the spotlight. This fringe is lightly studded with colors pulled from his face and body, as his own light can't help but shine out into the darkness.

Necklace is made of double stranded glass seed beads and crow beads
With my pieces I like for the necklace part to blend into the piece itself. I try to design my cab necklaces so they'll suit most necklines - they're not meant to be worn with button down blouses, (I make shorter pieces for that) but they sit beautifully on solid color backgrounds. Almost any color works great depending on the piece. The length is chosen so that they don't hit the desk or table if you move around, and they're long enough for the wearer to look at even when you're not around a mirror. I also like to be able to slip mine right over my head, not having to fumble with fasteners.

This piece took about 30 hours to make - pure pleasure, and lots of love. It will be on exhibit at the Bellefonte Art Museum through November and if it doesn't find its forever home at that time it'll be available for purchase through Dreamkeeper Creations.

Length of seed bead chain - 22 inches

Length of Jester - 6 inches (Jester's face sits at the sternum of the chest)

And before I forget, we're lucky enough to have Cirque's Dralion coming to our sweet little town very soon! Get your tickets now! (I've got mine, can't wait!)

Here's to teachers everywhere.


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