Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Garden of Giverny

I am fortunate to live in Chicago, where the Art Institute has a wonderful collection of French Impressionist paintings. When my daughter was young, my friend and I discovered that the calm atmosphere of the Art Institute together with their wonderful children's activity center made it one of the best bets for a morning excursion with preschoolers. The girls didn't get so overstimulated as they did at the Museum of Science and Industry, and unlike the zoo, weather wasn't a factor. So we went there fairly often with preschoolers in tow. Later when I was working on Michigan Avenue, I would sometimes take an afternoon vacation and walk there to see a special exhibit or just to look around at whatever might take my fancy that day.

The Monets are wonderful. Everything that has been said about capturing the light is true. They stand up to being viewed again and again. And the garden pictures, the waterlily series, make it clear why he loved his gardens so. Needless to say, I loved this theme.

For the last several months I have been refining a technique I call Basketweave Pave'. It is worked in 28g wire coiled over a 20g core and is based on Eni Oken's basketweave technique. Instead of making a shaped basket, the shape is worked flat, like a braided rug, and tiny beads or crystals are added every 4 or 5 coils to completely pave the front of the piece. One of my favorite shapes has been this teardrop.

Up to this time I have made only pendants this way. I decided to make earrings instead of a pendant just to see if it was practical. These measure an inch wide by 1 1/4 inches tall. I made them with posts because I thought the more tailored look fit with the geometric quality of the structure. The beads are a bead soup mix of 15 different colors and textures of Miyuki #11 seed beads, delicas, and hex delicas. I chose the colors based on Monet's palate for the water lily paintings.

I'm pleased with the way they turned out. I may replace the back with the wider support backs that you sometimes see with larger post earrings, but aside from that, these came out just as I hoped, and I will be making more post earrings in basketweave pave in the future.

I always welcome comments and critique, and would love to know what you think.

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