You might know that I do a little thing called Simple Truths. And I offer these Simple Truths in a Sampler Club. Over the course of the past few years of doing the Club it evolved into being about the Art Bead Scene. The purpose of the Simple Truths Sampler Club is threefold: (1) I want to push myself to come up with a new design each month; (2) I want to challenge myself to learn new-to-me techniques in polymer clay; and (3) I want use the inspiration artwork for the month to guide my creative endeavors. Basically, the members of the Club on any given month are fans of my work and must love surprises. That is not only a great honor, but a nerve-wracking proposition! I truly don't want to disappoint.
One my greatest disappointments is that I am not usually ready to go with the pieces to send to my Club members in the first week of the month. That has happened on occasion, but often I have to wait to clear my schedule to have a play date and then hope that Inspiration will come to play. Now I do get a bit of a heads up as an Editor to see what is coming... and I print off those inspiration artworks making notes about what I might do or what motifs grab my attention... and I even go about ordering supplies for things I think I might need (I am waaaayyy ahead of the game for October right about now)... I even seek out tutorials or books or online classes that might help me with my quest to learn. But that desire to learn and try new things often means that it takes me longer to fit it into my busy life than I think!
With every installment of the Simple Truths Sampler Club (participants sign up for 3-, 6-, 9- or 12- months at any time (and there is a limit of 20 in the Club at any given time - but I have never come close to filling it up), I send the piece with a full page synopsis of what I made, what inspired me about the artwork challenge, and a little bit of my process. Normally, that is reserved for my Club members, but at the risk of ruining the surprise for what is coming to them this month, I am going to share with you the letter that is on the way with the bead for the month along with some of my in process shots.
Simple Truths Sampler :: April 2015
I have to admit that I didn't know much about Frida Kahlo before this month, just that she was a fiery Mexican artist who painted a lot of self-portraits in a hyper-realistic style. Oh, and she had those eyebrows.
So on Saturday, I finally had a chance to sit down to devour this art. I sat with it. I put it as the background on my computer. I re-read Tari Sasser's post with the back story. I poured over every detail. Truthfully, there was so much going on in this painting that I think I was having a sensory overload!
Layered leaves, transparent dragonflies and butterflies, the monkey, the cat about to pounce, the dead hummingbird dangling from the thorn necklace, the drops of blood, the infinity shaped knot in her hair... where to start?
You know that I love quotes and words. So I turned to the prolific writings of Kahlo, who kept diaries throughout her short, tragic life. A few that stood out to me...
"Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly."
"I want to be inside your darkest everything."
"Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away."
"At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can."
(That last one is my favorite.)
But I still wasn't sure how to pull this all together. So I watched the 2002 movie with Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo. (It is a great film, totally transporting, evocative, tender and passionate.) What I kept coming back to was that Kahlo lived life deeply. She tasted every experience with a great hunger for more. She painted not because she needed to, but because she had to. Her body may have been broken, but her spirit soared.
|Looks like I am ready for the bonfire! ;-)|
|Hard to see when everything is all in white. Sometimes the details won't even be clear to me until the next step!|
|Misshapen lumps of clay magically transform with antiquing. Now I can see the details! Time to hand paint each one.|
I created the bead cores and then used the molds to create a multi-layered effect with the clay. Layers of patina, added color and sealed for durability. A true labor of love. Each bead is completely different and has either a hummingbird, butterfly or dragonfly on it along with leaves and flowers and twisted thorns in a soft matte finish. I think that Miss Frida would approve!
I call these beads 'Frida's Triumph', the first in a series of Symbol Beads. Click HERE for a link to purchase your own Limited Edition 'Frida's Triumph' Symbol Bead.
Where is your INSPIRATION leading you today?