Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Persephone's Return




Persephone's Return was created for (and WON!) the Bead Mavens Vernal Visions Challenge.   I like challenges because they provide inspiration and purpose for my evening's play with beads, and this particular challenge was especially appealing, because I live in the frozen north land of Minnesota.  Here's the view out the door next to my beading bay.  This is on track to be the snowiest winter on record where I live, and personally, although I find beauty in almost every landscape, I have had enough of this season!

Below is the inspirational image the Maven's posted for their contest.  Is there any question about why I'd rather live in their world?  I find myself anxiously awaiting a day when the walk with my dog does not entail long underwear, hooded parka, scarf and boots.  I felt the Maven's imagery provided a content and a color scheme I was totally ready to embrace.    
              
Well, OK, in all fairness, there were two images provided.  March is the month of, "In like a lion, out like and lamb," and the other image is colder and wintery.  But I am ready to move forward, and so it was an easy choice for me.


This work of mine is a sister piece to "Zephyr's Spring Flower Neck Lace," created last year, about this same time.  It is based on a piece of hand painted lace from Etsy seller Jennie's Heirlooms.  I find working from the lace is a labor intensive process.  I think most bead embroidery allows the application of many beads at a time, backstitching 3, 4, and even 5 in one needle stroke.  Given the softness and vulnerability of the lace, I find I can apply just one bead at a time, stabilizing the lace as I go, and placing the beads in different relationships to the edges of the lace, depending on the result I want.  When you examine the work from the front, I did not want the lace visible, and from the back, I did not want stitches visible. I found I frequently had to reinforce the lace with a darning stitch to give it the stability to allow me to embroider on it, and I tried to disguise that as well, but if you know what you are looking for, you can see it. 


As a sister piece to Zephyr, and to honor the Vernal Equinox and return of springtime, I named the work for Persephone, the Greek goddess of springtime. Persephone was the unwilling wife of Hades, king of the underworld. Mythology says when she was stolen from the earth to live under ground with her husband, the flora of the earth died, and slept below the ground through the winter. Her return brought the rapid growth of flowers and grain.

My piece, designed to honor the balance that is the equinox, has formal symmetry, yet is organic in character. The delicate loveliness of Persephone’s Return springs forth from the slumbering earth in full bloom almost overnight.  I anxiously await the vision of the first crocus, peeking out of the snow.   And in the meantime, I have captured that joy in beads.

20 comments:

  1. Well, I don't blame you one bit for wanting to keep this one for yourself. It's so delicate, romantic, and yet sophisticated too. Fab job! Good luck with the challenge...

    Kate

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  2. Wow, what wonderful color choices! I'm so with you - will piling on the long underwear and 3 coats just to walk the dogs ever end??! Ha! Michigan has had a bad winter, too. But this new piece is definitely a keeper. Wishing you the best of luck with the competition. If I were one of the judges, my vote would be on this one!

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  3. They usually get some beautiful things. I was happy just to use the inspiration, and enjoy the ride. But thank you Melissa, and you too Kate!

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  4. How beautiful, Marsha! Though as a Houstonite I envy your snowy view, I realize by now most who enjoy long winters are longing for spring!
    Your necklace really brings it closer - good luck with the challenge.

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  5. Beautiful! I don't blame you for wanting to keep it!

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  6. I love and admire the way you've worked with lace, Marsha! I can't imagine how you managed to make it so seamless, and to hide your threads so well. Just incredible workmanship, and the overall effect is breathtaking!!

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  7. Thank you Nancy, Rose, Chris, Callie and Perlenzauberin (whose blog is lovely!). Nancy, I meant to tell you how much I liked your spring buds piece as well. Here's a link, second from the top, for me readers:
    http://beadmavens.com/Bead_Mavens/Mavens_VV_Pieces.html

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  8. Awwww!!!!!! This is so fancy! I love it! Beautiful! Beautiful! And beautiful!!!!!

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  9. Thank you Sylvia, Robin, and Moana! I appreciate you stopping and and leaving me a comment!

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  10. I love this necklace! It's just gorgeous and I think I fell in love with it when I first saw it in the Bead Maven challenge gallery. (That's what prompted me to google your name and finding your blog.) Now that I can see the back of it it's even lovelier. Really like how you used lace as a base and the open spaces it gave. Many bead embroidered necklaces look really pretty, but so dense. Adding space gives -- in my eyes -- a much more attractive piece.

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  11. I absolutely love your necklace. It is delicate and colorful and seems light as air. Thank you for showing more about how you made it. I particularly like the way you filled the lilac flower. Once again, congratulations for your first place.

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  12. Thanks so much! Cath, your work was just amazing as well. I loved the layout and assymmetry, and subtle color, and elegant shapes.

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  13. When I first saw this, I wondered if it was like the other one that you did on lace. I so loved that one, too! I favorited the lace shop, but have not yet taken the plunge to purchase any. Maybe I will give it a try with some lace I have from JoAnn first! Excellent work Marsha!

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  14. Congratulations on your First Place win in the challenge! This is a glorious piece - a marvelous marriage of concept and technique. I love it!

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  15. STUNNING!!! I love the colors, I love the shape...everything about it!

    Sig

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  16. Thank you Karen, Callie and Sig. I appreciate your kind words, and your taking the time to read and comment!

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