Thursday, April 28, 2011

One for My Son Zak

When I announced the May theme for the Etsy Beadweavers May 2011 Challenge at the dinner table, my boys were thrilled. Both my husband Carl, (The Best Man Ever) and my son Zak (Most Excellent Teenager) are big Lord of the Rings fans, and Zak knew just what the inspiration for my challenge piece should be. He wanted to see what I would create, based on a character called a Balrog. I am so proud of my son, who will graduate from High School this spring, that I decided to do my best to honor him with this piece.

As I worked, I frequently asked Zak for description. I know that the artist who chose this challenge felt that only the book should serve as inspiration, and Zak has read them all.  I also purposefully didn't seek out images until I was finished. Here's what I found today, with thanks to Google Images.

According to Zak, a Balrog is a tall creature of shadow and fire. It is epic and ancient, like a titan. Its presence is felt as much as seen, and it is an embodiment of evil. Zak mentioned shadowy wings and a fiery whip, and horns that curved down, all of which I see here, and very much as I envisioned them from his description. He also mentioned a sword. He said in anger, the creature flames. A flaming necklace!

I wanted the necklace to be tall, but not solid, as I wanted to try to create the insubstantial shadowy aspect. I used large Swarovski jewels, in Cathedral, Magma, Crystal Copper and Ultra Orange to represent the flames and matte black cylinder and seed beads to bezel the jewels, encasing my "embers" in ash and charcoal. Those matte black Czech Firepolish beads actually felt like coal in my fingers! I tried to imagine wings unfurled as I joined the bezeled jewels.

I wanted lines that drooped, as I imagined the horns did, and created those with the draped sections of coal black Czech firepolish beads. I tried to create the flame-like whip imagery with graded bicone tassles in flame colors.

Photographing black beadwork is REALLY a challenge.  Realistically, I am not a very skilled photographer, so I find all photography challenging, but this is over the top for me. I believe I read somewhere that the bead magazines will not accept black work due to the difficulty of photographing it. So I am certainly struggling!  I did finally find an angle that would let me see into the jewels without a ridiculous amount of reflected shine. 

Now, a few words about my splendid son. Zak is a National Merit Scholarship Finalist. He has earned a full ride scholarship to the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences, and a place in the Honors program as well. He is also an AP scholar. Can you see why I am so proud? This one is for you, Zak!

OH!  I almost forgot to mention, once again, all the the Swarovski jewel components in this necklace came form my friend Doris Coghill.  She's got a WONDERFUL selection of interesting and unusual things, at reasonable prices.  Visit her rivolis and jewels at : http://www.beadsbydee.com/Catalog/Swarovski-Rivoli.html

20 comments:

  1. Just stunning! You son should be proud of his mother!

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  2. I can't get enough of this piece Marsha! It's perfect. Just fits your chosen character so very well. Oh the Balrog! Wowwww! I just can't find words for this. You nailed it! Better yet, you "smote his ruin".

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  3. Incredible!! Marsha, this is perfect for what you envisioned!! Zac must be a very skilled descriptionist! No wonder at all that you are so proud of your son and his accomplishments, I am so happy for you!!!!

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  4. "Smote his ruin?" Really? I asked Zak to show me where the creature appears in the movie,and when he did I remembered the scene... "You shall not pass!" If I smote that... wow. LOL! And thanks to you as well Nancy, Zak is really a wonderful kid, and I will miss him terribly next fall!

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  5. My favorite entry so far! Great job and kudos to Zak for his interpretation of the book character. :)

    Kate

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  6. Thanks Dina and Kate. I will enjoy passing the commentary on to Zak. He did not want to let me post his photo here! LOL :o)

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  7. Fantastic interpretation!!! Wow.

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  8. Great post, Marsha, and a really incredible necklace! You've captured the essence of the challenge, and I know in dedicating this piece to your son, you've made him really proud, too!

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  9. Fantastic explosion of the volcano colors.Great work!!!

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  10. AWESOME, I love it and I think it's a great interpretation, I remember that scene well. Congratulations to your son, what an achievement.

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  11. an absoloutly stunning entry for this challenge, and your son sounds like a very intelligent, articulate boy, well done to him too.

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  12. It's stunning and perfect. I'm a huge fan of the books and movies myself and your piece is a perfect tribute. Congratulations to you on the necklace and a wonderful son.

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  13. wow, that is really great, Marsha!

    your son gave you a wonderful inspiration and your interpretation is stunning!

    in awe, doro

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  14. It is stunning, and as you described the Balrog, I could see it in your piece. Congratulations to your son on his many accomplishments (more yet to come, I'm sure!), and to you on this jaw-dropping piece.

    Cheers,
    Michele (posting from my daughter's Google account)

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  15. WOW!!! What beautiful work.
    Congratulations.

    Hugs
    zuzzl

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  16. ladies, thanks to all of you!!! I really apprecite your comments. Humbled....

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  17. Ooh- I love this! The colors are just beautiful!

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