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.