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Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Lion's Tale

Actually, this is a tale about a dog.  My dog is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, usually a beautiful animal that looks something like a small golden retriever.  But after a summer of swimming, the fur on her thighs had become matted.  She objects to these matts being combed out, because it hurts.  So after trying creme rinse and various other grooming tools, I gave up and cut all the matts out.  Poor thing, she looks ridiculous.  Her thighs and legs are usually plumed with long waving hair, and she looks as though someone gave her a crew cut.  But I must say she seems thrilled to be rid of the nasty matted fur.  I was joking with my husband this evening about maybe using the clippers to neaten up the job I had done, and maybe trimming more of her sides, back, and some of her tail in what groomers call a "Lion Cut."  You leave a "mane" of fur at the shoulder and neck, and then trim away all but a tassel of fur at the end of the tail and the resulting pet looks a bit like a lion.  I've seen it on poodles and cats as well. You can see some "Lionized" kitties here if you need a reference point.

After dinner, I sat back down at my beading bench, where I have been making things for a holiday gallery show and sale at the MInnetonka Center for the Arts.  I had good success at this sale last year, and am trying to assemble a body of new work to send in to the jury process by the end of September.  It's a tough year for me, with my only child leaving for college this fall.  Seems I am constantly distracted by various college-related stuff, and really, I WANT to be the best mom I can be for these last few weeks. 

I thought I would have to forego the September Etsy Beadweavers Challenge, out of sheer lack of time.  But the piece I had been working in the last few days really reminded me of the Yellow Brick Road, which would be great for this "Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!" Challenge. Except that in addition to the Wizard of Oz theme, the challenge has to include an animal inspiration.  I hadn't seen a way to work an animal reference into my necklace until I decided it needed a center focal point and began working on a design for a tassel. 

Then, "POOF" like magic, the Lion Cut image merged in my mind with the tassel design and I had my challenge piece.  OK.  It was not really instant or very magical.  I made tassels all night until I ended up with this one which finally pleased me and looked like the right shape.

"The Lion's Tale" is a delicate matte metallic collection of Czech fire polish beads in yellow golds and pinky bronzes with hints of green. Their texture felt very brick-like to me as I worked with them, and I loved the hints of green that seemed to represent the Emerald City and the pinks that reminded me of the poppy fields. I was also pleased by the delicate by spiky bud shapes in the edges of the necklace, which seemed to be about both the beauty and the danger of the poppies.

When the dog sees the necklace, I am certain she will run to her favorite hiding place in the deep basement, lest I should carry out my evil plan to give her a Lion Cut, but hopefully, I have worked out all my need to do that with my tassel, and managed a reasonably effective challenge entry in the bargain!