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July Component of the Month for the Art Elements challenge – Scarab by Susan Kennedy

Susan, from the Art Elements team chose Scarabs as her choice of COM for July’s challenge – original blog post is here – I opted to have a random choice of colour sent to me and recieved an etched coral/orange one – not got a photo sorry I am so rubbish at that bit!

Being etched my bead was matt to touch and to see but the colour did give me pause to think.

My first idea was to add greens and blues to the soft peachy coral and create a piece of jewellery but my muse is really not jewellery creations, all bar hanging a bead on a chain, but I do have a love of history.. and cats.


I love to watch the Discovery channel on Sky tv, one of the few things I do watch.  Ancient Egypt is one of the civilisations that totally fascinate me, women of power, Gods that represent truth, power, harmony…  and law to name just a few.  The people of Ancient Egypt were a  polytheistic nation where traditions and religion touched every aspect of their lifes.  They had many import symbols including the scarab which represented Ra the Sun God one of the most important Gods of the time.  Ra was often depicted as a scarab he renewed the sun each day and rolled it across the heavens, like a dung beetle moving.. well dung…

I wanted to take the peachy look off of my bead so I added Inktense pencils in blue and green aquamarine, once dried the ‘ink’ is permanent and will not wash off, it was a bit of an experiment to see if the glass would take this colouring and it did, the camera has darkened the bead a bit too much as the peachy coral colour is still prominent but the indents in the glass now have more definition.  I like it.

Bastet,  the daughter of the Sun God Ra was the Egyptian Goddess of home, fertility, keeping all disease away from woman and children.  She is also known to have walked beside the dead as a guide.  Two more things that fascinate me, life after death and cats!  Bastet is also the Goddess of Cats.


The Ancient Greeks changed Bastet to a Goddess of the Moon when she was changed from the form of a lion to that of a more recognized domestic cat, but for me Bastet is still related to Ra and the sun.

Not being jewellery inspired I ‘stuck’ my bead into my art journal, I had every intention of getting out some gold thread and designing a jewellery piece on the page – another great idea that will one day be created – but the image of a cat appeared instead.  As my art leans more towards the whimsy side of life I decided to ‘run with it’ and see what happened.  Bastet was coloured with the deep blues and purples of the night, a slight nod toward the Ancient Greeks and the Goddess of the Moon.  The piece above my Bastet is ceramic and from one of the lovely ladies of the Art Elements team (but again being rubbish I forget who.. sorry) I just liked it and it ‘sort’ of reminded me of the sun in a very stylized way, the scrolls are quite Celtic, to me, and scrolls represent no beginning and no end, being eternal.

Opposite the ‘bead’ page I drew very stylized images of a scarab and pyramids beneath the Sun God Ra.  This ‘art journal’ is handmade paper, made from elephant dung and brought from the Eden Project in Cornwall a few years ago and is really difficult to do anything on, the paper disintegrates quickly and easily and colour ‘sinks’ into it, so I gesso the pages to stop them being absorbent and give them a bit of a tooth on which the pencil will catch.  Several layers of Inktense pencils blended with water and over laid with layers of pencil (Caran d’Ache Prismalo used dry) blended into each other using application and layers.

Final thoughts on this bead was how much it made me think about art, culture, design, mythology and so much more.  Who knew that beads had that power… the Ancient Egyptians probably!

You can find more of Sue’s beads in her Etsy shop 

Links to the others that took part in this challenge are below.


Deb Fortin

Lennis Carrier

Barb Fernald

AE Team











20 thoughts on “July Component of the Month for the Art Elements challenge – Scarab by Susan Kennedy

  1. Laney, I never ever know what to expect what you may have created – and I so love that! 🙂 I love how you incorporated the scarab bead into your art journal and even more to read about your process and thoughts. Beads and also jewelery started to have a different meaning for me some time ago. Not in any “otherwordly” are but rather their stories and what they represent for me. I had (still have, letting go may or may not be a problem for me) so much store bought jewelery I loved… and don’t wear anymore because most of the pieces are lacking something now. But handmade jewelery, where I know the person or their story, the story of the created beads, may they be new or old… all this together makes something I want to wear know even if I am the only person knowing this. Like jewelery evolved to be more than adornment for me but gained meaning… and in this I can connect also to the old egypt too (sorry for this getting so long!).

    1. I can only wear pieces that mean something to me, I have always been the same, glad to hear someone else is like me 😀 Glad you like my Art Journal it is a new experience for me but it is definitely a ‘keeper’ you can create art and keep it purely to just create, very refreshing 😀

  2. such a different approach to using this bead. I see a bead, I think jewellery. You see a bead,you think mixed media. Love your whimsical cat wearing her own scarab necklace . see you did think of jewellery after all.
    great to see another interpretation of this challenge.

    1. thank you Deb, I create lampwork beads which is almost nonsensical as my beads are small sculptures that can be worn but work better as a stand alone art piece! I am that person!

  3. What?!?!?!? You colored the bead??? I would never have thought of that! That opens a whole new beady door!!!! Wow, thanks for that! I love your Bastet! Wonderful! Thank you!

    1. Heheheh Sue you have to have the bead etched first to prepare the surface and use Inktense pencils that once dry are permanent. I haven’t tried using them on ‘shiny’ glass but where there is a will there is a way 😀

  4. I adore all your drawings, they are so whimsical and always make me smile. Incorporating Sue’s scarab and the other jewelry component was a great idea. I love mixed media pieces and your Egyptian inspired journal pages are a fabulous way to showcase the scarab bead!

    1. Thank you 🙂 l love that I make you smile 😀

  5. I love your freedom of putting the bead in an art journal! Of course! Where else to keep track of such a beautiful bead? Fascinating to read about your use of Inktense pencils. I need to learn more about those!

    1. I started using the components in an art joural and found that it really is a lovely way to keep the pieces and the memory of the challenge not to mention the thoughts the various pieces inspire. You will get hooked on Inktense pencils they are fabulous 😀

  6. I love this! Your drawings are wonderful and incorporating beads in to your work makes it just perfect!

    1. thank you lovely lady x

  7. This makes me want to make a necklace for my cat. In fact, there is a whole romance series by Robin D Owens that has talking (psychic) cats who all demand jeweled collars when they prove to be loyal companions. This makes perfect sense.

  8. Awesome work! I really love how your cat displays her necklace. Great artwork and a great job! Love it!

  9. I love everything about this. I never would have considered putting a component in an art journal, but there it is, and I LOVE it!!!!

  10. I love how you did something totally outside the box with this bead. Can’t help but smile when looking at your design.

  11. This is great Laney – love you modern quirky take on the Egyptian cat deity – such fun!

  12. I love how you took such a simple bead and worked your whimsy magic with it! The combination could be jarring but with your masterful handling the components enhance each other. Love it!

  13. Dung paper! Thats so apropos! I love your Bastet goddess! She is truly worthy of a beaded scarab collar. Did you know that many ancient Egyptians shaved their eyebrows as a show of mourning when their cats died? Love this journal spread!

  14. What a wonderful idea I love how much thought you put into your design!

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