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.