When Erin Prais-Hintz, with the assistance of Marcie Abney Carroll, came up with this Challenge of Travel, I knew I had to join! The outlined criteria involved choosing a region and nation outside of where you live. We were then instructed to learn about this country, and share what inspires us – pictures of the country, its history and culture, landmarks, architecture, its flag, etc. Once an inspiration was found, we were to create an accessory that evokes the nation.
Chosen Country - The Netherlands
So…why did I choose The Netherlands? Well, my last name is VANDERBLOEMEN…which is Dutch. Loosely translated, it means “Land of the Blooming Flowers”. Even though I have had to spell “Vanderbloemen” multiple times to everyone I have ever met -- and I mean Everyone – I am very fond of my surname and wear it proudly.
Other reasons for choosing The Netherlands as my Destination of Choice is that my late father’s favorite flower is The Tulip, which in turn happens to be my favorite flower. And when I think of tulips, I think of The Netherlands.
My favorite – and I mean FAVORITE – television show is The Golden Girls. I know….the show is 25+ years old. But I still laugh at the "repeats" as if I have seen it for the first time. But, in one of the first shows, Dorothy, describing how her ex-husband Stan always gave her flowers when they fought, said that by the last year of her marriage, her house looked like “Easter at Rotterdam”. And, well, Rotterdam is in The Netherlands.
So I began my search of inspiration photos. First, I looked up the Coat of Arms and The Flag of The Netherlands. Quite frankly, the Coat of Arms required explanation, or at least interpretation and I wanted the picture to "speak to me".
While I have absolutely nothing against the colors of the flag, let's face it, they are Red, White, and Blue and simply reminded me too much of my country’s colors (again – nothing is wrong with that!). But, since I did not want my pieces to reflect America’s Birthday, I searched for more inspiration.
Ah, of course I had to put in an iconic picture of a windmill…I mean, who does not think of a windmill when referencing The Netherlands? But it was actually the water that first caught my eye in this picture. Windmills fascinate me – they have been in existence since the first century AD, and are, in my mind’s eye, a brilliant scientific experiment gone right that has remained virtually unchanged in over 2000 years, because frankly, the original version still works! Its basic concept converts the energy of wind into rotational energy used for milling grain for food production, pumping water, and generating electricity. A marvel I say! But as beautiful as that picture is, I was simply not inspired to create a piece of jewelry to match the feeling.
|Vincent van Gogh photo credits - Wikipedia
But if I were to choose a painting by Vincent van Gogh as inspiration, it would be The Night Café (the last photo on the right in the collage above). Van Gogh said of this painting, “I have tried to express the idea that the café is a place where one can ruin oneself, go mad, or commit a crime”… Oh the possibilities of what could happen here, so perfectly depicted through his eyes!
My Final Inspiration
But, as inspiring as van Gogh’s paintings and drawings are, I went back to my initial inspiration – tulips. Did I mention my name means Land of the Blooming Flowers???? After perusing what felt like hundreds of pictures of field upon field of flowers, I selected the very first picture I clicked on, because it simply spoke to me. To me, the tulip evokes strength and beauty – it stands tall and sturdy, regal, and its color possibilities are endless. Daddy would approve of my picture choice, for sure.
Now, I tried to create a piece of jewelry with leaves, petals, etc…. I even purchased gorgeous lampwork flower bud beads, but I just could not come up with a pleasing design. So I focused on the colors of the beautiful tulips.
Click on the pictures for a larger view
|Tulip Photo Credit: http://national-flowers.info/2011/03/07/holland-national-flower-tulips-pictures/
I was gifted this most beautiful, handmade clasp by Mary Harding – she was one of my partners in the Art Bead Earring Hop, hosted by Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Beads. The toggle is awash with different tones of green and deep red-oranges. I knew I wanted to use this clasp, and this clasp was too beautiful to hide in the back of the neck, unless I made a necklace where the toggle was the focal. But, I have been on a bracelet-making kick this summer, so my efforts to make a necklace proved futile. So, a bracelet was in the making.
Once I decided on the clasp, I moved on to my shamefully overflowing bead stash and found two deep orange – almost red - barrel-shaped beads by Marti Conrad. I hammered out some copper bead caps to top Marti’s beads. I then found a large, orange-red porcelain bead by Miss Diana P. and three green stoneware beads by Tina Francis. I wanted the bracelet to feel substantial, so I used 14 gauge solid-copper wire. The bracelet took a bath in liver of sulfur, suffered through my endless buffing, and then rattled around in my tumbler for a good two hours. I finished it off with a coat of Renaissance Wax to preserve its warm patina. I’m pleased with how it turned out!
In going through my bead stash to find beads to match Mary’s toggle, I came across these copper charms made by the talented Kristi Bowman (love her components…love!) and was now in the mood to make earrings. I wrapped these sweet red lampwork beads (Radiant Mind) with copper wire to Kristi’s copper components. I have been playing around with my torch and copper lately, and I love the red color the copper wire takes on when the ends have been balled and then quickly quenched in water. So I balled both ends of a piece of heavy gauge copper wire. I was trying to figure out how to use these “double-balled head pins” to mimic a flower stamen, but that idea went straight out the window. So, instead I twisted and wrapped this “headpin of sorts” around the lampwork beads. I added a pair of hand forged sterling silver ear wires to complete the earrings. Certainly not “flower earrings”…but the colors are right!
Thank you, Erin for hosting this adventure! I have always wanted to travel to my “homeland” and have now pushed this destination up a few notches on my bucket list!
Thank you so much for stopping by! Please be sure to visit all of the blog participants, listed below.
Monique Urquhart, http://ahalfbakednotion.blogspot.ca/
Niky Sayers, http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk/
Therese Frank, http://www.theresestreasures59.blogspot.com
Raychelle Heath, http://abeadloveaffair.blogspot.com/
Joan Williams, www.lilrubyjewelry.wordpress.com
Sherri Stokey, http://www.KnotJustMacrame.com
Regina Santerre, http://reginaswritings.blogspot.com
Raida Disbrow, http://havanabeads.blogspot.com
Kristi Wodek, http://livedinlife.blogspot.com
Sally Russick, http://www.thestudiosublime.com
Melissa Trudinger, http://beadrecipes.wordpress.com
Tracy Stillman, http://www.tracystillmandesigns.com
Tanya Goodwin, http://pixiloo.blogspot.com
Susan Kennedy, http://suebeads.blogspot.com
Beth Emery, http://storiesbyindigoheart.blogspot.com
Lisa Cone, http://inspiredadornments.blogspot.com/
Tanya Boden, http://fusionmusebangkok.blogspot.com/
Inge von Roos, http://ingetraud.wordpress.com
Erin Prais-Hintz, http://treasures-found.blogspot.com
Dee Elgie, http://cherryobsidia.blogspot.com
Carolyn Lawson, http://carolynscreationswa.blogspot.com
Lisa Stukel, http://carefreejewelrybylisa.blogspot.com
Elly Snare, http://themagicsquarefoundation.wordpress.com
Shelley Graham Turner, http://www.shelleygrahamturner.blogspot.com
Mallory Hoffman, http://rosebud101-fortheloveofbeads.blogspot.com/
Paige Maxim, http://www.pmaximdesigns.blogspot.com
Jenny Davies-Reazor, http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson, http://sharylsjewelry.blogspot.com
Evelyn Shelby, http://raindropcreationsbyevelyn.blogspot.com/
Holly Westfall, http://silverrosedesigns.blogspot.com/
Rebecca Siervaag, http://www.godsartistinresidence.blogspot.com
Toltec Jewels, http://toltecjewels.blogspot.com
Lee Koopman, http://StregaJewellry.wordpress.com
Laren Dee Barton, http://larendeedesigns.blogspot.com
Cindy Wilson, http://www.mommysdreamcreations.blogspot.com
Kathleen Lange Klik, http://ModernNatureStudio.blogspot.com
Shaiha Williams, http://shaihasramblings.blogspot.com/
Jennifer Justman, http://soulsfiredesigns.blogspot.com/
Elsie Deliz-Fonseca, http://ladelizchica.blogspot.com
Lola Surwillo, http://www.beadlolabead.blogspot.com
Kim Hora, http://www.kimmykats.com
Leanne Loftus, http://firstimpressiondesign.blogspot.com
Patti Vanderbloemen, http://myaddictionshandcrafted.blogspot.com <-You are here!
Marcie Carroll, http://labellajoya.blogspot.com
Marlene Cupo, http://amazingdesigns-marlene.blogspot.com
Ine Vande Cappelle, http://jewelsbyine.blogspot.com
Tammie Everly, http://ttedesigns.blogspot.com/
Alice Peterson, http://www.alice-dreaming.blogspot.com
Elisabeth Auld, http://www.beadsforbusygals.com
Susan McClelland, http://mistheword12.wordpress.com/
D Lynne Bowland, http://islandgirlsinsights.blogspot.com
Denielle Hagerman, http://somebeadsandotherthings.com
Rebecca Anderson, http://songbeads.blogspot.com
Mischelle Fanucchi, http://micheladasmusings.blogspot.com/
Kari Asbury, http://hippiechickdesign.blogspot.com
Cece Cormier, http://www.thebeadingyogini.com/
Emma Todd, http://www.apolymerpenchant.com
Debbie Price, http://greenshoot.blogspot.com