Ophelia by Odilon Redon
c. 1900-05; Pastel on paper mounted on board, 19 7/8 x 26 1/2 in; The Woodner Collection
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar,
But never doubt I love.
O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers. I have
not art to reckon my groans; but that I love thee best,
O most best, believe it. Adieu.
Thine evermore, most dear lady...
I don't usually buy art beads specifically for the ABS projects – I see it as part of the challenge to find an appropriate piece from my bead stash - it's not like I don't have a few to choose from when all said an done! But the day after this months challenge was published, I was browsing for ceramics on Etsy and came across this beautiful bead from Grace Smith which just stopped me in my tracks...
I couldn't believe how strongly it resembled Ophelia's face in the painting - the closed eyes, the same calm expression, the same sense of serenity... The bead is made from earthenware, clear glazed and finished with a final platinum glaze which has given it an almost wet-look lustre. It could easily have been made just for this challenge so I had to have it.
This is how it looks in my finished necklace.
Normally my starting point for these creations is to work from the colour palette and gather together possible components to match the artwork and complement the focal bead. The palette for this month leans towards strong yellows and blues.
But with this painting, I found that it wasn't the colours that were inspiring me so much as the overall tenor of the painting. Despite the fact that the subject matter is suicide by drowning, it has an overwhelming sense of peace and tranquility (perfectly illustrating why we say 'at peace' when someone is released from suffering) and, because the focal shares this characteristic I felt the addition of too much strong colour could be jarring, so I decided to keep it minimal and simple...
The colours are there but more as accents than as the stars of the show. I used large wire links to attach the focal and represent the circular motion evident in the painting along with two lampwork beads with encased silver bubbles to add to the watery effect. The black silk ribbon represents Ophelia's flowing hair and also gives a nod to the rite of mourning.
Ultimately, Grace's art bead really is the focal that carries this piece and I didn't want to do anything to overshadow it. I love it and I hope you (and Grace) do too.
Orange Rustic Star Dust beads - Miss Fickle Media
Silver bubble lampwork beads - Sally Carver
Black hand dyed silk ribbon - Diane Turton
Black brass wire and jump rings - Fallen Angel Brass
You can see the other entries for the ABS June challenge at the Flickr group Art Bead Scene challenge