Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Challenge of Music Reveal!

As you may guess from my screen name, music plays a huge role in my life.  My parents, my husband, and my children are all professional musicians.  I studied and performed, but was surrounded by enough real talent to know life as a performer wasn't my destiny.

But, boy howdy, do I have some memories that are indelibly connected with certain pieces of music.  So this challenge was right up my alley!

So get something to sip, put your feet up, and let me spin a little musical tale for you...

It was impossible to hone it down to one song, one piece, one work.  Rather than spinning myself into a never-ending sweat of regret and what ifs, worrying that a single choice would define me too narrowly, I decided to do a piece that was more a medley of songs or pieces that represent important parts of my life.  I'd like to introduce you to each player in the medley individually, along with a YouTube link to listen along as you wish:

This is Bohemian Rhapsody - the glitter of Freddie Mercury and Queen, dressed up in fuchsia and velvety green that are the exact colors of a rockin' pair of shoes I had that saw many nights at the disco.  This song always reminds me of  my years singing in a band, of college, of those glorious days of glitter rock.  Scaramouche!
This is Seven Bridges Road.  This song by the Eagles always touches me for a couple of reasons.  First, when you listen to it, be sure to turn your speakers way up to appreciate the rich harmonies and the terrific a capella singing.  Second, I'm from the South (as you may have read in other posts), so the whole image of stars in the southern sky evokes an immediate image for me, and inspired the choice of the deep blue seed beads and the firepolish with the sparkle.

This is Carmen.  She represents the opera in my life.  I've been in them, I've played for them, I've loved them. This bead has the bold ruffles and fiery flourish of the diva -- I look at it and can just see Carmen slinking across the stage, seducing everyone on stage and in the audience.

But when you get right down to it, the center of my musical life has been orchestral music.  There are certain works that are just the pure, sonic embodiment of glory, joy, of the sun breaking through the clouds and streaming down.  With this bead, I tried to capture the look of golden, warm light streaming from the dark background.  And though there are many, many works that fit this description, the most perfect example is the final movement of Mahler's Second Symphony, also known as the Resurrection Symphony.  (the whole symphony is over an hour long -- this video clip is the final four minutes.  Listen, and tell me you can't envision the heavens opening up)  I had the privilege of being in the audience for a performance of this work with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic.  It was truly the most transcendent musical experience of my life.  I still get chills when I think of it, and it never fails to make me weep for joy, for the sheer emotional overload of it all.

Nearly every summer of my life has been spent at a music festival that my family has been involved with since I was two.  So many of my musical memories have a deep connection to this place, nestled in the mountains, surrounded by beautiful green pines and sparkling mountain streams, so this bead reflects the colors and sparkle of the environment.  Beethoven's Ninth Symphony has been the soundtrack to many milestones at this festival, most notably being the final work my father conducted before retiring.  It, too, is a long work in its entirety, so I've just found a video of the last few minutes of the final movement, which includes the "Ode to Joy."  If you can't stomach listening to the whole clip, start at the 11:30 mark, and then at 12:50, experience what it sounds like when 300 people produce a sound of pure and utter joy.  Then imagine being in the chorus or the orchestra.  I've been there.  And that's why this is here.

So when you put all the pieces together in this medley, this is what you get:

They're strung on one of my husband's used violin strings.  

But wait, there's more!!! (I know, I know, I know.  You have blogs to visit, beady beauty to drool over).  This next piece is what I initially wanted to do when I signed up for the challenge, but I didn't know if I could get the main component, a violin bridge.  The bridge is the little piece of wood that holds up the strings on a violin, viola, cello or bass, and although you can buy them ready made, professional musicians have them custom created and fitted to their instruments.  I was hoping my husband would have an old, broken one somewhere.  He didn't.  But he did find one that had been made for an instrument he no longer owns, so here is the result.

I'll be adding a necklace to this, and I will never, ever sell it.  It will be like keeping my husband close to my heart every time I wear it.  And just in case you're interested, here's a little bit of my sweetheart playing.

If you've made it this far, THANK YOU!!  You win the prize for endurance!  Now get a snack to build your energy back up, and visit the rest of the folks in the hop:

Bobbie Rafferty  You are here!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sneaky, Sneaky, Sneaky

Here's a sneak preview of my Challenge of Music entry.  An itty, bitty, teeny peek at the finished project, which will be revealed during the blog hop on February 29.

If I can get things in gear this evening, I hope to finish another piece that I'd love to include in the hope as well.  Because I can't be happy with having a challenge complete, oh no.  I have to pressure myself to do ANOTHER something.

Because I'm nuts.  And because I told my husband that it would be finished by the time he gets back in town tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda, Resolved!

Ever have one of those "coulda, shoulda, woulda" moments?  You know, a minor, nagging regret over something you might have done but, for one reason or another, it just didn't happen?

For a long time, I've thought I'd love to add a printer's tray to my display.   Used to be that I'd see them all the time when I went to antique places, but I couldn't figure out how to fit them into my display style, especially the big trays I was seeing.  When I finally figured out a way to make them work in my display setup, for the life of me I couldn't find any.  Despite haunting the antique malls where I'd seen them in the past, there just weren't any for sale.

Coulda bought them when I found them - they weren't outrageously expensive when I saw them.  Shoulda bought them, because, hey, there they were, begging to go home with me.  Woulda bought them if I'd just trusted that the inspiration for how to use them would come to me.

My dilemma was resolved this past weekend.  Look what came home with me!

It's 10 1/2" x 17".  My vision is that rings will go in the smallest spaces, and pendants or pins will go it the others.

But first, I have to get it cleaned up a little bit (any suggestions other than Endust and lots of dust rags?  Maybe Murphy's Oil Soap?) and get some hooks put in....

The hunt may continue for more trays, but at least I've bagged my first one!

Monday, February 20, 2012

February Art Bead Challenge

To celebrate the three day weekend (thanks, George and Abe, for having birthdays close enough to warrant a Federal holiday for you and the other presidents!), I've been spending lots of time today at the bead table, working hard on my first entry for the Art Bead Challenge.

These challenges have been so intriguing and inspiring, but this month I finally had enough time and an appropriate art bead, so yippee skippy, I'm finally giving it a shot.

The inspiration this month is The Conference of the Birds by Habiballah, from a manuscript of the Mantiq al-Tayr (The Language of the Birds) of Farid al-Din 'Attar, c. 1600.  Isn't it spectacular?  You can read more about the artwork, and the challenge, here.

My eye was immediately drawn to the peacock and to the lovely lavender shades in the stream.

I started with this porcelain focal by Forever Young, which I topped with a carved cinnabar bead with a phoenix (sadly, you can't see the phoenix in this photo, nor can I get the photo to display upright.  Crap.)

Then I added a couple of carved bone beads, lavender jade, a carved agate barrel, a dyed agate lentil, copper wire, and fiber.  I don't often use fiber in this way in my work, so this was a little added degree of personal difficulty for me.

The reveal date for all the challenge entries is February 29 (Leap Day).  With such gorgeous art for inspiration, I can't wait to see what everyone has created!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine Hugs

Big, beady Valentine's hugs to each of you!

Y'all brighten my life, and I hope you've found a smile or two here.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Challenge of Music

When Erin of Tesoro Trovati announced a challenge involving music, how could I pass it up?

Seriously. My business name is Beadsong Jewelry.  If I didn't try to play along, I should just take myself out back, give myself a good talking to and perhaps apply a swift kick to my own derriere.

And no one wants to see that. 

So this weekend I'll be playing at the work table, trying to create something that embodies my reaction to a favorite song or piece of music.

I've got so many ideas, and so many directions this can go, I suspect that the greatest challenge of this challenge will be weeding through all the possibilities and honing in on one.

Not a bad way to spend the weekend, eh?

Have a great weekend yourself - I hope it involves lots of fun and creativity for you!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

You Are Invited To Join Me In A Happy Dance (and You Won't Worry My Neighbors)

Some really great news came in the mail over the weekend, and I've been bursting to share it with you.

This piece, named "Aphrodite, Born of the Sea," was accepted to be part of a juried exhibition called "About Face" at the Kentucky Artisans Center in Berea, Kentucky (ok, that was a little obvious - as though the Kentucky Artisans Center would be in Tennessee or Arizona).

When I opened the envelope, there was a happy dance outbreak on my front porch.  Yes, once again, I worried the neighbors.  Bless their hearts, I'm really sorry they live so close to a crazy woman.

Y'all watched this piece grow from its status as a UFO hidden at the back of my beading table, and you encouraged me to finish it.  So thanks for keeping me honest on getting it done.

And thanks for letting me happy dance with you!

Monday, February 6, 2012

We Have A Winner! (Okay, We Have Four!)

Y'all are just the best.  Seriously.  I had a blast celebrating my 100th blog post with you, and appreciated all the fun comments.

I've got some really exciting news to share with you, but I'll wait until tomorrow to do that, because today is all about THE GIVEAWAY! generated the winning numbers.  Based on the order the names came up, I checked to see if that friend had expressed a preference among the beads.  If so, and if an earlier draw hadn't already claimed it, that person's name went on the bead.  I'm happy (and vaguely amazed) that there were no conflicting requests!

(Drumroll, please) Here are the results:

Karen Williams gets the green swirlies from Thornburg Bead Studio


Kristen gets the red lampwork earring pair from Fire Goddess

Michelle Bowman gets the daytime owl from Forever Young Creations 
(again, I swear the bead is upright, even if I can't get the photo to show that way to save my life!)

Christine Altmiller gets the night owl from Forever Young Creations

Ladies, please email me your address so that I can get these beauties off to you.  And thanks for hanging out with me!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Are You Ready for Some Giveaways (Oh, Yeah, and Some Football)?

Both kids are home from school this weekend, so just a note to remind everyone about the giveaway of the beautiful artisan beads above in connection with my 100th post.  I'll draw names on Monday, February 6, so if you want to put your name in the hat (or get another entry), be sure that you've gone here to leave a comment or to let me know that you've shared the news with others on your blog or facebook.

Have a great weekend!  I'm off to wrangle laundry and feed hungry young adults!