Monday, October 19, 2009

British Bead Awards Winner and Enchanted Adornments


I've been keeping this piece under wraps all year, but I think I can finally go ahead and share it with you. This is "Cabinet of Curiosities", my favorite piece of 2009. It's kind of a double whammy showpiece for me.

If you've been reading my blog this year, by now this style of focal - based on the cabinet of curiosity specimen box - will be familiar to you. This piece is special, though, because - although I'm revealing it late in the year - it was actually the first one I made, way back in January. Last winter, I was contacted by Cynthia and Andrew Thornton to create a work for the gallery of Cynthia's new book (available November 1st! I can hardly wait - can you???), Enchanted Adornments: Creating Mixed-Media Jewelry with Metal, Clay, Wire, Resin & More. This invitation couldn't have come at a better time for me. I had been casually contemplating cabinets of curiosities for a few months, but hadn't really got any further with the idea. I decided to put together a piece for Cynthia's book based on this concept, and this necklace was the result.



As I continue to find my footing stylistically, my specimen box pendant has been evolving over the year. However, I still love the way this first piece turned out - it's my favorite necklace to wear. In fact, I wore it to the Bead & Button show this year. It's a little different from "Natural History" and "Natural Selection", as it is not strictly, well, natural history-based. To imbue it with an element of mythology, I included both the staring eye (which is actually a German vintage taxidermist's glass eye) and the fantastic ceramic Beastie Bead by Diane Hawkey.

I've been missing wearing the necklace this summer, as it's been off in England being judged. I found out about the inaugural British Bead Awards right before submissions closed this year. I didn't have time to make a piece specifically for the competition, but I decided to go ahead and submit my favorite necklace and my eye pendant. Both pieces made the finals but neither placed (alas).

AMENDED: I just found out - I was wrong. I received an email from Bead Magazine this morning - the piece actually took first place for metal clay!!! And "Eye See You" took second place in the beyond glass - handmade beads and components division! I've never been so happy to be wrong...

Thank you to Bead Magazine for giving me the opportunity to present my work in this first year of competition.

And thank you to Cynthia and Andrew for inviting me to participate in Cynthia's magnificent new book! Less than two weeks now - have I mentioned that I can't wait?! (Have you ordered your copy yet?)

Thanks for visiting.

12 comments:

TesoriTrovati said...

Incredible! Your works of art are truly masterful. That is your first attempt?! Gah! You have set the bar quite high, my dear. Congratulations on being in the finals, why you didn't place is beyond me... I would like to see those that did. I don't believe it.
And yes, Enchanted Adornments is going to be sooooo good! Kudos for being a part of it! Enjoy the day! Erin

stregata said...

Oh, I really love these curiosity cabinet pieces! Just wonderful!

Marbella Jewelry Designs said...

That's wonderful news, congrats! I can't wait to get my Enchanted Adornments too.

mairedodd said...

your work is fabulous! congrats on everything... i agree with erin, the bar is set high!

Andrew Thornton said...

Congratulations! (I guess you did decide to overnight the piece after-all!)

Your piece is fabulous and I think a great magical, mixed media example. You've really captured the "curiosity" that is important to every successful storyteller.

Bravo!

Melissa J. Lee said...

Thanks, everyone! Getting the notification that I actually did win was made for a very happy day today.

Joann Loos said...

Glad you are getting the recognition you deserve for your wonderful designs!

I love your 3d pieces. They are so evocative

Jean Campbell said...

Such wonderful pieces! I love how they are evolving. Your awards are well-deserved.

Jeannie said...

Congratulations Melissa. This necklace is beautifully curious!
I'm trying to figure out what the beads are.

Melissa J. Lee said...

Thanks, Joann - I really appreciate it. I am definitely moving more in the direction of doing 3d type pieces this year.

Melissa J. Lee said...

Jean, Thanks so much - it has been wonderful having the time to develop the design over the course of the year - and I'm not done yet!

Melissa J. Lee said...

Jeannie, Thank you! The flat-slab beads are garnet. They are much nicer in person - the photo does not really show the depth of color of the beads.