Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ornament Thursday - Sprout!

Welcome to Ornament Thursday! Each month, a group of diverse but like-minded artists come together to create pieces based on a common theme. For more information regarding Ornament Thursday, please go here.

This month's theme is "sprout". I'm not sure if you could really say that flowers "sprout" rather than "bloom", but the buds on this piece were calling to me and green is the color of sprouting, right?? Right?? (Should you disagree with me on this point, I hope you'll willingly suspend your disbelief for a few moments.)

This piece is actually quite special to me. I made the focal from a hato card, a Korean playing card, that I set in a hand-formed PMC base with resin. When my mother came to the United States as a student in the fifties, she brought a few personal items with her, including a very nice set of hato cards. She never went back to Korea, eventually meeting and marrying my father and raising her family (namely me) in the Midwest. Through these life changes, she kept her set of cards and eventually spent many hours entertaining me with them when I was a child.

I wanted to commemorate my happy childhood memories by making this pendant. (I should note that I did not use cards from my mother's actual set, which we carefully preserve in the family. This card is from a more modern version that I purchased a few months ago.) Hato cards contain twelve suits, each representing a month of the year. Each suit has four cards, with varying point values. Although all of the cards are beautifully illustrated, the high point cards tend to be the most intricate. I chose a card representing springtime for the "sprout" theme. This card is actually the high value one for the February suit. (Yes, I'm cheating again, here - I didn't use the card for March!) By the way, regarding the scale of the piece, hato cards are considerably smaller than Western playing cards. They are slightly larger than a box of matches. Thus, although sizeable, the card still makes a nice pendant.

If you would like to see what the other suits look like, Randy L. Pearson has a nice website dedicated in part to the card game minhato that is played with - yup! - hato cards. Please go here to view. (Incidentally, if you would like to learn how to play minhato, Randy has a nice on-line version of the game available here.)

But wait, there's more! Please visit these talented OT artists to explore their vision for "Sprout":

Alexa Westerfield - a.k.a. Swelldesigner
Now that's it's time for spring, ideas are "sprouting" all over the place. Alexa creates this eye-catching notebook to keep them in order.

Art Bead Scene
Some good karma is sprouting up at the Art Bead Scene with Heather's Lotus Flower Bracelet

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
The Brooklyn National Anthem sprouts every year when Cindy's in Spring mode. See what it inspired this year!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie giggles and remembers a furry friend, brings back an old mold, and sprouts up a beaded LOLhammy ceramic ornament

Helen Bradley and Michelle Zimmerman at http design
It's spring and we're sprouting all sorts of wonderful art at http design. Michelle is toting her art to the market and Helen revisits a fun art school assignment for her inspiration.

Humblebeads celebrates spring with a Berry Good bracelet inspired by some juicy disk beads.

Jennifer Heynen of Jangles
Jennifer has come up with a cute little necklace to remind you of spring.

Katie's Beading Blog
Create some spring flair of your own with this easy bead embroidery idea from Katie's book, Hip to Bead.

Kriss Cramer - Spring Is In The Air
Not much of a horticulturist? Me neither! But I love flowers and I enjoy growing these ones with some paper, paint, and rhinestones.

Linda and Tea at Make It Mine magazine
Tea decided to join the fun this month. Check out her quilt blocks and Linda's purse.

Melissa J. Lee - Strands of Beads
What do Korean playing cards have to do with a sprouting spring? Check out Melissa's blog to find out.

Michelle McGee - S-P-R-O-U-T
Michelle just can't stop creating in green! A little wooden birdhouse becomes a beautiful palace!

Savvy Crafter
Candie shares some happy spring memories with a cheerful felty flower idea!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean tells a touching, poignant tale of some beads who help one another, and after a small amount of sturm and drang they get it together and help each other! In fact, they prettify whatever YOU choose! Go see! It's fun!

Spring is Sprouting for Joolz by Lisa
Even without a green thumb, Lisa managed to "grow" a garden of sorts this month.

Sprouting Up with Beading Help Web
Lynn Kvigne's used wire and a lentil bead to create a "sprouting" pendant for wire workers who want a bit of a challenge!

The Goddess ROCKS!
Inspired by a river rock shaped like an ancient goddess statue, Hali paints, melts crayons and adds glitter to create a sparkley celebration of Spring.

The Impatient Blogger
How does your garden grow? With metal mesh, Czech glass beads and vintage French images all in a row! Margot just returned from Paris where she discovered a treasure trove of vintage paper. This scanned and sized postcard image fit the theme of sprout perfectly and the necklace was in search of a new home...add some teal metal mesh bows and accents and voila...a design sprouts forth!

Vintage Girl Teams Up With Her Vintage Momma!
What does a gal do when she finds herself far from her crafting supplies? Why, she raids her mom's basement and then puts dear old mama to work! Stop by and you'll see why mom's basement is fertile ground for things that sprout

Thanks for stopping by!


Lisa said...

Very nice and I love the story along with it!

Cindy Gimbrone said...


Ooo - green and yellow two of my favorite colors. They' re accented nicely with the bit of red and black. When I was reading the story of the hato cards, I thought at first you had used your mother's and I thought, oh no! Glad to see you've preserved them and honored your childhood with modern cards. Lovely!


Margot Potter said...

What a great image and what a fantastic design! You know...you could scan your mother's deck. I do that with ephemera I want to use in my work and it's fun because you can size it or manipulate it.

You really make very cool jewelry.


Katie Hacker said...

Thanks for sharing the story behind your design. It makes your piece even more beautiful!

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

I think this is fantastic, fabulous, and perfectly beautiful!

Beading Help Web Editorial Team said...

What a great story, and I love what you've done with the pendant...amazing!!!

Kriss said...

What a beautiful piece of jewelry. Fabulous colors and details.

Linda Augsburg said...

Great story leading to a beautiful pendant. I have no problem with it being a February card and the flowers represent sprout and anything else that you need me to 100% support when you create such a heartfelt piece in the end.

Heather Powers said...

I've loved those hato cards since you first showed them to me Melissa. What a fantastic necklace with such bright and happy colors.

Melissa J. Lee said...

Thanks to everyone for their kind comments. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to respond. I've been quite sick with stomach 'flu and am just starting to catch up on everything.

laurelmoon said...

Oh, fabulous! Hooray for flowers. The focal piece is absolutely stunning, and what a story behind it! That always makes the best inspiration.