Monday, June 30, 2008


Happy Monday, everyone. I thought I'd start the week by showing you one of my finished pieces. You may recall seeing the moon-face pendant earlier in the year here on the blog. The pendant is assembled from ceramic buttons and cabochons made by Melanie at Earthenwood Studio that I stacked and set in fine silver. The button closure is another of Melanie's cabs that I special-ordered from her and again set in fine silver. I am really pleased with the way the focal turned out and am thinking of making myself one to use as a brooch - I think it would look great with a pashmina shawl. (It's a little hard to see the detail in the cabs and button in this photo, but you can click on the image for a closer look, if you are interested.)

The theme for this piece was an Italian masquerade ball. I have a decent stash of Earthenwood beads, and I was playing around with them one day. I had an ornate designed button in a blue color and a black and white face cab, and I decided that the designs together looked great and had a vaguely Venetian flavor (for whatever reason - I can't really explain my gut feeling here). I contacted Melanie, who, ironically, does not like Venetian themes all that much, but who kindly made me two cabochons in black and white with the same design as my button but in different sizes. I'm a big sucker for extravagant costumes and beautifully rendered leather masks, so I decided to try to design a necklace that could be worn as part of such a costume. This largely monochromatic piece was the result.

This piece is also the second one I submitted to the Bead Star contest, the one that did not make the cut. I actually, personally, like this piece much better than the one that made the finals. In this regard, I think it's always interesting getting a third party perspective on my work, as the preferences of other people can be quite different from my own. Even though this is not my usual style, I can actually picture myself wearing something like this for an evening out on the town. I think I'd get funny looks if I threw this on over my usual tee shirt and jeans, though.

In other news, the lovely Jean Yates asked me to participate in an ongoing interview project she has put together for her Links book. If you have not seen or do not already own a copy of Links, I highly recommend that you hie ye to your local bookstore to find one, as it is truly wonderful. Jean has some exceptionally lovely chain maille projects in the book - I have a couple on my list of things to do right now. More on this later, hopefully. I have had the pleasure of reading a number of different interviews that Jean has written up both for magazines and for her on-line readership, and I have to say that she does a fantastic job profiling her subjects and asks tremendously thought-provoking questions. I was really thrilled when she asked me to participate in her current series of on-line interviews with bead and jewelry artists. She posted her interview of me this weekend on Amazon (follow the link above and scroll down to see it) and on her blog. Thank you so much, Jean, for giving me the opportunity to be a part of your project - it was tremendously fun, and, as I mentioned before, your questions were so thought provoking that I feel that I learned a great deal in answering them!

Thanks for stopping by!


Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

Melissa: fist, tha is a erfectly LOVElY neclace and I love the way you write about its history. I need tomake some MOG jewelry and Ou have insoried me. I have to narrow doemn my choise bewteen two dresses. the second has yet to arrive! the first I have everthing even the shoes, for!

Thank you for enjoying the interview. You are incredilby brilliant in my opinion ... however I also think that your art comes from a well within you even deeper that that. Your art comes straight from your amazing soul. That is why everyting you touch reaches out to people and that is why everthing you create is so wonderfully beautiful.

Melissa J. Lee said...

Jean, I can't wait to see your dresses! You have the best taste - I'm sure they are both beautiful.

Thank you so much for your kind words. It is the generosity and talent of artists like yourself that inspire me to continue with this work!