Our latest project is called "Winter Enchantment", to design a piece inspired by what we love about winter. I have to be honest and say that the only reason I like snow and winter are for sentimental reasons; around Christmas and New Years, the snow makes those lights outside glow at night. Other than that, it's cold, wet and gets in your boots and makes you uncomfortable the rest of the day. There is one inspiration I did turn to, however, to feel the 'enchantment' of the winter season, and that was to The Group of Seven, a famous group of painters who pioneered Canadian landscape art when many artists thought at the time it to be "unpaintable or unworthy of painting." Their works of art are now part of a rich, artistic culture and these images serve as iconography to our picturesque beauty of Canadian wilderness.
I remember a field trip in grade school to the McMichael Art Gallery in Kleinburg, ON, where nearly 6000 pieces of art by the Group of Seven are housed and displayed. I loved these paintings, and seeing the beauty of my country through the eyes of artists such as these men and women make me proud to be a Canadian ... thus, by default, enjoying the 'enchantment of winter'. No? My choice inspiration for this project is one of my favourites, Mount Lefroy by Lawren Harris. I had also found a lovely pendant that I thought echoed the styles of many of the Group's works.
The pieces turned out beautifully, and I had a great background to photograph them: a intriguing abstract painting by a friend of mine, Trevor. Depending on the angle will depend on what you see. I can see a silver lake, the horizon line in black, a blue sky, and a midday sun, far up in the sky. (That's what I see on the bottom left!) The lines and colours are reminiscent of Harris' painting and served as the perfect background element for these pieces. The painting presently sits atop our 'book pile'; here are four different angles of the painting itself. (I'm told the correct angle is the bottom right corner.)
Onward to 'Winter Enchantment'!
Lefroy necklace, no. 1. The pendant on this rather interesting necklace came from a bracelet I had purchased at the Canadian National Exhibition a few years ago from The Painted Lady, a vintage-inspired jewelry designer I see every year in the Arts & Crafts Building. This bracelet had a series of these striped glass cabochons with green rhinestones in between. It was rather large for my wrist, and couldn't really find a way to adjust the piece appropriately. I have a few pieces from The Painted Lady I still wear, so I didn't feel as terrible repurposing elements from the bracelet into other pieces (the green rhinestones have made other appearances, such as this bracelet). The geometric lines in the glass were reminiscent of glacier in Harris' painting, the shimmer of the hexagonal white cat's eye beads are like the sheen of undisturbed snow, and the topaz and light blue shimmer in the glass leaves are the sun glinting off the ice. The necklace is about 20 inches long with a lobster clasp.
Lefroy necklace, no. 2. The soft angles in the geometry of the painting played into the design element of this piece quite a bit, starting with the Nunn Design antiqued pewter tags and square link chain. The small teardrop glass beads in light blue and cobalt added depth in colour and shape, and I also had a few leftover hexagonal white cat's eye beads to add to mix. A topaz and light blue glass leaf hangs opposite where the lobster clasp will be ... once again, I had left myself unprepared!
Group of Seven bracelet. Leave it to Artbeads.com to have it all - the Purple Forest square pendant was exactly what I was looking for to create a Group of Seven-inspired piece! This abstract pendant is very reminiscent of the painter's styles, and I thought this was the perfect focal piece to pull together a tribute and appreciation to their art. The stoneware clay beads in light green, white and black have a rugged, natural look to them, while still sleek and smooth. The bracelet is about 7 inches in length, with all three layers draping quite effortlessly on your wrist.
So, it may not be your favourite season to actively participate in, but you can't deny its artistic influence. If you're not familiar with the Group of Seven, take a look at some of the art produced by this astounding group of artists, and visit the McMichael Art Gallery if you ever find yourself in the area. They have certainly brought us a Canadian Winter's Enchantment!
*Disclaimer: I had received these products free of charge from Artbeads.com and I am making an honest review of the products and have not been paid for this endorsement as it pertains to the products received.