What was I going to do with Marcie's latest Margie & Me challenge? The artwork she posed to us as a challenge was the 'Adoration of the Magi', at left. Lots of golds and oranges with ultramarine and lighers blues, and optional green. She also said to 'think shiny'. So I dug out my metal-lined seed beads, deep blue pearls, and at last--those gold plated fancy beads i bought a couple years ago, waiting for Project Right.
I had just gotten a silverplated 'pendant blank' waiting to be filled with whatever I wanted, so I decided to do a small piece of bead embroidery and set it into the blank. I need the practice, andd working with such a small space (instead of the usual majestic scale of most bead embroidery) frees me AND brings it down into doability at this stage. Setting a small piece of bead embroidery into a metal frame also sets the piece solidly as 'jewelry' rather than a piece of beadwork that the creator has made wearable. I prefer my jewelry to be jewelry first, beadwork second.
I chose to finish the necklace with a simple bead chain, using ornate gold beads and a touch of deep blue glass. The freeform nature (and all the shiny colours) of the bead embroidery conveys the exuberance of the original painting, while the metal setting and gold bead chain reference the time period's preference for fancy adornments. The ultramarine adds another touch of art history--the lapis lazuli stone used to be ground up to make the ultramarine pigments, resulting in the rich blues you see in paintings just like this.
My second challenge piece focused more on the golds. I square-stitched around a shimmerstone glass cabochon with size 6 blue beads, then added gold and frosted burnt orange seed beads, and a line of green just below the orange (you can see a touch of it in the photo). I sewed the cab onto a rubbery hair elastic.