Mad about Monet – April Art Bead Scene challenge

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For as long as I can remember, Claude Monet has been my favourite painter. The first time I went to France, I made it a point to see as many of his paintings as possible. I was transfixed by his Nympheas series in  the Musee de L’Orangerie – I saw them again a number of years later and they were as stunning as I remembered.  I trekked across Paris to visit the Musee de Marmottan Monet, a traditional Parisian “hotel” (mansion) with an impressive collection of Monet’s work. One afternoon, I took the train out to Vernon to visit Giverny, Monet’s home that is surrounded by the most amazing garden that was the inspiration for many of his paintings. It was late June and the garden was in full bloom – I spent a glorious few hours wandering around admiring the profusion of flowers. A number of years later, my husband took me to Montreal for my birthday to see an exhibition of photographs taken at Giverny at various seasons during the year.  As far as I’, concerned, there’s no such thing as too much Monet.

So when I saw that Art Bead Scene had selected Monet’s Walk in the Meadows at Argenteuil” as the challenge for April, my imagination kicked into high gear. The colours are luminous and the pastoral scene conveys the essence of a sunny summer day in rural France.

By happy coincidence, I had an unfinished multi-strand bracelet in greens and blues. Using my favourite technique, I wrapped wire and seed beads around a piece of subtly dyed JodyPoesy ribbon. I had fashioned a clasp using a hand-made lampwork bead my mother brought me back from Australia as a button and made a loop at the other end with the ribbon. I left the ribbon ends loose and added beads on the end to make dangles – a ceramic bead from my hoard of Gaea beads, a glass bead I made myself in a bead-making class, a brass “coin” and some tiny grey beads from FusionBeads.

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That’s as far as I got – the bracelet was on top of my bead box, unfinished, for months. But when I saw the Monet painting, I immediately thought of the bracelet and decided to finish it.

At my favourite local bead store, I found some 5mm preciosa bicones in emerald-green. I made a “chain” with wire-wrapped loops and wired it to the ribbon strand.

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I wanted to add a third strand (3 is my favourite number), but I wasn’t sure what to use. I experimented with several different colours and widths of chain, but nothing seemed to work. I found a small piece of simple brass chain in my supply box, but it was too short. I experimented with adding a double strand of seed beads in a complementary colour to the chain, but after scattering the beads all over the floor for the third time, I abandoned that idea.

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I spent the afternoon in my garden (much smaller than Giverny and without the huge pond). When I came back to the bracelet, I picked up some of the waxed linen thread that I recently received from Rebecca Anderson. I “discovered” waxed linen last week when I was working on my Bead Soup creations and I’m hooked. It’s a bit tricky to unknot, so careful planning has its rewards. I played around with the thread and knotted on a couple of faceted czech glass beads that also came from Rebecca. I swapped out the little grey beads that I’d originally tied onto one of the ends for an orange enamel bead from Gardanne Beads and tied a couple of other small beads onto the waxed linen thread.

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Voila! my homage de Monet.

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I probably would have finished the bracelet at some point, but Monet’s painting did inspire me to try new colour combinations and experiment with textures in a new way.

 

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