January 1, 2011

Song Lore/ Response Saturday: Perfect Symmetry

As one year comes to an end and another begins, I am reflecting on the last year and looking ahead to the upcoming year.  Last year, I chose a word to keep in mind: Journey.  I did indeed take many journeys in my travels... I went on a cruise out of the country, flew to the east coast for a show, and drove many miles to so shows in states nearby. 

I also learned that one can take a journey and never leave home. Over the months, I went through a complicated and frustrating refinance, completing one chapter in my life by transferring the title to my house to my name solely, and I made major changes to my home by doing major remodeling with a new fence, windows, glass block in the basement, and other big changes.

I also embarked on a creative journey with my Song Lore Saturday posts.  The musically inspired challenges every week led me to many new items and pieces that please me.  The process was difficult at times, especially when I was busy with shows and home life, but it was overall a successful journey.  Today's post is the last official Song Lore post, as I am ending that series and embarking on a new creative journey, along with a new word to keep in mind this year.
Today's Song Lore inspiration is the song "Perfect Symmetry" by Keane.  I love the imagery of the song:  the churches, pages of words and writing and pictures, and the thought of symmetry.  The chorus:

"This life is lived in perfect symmetry
What I do, that will be done to me"

For my pieces, I made several resin coated components using a page from an old pocket dictionary and some antique postcards of churches with symmetrical architectural elements.  I used the dictionary entries for three words: "Perfect" and "Symmetry" for the song title and the entry for my 2011 inspirational word:

My weekly Saturday challenges will now be called Saturday Response.  My goal is to use this weekly challenge to *respond* to new materials and techniques.  This was one of my goals last year with the Song Lore posts and the word Journey as inspiration, but I found myself concentrating on the songs and aesthetic concepts, I usually just relied on the material that was most comfortable and handy, which is clay.  By simplifying the challenge conceptually, I can focus more on exploring new materials.  As a further limitation to help me to concentrate on these new materials, I intend to focus on the symmetrical basic shapes of the circle and square.  I also intend not to use my standard porcelain clay techniques, unless I come up with something that is very different from normal (though, I do hope to play with other clays or using porcelain as a base for further experimenting)

With these ideas in mind, the pieces you see in today's blog were made with new techniques I have been wanting to try.  I used brass blanks without bezels as a basis for resin work (most of my other work has been with components with a bezel edge).  I used pigment dyes and Pearl Ex powders to color the resin and used a paintbrush to apply the resin, sometimes blending the colors together in a watercolor-like fashion.  I used circle and square blanks, using the circles to make cabochon stones which I set in filigree and with the squares I cut the holes out of the paper and carefully applied the resin so it didn't coat the holes and made a clean edge.  All of these things are new techniques that really expanded my working knowledge of resin, and these are the sorts of things that embody my goals for the upcoming year of Responses!

I hope you will join me as I explore new materials.  I am also open to suggestions, so tell me what you would like to see me try out!  As part of my word of the year, I hope to have this blog become more interactive and conversational, so I will be responding more to comments.  Thanks for continuing the journey with me, and I wish you much inspiration and exploration too!

Melanie is an artist, blogger, writer, and ceramic beadmaker at Earthenwood Studio. Her beads and components can be found at her Etsy shop and her jewelry can be found in her Etsy Galleria. To comment on this post, visit the original post at the Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Blog.


  1. Stunning, Miss Melanie! I am delighted with this new word that you have chosen and the spirit that it embodies. I am excited by your fresh outlook on your creative endeavors and happy to be with you on this continued journey. I am amazed at the things that your mind spies... so much fun to come here and soak it up! I love making mixed media the best, resin, clay, metal, wire, stamps, ink, paint.... ephemera is so close to my heart. I would like to follow this creative endeavor you are on since you inspire me so. Looking forward to a stellar 2011!

    Enjoy the day!

  2. You and I must live on a parallel plane or something because last week and the week before I made resin coated blank pendants using pages from a vintage dictionary. I love the way you used the Alcohol inks, looks great! Happy New Year
    Shannon C

  3. Thanks for the support, Erin. You inspire me too! While my heart is always with the clay, I do yearn to explore things and I am looking forward to enjoying the challenges ahead.

  4. Shannon, yes I found this mini dictionary and just fell in love! The binding was all broken apart and it was held together with tape that was ages old. I thought for $8, I can make so much use of this wonderful little piece of history!

    I do have alcohol inks to play with, but the colors on these were all done with resin dyes and pigments mixed into the resin. Have fun!

  5. These are absolutely awesome! I love the dictionary definition pieces--they're totally amazing. What an interesting new direction!

  6. Lauren, Thanks! The words on the pages are so small and the paper is so yellowed and fragile! It's quite a treasure.

  7. I've always loved your song inspired posts, but the new emphasis on expanding skills is going to be fun to watch! The brushed-on resin projects came out perfect--of course it's going on a list of things I need to try for the new year, too!

  8. Jen, Thanks! I was surprised how well the resin could be painted on with a brush. I just picked up a bunch of old black and white postcards to use with resin, so I am looking forward to coloring more of them!

  9. Resin is the logical next step for you Melanie. You've chosen a material that is suited to your present work and will take you into new and unexplored territory. I love the water color effect of the dictionary pieces. I've actually seen Keane in concert (with my teenager) and they're full of energy juxtaposed with thoughtful insight. Your "Response Journey" of 2011 I'm sure will be just as interesting to read and follow as your Song Lore journey was. We'll all look forward to this year's exploration of new materials!

  10. Cindy, Thanks for your comment. It is good to know that people have been following along. Ooh and I am jealous you have seen Keane! One of my favorite newer bands!