February's selection: A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle
"Fifty years ago, Madeleine L'Engle introduced the world to A Wrinkle in Time and the wonderful and unforgettable characters Meg and Charles Wallace Murry, and their friend Calvin O'Keefe. When the children learn that Mr. Murry has been captured by the Dark Thing, they time travel to Camazotz, where they must face the leader IT in the ultimate battle between good and evil -- a journey that threatens their lives and our universe. A Newbery Award winner, A Wrinkle in Time is an iconic novel that continues to inspire millions of fans around the world. ..."
I read this for the first time when I was in the seventh grade, and loved it, especially the characters Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which, those otherworldly fighters against an indifferent evil. This time around, some aspects of the book struck me as dated, but the battle for Charles Wallace's soul between IT and the children still resonated powerfully:
" 'Mrs. Whatsit loves me; that's what she told me, that she loves me', suddenly she knew. She knew! Love. That was what she had that IT did not have."
I decided I'd like to represent the love of Mrs. Whatsit, which was so great that she'd given up her former life as a star in order to fight the Dark Thing. When a massive star "explodes", the result of the supernova is often a nebula (full disclosure: I'm married to a former Physics teacher). While browsing NASA's nebulae images, I found this image of the Trifid Nebula...
...which brought to mind one of Barbara Metzger's Basha beads that I had tucked away in my stash. I attached it to a bronze bail with some gold wire, and strung it with bronze seed beads, African bronze beads, and rondelles of fire opal, peridot, and amethyst to make this necklace.
I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. I was wondering how to do justice to that Basha bead! It really is spectacular, with shifting tones of green, gold, orange, coral, and purple; it seems to be lit from within.
Sorta like Mrs. Whatsit --the soul of a star.
Check out others' creations:
March's selection: The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
"Andrew Marlow, a psychiatrist, has a perfectly ordered life-- solitary, perhaps, but full of devotion to his profession and the painting hobby he loves. This order is destroyed when the renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes Marlow's patient.
When Oliver refuses to talk or cooperate, Marlow finds himself going beyond his own legal and ethical boundaries to understand the secret that torments this silent genius, a journey that will lead him into the lives of the women closest to Robert Oliver and toward a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.
Moving from American museums to the coast of Normandy, from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth, from young love to last love, The Swan Thieves is a story of obsession, the losses of history, and the power of art to preserve human hope."
I enjoyed this story. While at times it seemed overlong, the mystery kept me reading; and I really enjoyed the sections about painting (though I've never picked up a brush, myself). I found the historical aspects painlessly informative; I enjoyed researching the artists mentioned and studying their paintings. I considered the ending a bit mundane. I thought perhaps there would be another reason for Robert's obsession with Beatrice, other than her beauty and her talent -- maybe she was his ancestor, or he'd met her in a stint of time travel... anyway. Perhaps I've read too many paranormal YA novels over the past few years, and it's warped me.
As movement and light are so essential to impressionist painting, I decided to make a pair of earrings from micro-faceted gemstones. I wire-wrapped onion shaped prasiolite briolettes at the end of gold chain, embellished with wire-wrapped amethyst, pink amethyst, blue topaz, tanzanite, and prasiolite roundelles: voila! Monet water lily earrings!
Check out others' inspired creations:
There are more (including Andrew's) on the "Inspired by Reading" Facebook page.