Wednesday, December 9, 2015

History Hop: Paleolithic Style

Woo-hoo! It's time for one of my favorite things: a blog hop reveal!

Lions, on the wall of Chauvet Cave.
Source: Wikipedia.
This particular blog hop is the History Hop: Paleolithic Style, organized by Leah Curtis over at Beady Eyed Bunny. I'm super excited about it, too, because it combines two of my favorite things: archaeology and art.

More specifically--as one might guess from the name--it challenged its participants to make art inspired by the Paleolithic era.

For some (very) brief background: the Paleolithic era was a time in early history, before written records, when humanity was just starting to come into its own. It was a time of hand-formed tools, cave paintings, even rudimentary beads--when people made beautiful things with limited materials and tools.

Not my picture!
This was put together by the hostess as an inspirational springboard. Pretty cool, right? :)

The Paleolithic era itself is broken up into three periods, and the artifacts of each reflect a growing development in human tools, art, and ritual. This blog hop did not focus on these individual periods, but rather at the Paleolithic as a whole. For the most part, I used the cave paintings as my inspiration.

In her blog post introducing this challenge, our lovely hostess wrote: "I'm sure the organic and simplistic style of the era will translate beautifully into your own jewelry."

And that was exactly what I tried to do.

...And Now, Here's What I Made!

If you've been following my blog for any amount of time, you will not be surprised when I say that I made many, many things for this hop. I was just so excited, I kept going!

For this first set, my main goal was to make something using all natural materials, with a limited amount of metal or more "advanced" techniques. I wanted it to look like something that could have conceivably been made using the technology available at the time. That means no wire-wrapped links for this one! (Which was rather hard for me, as you might imagine.)

And so, here's what I came up with:

Okay, so I cheated a bit with the earrings.
Still, I came pretty close!

The materials: leather, hemp, clay (for the focal), and two types of jasper (crazy horse jasper rounds and sesame jasper oval coins)--all in shades of brown. I chose the jaspers because I thought their natural variation, color combinations, and shifting patterns were reminiscent of Paleolithic cave paintings.

The focal I picked because of its designs: pictograph-esque carvings on the one side, and a sunburst pattern on the other.

The other side of the focal.

Lots of knots later, and I think I managed to do pretty well staying true to my original goal.

Now, this set was actually the only thing I had planned when I signed up for the blog hop. However, I still had materials left over--and I kept having ideas. So, naturally, I kept going.

For the second set, I allowed myself to use more metal (and my trademark wire links, because that is apparently what I do). Instead of making something that could have conceivably been made at the time, I made something that was more inspired by that time period.

I hoped to echo the feeling of movement in the cave paintings
with the movements and fluidity of the dangles.

Again, the main materials are crazy horse jasper, sesame jasper, and leather--this time, coupling the earth-and-pigment browns with the natural tones of brass and copper. I was also particularly happy with the wire-wrapping on the leather ends--messy, yes, and reminiscent of the lashings used to connect Paleolithic spearheads with their wooden shafts.

Also! You might notice, when looking closely at that necklace, that there are two sets of toggle clasps. That's because the necklace isn't just a necklace... It can also be worn as two bracelets!

Double-wrapped leather and chain,
and sesame jasper links with crazy horse jasper dangle.

Two different style options, for the discerning Paleolithic fashionista. ;)

...And, speaking of style options, here are what the different sets looks like next to each other. First up, here are the earrings together:

And here are the necklaces:

And here are both sets--which can actually be mixed and matched as desired.

But wait! There's more! 

...Yeah, I I didn't stop there. What can I say--when I'm excited, I'm prolific. 

So, while I didn't make another set, I did end up making two more bracelets. In addition to making these two...

I also made these two:

The bracelet on the left is more in the colorway put forth by the hostess; it is more tan, and was made using brown waxed cotton cord, copper, and grain stone. The bracelet on the right was made with the rest of my crazy horse jasper, black leather, and a giant coconut shell button with lines reminiscent of the cave paintings.

And that's that. 

All told, I made 6 pieces--or 7, if you count the second necklace as two bracelets instead.

Ta-da! Everything together!

I really did enjoy making pieces for this blog hop... As I said, archaeology and art together makes this Anthropology and Humanities joint degree nerd a very happy camper!

Thank you so much to our wonderful hostess for putting this together--I had a blast!

And thank you for stopping by to see what I made... I love getting to share my creations with you!


Want to see what everyone else made? Here is the list of blog hop participants... feel free to hop around and enjoy some more lovely Paleolithic pieces!

Leah Curtis (hostess) - Beady Eyed Bunny
Shaiha's Ramblings
Jenny Kyrlach - Anafiassa (you are here!)
Julia Hay - Pandanimal 
Rachel Mallis - Mint Monarch
Robin Reed - Artistry HCBD 
Joanne Tinks
YeeLen Spirit Designs
Karin G. - Gingko et Coquelicot
Dini Bruinsma
Deborah Apodaca
Tapping Flamingo


  1. Wow, so many beautiful designs, the stones you chose are just wonderful to represent the paleolithic. My absolute favorite is your first necklace, I love all the hemp fringe, it's gorgeous.

  2. Perfect, perfect! I think the first necklace especially does it for me. I love the tassel and your knot work. Whomever wears these will be the most fashionable cave woman in town! :)

  3. Love it! Perfect colours, so many great designs... So wearable, in each season! I would wear it with black♥

  4. Talk about some incredible pieces. I really like how you hey all work together so nicely.

  5. Wow! I was having a hard time with just my one piece!!! And, I did break down and use wire :) I think everything is amazing, but especially the necklace that turns into 2 bracelets!!! They blend as a neclace, but are totally different. Loved stopping by!

  6. I love them all, of course. I've always had a soft spot for natural stone beads. But I have to say the first necklace is my favorite. The focal perfectly captures the idea of the cave paintings and I like the idea of the sound those stone beads must make when the necklace moves.

  7. Wow! That necklace that turns into two bracelets?! That's awesome!!!

  8. So many beautiful designs out here! Lovely combo and everything is perfect.


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! :)