Sunday, July 31, 2016

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - July Reveal, Part 5

To see Part #4, go here! To see Part #3, go here
To see Part #2, go hereTo see Part #1, go here
To see the Introductory Entry, go here!


Here it is! It's time for the final reveal for July's Monthly Challenge!

I truly appreciate your patience as I've rolled these out over the last few days... I certainly hope that you will find this last entry to be worth your while!

So! Let's see... In the last few entries, I have already talked about how the ancient Maya liked multi-stranded necklaces... 

Stela 11 from Seibal,
from the terminal classic period.
Not my picture!
From the Wikimedia Commons.

How they liked green jade... 

Not my picture!
From the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Go there--it has a wonderful write-up on the symbolism of this piece and its elements.

How they had an impressive writing system...

Page 9 of the Dresden Codex.
Not my photo!
From the Wikimedia Commons.

And so, in this final set, I decided to highlight all of those traits together. 

Below is the result of that effort.

Set #4

Yep! It is a multi-stranded collar necklace, made with dyed yellow turquoise, Czech glass, vintage seed beads, and Mayan-inspired findings. The matching earrings are made with those same materials--I made two pairs, because I couldn't decide which design I liked more.

Each link was wire-wrapped and then joined together with jumprings... I realize that this was not the most ancient-Mayan-type construction, but I think the final result is pretty impressive--and definitely reminiscent of the beautiful many-stranded necklaces so prevalent in their art!

Also, there is an extender chain, which makes it go from choker-tight to a more draped look, depending on the preference (and neckline) of the wearer.

And so, there you go! That is the last set that I made this month for this Mayan-inspired challenge. Not too shabby! :)

Doing this challenge has reminded me just how much I truly love ancient cultures and archaeology, and would love the chance to really research ancient jewelry. Seriously--I would love to go to a museum and just stare at the artifacts... their material, their construction, their style. Study the depictions in the art of the time. That sounds like so much!

...Perhaps I will do another Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge based on an ancient culture. So many possibilities!

Oh! One more thing. I mentioned briefly that I didn't make everything I had planned for this challenge... Time just got away from me. For fun, here are the three projects that I didn't get a chance to make... Maybe next month I will have a chance to work on them!

Multi-strand necklace, with a lampwork focal by GlassyFields.

Necklace inspired by the white-and-red Spondylys shells favored by the Maya.

More jade-inspired goodness!

...And, with that, I really am done. Thank you so much for joining me on this journey! I hope you have enjoyed my creations... I truly appreciate you stopping by!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - July Reveal, Part 4

To see Part #3, go here! To see Part #2, go hereTo see Part #1, go here
To see the Introductory Entry, go here!

It's time for reveal #4!

That means that it's time to show off the bracelet that I made for this challenge.

This particular bracelet was inspired by the those often seen in ancient Mayan art--depicted in murals, stelae, ceramics, and even codices. In these depictions, these bracelets are wide cuffs often worn by the elite (although I honestly have not seen enough research to say that they were the only ones who wore them).

One of the many famous murals at Bonampak.
Not my picture!
From this article on Mexicolore about Mayan feather headdresses.

These bracelets are also usually green. (I know, what a surprise!)

So, as you might imagine, I decided to make a green wrap bracelet, reminiscent of those cuffs. 

...And I am very happy to say that it turned out exactly as I had imagined it!

The materials include: two shades of dyed magnesite, Czech glass black picasso druks, copper leather, silver findings (including a Mayan-inspired bracelet bar), and dyed yellow turquoise.

I also made it so that it would look visually appealing regardless of the angle... One side features the bracelet bar, while the other highlights the geometric-design button and a hieroglyphic dangle.

As I said, this design just came together just as I had hoped. While I was a little concerned about the combination of silver and copper when I was making it, I am extremely happy that I kept with it... The overall look is precisely what I was going for. (And I am thrilled at how close the colors are to the mural I showed above--even though that was not done on purpose!)

...So, there you go: that was the bracelet I made for this reveal. I am extremely happy with it!

And with that, I have one more reveal entry to go. Come back tomorrow, and I'll show you the last thing that I made for this Mayan-inspired monthly challenge! 

Until then, have a great night everyone!

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - July Reveal, Part 3

To see Part #2, go here! To see Part #1, go here! To see the Introductory Entry, go here!

All right! After some rest and some coffee, I am once more ready to post more items for this reveal! Thanks everyone for joining me for this next installment! 

And thanks, too, for being understanding of me splitting this up--I tried to do it all in one, but realized that just didn't do it justice. Yep, I was just that inspired. :)

So! About this next set. 

It's actually the first set that I made--the very first one that I envisioned when taking on this challenge. In making it, I focused heavily on the multi-strand aesthetic which is so prevalent in ancient Mayan jewelry... It is seen in the the funerary jewelry of Pakal (shown in the previous entry), in carved statuary, and in recovered offerings:

Stela 51 from Calakmul, dating to 731 AD,
depicting king Yuknoom Took K'awiil.
Not my picture!
From Wikimedia Commons.

Mayan Offering Necklace
Not my picture!
From the Western Belize Happenings Blog

When deciding on a color palette, I once more decided to go with the color of jade--the apple green color that the Maya preferred: 

Not my picture!
From the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

...The color which also happens to be quite similar to the color of Quetzal feathers. (Quetzals are birds native to the Mesoamerican region, who were considered sacred and whose feathers are quite prominent in Mayan headdresses.)

So, why bring up Quetzals? To answer that question, here is Set #3!

Set #3


It's a multi-strand necklace with matching Quetzal-inspired earrings!

(Not a feathered headdress, but still a nod to the importance of those birds in Mayan culture.)

Materials-wise, the necklace is made with copper, leather, wood, vintage seed beads, and dyed yellow turquoise. The earrings are made with similar materials: dyed yellow turquoise, brass, copper, and the same vintage seed beads as the necklace.

For the design of the necklace, I tried to avoid as much metal as I could, since metal was actually a later addition to Mayan jewelry. Instead, I leaned on the more natural materials of wood and leather. 

The long strands of leather tie the necklace into place, making the length of the necklace adjustable.

I am truly very, very happy with how this set turned out. The combination of the earrings and the necklace looks truly royal when worn, and I think I did a fairly good job sticking with the ancient Mayan aesthetic. 

So, there you go! That is set #3!

Come back in a little bit to see the other things I made... I have two more reveals to go! :)

Friday, July 29, 2016

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - July Reveal, Part 2

To see Part #1, go here! To see the Introductory Entry, go here!

And now, it's time for the second set that I made for this month's Mayan-inspired monthly challenge!

As simplistic as it might sound, the main inspiration for this set was jade. Straight-up jade. And not just any jade, either, but he not-too-dark and not-too-blue-green jade used in this particular carving:

Not my picture!
From the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

...And while I didn't actually use jade to make this set, it is actually the most expensive thing that I made for this challenge--at least as far as materials are concerned!

Set #2

Now, you might look at that and ask, how is that the most expensive set that I made for this challenge? It is not a very complicated design, after all--just a combination of rounds and rondelles.

Well, that set just happens to be made entirely with copper and chrysoprase. Hand-cut chrysoprase. (No, not by me--I don't have that ability at this moment.) And while chyrsoprase is not jadeite, it is definitely not cheap!

And that's why I kept the design simple--to better highlight the beauty of the stones.

I also had other inspiration to keep the design fairly simple: the funerary jewelry of Pakal, king of the ancient Mayan city of Palenque. While this jewelry is certainly impressive (notice the earflares!), you'll notice that amongst the intricate designs, he is also wearing strands of jade rounds:

The funerary jewelry of Pakal, king of Palenque.
Not my photo!
From this blog entry about the Jewelry of the Ancient Americas.

And, well, if it's good enough for Pakal, it's definitely good enough for me!

So, there you go! That is Set #2! Jade-colored chrysoprase, strung together with copper findings.

I'm going to take a bit of a break... Come back later tonight (or tomorrow, seeing how long this takes me) to see what else I made!

Until then, have a wonderful evening!

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - July Reveal, Part 1

First, a quick bit of book-keeping: I have updated the name of my Monthly Challenge!

That's right... As you can probably tell by the title of this post, I have switched it from the "Jenny Monthly Challenge" to the "Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge." 

And just why have I done that? 

Well, I've been toying with the idea for some time now. What really made up my mind, however, was when someone asked if they could participate in this month's challenge. "Jenny Monthly Challenge" was all well and good when it was just me doing it... But, if I'm going to incorporate other people, I should give it a more official sounding name! And so, I gave my challenge an upgrade.

And what better month to do it! This month's Maya-inspired challenge was quite inspiring, and this reveal is going to be a doozy!

Temple at Chichen Itza
Not my photo! From the Wikimedia Commons.

...So much so, I am actually going to split it up into a couple of different posts. I made quite a few things (read: four sets and a bracelet), and I want to give them all adequate screen time. And just think, I still didn't make everything I wanted to... Hah!

As a quick reminder, my inspiration for this month's challenge was the jewelry of the ancient Maya. I gave all sorts of information about this subject in my Introductory Post... If you're interested, feel free to check it out!

The Temple of Inscriptions, Palenque
Not my photo! From the Wikimedia Commons.

My main focus in creating jewelry for this challenge was to mimic the shades of jade so commonly used. Style-wise, I took some artistic liberties--because these are pieces inspired by the Maya, not exact replicas of what they wore.

And so, without further ado... It's time to look at what I made!

Set #1

This first set was inspired by the shape of the earflares worn so often by the ancient Maya. (Like I wrote in the introductory post, these earflares are similar to today's earplugs... except carved in jade and accompanied by some elaborate soul-portal imagery.)

Here are some examples of these earflares...

Not my picture!
From the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Not my picture!
From the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

...And here is what I made!


When I saw the ceramic rounds, I immediately knew that I wanted to use them for this challenge. After all, while not the coveted apple-green that the Maya preferred for their jade, the beads were still in the blue-green spectrum that was sometimes used.

I made the earrings first (seemed logical, since the inspiration was also a form of ear jewelry), and then the necklace followed suit.

The necklace itself is made using a combination of ceramic components, leather, findings, and silver plated wire. I wire-wrapped the rounds, attached them together using jumprings, and then added the leather.

Now, why did I choose that pendant to go along with the earflare rounds?
Because it stylistically reminded me of faded Mayan writing--writing that can be seen in these pages from the Dresden Codex:

Pages 6-8 of the Dresden Codex.
Not my photo! From the Wikimedia Commons.

Also! That same stylized writing can also be seen on the silver charms I used for the earrings.

Oh, and another fun fact: I was in such a hurry to make this necklace, I mis-measured the leather. One side is an inch longer than the other. 


I need to fix that--probably next month.

Still, at least it doesn't take away from the overall look of the piece!

So! There you go... that is set #1. It is actually the last set that I made for this challenge--and one of my favorites. A good way to start the reveals.

Come back in a bit to see the other sets! :)

For those interested, here are the links to all of the entries!
Part 1 (you are here!)