Beading with the Masters: Salvador Dalí

I love learning about artists, their lives, and what inspired their work. Each month or so, I’ll pick an artist whose birthday is coming up, and I’ll write about the Interweave products that remind me of the artist’s work. I hope I can entertain and inspire you, as well as instill some knowledge along the way! Grab a snack (that always helped me remain conscious in art history class!) and let’s embark on this art history bead journey.

Check out last month’s artist, Leonardo da Vinci, to get all caught up with what we’ve learned so far!

This month’s artist is Salvador Dalí, Spanish surrealist born on May 11, 1904. To celebrate Dalí’s birthday, all of the patterns featured in this article are on sale!

Salvador Dalí

Jewelry Design

According to Dalí, art should invade life. His art went far beyond just painting, including sculpture, film, clothing, furniture, stage sets, and shop windows—even jewelry design. He created 39 pieces of jewelry between 1941 and 1970, which are collected into an ensemble on permanent exhibition at the Dalí Theater Museum in Spain. The most famous assemblage, The Royal Heart, is a gold heart encrusted with 46 rubies, 42 diamonds, and 4 emeralds, and features a center that “beats” like a real human heart. Make Cynthia Thornton’s Clockwork Heart Necklace as a tribute to Dalí’s incredible creation. You can see more of Dalí’s elaborate jewelry designs in the May/June 2011 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist.

Salvador Dalí

Embrace the strange by trying out some of these surreal jewelry designs!


What Salvador Dalí is best known for is his surrealist paintings, featuring strange morphed and composite objects. His most famous work is The Persistence of Memory, which depicts a barren landscape strewn with iconic melting clocks. Art historians have suggested that the melting clocks are a symbol of the relativity of space and time, and a surrealist interpretation of the breakdown of cosmic order—but when the question was put to Dalí, in true surrealist fashion, he said that the painting was inspired by a Camembert cheese melting in the sun.

A common theme throughout Dalí‘s work is sticks and crutches. Not necessarily themes that you would think work in jewelry design, but Sonia Davis’s Coiled Kumihimo Bangle bracelet manages to blend stick-like forms into a wearable work of art.

The melty, freeform appearance of Leslie Frazier’s Edwardian Ruffles Bracelet is surreal, and could be made even more strange if you chose contrasting colors for your beads.

If you’re into bold statement jewelry, Jean Power’s Heroine Necklace stands out in a crowd. The large, angular geometric forms make this necklace a surrealist art piece. Wear this conversation-starting power necklace to boost your confidence.

Salvador Dalí

Art Deco

The height of Dalí’s long and varied career happened during the Art Deco period, which influenced his style in his 3D design work the most. Angles and architectural stylings are prominent components of Art Deco, and they are showcased perfectly in Penny Dixon’s Deco Diamond Bracelet. The main colorway features rich metallic gold and bold colors without being gaudy.

Leslie Venturoso’s Art Deco-dence Cuff is the epitome of this style, featuring a luxurious crystal centerpiece accented with geometric frames with fine details. I can imagine this gorgeous, sparkling bracelet on the wrist of a 1930s socialite or silver screen starlet at an art gallery opening gala.

If you’re looking for a stunning necklace to take your little black dress to the next level of elegance, Liisa Turunen and Glenda Paunonen’s Dramatic Deco Necklace should fit the bill. The detailing from the beaded rope with the pearl accents to the triangular decorations on the bezeled crystals will surely set your necklace apart.

Whether you’re into the surreal and strange, or you prefer the geometric order of Art Deco designs, Salvador Dalí can be an inspiration to your beadwork.

Stay tuned for our next installation of Beading with the Masters, and learn about M.C. Escher! Read the entire series of Beading with the Masters here!

Meredith Steele
Technical Editor, Beadwork magazine

Featured Image: Roger Higgins/U.S. Library of Congress

Create one of these surreal and Art Deco designs today!


Post a Comment