Beading with the Masters: Meredith’s Favorites
When I started writing the Beading with the Masters series a year and a half ago, I set out to learn about some of the artists I slept through in art history class (not their fault!) and share their stories with you in a fun and interesting way. I selected my favorite notable artists, and in the month of their birth I have shared their stories with you and drew correlations between them and beaded jewelry design.
Playing this game of compare and contrast between these artists and beaded jewelry design has been a lot of fun! I’d like to take a moment to review some of my Beading with the Masters favorites, so grab a snack (that always helped me remain conscious in class!) and let’s embark on this art history bead journey.
Leonardo da Vinci
A true “Renaissance Man,” Leonardo lived in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. His imaginative genius cannot be understated, and it feels almost blasphemous to compare anybody to him. However, I can’t help but be reminded of how jewelry designers and beaders are always coming up with creative new ways to make beautiful objects.
My favorite Interweave product that I bet Leonardo would have been fascinated by is Cindy Holsclaw’s video Geometric Beaded Beads: From Cubes to Dodecahedrons. Follow along step-by-step with Cindy to create little geometric works of art, and learn how to incorporate them into jewelry.
Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí said art should invade life. He held to this ideal by producing far more than just iconic paintings of melting clocks and surreal landscapes. He created sculptures, films, clothing, furniture, stage sets, and shop windows—and he designed jewelry. Some of his elaborate jewelry designs were featured in the May/June 2011 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist.
Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher is best known for his optical illusions and impossible architecture. The mathematical nature of bead weaving makes it easy to relate to the geometry and dimensionality of M.C. Escher’s art. The Loomed Illusion Bracelet by Susan Pelligra is a great example of how you can weave optical illusions with patterns of beads.
If there’s one artist whose work could sum up the Art Nouveau movement, you guessed it—it’s Alphonse Mucha, Czech decorative artist and preeminent Art Nouveau painter. His Precious Stones Series is where Alphonse Mucha really showcases his love for illustrating jewelry. Each of the lovely Mucha ladies shows off her jewelry, representing topaz, ruby, amethyst, and emerald. Smadar Grossman’s Emerald City Necklace is an Art Nouveau twist on the modern bib necklace using a combination of stitches to turn embellished crystal rivolis into fan-shaped components.
Andy Warhol’s work sums up the question that Pop Art poses: What is art? Bright colors and references to modern culture are the key points of Pop Art. Warhol brought modern culture into his work by using brands and popular products. Jeanne Barta Craine’s Memento Mosaic Bracelet uses brightly colored components that you can personalize, for a very Pop Art feel. You could push the Pop Art motif even further by bezeling iconic images such as multi-colored photos of Marilyn Monroe or Campbell’s soup cans.
As one of the most famous and influential artists in history, Pablo Picasso is truly a master. He co-founded the Cubist movement, and he pioneered many new forms of art, such as collage. He used his fame as an artist during times of war to make political statements through pieces such as Guernica (1937), a dramatic, Cubist portrayal of the bombing of Guernica by the German and Italian air forces during the Spanish Civil War. Picasso, along with other artists, revolutionized the art world and pushed painting toward Modern Art with the introduction and development of Cubism. Forms are fractured, disassembled, and reassembled in abstraction. I find that the forms in Kim West’s Playful Pentagons Bracelet share similarities with Cubism in their faceted, shifted, and geometric design.
Read the entire Beading with the Masters series to get all caught up with what I’ve shared so far! Who would you like to see me write about? Let us know in the comments.
Technical Editor, Beadwork magazine