Friday, March 25, 2011

Black Swan Fringe Pendant

Black Swan

As a movie lover, I am a big fan of the sincere re-imagining. When a new artist pays tribute to an old one through their work, it can be an amazing collaboration. I especially enjoy films that take antiques and give them an updated twist. Michael Almereyda’s Hamlet, set in year 2000 New York City, is a fantastic example.

The fact that Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan - written by Andres Heinz - seamlessly merges a modern white swan vs. black swan story with a performance of Swan Lake isn’t the first thing that appealed to me when trailers and images of the movie started to appear. At first I was intrigued by the idea of seeing Natalie Portman in a thriller, assuming that she would only do one worth watching.

It’s unfortunate that films and stage productions do not share the same genres. Black Swan is more of a tragedy than a thriller. Though it has some spooky moments, it is much more sad than thrilling. I’m almost tempted to take a feminist stance, and shake my fist at yet another story where the heroine suffers for daring to be a woman. However, I didn’t interpret Black Swan as being ignorant to these themes, but sympathetic to them. No one in their right mind would choose the starved and solitary life that Nina (Natalie Portman) leads in order to be perfect, but she knows nothing else.

Black Swan Costumes

Nonetheless, I didn’t see Black Swan for the story or the cast, but for the costumes. When I learned that the ballet costumes, and much of Nina’s wardrobe, were created by my favorite fashion designers, Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, the news wasn’t as exciting as I would have thought. This may only be because the pairing seemed like a perfect fit. Based on what I originally knew of the film, if you had asked me to guess who the producers picked to make the costumes, I would have guessed Rodarte.

Their feminine but unusual aesthetic is ideal for the themes of Black Swan, which follows a young ballet dancer through her descent from minor dysfunction into total madness. The dialogue is low key, and there are a lot of contemplative scenes with the tormented Nina. Strong visuals help keep the story alive, and the Rodarte costumes and wardrobe pieces certainly deliver.

Black Swan Costumes

The Inspiration:

Jet Black and Ruby Red Bead Palette

Black Swan will be released to video next week, and I’m very excited to get my hands on the bonus materials. I love to watch the documentaries that accompany my favorite films, and learn more about them from the perspective of the creators. In anticipation, I wanted to create a necklace inspired by the gorgeous black swan costume - the highlight of the ballet.

The Beads:

Choosing a palette took some time. There are quite a few colors to consider when using the film’s images as inspiration - different variations of black, white, silver and red. Ultimately, I wanted to capture the intense, dark look of Nina’s black swan transformation. I knew that if I tried to incorporate too many of these colors, the mood would be lost.

So I went with a simple black and red palette. I already knew that fringe was going to be essential, and I eagerly scooped up some ruby crystal teardrops that I’ve been dying to use. They perfectly match transparent ruby Miyuki rounds, and provide a contrast to all of my jet black selections. I had to work with what was already in my stash, so I combined shiny and matte in hexes, magatamas, and seed beads in two sizes.

Black Swan Necklace

The Beadwork:

It had the worst time convincing myself not to recreate The Chimera necklace, which also works with lots of fringe. Because I don’t have metal findings as an option, there are only so many ways to put lots of bead strands together in one place. I did end up using a ladder stitch base, but with different approaches.

The straps are done in double St. Petersburg chain, with just a hint of the ruby red peeking out from the middle. The shapes and textures of the chain go so well not only with the fringe pendant, but the theme as well. They have a feathery look, that is more edgy than soft. I used magatamas for the center of the chains, which create a great raised effect and add some texture.

I think it might just be fit for the ballet.

Copyright 2011 Inspirational Beading
Rodarte and Fox Searchlight Pictures
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  1. It's lovely! And definitely fit for the ballet, the opera length is perfect!

  2. Wow, that's a stunner! Inspiring as ever. *g*

    I love the chain - such a versatile stitch.

  3. That is a stunning necklace! I went to your Artfire shop to look at all the views and was just blown away. The way you did the St.Pete's is so understated but so perfect and elegant. I love the fringe. All of it. Just beautiful, Mortira!

  4. Thank you! I debated for awhile about what stitch to use for the straps. I'm really glad that I went with St. Petersburg. I think it complements the fringe really well.

  5. I loved the movie! And I loved reading about what inspired you to create that gorgeous necklace. Wonderful work Mortira!

  6. OMG...your necklace is fantastic^_^


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