Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Egyptian Gods Series Jewelry Challenge

Golden Sands Pyramid

It’s time again to plant a stake and mark the beginning of another year-long beading challenge. Last year, I decided to loosen things up a bit by eliminating deadlines, which created a lot more room for creativity and contemplation. The result was a mostly steady parade of new designs, and a fairly successful mission to use up leftover and forgotten beads.

This year I’m really taking it easy, while also improving my skills and exploring new possibilities, by sticking to something that I’m very passionate about. As an added bonus, this year’s challenge also coincides with my jewelry business goals - to adhere even more firmly to a niche and establish a more recognizable line of handmade designs.

In short, I’m going Egyptian in 2013.

I’ve given myself a bit of a head start, and five designs are already completed. Since each design is also accompanied by not only a shop listing, but a blog post detailing the traits of each subject, I’ve been dragging my feet a little. By making my new series of jewelry this year’s challenge, I hope to gain a little more motivation to keep things rolling at a steady pace.

The plan is to create a unique piece of beadwork jewelry inspired by every god in the Ancient Egyptian pantheon. I’ve already passed by some of the lesser know deities in order to get a firm hold on the idea, but I’ll be swinging back through the alphabet - hopefully - before the year’s end. I’ll include any missed gods and goddesses, plus revisit any subjects whose designs were not satisfactory the first time around. Here are the icons I’ve completed so far:

Amun Bead Palette Amun the Ram Necklace

Amun’s necklace drew on several of the air god’s traits: blue skin, golden feathers, and the horns of a ram. I started with the carved bone Maori pendant, which I had hoped to back with some blue tagua. Unfortunately, all of the slices I had were too small to really show a lot of color, so I switched to a new tactic and added the blue to the beadwork. I used one of my favorite golden substitutes - Autumn Tuscon - and some black magatamas to create feathery St. Petersburg chains.

Anubis Bead Palette Anubis the Jackal Necklace

I was very excited to get started on Anubis. Although I had already made an Anubis bracelet and collar using gold Swarovski pearls and black seed beads, I couldn’t resist trying again. If it works, stick with it! This time I wanted the jackal's necklace to be a bit edgier, and a little more fitting for a god who spends his time in the underworld. I added some copper stick pearls, and got exactly the effect that I wanted.

Bast Bead Palette Bast the Lioness Necklace

Next up was Bast, the sometimes-cat and sometimes-lion goddess of womanhood. I couldn’t resist using some coconut dagger ‘claws’. Since their blue color is so intense, I kept things fairly simple with a golden brown rope, adding a stripe of wine in the twist to represent her fondness for festivals.

Geb Bead Palette Geb the Earth Necklace

It took awhile to decide how I was going to tackle the earth god Geb. Although I want each piece to represent the gods, I also want to make sure that the pieces themselves have an Egyptian flair whenever possible. In the end, I went down the obvious but pleasing route - an all green collar. To increase the earthiness, I included some dark teal coconut heishi as a light fringe.

Hathor Bead Palette Hathor the Cow Necklace

Hathor had me stumped at first, and I almost didn’t make this design for fear that it wouldn’t come out correctly. I wanted very much to make a necklace that included the unique curved horns of Hathor’s crown, as well as her signature stone - turquoise. After some experimentation, I was able to get the shapes that I wanted, without casting off any unused beadwork!

Next up is Isis - and I believe that this necklace might be the first in the list of re-do’s in the last leg of the challenge, simply because she’s such an important icon to get right. I hope you’ll follow along with me during the Egyptian Gods series this year, and perhaps challenge yourself to an inspiration journey as well!

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  1. What a fantastic series! They're all so inspirational, but I would have to choose Bast as my favorite - this design works on so many levels. It will be such a pleasure to follow along on this journey with you!

  2. Happy New Year! Your Egyptian God series is beautiful so far...I'm looking forward to following along this year! Thank you so much for your daily posts!

  3. Great, love the idea!... I'm a huge fan of Egypt and realy like this

  4. I've enjoyed reading about your beautiful Egyptian pieces in the past, so I know your new project will be fantastic. Thanks for sharing your beading experiences.

  5. Anubis is my fav but I like Bast too!

  6. Lovely pieces! This must be in the air because Egyptian style is my goal for the year also but I do mainly bead embroidery.


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