Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Step with me into another realm ...

For once, this post has nothing to do with wirework, jewellery making, colour, or any of the other things involved with my main obsession - although it does affect it indirectly, in the form of occasional inspiration.

Like many people, my first love has always been books.  Specifically, reading fiction - tales spun from someone else's imagination, and crafted into a story with passion and skill.  From the moment I first learned to read, books have provided a way into a fantastic realm, occasionally a way to escape from every day life, and - often without realising it at the time - a way to learn.

That delicious joy of curling up in the warm on a cold, rainy Sunday, with what is basically a pile of paper and ink, and allowing it to transport you to somewhere you have never been before - or perhaps, somewhere you have been and are keen to revisit - is for me, without equal.  When I find a new author whose writing sucks me in and makes me feel, it's a two-fold pleasure, because not only do I have their current work to savour, there is always the likelihood that there will be more to come.  Or if there is no anticipation of new work, there's often a back-list to search out and devour.

For me, the most important part of a novel is the characters.  The plot is important - after all, you haven't really got a story without one - but if the writer can't make me believe in the characters, laugh when they laugh, cry when they cry, then for me they've failed.  But when they succeed - oh my, they've got me for life!  (At least when it comes to re-reading - I will freely admit I have abandoned authors when they've lost me along the way somehow.)

So what I would really like to know is what is your favourite novel/series?  Don't be shy - I'm no snob when it comes to reading (or music).  If it has value to you, then it's worthy.  My favourite books have been The Wraeththu trilogy by Storm Constantine since I was a teenager - I fell in love with the characters and I've never fallen out of love with them.  The books are fantasies set in a post-apocalyptic world and they are all character-driven, with a central love story running through all three.  The characters get their share of heartbreak and joy, and as a reader, so do I.

So please share with me the book(s) that you'd have to take to that fictional desert island - I am always looking to be sucked into another realm ... :)

Credits for royalty free photos:

Books Isolated by Supertrooper
Without Fear by Jennifer Ellison
Forests in Danger by xedos4

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

On the Beauty of our Fair Isle ...

As anyone who follows my Facebook page will know, I've just got back from a long weekend in Suffolk.  And the thing that always strikes me during our infrequent trips around the country, is how much outstanding beauty there really is in this fair isle.  And how little of it I've seen so far.  I still haven't made it to Scotland or Ireland (oh, the shame!), although I have seen some of the beauty that is Wales.

You may (!) know that I'm an absolute sea shore addict - if I don't see the sea for many months at a time, I start getting terrible withdrawal symptoms and having dreams that I'm swimming in it ... ;)

But it's not just the paddling and the fresh air of the seaside that make me happy - I love, love, love trees (you'd never guess, right?) and leaves and mushrooms and the sky ... I could go on, but you're probably already yawning!

And it isn't just nature that draws me - I'm a sucker for historical buildings, particularly castles, abbeys and priories, where I can stand in the middle of the ruins, imagining the history happening all around me.

Suffolk in October is beautiful - torrential rain and all.  We saw so much fungi (does anyone else get excited by toadstools?  We have a LOT of pictures ..! ) and the heathland was all colourful and glistening.  There was an abundance of acorns crunching underfoot and the cider smell of the tiny apples that were scattered around the trees.

All of this adds up to the best inspiration for jewellery-making I could possibly ask for.  I love this country, and while there are many places in the world I would love to see (and many that I never will), I am truly grateful for the beauty that is not far from my doorstep.

And I got to paddle (in the pouring rain) on my birthday, then eat an ice cream in a very steamed-up car - does it get any better than that?  No, it most certainly doesn't! :)

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

I Can See a Rainbow ...

Colour is a funny thing.  Different colours - even different shades of one colour - provoke very different, often passionate responses in people.  Take me for example.  Before I discovered an addiction attraction to a rainbow of jewel tones, it was pretty much all about black for me.  Yes, green was my favourite colour, even back then - it's hard to dislike the colour of grass and trees, after all - but I was very unadventurous with colour.  If I could find an item of black clothing - and accent it with some silver jewellery - that was good enough for me.

Then I discovered beads.  And a whole new appreciation of colour pretty much swamped me.  I still tended to stick to schemes in different shades of the same colour to start with, but suddenly I was a fan of vibrant colour!  Then of course, I discovered coloured wire, and that was it.  With so many shades, and so many, MANY shades of seed beads to pair it with, I was like a kid in a sweet shop.  And I still am.  My bracelets have become far more adventurous, colour-wise, and I actually need the 'fix' of a colourful wire pendant when I've been working on monochrome ones for a while.

The only thing that has endured is that I still love green.  And while I'll never fall out of love with that sludgy olive green that was really the only colour I liked in my teens and twenties, I have a tendency to select something a little zingier these days - like my jewellery gift boxes ... ;)

Has anyone else discovered a passion for colour they never knew they had?  What is your absolute favourite? :)