The inspiration for the June Art bead scene monthly challenge is an art nouveau-esque poster by John Louis Rhead which shows a young woman reading a magazine. As a teacher of costume history and history of design, I delved deep to analyse the artwork which is quite simple with a lot of recognisable elements from that period.Art Nouveau is a design movement that was at its peak between 1890’s and the world war I
The inspiration for the June Art bead scene monthly challenge is an art nouveau-esque poster by John Louis Rhead which shows a young woman reading a magazine. As a teacher of costume history and history of design, I delved deep to analyse the artwork which is quite simple with a lot of recognisable elements from that period.
Art Nouveau is a design movement that was at its peak between 1890’s and the world war I. It is characterized by flat, decorative patterns; intertwined organic forms such as stems or flowers with writhing plant forms, called Foliate forms, a curvilinear depiction of leaves and flowers and vines, sinuous Whiplash lines (identified by their curves and counter curves) along with right-angled forms. The movement is more than a century old, its aesthetics, however, continue to be visible in everyday objects even today. Grill gates and balcony railings with foliate and curvilinear forms are perfect examples of this movement.
“Literary Poster for the Century Magazine”, June 1896
by John Louis Rhead
Original Lithographic Poster Printed in Colour with Letterpress
I call this poster Nouveau-esque as it contains elements from both Aesthetic and Art Nouveau movements. While the rendering is flat, the details seem to be a bit less ornamental than the later art nouveau period. From the context (pose, background and hairstyle) of the woman I think that she could be a well read, fashionable aesthete and a nature lover (strolling barefoot in the garden). She has pale skin, red (henna colored hair) and is seen wearing an “Aesthetic dress” in teal, and roses in her hair. She is also surrounded by rose plants in the garden which surprisingly have no leaves.
As this image already has elements from two, although related, art movements, I decided to keep my design simple with direct inspiration from the image. Initially, I wanted to use wire to create curvilinear forms and suspend roses on them but somehow the piece looked very undesirable. So I decided to create a pendant for this challenge and a simple cord necklace to go with it.
The base layer the pendant is made of resin and the cured piece has been ice enamelled and colored with enamel paints in multiple layers and sealed (picture on the left) and then painted with acrylic paint. Then the roses were drawn by removing the base paint to create a wood etching/engraving sort of look and finally colored in red. I was experimenting with my camera settings while taking pictures and didnt realise until now that the pendant looks differently in different pictures.
I have used colors like yellow, orange, red, green, teal and a streak of purple to compliment and balance all that yellow. This piece is truly mixed media, as it has a resin art pendant, silk thread cord, lampwork flower beads made by Artisan Jyothi (yes, I have been hoarding them all these years) and copper wire.
Art nouveau is a style that comes to me instinctively when I paint but I found it very hard to translate the same aesthetics into jewelry. I think this is the fourth version that I tried and at one point I was like “I’ll just make a wire spiral and be done with it”. For now, I am happy with what I have achieved. The whiplash curves on the wire work and the illustration on the pendant and the foliate tendrils on which the flowers bloom are quintessentially art nouveau. Maybe, I‘ll work more on increasing the stability of the piece as the lampwork flowers are quite fragile.
I hope you found it interesting
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