Friday, August 10, 2012

Celebrating the fish and those who gather them...

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Blessing of the fleet, a fishing tradition in the Acadian
and many traditional societies worldwide.

On an earlier post I talked a little about why the sea and fishing is meaningful to me: as a descendant of fishermen, I came to understand the power of the water over these men and their families. Visiting the small village of my grand-parents during childhood summers, we went to their parish church, which was named Notre-Dame-des-Flots (Our Lady of the Deep). Behind the altar was a floor to ceiling painting of the Child Jesus, held in the arms of his Mother, as she keeps watch over a fishing fleet in a storm.

The relationship of this and other Acadian communities with the ocean was deep and complex. Most families relied directly or indirectly on fishing as livelihood. But even in recent years, there were still accidents and loss of life in the fishing boats. So the sea gave much, but she exacted a price. Long before I held a fishing rod in my hands, I had a sense of the frightening majesty of the water that surrounds the home of my ancestors.

Fishing Boats, Key West, 1903 by Winslow Homer

In contrast, when I saw the Art Bead Scene August Challenge painting, I was struck by how bright and celebratory it seemed. The occupants of both vessels seem to be carrying on a friendly banter. I decided to make a design honouring fishermen everywhere, but concentrate on the playfulness I observed.

First, some pretty tropical ocean colours

Then make a faux sea glass bracelet focal with a cut-out
of a little fishing boat. It's approx. 1-3/4" square

Thread some embroidery floss through and do a simple
square knot macramé on each side. Anyone else think that
looks like Poseidon's trident?! Unintentional.

Ooops, baked these guys a little too long. Blackened
catfish anyone?

I am wondering if this is because I used Premo brand in this project? It was the brand I used when I first started experimenting with PC. Then last fall I switched to Kato; I prefer it for caning and anything sculptural (firmer and bakes stronger). However, I have all these  leftover packs of Premo, so I thought, what the heck? I may have been less than vigilant with my baking technique, as one bakes at a higher temperature and is less likely to burn. Actually, I've never burned Kato... *

*I may be "eating" THAT statement next project LOL. Would serve me right!

UPDATE  August 11: just read about MIXING THESE TWO BRANDS over at Betty Jo Hendershott's blog. Wow, that's a new concept for me!

That's better! The fabled silvery polymer clay
fin-challenged fishies.

We need a suitable button for the loop closure. Buy one?
Uh, not while there's polymer clay around.

I christen thee "Catch of the Day". That's just a white cotton
twisted trim, but it looks just like a boat line. (Thank you, Walmart,
the only place for "supplies" here in the middle of nowhere!)

Couldn't resist a few glass pearls for bling, attached with
what else, fishing line. No metal was harmed in the
making of this bracelet.

So, I had a lot of fun with this theme. I maintain my childhood respect for the sea, but I guess she can be a little playful when the mood strikes her. 

Be sure to check the Art Bead Scene flickr group for more original art jewellery by talented designers, all based on the colours and/or motifs of the challenge painting.


  1. I'm constantly amazed at the beads you can make out of polymer clay. I love the sea and fishing-inspired beads you created. They made for a very unique and super cool bracelet. Thanks for commenting on my BSBP post. I took up your dare to follow your blog :-)

  2. Adinlah, as you probably realize, it is the beginning of a new day here in my community: it is a little after midnight in Eastern Canada, past this old lady's bedtime. But I couldn't turn in without acknowledging your visit, and thanking you for taking me up on my "dare" LOL. I am humbled and excited at the ability of this interest we all share, and its extraordinary reach across continents and time zones and cultures. This beady, creative awesomeness is the most wonderful ambassador and asks only that we continue to share it amongst ourselves!

  3. That is an amahzing design! Wow!!! WoWWW!!! And I actually like the color of the blackened fish :-)

  4. This is fabulous! Love the focal and the rope.. and the button. Thanks for sharing your story, too. I also come from a seafaring family..mine is from southern Scotland.

  5. Oh, I wouldn't be surprised if we share some family ties, too, Janet! Have you visited your ancestral home in Scotland? I'd love to go someday. Several centuries ago, my region was a destination for many European families with wanderlust (or more compelling reasons to leave home), and the countries of the British Isles were very well represented. New Brunswick is the only "officially" bilingual (English/French) province of Canada, and most of us are very proud of our dual heritage. Our close neighbour, the province of Nova Scotia (Latin for New Scotland), even features a reversed-colour Cross of Saint Andrew on their flag... such copycats! So I'm thinkin' we're all cousins, separated from the Scots by a mere bit of ocean and a scattering of fish. I'm glad you dropped by for a visit, Janet!

  6. This is just the best bracelet and I adore that Wal-mart rope cord, it's perfect! Years ago when I was a child in the '60's my parents took me to Tarpon Springs and I was fascinated! There was an old (to me, anyway, as a child) fisherman who took some time and showed me some knots and let me have some rope and the knots he tied for me and that was my start in macrame, I think I was about 8 years old. That trip has always had a special place in my heart and when I saw your bracelet it brought it all flooding back. Thank you for a visit to happy memories! :)

  7. Thanks for taking the time to drop by and write about that happy memory, Astrid! How powerful are the emotions and impressions of our childhood! I wonder if that kind fisherman knew what he was incubating with his thoughtful gesture? I wish I had paid attention in Girl Guides when we were shown how to do knots, semaphore, and other skills nautical. So easy to learn when we are young, so much a challenge at our "mature" stage LOL. I'm happy we share these strong connections to the ocean. I often wonder what the future holds, for those sturdy and capable folk who, even today, wrest a living from her bounty.

  8. Stunning focal. Love how the seafaring theme is incorporating into all the components.

  9. Ahem, yes, Cynthia... I do tend to get a LITTLE carried away with my "themes". Becomes almost an obsession to get everything "matched up". Perhaps on the next challenge I'll give subtlety a try (doubt it LOL)!

  10. This is such a great design!

  11. Thanks for visiting, Carmela! I checked out your Pure Love blog and shop, love the variety of influences you touch on. I must add you've inspired ME; your "Quest" necklace jumped out at me, as I bought an elephant "cousin" to that pendant, and have been stumped for design ideas.

    Congratulations on supporting RAINN, a vital organization fighting against sexual violence. I'm certain you are making a difference, Carmela!

  12. Wonderful!! Love all the little details! Thanks for sharing it's creation!

  13. Thanks for stopping by, Julie... finally starting my blog has been such a positive experience, thanks to comments such as yours! I am loving being able to link with old and new blogging friends.

    I noticed your Streaky Drops were snapped up as fast as you could list them on your Etsy... planning on more?

  14. This bracelet is so interesting and unique! And your blog is fun to read, I'm a new follower.

  15. Nice to hear from you , Kristen, and welcome! I see you are a fellow "yo-yo" and singer, and we are practically next-door neighbours (well, at least in the larger scheme of things)... looks like your Etsy shops keep you VERY busy!

  16. This is such an interesting design - that white rope is the perfect addition, I can almost smell the sea and the fish!

  17. I actually like the over cooked cat fish! Lovely bracelet.. the fake sea glass boat is neat!

  18. Wow girl this is super awesome. I love this tecnique. Very original. Well done. I love sea glass and this looks amazing. You should do a tutorial a full one and sell it. Hugs and good luck.

  19. Love the bracelet very 'fun' & unique looking! And the wheel is amazing, I haven't been following you for long but I'm enjoying your posts :)

    1. Thank you and welcome, Erika. Polymer clay is a wonderful medium for expressing our creativity!


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